The first time Robert Langdon, the key character in Dan Brown’s Inferno, gazed at the Apennines to be from a train going indigenous Florence to Venice. Langdon witnessed the vineyards and farms gradually become less frequent and also the see of plains be changed by the Apennines.

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The Apennine Mountains, additionally called the Apennines, are a series of mountain arrays bordered by small coastlands that form the physical backbone that peninsular Italy. They begin from Cadibona Pass in the northwest, close to the marine Alps, and form a good arc, i m sorry extends as much as the Egadi Islands to the west of Sicily.

The full length was measured at roughly 1500 kilometers (930 mi) in 2000 by the ministry of the atmosphere of Italy following the recommendations of the Apennines Park of Europe Project, which has actually been specifying the Apennines system to encompass the hills of phibìc Sicily. Your width varieties from 30 km(19 mi) come 250 kilometres (155 mi). The system develops an arc enclosing the east side of the Ligurian and Tyrrhenian Seas.

The highest possible peak that the Apennines is Mount Corno, at 2912 metres (9554 feet), in the mountain group of Gran Sasso (Great Rock), in the Abruzzo region. The summit is extended by snow most of the year, and also on the phibìc slope that Corno Grande is the tiny Calderone glacier, the just one in the Apennines and the southernmost in Europe.

The surname is probably obtained from the Celtic pen, definition “mountain, summit.” It initially belonged come the northern section of the chain, indigenous the marine Alps to Ancona.Polybius is thought to have been the an initial writer to use it come the whole chain, do no distinction between the Apennines and the naval Alps, and extending the former name as much as Marseilles. Classical authors execute not differentiate between the assorted parts of the chain, making use of the name together a general term because that the totality area.Modern geographers, on the various other hand, division the variety into three parts: northern, central, and also southern.


The Apennines orogeny occurred through number of tectonic phases, mostly throughout the Cenozoic Era (about 65 million years ago), and came to a climax in the Miocene and Pliocene dates (about 23 to 2.6 million years ago).

The Apennines consists of a thrust-belt structure v three simple trending motions: toward the Adriatic Sea (the north and central ranges), the Ionian Sea (Calabrian Apennines), and Africa (Sicilian Range).

During Plio-Pleistocene times (about 5,300,000 come 11,700 year ago), ingression and also regression that the sea resulted in the development of large marine and continental sedimentary belts (sands, clays, and also conglomerates) along the slopes that the new chain.

In the past million years, numerous huge faults have occurred along the western side of the Apennines, which might be associated to the crustal thinning the began around 10 million years earlier and brought about the development of a new sea, the Tyrrhenian.

Most of this faults have likewise facilitated solid volcanic activity. Some of these Volcanoes, favor Mount Amiata, mount Cimino, the Alban Hills near Rome, and the Ponza Islands, space extinct, while mount Vesuvius, the Eolie Islands, and also Mount Etna space all still active.


The Apennines are separated into three sectors: northern (Appennino settentrionale), main (Appennino centrale), and southern (Appennino meridionale).

The Northern Apennines consist of three sub-chains: the Ligurian (Appennino ligure), Tuscan (Appennino toscano), and Umbrian Apennines (Appennino umbro).

The Central Apennines, additionally called the High Apennines, are divided into the Umbrian-Marchean (Appennino umbro-marchigiano) in the north and the Abruzzi Apennines (Appennino abruzzese) in the south.

The Southern Apennines consist of of five sub-chains: Samnite Apennines (Appennino sannita), Campanian Apennines (Appennino campano), Lucanian Apennines (Appennino lucano), Calabrian Apennines (Appennino calabro), and also finally, the Sicilian variety (Appennino siculo).

Northern Apennines (Ligurian Apennines, Tuscan Apennines, and Umbrian Apennines)

The northern Apennines room generally identified (though over there is no real solution the continuity) indigenous the marine Alps in ~ the Bocchetta dell’ Altare, part 5 miles west that Savona ~ above the high roadway to Turin.

Ligurian ApenninesThe Ligurian Apennines prolong as far as the pass of La Cisa in the top valley of the Magra over Spezia. At an initial they monitor the curve of the Gulf the Genoa, and then operation east-south-east parallel come the coast. ~ above the north and north-east lie the large plains the Piedmont and Lombardy, traversed by the Po, whose chief tributaries indigenous the Ligurian Apennines consists the Scrivia (Olumbria), Trebbia (Trebia) and Taro (Tarus).The Tanaro (Tanarus), though greatly fed through tributaries from the Ligurian Apennines, rises in the naval Alps, if the rivers ~ above the south and south-west the the variety are short and also insignificant.The southern side the the selection rises steeply from the sea, leaving nearly no seaside strip. That is slopes are sheltered and therefore fertile and highly cultivated, and also the seaside towns type the favourite winter will of the Italian Riviera.

The highest allude (the Monte Bue) reaches 5,915 feet. The range is intersected by number of railways: the line from Savona come Turin, the from Genoa come Ovada and Acqui, the key lines native Genoa come Novi, the junction because that Turin and Milan, and also the heat from Spezia to Parma under the happen of La Cisa. All these traverse the ridge via lengthy tunnels.

Tuscan ApenninesThe Tuscan Apennines expand from the pass of La Cisa to the sources of the Tiber. The key chain continues to run in an east-south-east direction, yet traverses the peninsula and also the west coastline while transforming almost early out south. Native the north slopes many rivers and also streams run north and north-east into the Po, the Secchia and also Panaro being amongst the most important, when farther east most that the rivers space tributaries the the Reno.

Other tiny streams, namely the Ronco and Montone, which flow into the sea together eastern of Ravenna, were additionally tributaries of the Po. The Savio and also the Rubicon it seems to be ~ to be the just streams from this next of the Tuscan Apennines the ran directly into the sea in roman inn times. Native the south-west side of the main range the Arno and Serchio run right into the Mediterranean.

This section of the Apennines is overcome by 2 railways, native Pistoia to Bologna and from Florence to Faenza, and by several an excellent high roads, of i m sorry the direct road from Florence come Bologna end the Futa happen is of roman inn origin. Moreover, particular places right here are favourite summer resorts.The highest suggest of the chain is Monte Cimone (7,103 feet).

The so-called Alpi Apuane (the Apuani were an old people the Liguria), a detached chain south-west that the valley of the Serchio, rise to a maximum height of 6,100 feet. They contain the famed marble quarries of Carrara.The greater component of Tuscany, however, is taken up by lower hills, which type no component of the Apennines, being separated from the main chain through the valleys of the Arno, Chiana (Clanis) and Paglia (Pallia). They space rich in minerals and chemicals towards the west, i m sorry the Apennines proper do no produce.

Umbrian ApenninesThe Umbrian Apennines extend from the resources of the Tiber to the pass of Scheggia near Cagli, wherein the ancient Via Flaminia crosses the range. The highest suggest is the Monte Nerone (5,010 feet). The chief flow is the Tiber itself; the others, which encompass the Foglia, Metauro, and Esino, run north-east right into the Adriatic, i m sorry is part 30 miles from the greatest points of the chain.This section of the selection is crossed near its southerly termination by a railway indigenous Foligno come Ancona, which may perhaps be conveniently regarded as that boundary.

Central Apennines

The main Apennines space the most extensive part of the chain and stretch as much as the valley of the Sangro. Come the north room the Monti Sibillini, the highest suggest of which is the Monte Vettore (8,128 feet). Farther southern three parallel chains might be traced, the westernmost of which (the Monti Sabini) culminates come the southern in the Monte Viglio (7,075 feet), the central chain in the Monte Terminillo (7,260 feet) and farther southern in the Monte Velino (8160 feet), and the eastern in the Gran Sasso d’Italia (9,560 feet), the greatest summit the the Apennines, and also the Maiella team (Monte Amaro, 9170 feet).


Between the western and main ranges room the level of Rieti, the valley of the Salto (Himella), and also the Lago Fucino. In between the main and eastern arrays we uncover the valleys that Aquila and Sulmona.The chef rivers ~ above the west room the Nera (Nar), through its tributaries the Velino (Velinus) and also Salto, and the Anio, both the which autumn into the Tiber. On the eastern there is at first a succession of little rivers that circulation into the Adriatic, indigenous which the highest possible points the the chain space some 25 mile distant.The Pescara (Aternus), i beg your pardon receives the Aterno from the north-west and the Gizio indigenous the south-east, is more important; and also so is the Sangro.

The main Apennines room crossed through the railway native Rome to Castellammare Adriatico via Avezzano and Sulmona. The railway native Orte come Terni (and thence to Foligno) adheres to the Nera valley, while from Terni a line ascends come the plain of Rieti and also from there the cross the main chain to Aquila, from whereby it complies with the sink of the Aterno come Sulmona.The volcanic hills of the province of Rome space separated native the Apennines by the Tiber valley, and from the Monti Lepini, or Volscian mountains, by the valleys of the Sacco and Liri.

Southern Apennines

In the southern Apennines, come the south of the Sangro valley, the 3 parallel chain are broken up right into smaller groups; amongst them may be called the Matese, the highest point of i beg your pardon is the Monte Miletto (6,725 feet). The chief rivers top top the south-west room the Liri or Garigliano v its tributary the Sacco (Trerus), the Volturno (Volturnus), Sebeto (Sabatus), Sarno (Sarnus), top top the phibìc the Trigno (Trinius), Biferno (Tifernus), and also Fortore (Frento).

The promontory of Monte Gargano, on the east, is fully isolated, choose the volcanic groups near Naples. The district is traversed indigenous the north-west come the south-east by the railway from Sulmona to Benevento and on come Avellino, and also from the south-west to the north-east by the railways from Caianello via Isernia to Campobasso and also Termoli, from Caserta come Benevento and also Foggia, and also from Nocera and Avellino come Rocchetta S. Antonio, the junction for Foggia, Spinazzola (for Barletta, Bari, and also Taranto) and also Potenza.Roman roads complied with the exact same lines together the railways: the Via Appia ran indigenous Capua to Benevento, from wherein the older roadway went come Venosa and also Taranto and also so come Brindisi, while the Via Traiana ran virtually to Foggia and from over there to Bari.

The Valley the the Ofanto (Aufidus), i beg your pardon runs right into the Adriatic close to Barletta, clues the north termination of the very first range that the Lucanian Apennines (now Basilicata), which operation from east to west, while south of the valleys of the Sele (on the west) and Basiento (on the east), the second range starts to operation due north and south as far as the Plain of Sibari (Sybaris). The highest allude is the Monte Pollino (7,325 feet).The chief rivers space the Sele (Silarus), joined by the Negro (Tanager) and Calore (Calor) top top the west, and also the Bradano (Bradanus), Basiento (Casuentus), Agri (Aciris), Sinni (Siris) top top the east, which circulation into the gulf that Taranto. To the south of the last-named flow are only unimportant streams flowing into the sea east and also west, inasmuch together the width of the peninsula diminishes to some 40 mile in that area.

The railway running south from Sicignano to Lagonegro, ascending the valley of the Negro, is to plan to extend to Cosenza, follow me the line complied with by the ancient Via Popilia, which beyond Cosenza reached the west shore at Terina and from there adhered to it come Reggio. The Via Herculia, a branch the the Via Traiana, ran native Aequum Tuticum to the old Nerulum.At the narrowest suggest the level of Sibari, v which the rivers Coscile (Sybaris) and Crati (Crathis) flow to the sea, occurs on the east coast, expanding halfway across the peninsula. Right here the limestone Apennines ideal cease and the granite hills of Calabria begin.

The an initial group extend as far as the isthmus formed by the gulfs that S. Eufemia and also Squillace; the is known as the Sila, and also the highest point reached is 6,330 feet.The forests that spanned it in old times provided the Greeks and Sicilians through timber because that shipbuilding. The railway native S. Eufemia come Catanzaro and also Catanzaro Marina crosses the isthmus, and an ancient road may have run indigenous Squillace come Monteleone.The second group extends come the south finish of the Italian peninsula, finishing in the Aspromonte (6,420 feet) come the eastern of Reggio di Calabria. In both groups the rivers are quite insignificant.

In basic the rivers the the Apennines have actually short courses. The two primary rivers are the Tiber (455 Kms long), which follows a southerly course before flowing through Rome into the Tyrrhenian Sea, and also the The Arno River(241 kilometres long), which flows westerly v Florence into the Ligurian Sea.In spite of the restricted length that the rivers, the activity of running water is the chief agent of erosion responsible for molding the contemporary Apennine landscape. The personality of the physical location depends on the differing nature the the rocks in each region and your resistance to water action.


The climate the the highest section of the Apennines is continental yet made much more pleasant top top account that Mediterranean influences. Snowfalls are frequent, v cold winters and also hot summers. Typical rainfall—at between 40 and 80 inch (1,000 and 2,000 millimetres) every year—is higher on the Tyrrhenian slopes than on the eastern, or Adriatic, next of the Apennines.

Plant and animal life

The flora of the Apennines is Mediterranean and varies v both latitude and altitude. In the north, woodlands through oak, beech, chestnut, and also pine predominate. Come the south, ilexes, bays, lentisks, myrtles, and also oleander abound.

Prevailing crops are represented by the olive trees. Citrus fruits room well emerged in Campania, Calabria, and also Sicily, and grapes are in variety in Tuscany, Lazio, Campania, and Puglia. In the highland areas, pasturing stays the main type of land utilization.

In addition to typical Mediterranean fauna, over there are countless indigenous Apennine species, consisting of some insects, the brown “marsicano” bear, the wolf, and the wild boar, all of which room now maintained in two natural reserves (Abruzzo nationwide Park and also Sila Park) and several local parks.

Since primitive times, the Apennines have been the residence of Italic peoples. These beautiful and rugged hills are renown because that their countless railroad tunnels and highway passes, their quaint villages constructed on the hills come escape floods, malaria, warlike tribes, and also some that the most renowned Roman roads like the Appian, Cassian, Flaminian, and also Salarian ways.

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There are also a considerable variety of nice mineral springs, several of which space thermal (such together Bagni di Lucca, Monte Catini, Monsummano, Porretta, Telese), if others room cool (such as Nocera, Sangemini, Cinciano, etc.), the water of i m sorry is both drunk on the spot and also sold together table water elsewhere.

This short article was originally published in October 6, 2014, and has been updated and enriched on may 17, 2017

Pictures by The Apennine ridge of main Italy through Franco Vannini CC through 2.0 ;The Gran Sasso native Isola del Gran Sasso, Italy – January 2007 by Aristoteles83 CC BY-NC 2.0