This section is from "The American Cyclopaedia", by George Ripley And Charles A. Dana. Also available from Amazon: The New American Cyclopędia. 16 volumes complete..
Apennines, a chain of mountains in Italy, extending, with but trilling intervals between its principal groups, through the entire length of the Italian peninsula, from the Maritime Alps to the straits of Messina, a distance of 800 m. Through the greater part of its extent the chain is about equally distant from the Adriatic and the Mediterranean. No part of it is above the limit of perpetual snow; its highest peak, Monte Corno, near Aquila, rises only 9,542 ft. above the sea; while the average height of the range does not exceed 4,200 ft. To the height of 3,000 ft. the Apennines are generally covered with forests; above this their sides are bare and rugged, and their summits rough and broken, not rising into symmetrical peaks or needles, like those of the Alps. - The range is divided by the best geographers into five portions, the Ligurian, Tuscan, Roman, Neapolitan, and Calabrian Apennines. These are in turn divided into smaller groups. 1. The Ligurian Apennines, which are not in reality separated at their western extremity from the Maritime Alps, are generally considered as beginning near the source of the Bor-mida, a short distance "W. of Savona, though the point of division between them and the Alps is differently assumed by different geographers.
They run N. E. as far as the pass of the Bocchetta, N. of Genoa, and then S. E., following the trend of the coast, and joining the Tuscan Apennines a short distance S. of Monte Pellegrino. Their entire length is about 130 m. The breadth of the chain varies greatly; in the north its spurs extend nearly to the Po. West of the Bocchetta pass the summits are low, seldom rising more than 2,000 ft.; but beyond this to the eastward the height of the range increases. Its principal peaks, all between 5,000 and 6,000 ft, high, are Monte Antola, N. E. of Genoa; Monte Penna, near Chiavari; Monte Gottaro, W. of Pontremoli; and Monte Pellegrino, N. of Castelnuovo. Several important roads cross the chain; one (with a railway), at the pass of the Bocchetta, is the means of communication between Genoa and the towns N. of the mountains; a second, from Parma to Pontremoli, crosses by the pass of La Cisa; another, at the western extremity of the range, leads from Millesimo to Savona; while smaller passes are found at different points.
The pass of the Bocchetta is famed for the grandeur of its scenery; and the whole aspect of theLigurian Apennines is more picturesque than that of any other portion of the great chain. 2. The Tuscan Apennines begin with Monte Cimone, and, extending S. E. for about 80 m., end with the Alpe della Luna, near the pass through which runs the road from the valley of the Tiber to Urbino. Monte Cimone (0,973 feet) is the highest peak. To this portion of the chain belong, besides some less important detached groups, the Alpi Appuane, which rise to a height of 5,800 ft. (the Pizzo d'Ucello being their highest summit), run nearly parallel with the main range, and extend to the valley of the Arno. In these mountains is found the celebrated marble of Carrara; the principal quarries are in the sides of Monte Sairo, near the town of Carrara. 3. The Roman or Central Apennines extend S. E. a distance of about 150 m., and include, especially in that portion best known as the mountains of the Abruzzi, all the highest peaks of the whole range. Here lies the great group of the Gran Sasso d'ltalia, whose summit, Monte Corno, or Monte Ca-vallo, is the highest point of the Apennines, 9,542 ft. above the sea.
The range is broader here than at any other point; the mountain groups of the Abruzzi form a large square, and throw out spurs in all directions. The lake of Celano lies among the southern mountains of this chain, at an elevation of nearly 2,200 ft. The Roman Apennines are traversed by many passes, and surround fertile upland valleys and elevated plains. Besides Monte Corno, the principal peaks are Monte Amaro, in the detached group of the Majella, which rises to the height of nearly 9,000 ft.; Monte Vellino, 8,183 ft.; Monte Vittore, 7,398 ft.; Monte Sibilla, 7,212 ft.; and ll Terminillo Grande, 7,034 ft.
4. The Neapolitan Apennines begin near the southern limits of the Abruzzi, and extend in a broad chain, with many considerable offshoots, to Monte Volture, near which they begin to divide into two branches. One of these runs S. E. as far as the gulf of Taranto. Beyond the river Ofanto it dwindles to a range of low hills, and finally almost disappears in the district of Otranto. The other branch takes a southerly direction, to the pass of La-gonegro. To the eastward of the Neapolitan range, but so widely separated from it as to properly form a distinct ridge, lies Monte Gar-gano (5,450 ft.), extending into the Adriatic, and forming the rugged promontory N. of the gulf of Manfredonia. The highest peak of the chain is Monte Miletto, 0,744 ft.; but the average height of this division is less than that of the others. 5. The Calabrian Apennines, beginning at the pass of Lagonegro, fill the peninsula of Calabria, and terminate in the mountain promontory of Aspromonte, the highest summit of which rises 4,500 ft. above the sea. A singular and almost complete break is made in them by a deep valley, which runs from the gulf of Santa Eufemia to the gulf of Squillace, and divides the chain into two distinct groups.
The Calabrian Apennines have no very lofty or noteworthy peaks, but their scenery is rugged and picturesque. They are granitic, and differ in their geological features so entirely from the rest of the Italian chain that most geographers, while applying the name Apennines to them in compliance with general usage, really class them as a separate system. - West of the Apennines, and filling much of the country between them and the Mediterranean, lies a separate system of lower mountains, different from them both in appearance and geological formation. These are called the Sub-Apennines. They include many mountains of volcanic origin, and are the result, according to the best authorities, of a much later convulsion than that which undoubtedly threw up the more massive pile of the main range. 1. The Tuscan Sub-Apennines occupy the space between the Arno and the Tiber, reaching their greatest height in the tertiary formations containing abundant fossils distinguish many of the offshoots, and, as has been already noticed, groups of purely volcanic mountains appear in many places among the Sub-Apennines, and even approach the main range, to the system of which they in no way belong.
This volcanic formation is found only on the western side of the chain. - For the vegetation of the Apennines, the rivers flowing from their sides, the methods of cultivation employed on their fertile lower slopes, and the people inhabiting the mountain country, see Abruzzo, Calabria, and Italy.
S. E. part of this tract. They surround a great part of the plain of the Arno. Among their best known groups are the Ciminian hills. 2. The Roman Sub-Apennines are almost all of volcanic origin; they extend from the Tiber, and surround the principal part of the Cam-pagna di Roma. The Alban hills are a part of this division, which, running southward along the coast, ends at the promontory of Gaeta, 3. The Neapolitan Sub-Apennines include in their southern portion the volcanic group of which Mt. Vesuvius is the great centre, and extend to the Punta della Campanella. - The mountains of Sicily undoubtedly form, with few exceptions, a part of the system of the Apennines. (See Sicily.) - Limestone, chalk, and sandstone are the basis of the northern portion of the Apennines, and of most parts of the main chain through the entire peninsula;