Italy is a country of south-central Europe consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps and surrounded by a few islands from the Mediterranean Sea, this is exactly where is Italy located in Europe.
Italy, officially named Repubblica Italiana, has one of the most varied and beautiful landscapes in the world and is often described as the country shaped like a boot.
The Italian Republic is part of Western Europe and covers more than 300.000 square kilometres (116.000 miles) and shares land borders with France, Austria, Switzerland and Slovenia.
The boot-shaped peninsula from southern Europe is also neighbouring the Adriatic Sea, Tyrrhenian Sea, Mediterranean Sea and the Ionian Sea in the southern part.
Inside the Italian territory, you can also find two microstates, the smallest in the world: Vatican city-state and sovereign state of San Marino.
Besides its boot shape territory, Italy also has a territorial enclave in Switzerland called Campione and a maritime enclave in Tunisian waters named Lampedusa.
With more than 60 million inhabitants, Italy is the third most populous country from the European Union.
Where is Italy located and its climate
If we take into consideration the location of the country we will say that Italy lies in the temperate zone, but bear in mind that Italy is a very long peninsula and this means that the climate of the north is different from the one from the southern part.
A very important element that influences the climate of the country is the Alps Mountain range that is like a barrier against the westerly and northerly winds.
But as I said earlier, the country is very long and the climate is different from north to south.
So don’t be surprised to find out that the southern part of the country, especially Sicily and Sardinia have different climates than Venice and Milan.
Sardinia is subject to African winds and that Sardinia for example is influenced by the Atlantic winds.
As a general rule, we might say that the Italian climate is dominated by:
- the Mediterranean winter cyclone and the corresponding summer anticyclone
- The Alpine summer cyclone and obviously the winter anticyclone
- The meeting of the Mediterranean and Alpine winds sometimes cause heavy rains in the autumn that reshape the landscape.
To be more accurate when we talk about the Italian climate, we have to split the country into 7 main areas.
So, we have first the Alpine zone that is located in the northern part of the country close to Monte Bianco (Mont Blanc that is the tallest mountain from the Alps) and that has a continental mountain climate.
In these parts of the country, especially in the Trentino Alto Adige area, the temperatures are lower and the rainfall higher in the east than in the western part.
Let’s take for example the western town of Bardonecchia and the eastern Italian city Cortina d’Ampezzo and see the average temperature and the number of precipitations that fall.
|7.5°C ( 45°F)
|660 mm ( 26 inches)
|6.5°C ( 44°F)
|1050 mm ( 41 inches)
Another difference between the east and the west from the northern part of Italy is the permanent snow line.
In the eastern part, in the Julian Alps, it is as low as 2.500 metres (8.300 feet), while in the western part, in Valle d’ Aosta is at 3.100 metres (10.200 feet).
Stay safe while you travel
- medical safety abroad
- medical assistance including COVID-19
- emergency medical evacuation
- trip interruption -up to $5.000
- travel delay - up to $100/day
In this part of the country, the winter temperatures are influenced by hot wind known as foehn that blows from Switzerland and Austria, while the hot summer days are cooled off by the cold and dry bora.
In this part of the country it snows only in winter and the snow falls vary from 3 to 10 meters depending on years and location.
Around the lakes from the area ( e.g Lake Garda, Lake Como) the climate is milder and the average temperature in winter is above 0 degrees Celsius.
The second area from a climate perspective is the one from Po valley that is characterised by hot summers and extremely cold winters with average temperatures around 0°C ( 32°F) during winter and 23°C ( 74°F) in summer.
The area around the Po river is known to have rainy spring and autumn and almost no snow during winter.
Where is Italy located makes it neighbouring with the Adriatic Sea which also influences the climate of the country.
The temperatures on the coast rise steadily and are higher in the southern part of the country than in the north.
|13°C ( 56°F)
|750 mm ( 29.5 inches)
|15°C ( 60°F)
|650 mm ( 25.5 inches)
|18°C ( 64°F)
|600 mm ( 24 inches)
Apennine Mountains area
Then we have the Apennines area, where the winters temperatures and precipitation vary depending on the altitude.
Generally, there are recorded moderate amounts of both rain and snow and because of the cyclone that blows in the area, there might be sudden snowfalls in the southern part of the area.
Tyrrhenian coast and Ligurian riviera
In this part of Italy, the climate is influenced by full exposure to the sun and the sea and its winds.
The eastern part of the riviera has more rain than the western part: La Spezia on the east has 1150 mm ( 45 inches) of rain, while San Remo, on the west has 680 mm ( 26.6 inches).
If we go further south where the coastal zones are located flatter and located inland, the average temperatures and the annual rainfall are as follows:
|14.5°C ( 58°F)
|770 mm ( 30.2 inches)
|Naples (Mount Vesuvius)
|16.5°C ( 61.8°F)
|800 mm ( 31.4 inches)
As a general rule, you have to keep in mind that the Tyrrhenian coast has better weather than the Adriatic coast.
Calabria and Sicily
On the southern part of where is Italy located lies two mountainous areas surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, Calabria and the islands of Sicily.
Here the temperatures are higher with mild winters without many drops of rain in the interior of the land and heavier in the western and northern part of the beautiful island of Sicily.
The hot and humid wind sirocco that blows pretty often from Africa and the Middle East makes this part of Italy the warmest one.
And there is the beautiful Sardinia area, where the weather conditions are more turbulent on the western part as here blows the cold mistral from the northwestern side and also the sirocco from the southwestern side.
The Italian peninsula can be split into 7 different climate zones, with different quantities of precipitations and quite important variations in temperature.
Or, to simplify things we can say that Italy has a
- hot summer Mediterranean climate in the coastal areas, excluding the north-eastern part of the country
- Warm summer Mediterranean climate found inland and at the medium to high altitude in southern Italy, including in the active volcanoes area
- The humid subtropical climate in the Po and Adige Valleys in the north and sometimes in the low land of central Italy and southern Italy
Italy is a magnificent tourist destination from Europe with a long history behind it, dating for more than 2 millennia.
It is one of the most beautiful countries in the world with its amazing cities, breathtaking sceneries, welcoming people and tasty food.
Cinque Terre, Amalfi Coast, Como Lake and the beautiful areas of Friuli Venezia Giulia, Sicily and Toscany are just some of the most beautiful places to visit when in Italy.
Put them on your travel list and don’t forget to share with us your impressions about this magnificent country when you come back.