Physical Geography Of Italy

Published: 2021-07-10 18:20:06
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Italy is a country which is located in South Europe. It juts south from the Alps and extends into the Mediterranean Sea. The country is mainly composed of a slender, long boot shaped peninsula. In addition, it consists of its two main islands, the Sardinia and Sicily. Its neighboring countries include France, Austria, Switzerland, and Slovenia (Jepson, 2012). It also borders the Mediterranean Sea, Ionian Sea, Adriatic Sea, Liguria Sea, and Tyrrhenian Sea. Italy encircles completely two small independent countries: Vatican City, in Rome, and San Marion, located to the east of Florence. The northwestern and northern border of Italy is formed by the Alps. The Apennines, which is mountain chain, is located at the center of its Peninsula. The country’s only main flat area is the Po River Valley.
The total are of Italy in square miles is 116340 which is equivalent to 301318 square kilometers. In essence, it is approximately twice the size of Florida. It Peninsula region is approximately 700 miles long and at most 350 miles wide. The country comprises three main regions which include the Po Valley, the Alps, and the Apennines. The Po Valley is located at Alps base. The area is relatively flat and a triangular plain (Jepson, 2012). It region extends from the Adriatic Sea’s head to a region near the Turin covering a width of approximately 150 miles. Towards the border with Slovakia, there is a similar terrain extending towards northeast in a broad band form. The Po Valley is regarded as the richest, and most extensively developed region in Italy in terms of industries and agriculture.
The Alps are located to the north of Italy. They consists of immense arc of rugged and geologically young ranges of mountains following its border and stretching from Slovenia to France. The highest mountain peaks, which is mantled by snow and ice throughout the year, rise to at least 14000 feet above sea level (Haggett, 2002). This highest peaks are located at the border of Italy and Switzerland. The peaks are some of the highest in Europe which include Monte Rosa rising to more than 15000 feet and the Matterhorn which rises to more than 14500 feet. The highest peak in Western Europe known as Mont Blanc lies partially in Italy but peaks into the region inside France at more than 15500 feet. Gran Paradiso located in the Graian Alps, peaks at 13232 foot making it the loftiest peak in the entire Italy. In addition, it is one the main ranges found in the Western part of the country (McColl, 2005). The Eastern ranges such as the Dolomites, characterized by their craggy nature, are usually lower than the western ranges but are still rugged. Access to the northern region of Italy is provided by many Alpine passes including the most prominent passes such as Great St. Bernard, Brenner, and St. Gotthard passes.
The Apennines make up the largest region among the three. The region comprises a chain mountain that runs through the stretch of the Peninsula. The Apennines are also young mountains geologically similar to the Alps. However, they are less rugged and lower than the Alps (Webber, 1999). To the northeast part of Rome is the Corno Grande located in the Gran Sasso d’Italia range which records the highest peak of 9500 feet. Broad basins, valleys, and plateaus break rough to rugged Apennine terrain over several places. A large area of the coast is parallel with narrow plains (Haggett, 2002). The Apennines drop at the foot of Italy’s boot under the Strait of Messina. The Apennines reappear again on the Sicily Island where they are locally named as ranges. Similarly, the Sardinia Island also comprises mountain ranges.
The physical geography of Italy frequently experiences earthquakes. For instance, the Apennines has experienced numerous devastating earthquakes which have taken place in the past century. Both dormant and extinct volcanoes are common in Italy especially to the slopes of western Apennine (McColl, 2005). The volcanoes also occur on various offshore islands. Some of the volcanoes which are still active include Etna, located on Sicily, Stromboli in Tyrrhenian Sea, and Ve-suvious, located near Naples.
The main river in Italy is Po measuring 418 miles. The river is primarily fed by water from numerous streams from the alpine. The key tributaries to the Po River are Ticino, Adda, Dora Baltea, and Oglio. The Adige is the second largest river in Italy in terms of annual flow and length after the Po. Adegi empties its water to the Adriatic Sea (National Geographic, 2014). However, dams have been constructed along several rivers found in the Alps mainly for production of hydroelectric power. Other rivers such as Tiber, Arno, and Volurno, which are found at the Peninsula are relatively small when compared to the rivers found in the north. In addition, most of the rivers have significantly low water flow especially during summer.
Some parts of the Alpine valleys have glacial lakes. Some of the largest lakes are popular for the beautiful nature and they are collectively referred as the Italian Lakes. They are located at Alps’ foothills. Some of the lakes include Lakes Lugano and Maggiore, which partially lie in Switzerland and also Lakes Garda, Iseo, and Como (National Geographic, 2014).
In a nutshell, the physical geography of Italy comprises various physical features such as Lakes, mountains, rivers, valleys, volcanoes, and plateaus. The physical size of Italy is relatively small compared to those of other countries such as France, and German. The country comprises three main regions which include the Po Valley, the Alps, and the Apennines and where most of the physical features such as rivers, and lakes are found.

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