Friday, January 31, 2014


Italy’s shaped like a boot. Most of the land is covered by mountains and is divided into eight different regions. One of the eight regions is the Alpine Slope, which runs up to the northern most part of Italy. The landscape has huge mountains and very deep valleys. Forests of beech, oak, and chestnut trees grow on the lower levels of the mountain. Low bushes still only grow on the higher levels of the mountains. The highest mountaintops just have rocks and glaciers. The rivers get their water from the melting snow. The hydroelectric plants along the coast of the Alpine River provide a lot of Italy’s electric power.
The Po Valley is the second land region. It’s also called the North Italian Plain. The Italian Plain stretches between the Alps in the north and the Apennine Mountains in the south. Waterways grow from the melting snow from those mountains when they cross the valley. They feed into Italy’s longest river. The Po floods periodically, but flooding is controlled by a system of dikes. The Po Valley is the richest and most modern agricultural region in Italy, and its land is almost totally cultivated. It is also Italy’s most densely populated region, with a lot of cities and a growing number of industrial suburban towns. Milan and Turin, in the western part of the valley, are at the center of the most heavily industrialized part of Italy. During the 1800’s, much of this land was drained and turned into farmland.
The Adriatic Plains is the third land region. It is a small region north of the Adriatic Sea. Its eastern edge borders Slovenia. The plain’s eastern half is known as the Carso. It is a limestone plateau and is not good for farming.
The Apennies is the fourth land region. It stretches almost the entire length of Italy. These mountains have steep inclines of soft rock that are constantly eroding as a result of heavy rains, overgrazing of sheep and goats, and the clearing of forests for wood and cropland. The lower mountain levels are covered with oak forests, which had been cleared in many places to allow farming. The middle levels show beech and conifer forests. The highest slopes have only wooded scrubland. The Arno and Tober rivers flow from the Apennies to the Tyrrhenian Sea. The northern Apennies have some of the largest forests in the country and lots of pastureland. The central part of the range has productive farmland and grazing. The southern Apennies include the poorest part of Italy from Molise to Calabria. This area has plateaus and high mountains. The high mountains offer a few natural resources.
The Apulia and the Southeastern Plains is the fifth land region. It is located in the heel of the boot-shaped Italian peninsula. This region has a lot of plateaus that end as cliffs at the Mediterranean Sea. It has a lot of farming room. Fishing is important along the coast of Italy. Bari and Taranto are the chief industrial centers.
The Western Uplands and Plains is the sixth land region. This region stretches along the Tyrrhenian Sea from La Spezia, a port city just south of Genoa, southward past Naples to Salerno. It is a rich agricultural region. The Western Uplands is second only to the Po Valley in agricultural production. The northern portion of the region includes the rich hill country of Tuscany and Umbria. This area is known especially for its grain crops. The southern half of the western uplands and plains include the cities of Rome and Naples. The plain along the coast doesn’t have a big populating. In the warm climate of the coastal plain, farmers grow lemons, peaches, and vegetables. Vineyards are found throughout the whole region.
Sicily is the seventh land region. Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is separated from mainland Italy by the strait of Messina. The island has mountains and plains. Mount Etna, one of the largest active volcanoes in the world, destroys the landscape of northeastern Sicily.
Sardinia is the eighth and final land region. Sardinia is an island to the west of the Italian peninsula in the Tyrrhenian Sea. The only good farmland is in the low-lying coastal plains, where cereals, artichokes, and grapes are grown. The heaviest population areas of Sardinia are along these