Geology of Italia

The characteristic shape of Italy is well known: it looks like a big boot. Two more parts belong to Italy, the islands Sardinia and Sicily.

The Italian peninsula has three different areas. The northern border runs across the Alps, many limestone mountains, like the Dolomites belong to Italy. South of the Alps the country becomes very flat. The plains of the river Po are very fertile, but not too interesting for geologists. The main part of the peninsula is formed by the mountains of the Appenine.

Caves are found all over the Appenine, and in the calcareous rocks of the Alps. Also a small part of the original Kras belongs to Italy, the Triestine Karst in the northeast. In the first half of the 20th century this area was one of the main working areas of Italian speleologists. The first Italian Institute for Speleology was opened 1927 in the Grotta di Postumia ( Postojnska Jama, Slovenia). This era ended with World War II, in 1943 the installations were removed and are now at the  Grotta di Castellana.

The island Sardinia is sometimes called the little continent, because of its many different landscapes. Fortunately there are some karst areas and several caves among them.

The island Sicily is mostly volcanic. The highest mountain is the Aetna, an active volcano with spectacular eruptions and numerous lava tubes. The volcanic ashes make the island very fertile.

Italy has about 40 show caves, spread all over the country. It is a bit difficult, as there exists no complete list. Some lists contain 28 show caves, some up to 45, a difference that depends on how you define show cave. At the moment this site contains 22 show caves and 6 other caves.


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