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Italy

Geography

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Mountain Ranges

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The Italian Alps

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The town of Pettorano sul Gizio nestles among steep slopes of the Apennines Mountain Range.

Much of Italy's land mass is covered by mountains. The Alps in northern Italy act as a border for Italy between France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia. Two other major mountain ranges in Italy are the Dolomite mountains which extend across northern Italy and the Appennie mountains which cut down through the center of Italy.
 
The Dolomite Mountains
The Dolomite Mountains are part of the Alps and extend across Northeast Italy. They occupy the territories of Veneto, Trentino-Alto, and the Friuli regions. The mountain range consists of deep valleys which showcase in pine and larch trees,  emerald green lakes, glaciers, and villages.
 
The Appennine Mountains 
The Appennine Mountains stretch 1000 km from the north to the south of Italy dividing the east and west coasts.  The southern most glacier in Italy partly covers the highest mountain peek in the Appennine's, Corno Grande, which is 2,912 m high. The mountains are green, wooded and very steep on the eastern side, while the west side consists of a plain where most of Italy's historic cities are located. During World War Two the German's used the Appennine Mountains as a defence barrier.
 
 
Rivers and Valleys
 
 
The Po Valley
The Po valley stretches from the Alps in the North to the Apiennine Mountains in the South.  It's waterways are fed by melting snows from the Alpine Mountains.The Po River is in the centre of the valley and is Italy's longest river extending 652 km. It is located south of the Dolomite Mountains. It rises in the Alps and runs east through the fertile northern plains to the Adriatic Sea. Water flows from 141 tributaries to feed this river and are drained into a 27,000 square mile basin. The banks on the Po River flood annually creating very fertile farm land, some of the most heavily cultivated land in Europe. The river drains into the Adriatic Sea forming a vast delta region of lagoons, ponds and marches.  The Po Valley is densely populated and in one of the most important agricultural and industrial regions of Italy. The river's waters have been dammed for hyrdoelectric power and it's fertle banks produce grains, sugar beets, livestock, and fruits. Some major cities along the Po River and Valley are Milan, Turin. Verona and Asti.

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A Cafe in Turin along the Po River.

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ThePo River course through Lombardy and Veneto regions in Italy.

Islands

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Two of the seven Isole Eolie small islands off the coast of Italy

Italy's boot shaped peninsila is about 150 miles wide and extends into the Mediterranean Sea. It has two large Islands: Sicily and Sardinia and around 70 other smaller islands.
 
Sicily
The island of Sicily is the largest island located in the Mediterranean sea.  It is located south west of the mainland  separated by the Strait of Messina and contains some of Italy's most beautiful beaches. With a high population of 5,200,000 the islands economy is based on fishing, mining, tourism, and agriculture. The highest point of the island is Mt.Etna which rises 10, 902 ft and is an active volcano.
 
Sardinia
The Island of Sarfinia is located west of the mainland. It is 160 miles long and 68 miles wide with a population of 1, 680, 000. The island is mountainous with it's highest point Punta La Marmora rising 6, 017ft. The island is filled with green valleys and covered with grassy land. 

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Cala Di Luna on the Island of Sardinia

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Volcano Etna, Sicily, Italy

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The Island of Sardinia, Italy.

Climate
 
 
Italy has a varied climate. In the southern part of the country the summers are very hot and mild, and the winters tend to be rainy. The climate of the south is similar to that of North Africa. In the central Appennine the summer is hot and dry while the winters have heavy snowfall.  Along the coasts they experience a Mediterranean climate  with hot dry summers and mild winters. The heaviest rains fall in the spring and autumn. In the northern region of the country they experinece an alpine climate of cool short summers and long cold winters. In the Po River Valley the climate is continental with hot summers and cold winters.

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Climographs for four cities in Italy

To go to a sight that offers hiking tours of the Dolomite Mountains click here.

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Created by Christina Whelan