Italy is an independent republic in southern Europe, on the northern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. It occupies the entire boot-shaped Italian peninsula, except for the 23 square miles (60 sq. km) of the republic of San Marino (near Rimini) and the 108 acres (44 hectares) of the Vatican City state. Italy also includes two large Mediterranean islands, Sardinia and Sicily, and many smaller ones. Its peninsular territory is separated from the rest of Europe by the Alps and the country is bordered on the North West by France, on the north by Switzerland and Austria, and on the north east by Slovenia. The name Italy was first used by the Greeks to describe the southern tip of the peninsula, where they settled in the eight and seventh centuries. Gradually, as the peninsula was unified under the Roman Republic, the name came to be applied to all of the land south of the Alps. Collier’s Encyclopaedia, (1994, pg.363)
CLIMATE OF ITALY
According to the New Encyclopaedia Britannica, (1974-2007, pp.167-172) Geographically, Italy lies in the temperate zone.Because of the considerable length of the peninsula; there is a variation between the climate of the north, attached to the European continent, and that of the south, surrounded by the Mediterranean. Italy can be divided into seven main climatic zones. In the most northerly, the Alpine zone, which has a continental mountain climate, temperatures are lower and rainfall higher in the east than in the west. The average temperature at Bardonecchia,in the west,is 45.3° F(7.4°c);and the rainfall is 26 inches (660 millimeters), at Corrina d`Ampezzo,in the east,the figures are 43.9°F(6.6°c) and 41.5 inches. In the Vall d`Aosta in the west, the permanent snowline is at 10,200 feet, but in the Julian Alps it is as low as 8,350feet.In autumn and in late winter the hot, dry wind that is known as the foehn blows from Switzerland or Austria, and in the east the cold, dry bora blows with gusts of up to 125 miles per hour (200 kilometres per hour).Rainfall in the summer in the higher and more remote areas, and in the spring and autumn at the periphery. Snow falls only in the winter, but the snowfall varies from about 10 to 33 feet in different years and in relation to altitude or proximity to the sea. More snow falls in the foothills than in the mountains and more in the Eastern than in the western Alps.Around the lakes the climate is milder,the average temperature in January at Milan being 34°F(1°c),while at Salo,on lake Garda,it is 39°F (4°c).The Po valley has hot summers but severe winters, worse in the interior than toward the eastern coast.At Turin the winter average is 32.5°F (0.3°C) and the summer average 74 °F(23°c).Rainfalls mainly in the spring and autumn and increase with altitude. There is a scant snow, and that falls only on the high plain.The temperature along the Adriatic coast rise steadily from north to south, partly because of the descending latitude and partly because the prevailing winds are easterly in the north but southerly in the south. The average annual mean temperature rises from 56.5°F (13.6°c) at Venice to 61°F (16°C) at Ancona and 63°F (17°C) at Bari. There is scant rain: Venice has an average of 29.5 inches, Ancona 25.5 inches, and Bari 23.6 inches. In the Apennines the winters vary in severity according to the altitude. Except at specific location, there are but moderate amount of both rain and snow; in the cyclonic condition of midwinter there maybe sudden Snowfalls’ in the south. The annual mean temperature are 53.8°F(12.1°C) at Urbino,in the east, and 54.5°F(12.5°C) at Potenza,in Basilicata; the annual rainfall is,respectively, 35 inches and 39.6 inches. Along the Tyrrhenian Coast and the Ligurian Rivieras in the north, both temperature and rainfall are influenced by full exposure to the noonday sun, by the nearness of the sea, with its prevailing south westerly winds, and by the Apennine range, which protects the area from the cold north winds.The east Riviera has more rain than the Western: rainfall at La Spezia, on the eastern Riviera, is 45.2inches, while at San Remo, on the western Riviera, it is 26.7 inches. Farther south, where the coastal area extend a great distance inland and are flatter,the mean temperature and annual rainfall are 58.6°F(14.8°C) and 30.3 inches at Florence and 61.9°F(16.6°C) and 31.4 inches at Naples. As a rule, the Tyrrhenian coast is warmer and wetter than the Adriatic coast. Both Calabria and Sicily are mountainous regions that are surrounded by the Mediterranean, and they therefore have higher temperatures than the high regions of the Italian mainland farther north.Winter rain are scarce in the interior and heavier in the west and north of Sicily. At Reggio di Calabria the annual mean temperature is 64.7°F(18.2°C)and rainfall is 23.5 inches; at Palermo, in Sicily, they are 64.4°F(18.0°c)and 38.2 inches. The Sirocco, a hot,very humid, and oppressive wind,blows frequently from Africa and the Middle East.In Sardinia conditions are more turbulent on the western side, and the island suffers from the cold mistral blowing from the north west and also from the sirocco blowing from the south West. At Sassari, in the North West, the annual mean temperature is 62.6°F (17°C) and the rainfall 22.8 inches, while at Orosei, on the east coast, the temperature is 63.5°F (17.5°C) and the rainfall is 21.2 inches.
In a recent research, on the web address https//www.rocket languages.com/Italian/time/season-in-Italian). I found out that, the four seasons in Italy, which is spring, summer, autumn and winter, occur at these following months. Spring occur in the months of March, April, and May.Summeris from June through August. Autumn is from the month of September, to November and winter is from December to February. According to the world Book Encyclopaedia volume 10, (2010, pg.509) Italy is often called “sunny Italy”, but this description is often partly true. Spring, summer and fall are generally sunny, but winter is rainy and cloudy. In early spring, hot, dry air from the Sahara expands across the Mediterranean Sea northward to the Alps and covers Italy. The summer climate of much of Italy is dry, with occasional rainstorm. Winters are cold and snowy on the upper slope of the Alps and the Apennines. Along the Mediterranean Sea, the days are usually warm. The climate does not vary greatly between the north and the south, except in winter. Northern Italy is protected from intense cold by the Alps.The north has enough rain to raise crops, often 30 inches(76 centimetres) or more a year, but dryness increases to the south. According to the World Book Encyclopaedia,( 2010,pg.498) Central and Southern Italy has hot summers-day time high temperature of about 86 degree freezing/30 degree Celsius. Winters are mild; with daytime high reaching about 54 degree freezing (12 degree Celsius).Northern Italy is often slightly cooler than the rest of the country in summer. However, it is much cooler in winter –daytime high of only about 41 degree freezing (5 degree Celsius).The north receives adequate year-round moisture. Central and southern Italy has dry summers and moderate winter rainfall. In general, total precipitation decrease from north to south.
Average January temperature According to the World Book Encyclopaedia, volume 10, (2010, p.509) in winter, Italy has mild temperature in the south and cooler temperature in the mountains region of the north.
Average July temperature
According to the World Book Encyclopaedia, volume 10, (2010, p.509) in summer, Italy’s climate is informally sunny and mild. The temperatures are warmest in the coastal and lowland areas.
Average yearly precipitation
According to the World Book Encyclopaedia, volume 10, (2010, p.509) Italy’s precipitation is heaviest in winter and lightest in summer. Rainfall in Italy decrease from north to south.
About one –fifth of Italy is forested, with deciduous trees predominating in the north Italian plain and needle-leaf trees at higher altitudes. The typical lowland Mediterranean wood land is a mixture of holm oaks, cork trees, maritime pines, cypresses, oleasters (wild olive), carobs, laurels, and myrtles. Forest of chestnut and oaks are characteristic of cooler areas, they occur at elevation of about 1,000 m(3,000ft) in the Alps,1,100m(3,600ft) in the northern Apennines, and 1,800m(5,900ft) in Sicily. Above these limits are mainly beech trees, pines and white fir. In the Alps at attitude above 1000m (3,000ft) forest of larch, spruce and pine are found, between the tree line (limit of tree growing), and the snow line stretch extensive alpine pasture ,The Mac Millan Family Encyclopaedia (1980, pg. 323).on the snow line, there are innumerable mosses, lichens, and a few varieties of hardy pollinating plants, such as flags and saxifrage ( https://www.britannica.com/place/italy) .The plants of the central and southern lowlands of Italy are typically Mediterranean. Among the characteristic vegetation of these regions are trees such as the olive, orange, lemon, palm, and citron. Other common types, especially in the extreme south, are fig, date, pomegranate, and almond trees, and sugarcane and cotton. The vegetation of the Apennines closely resembles that of central Europe. Dense growths of chestnut, cypress, and oak trees occupy the lower slopes, and at higher elevations, there are extensive stands of pine and fir (Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009.)Conifers and evergreen dominate the mountainous landscape. Many plants and trees in Italy appear in other parts of the world as well, including North America and Europe. Evergreens and conifers grow broad, thick leaves. These leaves hold excess water, helping trees withstand hot, dry summers. While forest and large tree appears in Italy’s Mountains, the plains and flat lands consist of dense shrubs growth and plants. Shrub includes juniper and rhododendron. Vegetation in this area also includes wildflowers and grasses as vegetation varies across Italy, which range from evergreen-laden forests in the mountainous northern region to smaller shrubs and plants in the warmer Mediterranean climate of southern Italy, Mountains in the northern and central region of Italy also serve as habitat to a variety of orchid species in the world. (https://www.reference.com/geography/natural-resources).
Italy is largely mountaous,with 35 percent of its teritorry occupied by ranges that are higher than 2;300 feet(702 metres).There are two mountain system: the scenic Alps,parts of which lie within the neighbouring countries of France,Switzerland,Austria,and croatia;and the Apennines,which form the spine of the entire peninsula and of the island of Sicily, The New Encyclopaedia Britannica (1974-2007, pg.166). The Apennines run from the Gulf of Genoa on the Mediterranean coast south into Sicily. The highest peak in this chain is Monte Corno (2,912 m/9,554 ft.). The Apennines form the watershed of the Italian Peninsula. 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.(Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009.)
According to the World Book Encyclopaedia, volume 10 (2010, pg.506) Italy has eight land regions. Alpine slope, Po valley, Adriatic plain, Apennines, Apulia and the south eastern plain, western up lands and plains, Sicily and finally the Sardinia.
The Alpine slope runs across the northern most part of Italy. Its landscapes include huge mountains and deep valleys. Forest of beech, oak, and chest nut trees grow at lower level of the mountains. Higher level features grassland and conifer forest. Only low bushes grow at still higher elevation, and the highest mountain tops have only rocks and glaciers. The Po valley, also called the north Italian plain, is a broad plain that stretches between the Alps in the North and the Apennines mountains in the south. Water ways fed by melting snow from these mountains across the valleys. The Po valley is the richest and most modern agricultural region in Italy, and its land is almost totally cultivated. The Adriatic plain is a small north of an Adriatic Sea. Its eastern edge borders Slovenia. The plain’s eastern half is known as the Carso.It is a lime stone plateau and is not good for farming. The Apennines stretches almost the entire length of Italy. These mountains have steep inclines of soft rock that are constantly as a result of heavy rains, overgrazing of sheep and goats and the clearing of forest for wood and crop land. The lower mountain levels are covered with oak forest, which have been cleared in many places to allow farming. The middle level feature beech and conifer forest. The highest slope has only wooded scrubland. The northern Apennines have some of the largest forest in the country and much pastureland. The central part of the range has productive farmland and grazing. The southern Apennines include the poorest part of Italy, from Molise to Calabria. This area has plateaus and high mountains, and few natural resources. Apulia and the south eastern plains form the ‘heel’ of the boot-shaped Italian Peninsula. This region is composed of plateaus that end as cliffs at the Mediterranean Sea. It has much large farming estate, and produces more olive oil than any other region of Italy. The Western uplands and plains stretch 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, 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 and livestock. The southern half of the Western upland and plain includes the cities of Rome and Naples. The plain along the coast is densely populated in the warm climate of the coastal plain, farmers grow apricots, cherries, and lemons, peaches, and vegetables .Vineyard are found throughout the entire 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 volcanos in the world, dominates the landscape of north eastern Sicily. Severe erosion caused in part by the clearing of forest has hampered agriculture and made travel in many inland areas difficult during the wet season. Wheat farming and sheep and goat herding are important in the interior of the island. Sardinia is an island to the west of the Italian peninsula in the Tyrrhenian Sea .Its landscape is dominated by mountains and high plateaus.