The regions covered in this unit are:
What do these regions have in common, and what are their differences?
One characteristic the northern regions have in common is that all seven regions are connected by the Alps. However, only Trentino–Alto Adige and Valle d’Aosta are entirely Alpine. Liguria is also mountainous throughout (partly Alps, partly Apennines). The other four regions have large areas of lowland plains, especially the Po River Valley. Four regions are landlocked; the other three have Mediterranean coastline.
Another thing all seven regions have in common is that they border on other countries. Piedmont, Valle d’Aosta, and Liguria border France and/or the French-speaking part of Switzerland and have a long history with and significant cultural influence from the French. Lombardy, Trentino–Alto Adige, Veneto, and Friuli–Venezia Giulia border the Germanic part of Switzerland and/or Austria and have a long history with and significant cultural influence from the Austrians. Friuli–Venezia Giulia also shares a border with Slovenia.
Additional features of northern Italy include:
- The northern regions are more affluent and business oriented than the rest of Italy.
- Temperatures in summer are moderate in the hills, but hot on the plain.
- These regions have the coldest temperatures in Italy during the winter.
- There is more humidity, more clouds, and less sunshine here than in the peninsula and islands.
- Cooler temperatures and less sunshine in the hills lead to wines with high acidity and moderate alcohol, but normally with full phenolic ripeness.