The Apennines

The Apennines are a mountain range consisting of several smaller parallel chains, extending some 750 miles along the length of mainland Italy. In the northwest they join with the Ligurian Alps, while in the southwest they end at the coastal city of Reggio di Calabria at the tip of the peninsula. Since 2000, however, the Italian Environment Ministry has also been defining the Apennines System to include the mountains of northern Sicily, for a combined total distance of 930 miles.  Thus, the system forms an arc enclosing the eastern side of both the Ligurian and Tyrrhenian Seas. The eastern mountains, which slope down to the Adriatic Sea, are steep, while the western slopes form foothills on which most of peninsular Italy’s cities are located. The mountain sections tend to be named for the province(s) in which they are located, which has historically led to some confusion as the provincial borders have not always been stable.

A number of long hiking trails wind through the Apennines, most notably the European walking route E1, coming from northern Europe and traversing the lengths of the northern and central Apennines. Another, the Grand Italian Trail, begins in Trieste and traverses the entire Apennine system, including the sections in both Sicily and Sardinia. The Apennines conserve some intact ecosystems that have survived human intervention, including the best-preserved forests and mountain grasslands in Europe. Protected by national parks, they also include a high diversity of flora and fauna and are some of the last refuges of the big European predators, such as the Italian wolf and the Marsican brown bear.

  • Viewed: 1988, 2016, 2018

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