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Italy Geographical Information

Occupying the distinctive boot-like protrusion into the sea, in the south of Europe, just north east of Tunisia, is the country of Italy. This peninsular country is surrounded to its east, west and south by the waters of the Adriatic Sea, the Tyrrhenian and Liguarian Seas and the Ionian Sea respectively. In the north, the Alps rise tall and sturdy, and the countries of France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia meet its borders. At the Austrian border lies the Alpine massif called the Dolomites. Most of Italy is mountainous. As you come down south though, the rugged terrain progressively gives way to gently rolling hills of a spectacular green, some plains and then craggy Apennines and eventually, low lying coastal areas where white sands are washed by waters of sun kissed azure.

The Apennines runs down the length of Italy. The Po River runs through the northern plains, its valley being one of the most industrialized and developed areas of Italy. The other major river is the Adige. The Lugano, Maggiore and Como, which is Europe’s deepest lake, are near the Swiss border where glaciers gouged out chunks of the land.

Italy may be divided into four distinct regions, each with its own peculiar natural vegetation. The Alpine region has a variety of flora that ranges from the oaks of the valley regions to beeches, conifers, alpine shrubs and moss and lichen at the snowline. The Apennines has a similar habitat to the Alps but the valleys and lower reaches have species that are characteristic of a temperate region. The fertile Po River valley is punctuated with forests of willows, poplars, oaks and alders. The Tyrrhenian, Liguarian and central and southern Adriatic Coasts enjoy the bounty of balmy Mediterranean climate. The vineyards are in this region, where typical Mediterranean plants like olives and other citrus fruits grow in abundance.

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