Italy - download topographic map set
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Italy is a state on the Italian Peninsula in southern Europe. The country borders with Switzerland and Austria in the north, with Slovenia in the east, with France in the west. Its coasts are washed by the Ligurian and the Tyrrhenian Seas in the west, the Adriatic Sea in the east, the Ionian and the Mediterranean Seas in the south. Italy also possesses Elba, Sicily, Sardinia and numerous smaller islands. The total area of the state is 301,000 sq km.
Relief. Only one fifth of the territory of Italy has plain (the valley of the Po) and low (coastal areas) relief. The rest is occupied by mountains and highlands. In the continental part Italy is separated from the rest of Europe by the massive Alps indented by numerous valleys and passes accessible for travel (highways, railroads, various tunnels) round the year.
Mountains. In the north of the country lie the Alps with the highest peak Mont Blanc (4,807 m) on the border with France. The Apennines run along the Italian Peninsula for almost 1,200 m (the highest peak is Corno, 2,914 m). The south of the country has active (Vesuvius, Etna, Stromboli) and extinct volcanoes.
Rivers. Abundant rivers stream down from the Alps. The major of them are the Po (652 km) and the Adige (410 km), in their lower reaches floods are frequent. The rivers of the Italian Peninsula are short and shallow. The major of them are the Arno and the Tiber.
Lakes. The largest lakes are situated in the Alps: the Garda, the Lago Maggiore, the Como, the Lugano. These are mostly of glacial origin.
National Parks and Reserves. Italian protected areas are vast: 23 National Parks, 89 Regional Parks, 270 Regional and 142 National Reserves, 47 protected marshy ecosystems, and 7 Marine Reserves; 10% of the territory of the country in total. The most famous of them are Gran Paradiso, Val Grande, Cinque Terre, Foreste Casentinesi, Tuscan Archipelago National Park, Apennine National Park, National Park of Abruzzi, Lazio and Molise, Circeo National Park, etc.
Sightseeing. Italy is a Fairyland indeed. Many Italian cities - Rome, Venice and Florence in the first place – due to the world-known art masterpieces are perceived as more than just cities. The best way to describe them is “Outdoor museums”.
Rome is the capital of Italy, “the eternal city” with classic colonnades and exciting monuments of ancient architects. It accommodates the world-known Pantheon – the antique temple built in 27 BC, the Coliseum constructed in 80 AD, several Triumphal arches in honour of the Roman emperors and commanders, the Roman Forum and the Imperial Forum, the baths of Caracalla (217 AD), the catacombs where the first Christians hided from persecution, Castel Sant`Angelo built initially as the mausoleum of emperor Adrian and rebuilt as a fortification in the Middle Ages, the Basilica of St. John in Lateran, the Basilica of St. Paul (IV century).
Milan is an industrial and business centre of Italy and the trendsetter of Europe, another face of Italy.
Florence is a unique city that gave the world the greatest masters of art; it is the glorified homeland of the Renaissance lying at the foot of the Northern Apennines on the border of two regions – Tuscany and Emilia.
Venice, unlike such cities-museums as Rome and Florence, is the museum on the water. Venice – or “the Bride of the Sea”, as Goethe figuratively called it – lies on 118 islands, wonderfully connected by a net of channels and fondamentas – distinctive Italian embankments.
Naples is one of the most ancient Italian cities. It was founded by Greek colonists more than 2,000 years ago. The city abounds in architectural monuments, though the main place of interest of the region is the Vesuvius.
Pisa - the city of the Leaning Tower and of the one of the most famous universities in Italy – is situated near the confluence of the Arno and the Serchio.
Tourism. Beach resorts in Italy:
- The Adriatic Sea (Venetian Riviera, Emilia Romania, Marche, Abruzzi, Molise, Apulia)
- The Ionian Sea (Basilicata)
- The Mediterranean Sea (Sicily, Sardinia)
- The Tyrrhenian Sea (Liguria, Tuscany, Riviera-Lazio, Campania, Maratea, Calabria, the Island of Capri, the Island of Ischia)
Ski resorts in Italy:
- Alta Valtellina (San Colombano, Santa Caterina, Livinio, Valdidentro, Bormio, Aprica)
- Valle d`Aosta (La Tuil, Pila, Monte Rosa, Cervinia, Curmaior)
- Val di Susa (Cesana Sansicario, Cesano Claviere, Sous d`Ulcs, Sestriere)
- Dolomiti di Brenta (Folgaria Lavarone, Monte Bondone, Andalo – Fai della Paganella, Pinzolo, Val di Sole, Passo Tonale, Peio, Folgarida – Marilleva, Madonna di Campilio)
- The Dolomite Alps (Alta Badia, Alta Pusteria, Arabba, Valle Isarco, Val Gardena, Val di Fassa, Val di Fiemme, Cavalese, Cortina d`Ampezzo, Marmolada, Pragelato, Predazzo, Pustertal, San Martino di Castrozza, Sella Ronda, Tre Valli, Civetta).
Climate. The climate of the best part of Italy is subtropical Mediterranean. Summer is dry and hot; the average temperature on July is +20 - +28°С. Winter is mild; the average temperature in January is +10°С - + 12°С. Vast territories receive 600-1,000 mm of precipitations annually; on the lee sides of mountains the quantity rises to 3,000 mm (mainly in winter).