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Italy

Highlights in Italy

Geography of Italy

Shaped like a boot, Italy lies on a peninsula in the south of Europe, with the tip of the boot pointing southwest. Bordering states in the north are France, Switzerland, Slovenia, Austria and the enclaves of San Marino and the Vatican City. A further border is the one with Croatia which runs in the sea.

The rest of Italy is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea. To the south is the Ionian Sea, to the west the Tyrrhenian Sea and to the northwest the Ligurian Sea. The west coast of Italy is divided into the Riviera of Liguria and the Gulf of Naples. To the east is the Adriatic Sea. The east coast is therefore also known as the Italian Adriatic coast. Inland, the largest lakes are Lake Garda, Lake Maggiore and Lake Como, all of which are located in the northern part of Italy.

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Geomorphology/Geology

Italy's diversity is particularly evident in its geomorphology. A large part of the Alpine massif runs through the north of Italy. Here you will find, among other things, Mont Blanc on the border with France, which at 4810 m is the highest peak in Italy.

The Gran Paradios, on the other hand, is located entirely on Italian ground and is also an impressive sight at just over 4000 m. The Gran Paradios is part of the Graian Alps, which run through Italy and France. The Apennines run through Italy from north to south, forming the main watershed of the country. The massif of the Gran Sassod'Italia forms the highest part of the Apennines at almost 2900 m.

Besides the imposing peaks, some islands also belong to Italy. Sicily and Sardinia are the largest islands in terms of area. Around these two main islands there are scattered individual smaller islands, such as the archipelago of La Maddalena off Sardinia. The so-called Pontine Islands lie off the west coast of Italy. The islands of Elba, Capri and Ischia also lie here. In the Adriatic Sea there are the Tremiti and the Pelagic Islands, including Lampedusa.

Italy is also famous for Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe at almost 3300 m. The volcano is located on the island of Sicily and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013. Italy lies in a seismically active zone, which means that earthquakes may frequently occur. The most violent earthquake of the 20th century occurred in 1908 with a magnitude of 7.2.

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Travel Tips and Trivia for Italy

Climate in Italy

The climate in Italy is as varied as the country's landscapes. In the south of the country and on the Italian islands a Mediterranean climate prevails all year round. Summers are dry and it can be up to 40°C during the day. In winter, temperatures can drop to 10 C° and it is usually very humid.
In the Alpine regions, on the other hand, summers are mild and winters cold, according to the classic mountain climate.

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Flora and Fauna in Italy

Due to the different climates and landscapes that are spread over the country, the flora and fauna in the north and south are quite different. In addition, there is a lot of agriculture in Italy which has partly displaced the native flora and fauna. There are many fruit tree plantations or olive groves in the different parts of the country.

At higher altitudes in the Alps, the vegetation is mainly characterised by larch and spruce. At lower altitudes, beech is dominant and, at the foot of the Alps, the most common trees are olives, evergreen cork oaks and cypresses. On the slopes of the Apennine massif there are also holm oaks.

In the Gran Paradiso National Park, visitors can observe Alpine ibex climbing. The largest national park in Italy is Pollino National Park which is also home to the wolf. Apart from the wolf, brown bear and lynx are also resident predators in Italy, although both species are as rare in Italy as the wolf. In the Alps, bird lovers can observe griffon vultures, falcons or eagles.

In addition to these rare animal species, chamois, marmots and numerous other animal species live in the mountain regions. The island of Sardinia, on the other hand, is home to wild sheep, wild boar and other species of hoofed animals. Trout, tuna or swordfish can be found in the Mediterranean Sea.

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Social Geography of Italy

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