Italy

The boot-shape peninsula of Italy, extending into the central Mediterranean Sea, is an area of diverse landscapes: from the rugged, mountainous alpine region of the north to the fertile plains of the Po River Valley; from the Appennini Mountains cutting through the centre of the country to the popular island destinations of Sardinia and Elba to the west, and Capri and Sicily off the southern coast.
 
The country’s wildlife is equally diverse and includes such species as bear, wolf, lynx, otter, wild cat, ibex and chamois as well as close to 500 species of birds. Many fish species, marine turtles and dolphins are found off of Italy’s long coastline on the Adriatic and Mediterranean seas but they are threatened by overfishing, bycatch and marine pollution. Other environmental problems facing the country include air and water pollution from industrial and agricultural waste.
 / ©: WWF-Canon / Michele DEPRAZ
Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius) flowering at the foot of the Etna Volcano. Sicily, Italy.
© WWF-Canon / Michele DEPRAZ

Country Eco-tips

Energy and Water
  • In northern Italy, temperatures can reach below freezing during the winters, with snow in the northern most areas. Southern Italy sees temperature rise in the summer, prompting residents to conserve water during heat waves and times of drought.
  • Although Italy’s Mediterranean climate would be well suited for solar energy, fossil fuels, like oil, are still favoured.
  • Tap water is safe to drink throughout Italy though many residents still tend to drink bottled water.
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Recycling
  • Recycling services vary greatly though Italy; curbside recycling for glass, paper and plastic exists in most major cities.
  • In northern parts of the country, almost 75% of waste is recycled; in rural areas and many parts of the south, recycling is not as widespread.
  • Most major cities have deposits for glass containers and special collection areas for batteries.
 
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Transport
  • The national train operator in Italy is Trenitalia, which operates long-distance, medium-distance and regional passenger trains. Make sure to check departure schedules as Italian trains are not always punctual.
  • There are a number of ferry services that connect the mainland with some of Italy’s islands, including Sicily, as well as neighbouring countries like Malta, Greece, France and elsewhere.
  • The Italian Federation of Friends of the Bicycle promotes biking as an environmentally friendly means of transport within urban areas. For more information on bike routes, visit: http://www.fiab-onlus.it/.
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Food
  • Italy offers some of the world’s best wine, cheese, pasta and olive oil. The best products, many of them organic, can be bought at outdoor food markets throughout the country.
  • Italy has one of the highest rates of organic farm production in Europe; organic and Fair Trade products are found in most major supermarkets.
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Green Spots
  • Gran Paradiso National Park: Located in the Italian Alps near Turin, the Gran Paradiso was the first national park to be established in the country. It includes a large territory of high mountains; ibex, chamois, marmots and other alpine species can be spotted.
  • Monti Sibilini National Park: Located in the middle of the Apennine mountain chain, which runs from the north of Italy in Genoa to the Calabria region in the south, the park is home to wolves, golden eagles and deer.
  • Del Pollino National Park: Situated at the end of the Apennine mountain range, this is the main national park in the country’s south. Mountain biking, walking and canoeing are some of the park’s popular activities.
  • WWF Oasi: WWF-Italy manages 130 protected areas throughout the country. The “oases” are usually equipped with walking trails that feature a rich variety of flora and fauna.
  • Fattorie del Panda: Promoted by WWF and three national farm holiday associations, the Fattorie del panda are guest houses within or close to one of Italy’s many national or regional parks. The farm stays introduce visitors to local nature, history, gastronomy and traditions.
  • Pelagos Cetacean Sanctuary: Located in the Ligurian Basin of the Mediterranean Sea between Italy, France and Monaco, this marine sanctuary is an important feeding ground for fin whales and other marine species.
  • Miramare Marine Reserve: Located in the Gulf of Trieste in the far northeast of the country, the reserve was the first marine protected area created in Italy, which is now managed by WWF.
  • Portofino Marine Protected Area: Extending along the northwestern Italian coast from Santa Margherita around to Camogli, the waters of the reserve are protected. Swimming is allowed only in certain areas and boating is restricted near some of the shoreline. There are also many popular dive sites.
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Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the above information. However, WWF makes no warranties, expressed or implied, regarding errors or omissions and assumes no legal liability or responsibility for loss or damage resulting from its use.
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