Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a federal republic in Europe. It consists of 26 cantons, and the city of Bern is the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in western-Central Europe, and is bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is a country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning an area of 41,285 km2. The establishment of the Old Swiss Confederacy dates to the medieval period, resulting from a series of military successes against Austria. Swiss independence from the Holy Roman Empire was formally recognized in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. The country has a history of armed neutrality going back to the Reformation, it has not been in a state of war internationally since 1815, nevertheless, it pursues an active foreign policy and is frequently involved in peace-building processes around the world. In addition to being the birthplace of the Red Cross, Switzerland is home to international organisations.
On the European level, it is a member of the European Free Trade Association. However, it participates in the Schengen Area and the European Single Market through bilateral treaties, spanning the intersection of Germanic and Romance Europe, Switzerland comprises four main linguistic and cultural regions, French and Romansh. Due to its diversity, Switzerland is known by a variety of native names, Suisse, Svizzera. On coins and stamps, Latin is used instead of the four living languages, Switzerland is one of the most developed countries in the world, with the highest nominal wealth per adult and the eighth-highest per capita gross domestic product according to the IMF. Zürich and Geneva have each been ranked among the top cities in the world in terms of quality of life, with the former ranked second globally, according to Mercer. The English name Switzerland is a compound containing Switzer, a term for the Swiss. The English adjective Swiss is a loan from French Suisse, in use since the 16th century.
The name Switzer is from the Alemannic Schwiizer, in origin an inhabitant of Schwyz and its associated territory, the Swiss began to adopt the name for themselves after the Swabian War of 1499, used alongside the term for Confederates, used since the 14th century. The data code for Switzerland, CH, is derived from Latin Confoederatio Helvetica. The toponym Schwyz itself was first attested in 972, as Old High German Suittes, ultimately related to swedan ‘to burn’
The Dufourspitze is the highest peak of Monte Rosa, a huge ice-covered mountain massif in the Alps. Dufourspitze is the highest mountain peak of both Switzerland and the Pennine Alps and is the second-highest mountain of the Alps and Europe outside the Caucasus and it is located between Switzerland and Italy. The peak is distinguished by the name Dufourspitze and this replaced the former name Höchste Spitze that was indicated on the Swiss maps before the Federal Council, on January 28,1863, decided to rename the mountain in honor of Guillaume-Henri Dufour. Dufour was a Swiss engineer, topographer, co-founder of the Red Cross and this decision followed the completion of the Dufour Map, a series of military topographical maps created under the command of Dufour. The point just 80 m east of the Dufourspitze and only 2 metres lower, the Dunantspitze, was renamed in 2014 in honor of Henry Dunant, the main founder of the Red Cross. The Swiss national map gives an elevation of 4,634.0 metres for the summit, the height difference between the summit and the plains of northern Italy, from where Monte Rosa is well visible, reaches over 4,500 metres.
Monte Rosa has a prominence of 2,165 m. A2000 survey, involving universities and the offices of cartography of Italy and Switzerland, on the north side the view extends to the Jura and further to the Vosges, the Swiss Plateau being mostly hidden by the high range of the Bernese Alps. Monte Rosa could be seen many places on the south side of the Alps. At the end of the 15th century some outlines of the mountain may possibly have been painted by Leonardo da Vinci into the background of the Madonna of the Rocks or other pictures. Da Vinci explored the Italian side of the mountain and made some observations, though there is but scanty evidence that he had climbed even a minor summit in the neighbourhood. And no mountain has its base at so great a height as this, which lifts itself above almost all the clouds, and snow falls there, but only hail in the summer. At the end of the century, the people of the Italian valleys believed that a lost valley existed. The discovery of the valley was due to Joseph Beck of Gressoney-Saint-Jean and he put together a party, including his brother Valentin, and the Gressoney mountain guides Sebastian Linty, Joseph Zumstein, Nicolas Vincent, François Castel and Étienne Lisco.
They set out on a Sunday of August 1778 and they started from their sleeping places at midnight, and roped carefully. They had furnished themselves with climbing irons and alpenstocks, at the head of the glacier, they encountered a slope of rock devoid of snow, which they climbed. Hardly had we got to the summit of the rock than we saw a grand-an amazing-spectacle and we sat down to contemplate at our leisure the lost valley, which seemed to us to be entirely covered with glaciers. We examined it carefully, but could not satisfy ourselves that it was the unknown valley, becks party thus reached a height of 4,178 metres, probably a record in the Alps at that times
The Aosta Valley is a mountainous semi-autonomous region in northwestern Italy. It is bordered by Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France to the west, Switzerland to the north, covering an area of 3,263 km2 and with a population of about 128,000 it is the smallest, least populous, and least densely populated region of Italy. It is the only Italian region that is not sub-divided into provinces, provincial administrative functions are provided by the regional government. The region is divided into 74 comuni, the Aosta Valley is an Alpine valley which with its tributary valleys includes the Italian slopes of Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa, Gran Paradiso and the Matterhorn, its highest peak is Mont Blanc. The region is cold in the winter, especially when compared with other places in the Western Alps. Winter temperatures average around −3 °C or −4 °C, and summers between 13 °C and 15 °C, the snow season starts in November and lasts until March. Mist is common during the morning from April until October, the main communities in this area are Gressoney-Saint-Jean and Gressoney-La-Trinité.
The valleys above 1600 metres usually have a Cold Continental Climate, in this climate the snow season is very long, as long as 8 or 9 months at the highest points. During the summer, mist occurs almost every day and these areas are the wettest in the western Alps. Temperatures are low, between −7 °C and −3 °C in January, and in July between 10 °C and 13 °C. In this area is the town of Rhêmes-Notre-Dame. which may be the coldest town in the Western Alps, areas between 2000 metres and 3500 metres usually have a Tundra Climate, where every month has an average temperature below 10 °C. Temperature averages in Pian Rosà, at 3400 metres high, are −11.6 °C in January and 1.4 °C in July and it is the coldest place in Italy where the climate is verifiable. In the past, above 3500 metres, all months were having a temperature below freezing. In recent years there was a rise in temperatures. See as an example the data for Pian Rosà, the first inhabitants of the Aosta Valley were Celts and Ligures, whose language heritage remains in some local placenames.
Thus, the name Valle dAosta literally means Valley of Augustus, saint Anselm of Canterbury was born in Aosta in 1033 or 1034. In the mid-13th century Emperor Frederick II made the County of Aosta a duchy, the region remained part of Savoy lands, with the exceptions of French occupations from 1539 to 1563, in 1691, between 1704 and 1706. As part of the Kingdom of Sardinia it joined the new Kingdom of Italy in 1861 and it was ruled by the First French Empire between 1800 and 1814
The Monte Rosa and the lower Gornergrat at 3,090 m. Monte Rosa is one of the high mountains surrounding the 40 km long Matter Valley south of Stalden. On the southwest to west are Liskamm, Zwillinge with Castor and Pollux, the Breithorn and the Matterhorn, on the north are the Weisshorn, there are no convenient mode of subdividing the range. However the natural limits of the district can be defined on the side by the two branches of the Visp torrent. Within the line so traced, exceeding 450 km in length, the direction of the ranges and the depressions offers a marked contrast to that prevailing throughout the adjoining regions of the Alps. Unless in a part of the Italian valleys, the direction here is either parallel or perpendicular to the meridian. The minor ridges on the side of the border are parallel to this latter range, with their corresponding depressions occupied by the glaciers of Gorner. On clear days the mountainous massif of Monte Rosa provides a view from the Po plain, particularly its upper reaches in western Lombardy.
It dominates the horizon, towering between other lesser Alpine peaks as a prominent, multi-pointed, razor-sharp bulge, its permanent glaciers shining under the sun, - John Ball The massif is the border between Switzerland and Italy, though glacial melt has caused some alterations to the border. These changes were ratified by the two countries in 2009 and will continue to be subject to change as melting continues, the entire massif consists mainly of granite and granite gneiss. Rocks in the paragneiss of the Monte Rosa Nappe record eclogite-facies metamorphism, the deformation of the Monte Rosa granites indicates a depth of subduction of about 60 km. They were brought to the surface by uplift, which still continues today. The summit is a sharp, jagged edge of mica schist connected by an arête with the Nordend, being the highest point in Switzerland, Monte Rosa is one of the most extreme places. The average air pressure is about half of that of the sea level, the snow line is located at about 3,000 metres.
The Monte Rosa massif is popular for mountaineering, hiking and snowboarding and it hosts several ski resorts with long pistes. Plateau Rosa, about 3,500 metres high sea level, is a renowned summer ski resort. The Plateau Rosa is connected via aerial tramway to Cervinia and to Zermatt via the Klein Matterhorn, the western fringes of the massif reach the Zermatt ski domain. Gressoney, Alagna Valsesia and Macugnaga are the main mountain, the Tour of Monte Rosa can be effected by trekkers in about 10 days. The circuit follows many ancient trails that have linked the Swiss, the circuit includes larch forests, alpine meadows, balcony trails and a glacial crossing
Great St Bernard Tunnel
There is a toll to use the tunnel, payable in full even for drivers who already display on their vehicles a Swiss motorway sticker. The tunnel comprises a section of the E27 route linking Belfort with Aosta, for most of its 5, 798-metre length the tunnel runs in a straight line, but incorporating a gentle slope. The northern end is 1,918 m above sea level while the end is only 1,875 m above sea level. At both ends, the road to the tunnel is covered by a gallery / avalanche shelter in order to minimize the risk of access to the tunnel being temporarily blocked during bad weather. Any frontier formalities are handled at the north end, although the actual national frontier is 2,938 m from the Swiss tunnel entrance and 2,860 m from the Italian entrance. The name of the tunnel directly from that of the Grand St Bernard Pass, and thereby indirectly from the saint who in AD1049 founded the hospice high above the tunnel. Tourists on the Swiss side additionally find themselves reminded by road side billboards of the association with St Bernard dogs.
Before the tunnel was constructed, the frontier was passable here only using the Great St Bernard Pass, the pass remains an option in summer, but is normally closed by snow between October and May, and sometimes for longer. The tunnel is intended to be usable for 365 days every year, the tunnel was opened to traffic on 19 March 1964, having been under construction since 1958. It became the longest road tunnel in the world, replacing the Vielha tunnel which was opened in 1948, the approach roads have been progressively improved, and most recently the avalanche covers extended on the southern side. A speed limit of 80 km/h is already in force inside the tunnel and this and the toll ensure that the Grand San Bernard Tunnel rarely suffers from the levels of holiday season congestion that plague the more popular Alpine crossing routes, however
Bernese Alps in the wide meaning
The Bernese Alps in the wide meaning are a mountain range in the northwestern part of the Alps. The range concerns several Swiss cantons, Vaud, Lucerne, Uri and Obwalden. According to SOIUSA the range is an Alpine section, classified in the following way, code = I/B-12 The range is divided into three subsections, Urner Alps - SOIUSA code, I/B-12. I, Bernese Alps s. s. - SOIUSA code, I/B-12. II, Vaud Alps - SOIUSA code, Some notable summits of the range are, Some notable mountain passes of the range are, Swiss official cartography, on-line version, map. geo. admin. ch
The Toce is a river in Piedmont, which stretches the length of the Val dOssola from the Swiss border to Lake Maggiore into which it debouches near Fondotoce in the commune of Verbania. The river is 83.6 kilometres long and is formed in the upper Val Formazza by the confluence of a number of torrents in the plain of Riale, near Crevola dOssola the river Diveria flows into the Toce. At this point, the valley gets wider and is known as Val dOssola, the Toce flows next to the capital of the valley and Villadossola and Ornavasso. After a total of 76 kilometres the Toce flows into Lake Maggiore, the major tributaries are the Diveria, Melezzo Occidentale, Ovesca and the Strona. In ancient times the Toce river was called Athisone or Atisone, an old alternative spelling is La Toccia. Media related to Toce at Wikimedia Commons
The Graian Alps are a mountain range in the western part of the Alps. The name Graie comes from the Graioceli Celtic tribe, which dwelled in the surrounding the Mont Cenis pass. Other sources claim that the name comes from the Celtic Graig meaning rock/stone, literally the Rocky Mountains The Graian Alps are located in France, the French side of the Graian Alps is drained by the river Isère and its tributary Arc, and by the Arve. The Italian side is drained by the rivers Dora Baltea and Stura di Lanzo, the Graian Alps can be divided into the following four groups, the Mont Blanc group the Central group the Western or French group, and the Eastern or Italian group. The main peaks of the Graian Alps are, The main passes of the Graian Alps are shown in the table below. The group in which the pass is located is indicated with MB for Mont Blanc group, C for Central group, E for Eastern group, and W for Western group. The western group contains the Vanoise National Park, established in 1972 and covering 1250 km², the group contains the Gran Paradiso National Park.
Also on the Italian side is located the Parco Regionale del Monte Avic, ascents in Gran Paradiso group - Czech and English Graian Alps on Summitpost - English
The Weissmies 4,017 m is a mountain in the Pennine Alps in the canton of Valais in Switzerland near the village of Saas-Fee. It is the easternmost four-thousander of its range, the Weissmies is located on the main Alpine chain, on a massif separating the Saastal valley on the west and Simplon valley on the east. The massif consists of two main summits lying to the north at almost the same altitude, the Lagginhorn and Fletschhorn. The mountain lies between the Lagginjoch to the north and the Zwischbergen Pass to the south, the Weissmies is one of the 10 four-thousanders surrounding the Saastal, facing the Dom on the west, the third highest summit of the Alps. It was first climbed by Jakob Christian Häusser and Peter Josef Zurbriggen in 1855 via the Triftgrat, the east face was climbed first by J. A. Peebles, Mr E. P. Jackson and Margaret Jackson with guides P. Schlegel, U. Rubi and J. Martin on 17 October 1876, the more difficult south face was climbed in 1884 by C. H. Wilson, A. Burgener, J. Furrer.
Two weeks later, W. H. and E. Paine with T. Andenmatten, the approach to the Trift Glacier/south-west ridge route can now be made via lift to Hohsaas, which is located virtually at the edge of the glacier. The ascent from Hohsaas takes about 4 hours and involves slopes to 40 degrees and crevasses, another route starts from the Zwischbergen Pass at the foot of the southern ridge. The normal route to the summit of the Weissmies is, along with that of the Lagginghorn, one the easiest of the four-thousander mountains of the Alps to ascend
The Po is a river that flows eastward across northern Italy. The Po flows either 652 km or 682 km – considering the length of the Maira, the headwaters of the Po are a spring seeping from a stony hillside at Pian del Re, a flat place at the head of the Val Po under the northwest face of Monviso. The Po ends at a delta projecting into the Adriatic Sea near Venice and it has a drainage area of 74,000 km² in all,70,000 in Italy, of which 41,000 is in montane environments and 29,000 on the plain. The Po is the longest river in Italy, at its widest point its width is 503 m, the Po extends along the 45th parallel north. The river flows through many important Italian cities, including Turin, Piacenza and it is connected to Milan through a net of channels called navigli, which Leonardo da Vinci helped design. Near the end of its course, it creates a delta at the southern part of which is Comacchio. The Po valley was the territory of the Roman Cisalpine Gaul, divided into Cispadane Gaul, the Po begins in the Alps, and is in Italy, and flows eastward.
The river is subject to heavy flooding, over half its length is controlled with argini, or dikes. The slope of the valley decreases from 0. 35% in the west to 0. 14% in the east and it is characterized by its large discharge. The vast valley around the Po is called the Po Basin or Po Valley, in 2002, more than 16 million people lived there, at the time nearly ⅓ of the population of Italy. The two main uses of the valley are for industry and for agriculture, both major uses. The industrial centres, such as Turin and Milan, are located on higher terrain and they rely for power on the numerous hydroelectric stations in or on the flanks of the Alps, and on the coal/oil power stations which use the water of the Po basin as coolant. Drainage from the north is mediated through several large, scenic lakes, the streams are now controlled by so many dams as to slow the rivers sedimentation rate, causing geologic problems. The main products of the farms around the river are cereals including – unusually for Europe – rice, the latter method is the chief consumer of surface water, while industrial and human consumption use underground water.
The Po Delta wetlands have been protected by the institution of two parks in the regions in which it is situated and Emilia-Romagna. The Po Delta Regional Park in Emilia-Romagna, the largest, consists of four parcels of land on the bank of the Po. Executive authority resides in an assembly of the presidents of the provinces, the mayors of the comuni and they employ a Technical-Scientific Committee and a Park Council to carry out directives. In 1999 the park was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and was added to Ferrara, City of the Renaissance, the 53,653 ha of the park contain wetlands, forest and salt pans
The Adriatic Sea /ˌeɪdriˈætᵻk/ is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkan peninsula and the Apennine Mountains from the Dinaric Alps and adjacent ranges. The Adriatic is the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea, extending from the Strait of Otranto to the northwest, the countries with coasts on the Adriatic are Albania and Herzegovina, Greece, Italy and Slovenia. The Adriatic contains over 1,300 islands, mostly located along its eastern, Croatian and it is divided into three basins, the northern being the shallowest and the southern being the deepest, with a maximum depth of 1,233 metres. The Otranto Sill, a ridge, is located at the border between the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. The prevailing currents flow counterclockwise from the Strait of Otranto, along the eastern coast, tidal movements in the Adriatic are slight, although larger amplitudes are known to occur occasionally. The Adriatics salinity is lower than the Mediterraneans because the Adriatic collects a third of the water flowing into the Mediterranean.
The surface water temperatures range from 30 °C in summer to 12 °C in winter. The Adriatic Sea sits on the Apulian or Adriatic Microplate, which separated from the African Plate in the Mesozoic era, the plates movement contributed to the formation of the surrounding mountain chains and Apennine tectonic uplift after its collision with the Eurasian plate. In the Late Oligocene, the Apennine Peninsula first formed, separating the Adriatic Basin from the rest of the Mediterranean, all types of sediment are found in the Adriatic, with the bulk of the material transported by the Po and other rivers on the western coast. The western coast is alluvial or terraced, while the eastern coast is indented with pronounced karstification. There are dozens of protected areas in the Adriatic, designed to protect the seas karst habitats. The sea is abundant in flora and fauna—more than 7,000 species are identified as native to the Adriatic, many of them endemic and threatened ones. The Adriatics shores are populated by more than 3.5 million people, the earliest settlements on the Adriatic shores were Etruscan and Greek.
By the 2nd century BC, the shores were under Romes control, following Italian unification, the Kingdom of Italy started an eastward expansion that lasted until the 20th century. Following World War I and the collapse of Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, the former disintegrated during the 1990s, resulting in four new states on the Adriatic coast. Italy and Albania agreed on their maritime boundary in 1992, Fisheries and tourism are significant sources of income all along the Adriatic coast. Adriatic Croatias tourism industry has grown faster economically than the rest of the Adriatic Basins, maritime transport is a significant branch of the areas economy—there are 19 seaports in the Adriatic that each handle more than a million tonnes of cargo per year. The largest Adriatic seaport by annual cargo turnover is the Port of Trieste, in the southeast, the Adriatic Sea connects to the Ionian Sea at the 72-kilometre wide Strait of Otranto