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The country of Italy is a land diverse in its environment. Its climate and landscapes vary, giving travellers a rollercoaster ride of weather depending on where they are and what season it is. To clearly understand the wonderful environment that makes Italy beautiful, one must first understand how its location and surroundings affect its overall climate.

Italy is located in Mediterranean Europe and has its borders with France in the north-west, Switzerland and Austria in the north and Slovenia in the north-east. The Ligurian Sea, the Sardinian Sea and the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west, the Sicilian and Ionian Sea to the south and the Adriatic Sea to the east, surround Italy's peninsula.

The landscapes in Italy are as vast as they are various, but its contour is predominantly shaped by two mountain chains, mainly the Alps and the Apennines. The Apennines extends over 600 miles and consists of great massifs in the western sector, with peaks rising to over 14,000 feet, including Monte Bianco also known as Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa and Cervino or the Matterhorn.

The Alps on the other hand, stretches across the Po Valley plain and is cut down the middle by the river Po which is the longest river in Italy. The Alpine foothills are abundant with large lakes namely Lake Maggiore and lakes Como, Iseo and Garda. A huge chunk of central Italy is characterized by lush green hilly landscapes where the rivers Arno and Tevere run. Italy's main islands are Sicilia, which rises up to the cone of the great Mt. Etna and Mt. Sardegna. On its main archipelago are the Tremiti Islands on the Adriatic Sea, the Tuscan Archipelago, the Pontine Islands, the Aeolian Island and the Egadi Islands on the Tyrrhenian Sea off the coast of Sicilia.

The innate environmental influence of the seas surrounding Italy, and the natural protection that is given by the Alpine barrier from the very cold north winds work together in giving the country a lovely temperate climate. Still, the weather depends on how close or how far you are from one of the seas or mountains. To give you an idea of how diverse the climate is here, winter can be harsh in the alps, where as the Po Plains and the central Apennines are cold and foggy, but on the Ligurian coast, the Neapolitan coast and in Sicilia the weather ranges from mild to warm. The summers are basically hot and dry although the breezes coming from the sea, give a little respite from the heat, with the Alps and the Apennines remaining pleasantly cool.

The mountain areas, as everyone knows, are best for skiing in the winter, and in the summer these areas offer excursions, such as hiking and other similar activities.

Cool, warm, and light breezes from the coast bring in the scent of the sea to the vast mountains. It is old country, a growing nation and a breath of fresh air, simply put — it is Italy.

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