Terrain shapes and bedrock
According to COUNTRYAAH, Italy is a mountainous country with two mountain ranges, the Apennines and parts of the Alps, within its borders. Bergen continues to be multi-urban with hill areas, and together these two landform types occupy 3/4 of the land surface.
The rest is made up of plains, mainly Poslätten.
The Alps within Italy’s borders extend in a wide arc from the Gulf of Genoa to the Gulf of Trieste. To the west, the mountain range runs in a north-south direction and forms a border with France. To the east then the Central Alps continue and reach the highest in the Pennine Alps, with Monte Cervino (Matterhorn), 4 478 m above sea level, and Monte Rosa, 4 634 m above sea level, the highest point in Italy. Then they continue east to the Brenner Pass, where the Eastern Alps take off. South of the highest border mountains, limestone deposits are spread, where karst forms of various kinds have been eroded.
Poslätten is by far the largest plain in Italy and is one of the alluvium- filled sea coves. The majority is about 100 meters above sea level. It is crossed by the Po River and its tributaries and by a few rivers northeast of the Pos estuary, e.g. Adige, Brenta and Piave. The lower part of Poslätten is summed, as is Pos’s participation in the Adriatic. Higher up, the glaciers of the Ice Age have created a varied landscape of gravel terraces, plateaus, moraine banks and creek lakes, such as Lake Maggiore, Lake Como and Lake Garda.
On the Apennine Peninsula, the Apennines extend with several separate ridges. The peninsula has its greatest width in the middle part, where the highest peak, Corno Grande, is 2 912 meters above sea level. found in the Gran Sasso d’Italia mountain range. The southern part is lower and has partly granite and gneiss bedrock. Further south, the active volcanoes Vesuvius, 1,277 m above sea level, in Campania, and Etna, 3,322 m above sea level in Sicily, as well as the Liparic islands with Stromboli and Vulcano, are classic in volcanological contexts.
Sardinia is a lower island, known for its caves.
The soil cover in Italy is thin on the Apennine Peninsula, where fertile brown soils and terra ross at the far south are important soil moons. The moraine soil of the Alpine region has been developed into a dark brown pod sun, while Poslättens alluvial quilt has brown earth character.
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Italy can be divided into three regions with characteristic climate: the Alps, the Poslätten and the Apennine Peninsula.
In the region to the far north on the southern slopes of the Alps, the climate is similar to that of the Swiss and Austrian Alps. However, the precipitation is more abundant, generally exceeding 1,000 mm per year, and reaches over 2,500 mm in the rock massif. Summer is rainy season and thunderstorms are common during spring, summer and fall. The northern winds sometimes affect the winter weather strongly with higher temperatures and drier air as a result.
Poslätten has a distinct climate with rain that is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year, though somewhat more abundant during spring and autumn, a total of about 700 mm. During summer and autumn, the rainfall falls in connection with thunder, but only for a few days. The summers are hot and sunny, just like southern Italy. Winters are relatively cold with frost, fog and snow during the winter months. The cold winter wind drill sometimes sweeps down from the north over the Trieste area to the far east and affects the Northeast coastline of the Apennine Peninsula to some extent.
The Apennine Peninsula has a typical Mediterranean climate with winter rain and summer drought. However, the climate in the interior mountain areas differs quite dramatically from the coasts, especially in winter. The Apennines, Sicily and Sardinia have an alternating weather at all times of the year except in the summer, when a stable and sunny high pressure normally occurs. Highland areas are cold in winter with plenty of rainfall, often as snow. The coasts have mild winters with hot, usually dry, summers. Generally, less precipitation falls on the east side, but temperatures on the coast do not differ much from north to south. The driest and sunniest is in the southeastern part of the country as well as in Sardinia and Sicily, which get below 800 mm, in the driest parts about 500 mm. In the west and on the heights of the Apennines, the annual rainfall is about 1,000 mm.
The average winter temperature is 5–10 °C in the south (highest in the coastal band) and 0 °C in the north and in the Apennines, in the Alps, however, down to –8 °C and snow cover. The summer temperature varies between 20 and 25 °C on average, about 10 °C in the Alps.
In addition to the dryer and the drill, other seasonal winds blow in from the Mediterranean, eg. the warm, humid and dust-bearing sciroccon over the southern parts during the summer and the harsh northwestern mistral over the western parts during the winter (see map wind).
Plant-and animal life
Italy’s rich and diverse nature is shaped by the varied topography and Mediterranean climate with dry, hot summers and rainier winters. To the north, the country is bordered by the mighty Alps with several mountains over 4,000 m. South, therefore, occupies a large lowland area created by the river Po, which is heavily cultivated and with very little original nature left. The Apennines mountain range is the backbone of the country, even from a nature point of view. Other lowland regions are the coastal zone along the Tyrrhenian Sea. Rome is located, and Apulia in the south-east, the very “boot heel” of Italy. Sicily and, above all, Sardinia show a different nature in several respects compared to the mainland.
Gran Paradiso’s national park in northwestern Italy is named after the mountain of the same name. The area was set aside in 1856 as a royal hunting reserve for the protection of alpine goats. At that time, Gran Paradiso was the only place where the species lived throughout the Alps. In 1922, Italy’s first national park was established here. Thanks to careful work by the staff in the park, the eradication of alpine goats could be prevented, and today more than 2,500 individuals of the species live within the boundaries of the national park. In addition, animals from Gran Paradiso have been used to re-colonize the rest of the Alps, where more than 30,000 individuals are found today.
In addition to alpine goats, the national park protects a larger area (70,000 ha) of unique alpine nature with high mountains, glaciers, alpine and forests with beech, larch, spruce, pine and camber numbers. Genuine chestnut grows in the most climate-friendly valleys. On the alpine meadows, several species of alpros and gentian, and curly lily and edelweiss thrive. With around 8,000 animals, the national park houses one of the largest populations of gems in the Alps. Golden eagle and alpine ant are common and, thanks to reinsertion, there are now 2–3 nesting pairs of lambs.Wolf is about to recolonize the region from populations further south in the Apennines. Together with neighboring Vanoise National Park in France, Gran Paradiso is one of Western Europe’s largest nature conservation areas.
Stelvio’s national park in northern Italy is the largest in the country with its 131,000 ha. Together with the neighboring Swiss National Park and the two regional nature parks Adamello – Brenta and Adamello, the protection zone amounts to 400,000 ha, which is the largest in the entire Alps. Stelvio exhibits a typical alpine fauna and flora. Among animals are identified chamois, the ibex, deer, red deer, wild boar, alpine marmot, hare, lammergeier (2-3 pairs), Golden Eagle, dotterel, grouse, grouse, grouse, grouse, stone chicken and berguv. Flora includes species thatmower, guckusko, mountain sip (see mountain siphons), blue sip, curly lily, harpsichord, spruce and larch.
In the Trentino-Alto Adige region there is the only remaining brown bear strain in the Alps outside Slovenia. About 25-30 animals live here, especially within the Adamello-Brenta nature park. In the early 1990s, only three bears were left of the original tribe, which is why it was decided to introduce new animals from Slovenia. During the period 1999-2002, 10 bears were released with good results. Animals from Trentino-Alto Adige now also migrate to Switzerland and Austria, although several of them have been injured, especially in traffic.
Most of the original nature around the river Po is now just a memory. However, some of the most valuable areas closest to the Adriatic have been saved. Pos delta nature park. Here you will still find colonies of silk herons, night herons, rattlesnakes, purple herons, stilt runners, black-legged beach poppers and small terns. The number of nesting pairs of small terns (1,250) is the largest concentration in the western Palarctic region (Europe, North Africa, Arabian Peninsula, western Middle East and Russia west of the Ural Mountains).
In the Gulf of Venice just north of Podeltat there is a similar bird fauna as well as over 100,000 wintering individuals of black-necked dopping, scotch, teal, marsh snap and large cormorant.
The Valli di Comacchio lagoon south of Podeltat is a third valuable wetland area with some additional nesting species such as cutting spots (see cutting spots), red-winged swallows (Glareola pratincola), black-headed gull, sand tern, Kentish tern, and rattlesnake.
Southwest of Milan lies Lomellina with extensive rice farms where a total of 20,000 pairs of herons of different species find a large part of their food. Here you will find Europe’s second largest colony of night herons with 5,400 pairs.
In central Apennines, only 1-2 hours drive from Rome, you will find the largest concentration of national parks and reserves in Italy. Best known is Abruzzo National Park with a unique combination of beautiful mountain scenery, open plateaus, old beech forests on the slopes and valleys with beautifully located medieval villages. On a private initiative, the first reserve was established as early as 1922 in collaboration with one of the local municipalities. Step by step, the National Park was expanded to reach its present extent (50,000 ha) during the 1980s. The National Park extends over 25 different municipalities, all of which have the economic potential, primarily through tourism.
Abruzzo National Park is one of the places where you can most easily experience bear and wolf in Europe. One such place is the village of Gioia Vecchio in the northern part of the park, where you have a good overview of the pastoral landscape and both bears and wolves are often seen. Deer, deer and wild boar are common.
Close to Abruzzo are a series of other national parks (Majella, Sibillini and Gran Sasso) and nature reserves (including Montagne della Duchessa, Monte Velino, Sirente Velino and Monte Genzano). In conjunction with Sirente Velino and Monte Velino, they have successfully re-implanted goosebumps and plans are in the same way to regain lambs – a collaboration between Gran Sasso, Majella, Sbillini and Sirente Velino.
The Apulia of southeastern Italy houses two important natural areas – Mount Monte Gargano and the limestone plateau Le Murge.
Monte Gargano, with its 69 species, is Europe’s center for orchid enthusiasts. Not elsewhere in Europe are more species found in the same area. More than 2,000 different vascular plants have been found at Monte Gargano – about as many as in the entire Nordic region. To safeguard this diversity, the Gargano National Park has been set up, beautifully situated along the Adriatic coast.
Le Murge further south in Puglia is one of Italy’s largest steppe areas with an interesting flora and fauna. Most notable are the birds with the country’s largest concentration of red falcons (1,500 breeding pairs) as well as species such as perch, snake eagle, thick foot (see thick feet), calender larch, short toe mark, glasses singer, red-throated singer and black-headed sparrow (Emberiza melanocephala). The area has been proposed as a national park.
Sardinia with its sandy beaches, rocky coast and crystal clear waters is one of Europe’s most important destinations. But the island also offers an attractive nature with vast forests in the interior and in the coastal sections nice flowering Corsican scrub with species such as tree heather, arbutus, törnginst (Calicotome spinosa), rosemary and cistrosor (Cistus).
In Gennargentus National Park in the eastern part of Sardinia there is still a strain of Sardinian/Corsican deer. The subspecies were rescued from extinction in Sardinia during the 1970s and 1980s and could be reintroduced in 1998 to Koriska, from where it had disappeared in the 1970s.
The Archipelago of Small Islands around Sardinia offers good conditions for several species of seabirds, such as yellow-billed lira, storm-swallow (see storm-swallows), top cormorant and red-billed jellyfish, especially in the Maddalena National Park in the Bonifacios Strait between Sardinia and Corsica. On the Sinish peninsula on the west coast of Sardinia there is an important wetland area with flamingo, red falcon, purple hen, red-winged swallow (see wading swallows), long-billed gull and sand tern. Just south-east of the town of Oristano (also in the western part) is Campidano, a steppe area with small stairs, thick foot and mutton hen.
In 2012, Italy had 24 national parks (see table) as well as a large number of regional parks (mainly for the protection of the landscape) and nature reserves. About 15% of the land area and 17% of the sea area are protected by nature.
National Stäng tabell
|Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise
||Abruzzo, Lazio, Molise
|Appennino Lucano, Val d’Agri a lagoon grass
||Emilia – Romagna, Tuscany
|Arcipelago de la Maddalena
|Cilento, Vallo di Diano and Alburni
|First Casentinesi, Monte Falterona, Campigna
||Emilia – Romagna, Tuscany
||Valle d’Aosta, Piedmont
|Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga
||Marche, Abruzzo, Lazio
|Stelvio – Stilfserjoch
||Lombardiet, Trentino–Alto Adige