Italy Cities with Hotels
Italy (Italian Italia), republic in southern Europe, bounded on the north by Switzerland and
Austria; on the east by Slovenia and the Adriatic Sea; on the south by the Ionian Sea and the Mediterranean Sea; on the west by the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Ligurian Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea; and on the northwest by France. It comprises, in addition to the Italian mainland, the Mediterranean islands of Elba, Sardinia, and Sicily and many lesser islands. Enclaves within mainland Italy are the independent countries of San Marino and Vatican City; the latter is a papal state mostly enclosed by Rome, the capital and largest city of Italy. The area of Italy is 301,302 sq km (116,333 sq mi).
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Land and Resources
More than half of Italy consists of the Italian Peninsula, a long projection of the continental mainland. Shaped much like a boot, the Italian Peninsula extends generally southeast into the Mediterranean Sea. From northwest to southeast, the country is about 1145 km (about 710 mi) long; with the addition of the southern peninsular extremity, which extends north to south, it is about 1360 km (about 845 mi) long. The maximum width of the mainland portion of Italy is about 610 km (about 380 mi) in the north; the maximum width of the peninsula is about 240 km (about 150 mi). On the northern frontiers are the Alps, which extend in a wide arc from Ventimiglia on the west to Gorizia on the east, and include such high peaks as Monte Cervino (4478 m/14,692 ft) and Monte Rosa, which rises to its highest point (4634 m/15,203 ft) in Switzerland just west of the border.
The highest point in Italy is near the summit of Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco), on the border of Italy, France, and Switzerland; the peak, located in France, is 4807 m (15,771 ft). Between the Alps and the Apennines, which form the backbone of the Italian Peninsula, spreads the broad Plain of Lombardy, comprising the valley of the Po River. The northern Apennines project from the Maritime Alps along the Gulf of Genoa to the sources of the Tiber River. Monte Cimone (2163 m/7097 ft) is the highest summit of the northern Apennines. The central Apennines, beginning at the source of the Tiber, consist of several chains. In the eastern portion of this rugged mountain district is Monte Corno (2914 m/9560 ft), the highest Apennine peak. The southern Apennines stretch southeast from the valley of the Sangro River to the coast of the Gulf of Taranto, where they assume a more southerly direction. High peaks of the Apennine ranges of the Calabrian Peninsula, as the southern extremity of the Italian Peninsula is known, include Botte Donato (1929 m/6329 ft) and Montalto (1957 m/6422 ft). The Apennines form the watershed of the Italian Peninsula. The main uplifts are bordered by less elevated districts, known collectively as the sub-Apennine region.
Only about one-third of the total land surface of Italy is made of plains, of which the greatest single tract is the Plain of Lombardy. The coast of Italy along the northern Adriatic Sea is low and sandy, bordered by shallow waters and, except at Venice, not readily accessible to oceangoing vessels. From a point near Rimini southward, the eastern coast of the peninsula is fringed by spurs of the Apennines. Along the middle of the western coast, however, are three stretches of low and marshy land, the Campagna di Roma, the Pontine Marshes, and the Maremma.
The western coast of Italy is broken up by bays, gulfs, and other indentations, which provide a number of natural anchorages. In the northwest is the Gulf of Genoa, the harbor of the important commercial city of Genoa. Naples, another leading western coast port, is situated on the beautiful Bay of Naples, dominated by the volcano Vesuvius. A little farther south is the Gulf of Salerno, at the head of which stands the port of Salerno. The southeastern end of the peninsula is deeply indented by the Gulf of Taranto, which divides the so-called heel of Italy (ancient Calabria) from the toe (modern Calabria). The Apennine range continues beneath the narrow Strait of Messina and traverses the island of Sicily, where the volcano Etna, 3323 m (10,902 ft) high, is located. Another active volcano rises on Stromboli, one of the Lipari Islands, northwest of the Strait of Messina. In addition to volcanic activity, Italy is also plagued by frequent minor earthquakes, especially in the southern regions.
Rivers and Lakes
Italy has many rivers, of which the Po and the Adige are the most important. The Po, about 650 km (about 405 mi) long, is navigable for about 480 km (about 300 mi) and with its tributaries affords about 965 km (about 600 mi) of inland waterways. The Adige, about 410 km (about 255 mi) long, enters Italy from the Austrian province of Tirol, flows east, and, like the Po, empties into the Adriatic. The beds of these rivers are slowly being elevated by alluvial deposits from the mountains.
The rivers of the Italian Peninsula are shallow, often dry during the summer season, and consequently of little importance for navigation or industry. The chief peninsular rivers are the Arno and the Tiber. From its sources in the Apennines, the Arno flows west for about 240 km (about 150 mi), through a well-cultivated valley and the cities of Florence and Pisa. The Tiber rises not far from the sources of the Arno and runs through the city of Rome. Both the northern and peninsular regions of Italy have numerous lakes. The principal lakes of northern Italy are Garda, Maggiore, Como, and Lugano; the peninsular lakes, which are considerably smaller, include Trasimeno, Bolsena, and Bracciano.
The climate of Italy is highly diversified, with extremes ranging from frigid, in the higher elevations of the Alps and Apennines, to semitropical along the coast of the Ligurian Sea and the western coast of the lower peninsula. The average annual temperature, however, ranges from about 11Â° to 19Â° C (about 52Â° to 66Â° F); it is about 13Â° C (about 55Â° F) in the Po Valley, about 18Â° C (about 64Â° F) in Sicily, and about 14.5Â° C (about 58Â° F) in the coastal lowlands. Climatic conditions on the peninsula are characterized by regional variations, resulting chiefly from the configurations of the Apennines, and are influenced by tempering winds from the adjacent seas. In the lowlands regions and lower slopes of the Apennines bordering the western coast from northern Tuscany to the vicinity of Rome, winters are mild and sunny, and extreme temperatures are modified by cooling Mediterranean breezes. Temperatures in the same latitudes on the east of the peninsula are much lower, chiefly because of the prevailing northeastern winds. Along the upper eastern slopes of the Apennines, climatic conditions are particularly bleak. The climate of the peninsular lowlands below the latitude of Rome closely resembles that of southern
Spain. In contrast to the semitropical conditions prevalent in southern Italy and along the Gulf of Genoa, the climate of the Plain of Lombardy is continental. Warm summers and severe winters, with temperatures as low as -15Â° C (5Â° F), prevail in this region, which is shielded from sea breezes by the Apennines. Heaviest precipitation occurs in Italy during the fall and winter months, when westerly winds prevail. The lowest mean annual rainfall, about 460 mm (about 18 in), occurs in the Apulian province of Foggia in the south and in southern Sicily; the highest, about 1520 mm (about 60 in), occurs in the province of Udine in the northeast.
"Italy," MicrosoftÂ® EncartaÂ® 97 Encyclopedia.
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January 15, 2010 02:54 PM.