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Lombardia - History in Brief
The region of Lombardia covers just under 18 391 km2, corresponding to 7.9% of the national territory. In terms of area, Lombardia is the fourth region in Italy, after Sicily, Piemonte and Sardegna. 40.5% of the regional area is mountainous, both to the north, where the Alps form a natural border with Switzerland, and to the southwest, where the mountainous area of Pavia reaches the Apennines of Piacenza.
The hilly area (representing 12.5% of the regional territory) has also two distinct features: the Alpine foothills, which cross the entire region longitudinally, from the lake 'Maggiore' to the lake of 'Garda' and, to the south, the hilly 'oltrepo', rich in high quality vineyards. The fertile plane of the Pianura Padana extends between these two belts, covering 47% of the regional territory.
The fertility of this area is guaranteed firstly by the river Po, which crosses longitudinally the whole area of Lombardia, marking the boundaries of the region with Emilia-Romagna for a long stretch. The major left tributaries of the river Po, such as Ticino, Adda, Oglio, Mincio, are not less important: the first borders Piemonte, the second (and longest: 313 km) flows between the provinces of Milano and Bergamo, the third between those of Bergamo and Brescia, and finally the last borders the region of Veneto. Their rivers, in turn, feed the major lakes of the region, the biggest of which, Garda, is almost 400 km2 in surface.
The vast extension of the mountainous and hilly areas leads to the presence of a rich forest area, equal to over 5 thousand km2, which corresponds to 21.7% of the entire regional area, even though the region has a high density, both of population and of industries (382 inhabitants per km2 and 31 enterprises per km2, around the double of the national average).
Concerning the use made of the land, around 46% of the regional surface is given up to cultivations (amongst which cereals and fodder predominate), whereas just less than a quarter (23.2%) is destined to non agricultural uses (building and infrastructure, etc). One fifth of the total area (21.3%) finally, is made up of protected areas (parks and natural reserves), a share more than double of the national average (10.5%) and below only those of Abruzzo and Campania.
Being a region between the Mediterranean and Central Europe, with high mountains as well as plains, (the highest point, 'Bernina', is just over 4 thousand metres), Lombardia presents a varied climate situation, although on the whole the climate is temperate.
In 2001, the average minimum temperatures registered has ranged between +3.1º and +10.3º, whereas the maximum temperatures between + 12.5º and + 20.7º.
In the same year, the average absolute humidity registered a minimum value of 67.1 and a maximum value of 94.2.