Mountain ranges in Italy

There are two major mountain ranges in Italy, the Alps and the Apennines. The Alps run west to east across Northern Italy and share borders with France, Switzerland and Austria. They are divided into regions known as the Occidentali, the Centrali, and the Orientali. The Apennine Mountains run 1000km north to south along Italy’s eastern coast.qw.jpg The broad plain of Lombardy, including the River Po valley, spreads between the Alps and the Apennines. With the exception of this plain in the north, most of Italy is mountainous or hilly, with only a few large areas of flat land and of course beautiful lakes.

Apennines are the mountains you see driving south of us towards Genoa and the Italian Riviera (the autostrada A26 is one of the most amazing mountain motorways). They traverse Italy north to south in parallel to the Adriatic coast from Rimini to Pescara.  They are really the continuation of the Alpine chain which separates the west coast from the east coast forming the watershed of the Italian Peninsula.

References in literature describing their divisions can be confusing. It seems to depend on whether geological or geographical criteria are used. Geographically the Apennines run south from the Gulf of Genoa on the coast all the way into Sicily. The range is divided into sections known as the Northern, Central and Southern Apennines. The mountains are mostly green and wooded. Unlike the Alps, glaciers no longer exist in the Apennines, but snow often lies on the highest peaks for most of the year.