Through the Alps to the Apennines


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The highest point of the chain is Monte Cimone 7, feet. The so-called Alpi Apuane the Apuani were an ancient people of Liguria , a detached chain south-west of the valley of the Serchio, rise to a maximum height of 6, feet. They contain the famous marble quarries of Carrara. The greater part of Tuscany, however, is taken up by lower hills, which form no part of the Apennines, being divided from the main chain by the valleys of the Arno, Chiana Clanis and Paglia Pallia.

They are rich in minerals and chemicals toward the west, which the Apennines proper do not produce. The highest point is the Monte Nerone 5, feet. The chief river is the Tiber itself; the others, which include the Foglia , Metauro , and Esino , run north-east into the Adriatic , which is some 30 miles from the highest points of the chain. This portion of the range is crossed near its southern termination by a railway from Foligno to Ancona, which may perhaps be conveniently regarded as its boundary. The Central Apennines are the most extensive portion of the chain and stretch as far as the valley of the Sangro.

To the north are the Monti Sibillini , the highest point of which is the Monte Vettore 8, feet.

Perfect base to explore the Apennines... - Albergo Diffuso La Pietra Antica

Between the western and central ranges are the plain of Rieti , the valley of the Salto Himella , and the Lago Fucino. Between the central and eastern ranges we find the valleys of Aquila and Sulmona. The chief rivers on the west are the Nera Nar , with its tributaries the Velino Velinus and Salto, and the Anio , both of which fall into the Tiber.

On the east there is at first a succession of small rivers that flow into the Adriatic, from which the highest points of the chain are some 25 miles distant. The Pescara Aternus , which receives the Aterno from the north-west and the Gizio from the south-east, is more important; and so is the Sangro.

The railway from Orte to Terni and thence to Foligno follows the Nera valley, while from Terni a line ascends to the plain of Rieti and from there crosses the central chain to Aquila, from where it follows the valley of the Aterno to Sulmona. The volcanic mountains of the province of Rome are separated from the Apennines by the Tiber valley, and from the Monti Lepini , or Volscian mountains, by the valleys of the Sacco and Liri.

In the Southern Apennines, to the south of the Sangro valley, the three parallel chains are broken up into smaller groups; among them may be named the Matese , the highest point of which is the Monte Miletto 6, feet. The promontory of Monte Gargano , on the east, is completely isolated , like the volcanic groups near Naples. The district is traversed from the north-west to the south-east by the railway from Sulmona to Benevento and on to Avellino, and from the south-west to the north-east by the railways from Caianello via Isernia to Campobasso and Termoli, from Caserta to Benevento and Foggia, and from Nocera and Avellino to Rocchetta S.

Roman roads followed the same lines as the railways: the Via Appia ran from Capua to Benevento, from where the older road went to Venosa and Taranto and so to Brindisi, while the Via Traiana ran nearly to Foggia and from there to Bari. The Valley of the Ofanto Aufidus , which runs into the Adriatic close to Barletta, marks the northern termination of the first range of the Lucanian Apennines now Basilicata , which runs from east to west, while south of the valleys of the Sele on the west and Basiento on the east , the second range begins to run due north and south as far as the Plain of Sibari Sybaris.


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The highest point is the Monte Pollino 7, feet. To the south of the last-named river are only unimportant streams flowing into the sea east and west, inasmuch as the width of the peninsula diminishes to some 40 miles in that area. The railway running south from Sicignano to Lagonegro, ascending the valley of the Negro, is planned to extend to Cosenza, along the line followed by the ancient Via Popilia, which beyond Cosenza reached the west coast at Terina and from there followed it to Reggio. At the narrowest point the plain of Sibari, through which the rivers Coscile Sybaris and Crati Crathis flow to the sea, occurs on the east coast, extending halfway across the peninsula.

Here the limestone Apennines proper cease and the granite mountains of Calabria begin. The first group extends as far as the isthmus formed by the gulfs of S. Eufemia and Squillace; it is known as the Sila , and the highest point reached is 6, feet. The forests that covered it in ancient times supplied the Greeks and Sicilians with timber for shipbuilding.

The railway from S. Eufemia to Catanzaro and Catanzaro Marina crosses the isthmus, and an ancient road may have run from Squillace to Monteleone. The second group extends to the south end of the Italian peninsula, culminating in the Aspromonte 6, feet to the east of Reggio di Calabria. In both groups the rivers are quite insignificant. This Monte Bianco, m. The Apennines recorded an or to the westward drift of the lithosphere relative eastward propagating wave Figs 2 and 5.

Recent Basin , in spite of a larger subduction underneath Calabria analysis shows how the dip of the slabs does not simply with respect to the central Apennines BIGI et alii, ; correlate with the age of the downgoing lithosphere LENCI et alii, In the represent two end members of a global classification.

This describe their gross features and differences and to offset of the highest peaks can be explained by provide a model for interpreting such variations. Therefore the slower divide The Alps Figs 2 and 3 have widespread outcrops of cannot maintain the position of the high peaks, which are basement rocks e.

In spite of the higher elevation, the difference between Alps and Apennines is even stronger Alps have two small foredeeps with slow subsidence rates when the structural elevation is considered. In cross-section, indicated by the occurrence of ultrahigh-pressure rocks, the area of the Alps above sea level is larger than the whereas along the main ridge, the Apennines have been foredeep, whereas the opposite occurs in the Apennines. Nevertheless erosion. The traces of the sections of Figs 3 and 4 thick grey lines and Fig.

The Apennines have rather a strong asymmetry, with a shallow The Alps present a thickened continental lithosphere asthenosphere km beneath their western side km, e. The section trace is shown in Fig. Note also the tilting of the eastern side due to the Apennines slab retreat. It is noticeable the Moho doubling below the Val Tiberina with a shallower new Tyrrhenian Moho, at about 20 km, above a deeper pre-subduction in age Adriatic Moho, at about 52 km.

According to these new constraints, which support the geodynamic setting proposed by DOGLIONI et alii , most of the Adriatic crust should be subducted below the northern Apennines accretionary wedge that, in turn, is mainly made up of stacked units of sedimentary cover off-scraped from the subducting plate. Note also the double vergent Alpine orogen dotted stretched by the back-arc extension related to the Apennine subduction.

The possibly Mesozoic in age, European Moho can be main emplacement of those rocks occurred during the distinguished from an Adriatic plate Moho. Moho reaches depths deeper than 55 km accompanying Therefore, once restored the Early Miocene the lithospheric subduction. The hangingwall Moho of the counterclockwise rotation of the Corsica -Sardinia Adriatic plate is shallower km. This new Moho should rejuvenate eastward as the basin progressively propagated. The third is the pre-subduction, Mesozoic in age, Moho inherited in the hangingwall European plate Fig.

The gravity Bouguer anomaly reaches values lower than — mGal along the Alpine axis, increasing to —40 mGal in more stable lateral areas. In the Apennines there is a shift between the highest topographic relief and gravity MONGELLI et alii, , being the lowest values located toward the foredeep areas and ranging between — mGal Fig. The anomaly gradually increases to positive values moving westward toward the belt and in the Tyrrhenian Sea, up to mGal.

The 0 mGal isogal is approximately located along the belt where, at depth, the shallow asthenosphere and new Moho of the hangingwall meet the hinge of the subducting foreland. Heat flow values are smoother in the Alps Fig. The seismicity in the Alps is chiefly concentrated at the margins of the orogen, in areas of low elevation, although some relevant earthquakes are reported also Fig. The main focal mechanisms and topography c of Alps and Apennines are compared. The are compressive Fig. In all panels the the belt which can be either strike-slip or extensional.

The grey lines and circles are referred to the Western Alps, whereas Apennines are rather dominated by extensional seismicity the black lines and circles to the Central Apennines. The lines represent the interpolation of low-relief or marine areas of the accretionary prism the data. Local transfer zones are accommodated by Mongelli et alii The solid lines represent the exact topographic profile along the The thrust sheets in northeast Corsica are usually black lines of Fig. The present Alps, from the front of the forebelt to the front of the retrobelt are usually km wide.

According to this constraint, the front of the alpine retrobelt of the Corsica front should have been at least km more to the east. The alpine thrust sheets outcropping in Corsica can be followed in the western Tyrrhenian Sea both in seismic lines and dredging. Again, restoring Corsica-Sardinia rotation, the Alps front can be connected to the Betics front from the Balearic promontory to the Guadalquivir basin.

Similarly to the Alps, the Betics show low dip foreland monocline, high elevation, widespread outcrops of basement rocks, high- pressure metamorphism, etc.. For these reasons they can be reasonably considered to be part of the same belt. Analyzing the Atlantic examples of west-directed subduction zones such as the Barbados and the Sandwich arcs, DOGLIONI et alii, ; a proposed that the initiation of a west-directed subduction occurs along the retrobelt of a pre-existing orogen related to an eastward directed subduction zone, when oceanic or thinned continental lithosphere is present in the foreland.

The application of this model to the Alps-Betics would predict the onset of the Apennines-Maghrebides along the Fig. In this view, the Alps-Betics orogen has been stretched, boudinated and incorporated into the internal part of the Apennines- Maghrebides orogen Fig. The metamorphic basement slices outcropping in Tuscany, Calabria, northeast Sicily and Algeria could be interpreted as relicts of that inherited orogen e. Along their southern prolongation, the Alps were probably still active late Oligocene-early Miocene while the Apennines subduction initiated.

Only earthquakes shallower than 40 km were vanishes. The slab retreat of the Apennines generated a selected. The Southern Apennines are more fragmented, consisting of more separate chains, the Pollino mountains, the La Silla mountainous plateau and the Aspromonte massif.

Here the mountains are semi-arid. Also included is the Campanian volcanic arc near Naples, which includes Mount Vesuvius, Europe's most active volcano. The highest peak in the region is Monte Pollino at m. The area in the north of Italy where the Italian lakes are found is also known as the Italian Lake District. Lying at the foot of the Italian Alps, the Italian lakes offer stunning scenery and great opportunities for a varied walking holiday. The lakes are glacial lakes, they hav been formed after the ice age.

When the enormous glaciers started to melt, they left behind enormous clumps of ice in hollows in the landscape, and these subsequently melted to form the lakes. Typical for glacial lakes is the rugged coastline and the greenish water. This is the result of the high nutrient content of the water, in which fine rockdust, also created by grinding glaciers, is dissolved in the water creating favourable conditions for algae to flourish. The large water bodies have a large influence on the local climate. A mild, Mediterranean climate prevails, making growth of all sorts of exotic plants and crops possible.

The Lakes are very deep, with Lake Como being m deep in places, m below sea level.

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The Italian lakes have always been a attractive places to settle for the wealthy, and you will find many villas with attractive exotic gardens here, many of which can be visited. The combination of history and culture, beautiful scenery, relaxing valley and lake-side walks, and the option of more higher level walking in the mountains creates varied opportunities for a special walking holiday. Also see Explore Lake Como - self-guided walking holiday.

Walking in Italy, an introductory guide

Of all the regions in Italy, Tuscany is one of the most popular for a walking holiday. The area is known for its beautiful landscapes and rich artistic and cultural heritage. The area has a mild climate in the coastal areas, but inland the climate is more extreme with warm summers and cold winters. The first major civilisation in the area was created by the Etruscans, later followed by the Romans.

Pilgrims travelling along the Via Francigena brought wealth and prosperity to the area in the Medieval period. Tuscany, and in particular Florence, is widely regarded as the birthplace of the Renaissance. Almost all towns and cities in Tuscany have considerable natural and architectural beauty, and in particular Florence has a unique artistic legacy. Tuscany is also famous for its culinary tradition and wines. Legumes, bread, cheese, vegetables, mushrooms and fresh fruit are widely used together with beef from the Chiana valley and pork. Chianti is the best known Tuscany wine.

If you are looking for a combination of walking, art, good cuisine and culture for your walking holiday, Tuscany has a lot to offer. Also see Discover Tuscany - self-guided walking holiday. Sicily is blessed with a unique and rich culture. It is the largest island in the Mediterranean with a hilly landscape that is intensively cultivated. Citrus fruits, olives, wine and olive oil are mainly produced here. Along the northern coast you will find mountains up to m in height. These are a continuation of the Apennines. The east coast is dominated by Europe's tallest and most active volcano, the Etna, which reaches m in height.

Physical features

The area has a typical Mediterranean climate with mild wet winters and warm hot summers. The Nebrodi Mountains region is the island's largest protected area. It preserves Sicily's largest woodland area but there are also wetlands and rocky habitats. The area is very different in character to the rest of Sicily, being much greener and lusher, with water elements and very rich vegetation.

There are both walking and thematic nature trails in the area for those wanting to explore the area by walking. There are 24 national parks in Italy, many of which are a great destination for a walking or hiking holiday. Some of the most significant are discussed below.

It was Europe's very first national park, and with just over 70, ha its a pretty large area with an extremely varied relief, ranging from m in the valley bottoms to more than m at the highest peak, the Gran Paradiso. Habitats consist of alpine grasslands, pine woods, glaciers, rocks and rivers and streams. Alpine Ibex are one of the iconic species in the area, grazing the alpine pastures. Popular places include Piano del Nivolet, a very beautiful plateau at m, and the Cogne Valley, where you find the Gran Paradiso glacier.

There are several visitor centres in the area and many well-marked footpaths. Long distance walks and hut to hut hiking are also possible. See Gran Paradiso National Park's website for more information. This park is Italy's biggest wilderness areas, where summer pastures have been abandoned by farmers, and forestry has ceased. You can also see the remains of the ancient alpine communities that used to work and live here. There are no roads or permanent settlements in the area now, so it is perfect for walkers looking for something away from the beaten path.

Higher up in the mountains paths are more rough and challenging in spite of the limited heights m maximum but especially in the Val d'Ossola there are also more gentle walks. A good starting point is the area's visitor centres. See Val Grande National Park's website for more information. It is the largest national park, not only in the Italian Alps but in the whole of the Alpine chain. With many glaciers, streams, alpine meadows, forests and picturesque settlements, the area is great for walking and hiking, with many themed trails and marked routes, also to mountain huts in stunning settings.

There are relaxing walks in the valley with more challenging walks high up in the mountains. See Stelvio National Park's website only in Italian for more information. Dolomites National Park, or Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park, is a 31, ha protected area in the central-southern part of the range. Because parts of these mountains were not glaciated during the ice ages, a very special flora and fauna can be found here.

Next to many marked walking routes, there are the famous via ferrati, or "routes with irons". These are high mountain routes, of which the original routes were used during the world war. Now they are superb high mountain trails with ropes and support cables, and many additional routes have been created, also in other countries. There are also many nature and thematic trails in the area, with interpretation boards. See Dolomites National Park's website for more information.

Ancient medieval towns and village lie at the foot of the mountains, while the more inaccessible and less-visited parts of the area still support rare species such as wolf, golden eagle and pergrine. The spring and summer flora is simply amazing. There is a dense network of walking routes, that bring you to interesting natural and historic-cultural sights. The walking available is varied, from easy walks in the valley to more demanding walks higher up in the mountains.

There is also a marked trail that runs through the whole chain and takes about 9 days to complete. Not all routes are marked in the park, and local knowledge is therefore very important when you want to walk in the Sibillini mountains. See Sibillini National Park's website for more information. See Majella National Park's website for more information.

Pollino National park in the south Apennines has only recently been established. In the highest areas you'll find relict population of the last glaciation, with the most famous being the Bosnian Pine.

Through the Alps to the Apennines Through the Alps to the Apennines
Through the Alps to the Apennines Through the Alps to the Apennines
Through the Alps to the Apennines Through the Alps to the Apennines
Through the Alps to the Apennines Through the Alps to the Apennines
Through the Alps to the Apennines Through the Alps to the Apennines
Through the Alps to the Apennines Through the Alps to the Apennines

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