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The 11 maps that help explain Italy today

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The 11 maps that help explain Italy today
Photo: DepositPhotos"

You might have a good grasp of Italian geography, but do you know which areas have the highest house prices, the safest roads, and the fewest mosquitos?


Italy is famously a diverse country with huge variations between its regions. Not just when it comes to things like dialect and tradition, but even pollution levels and public transport quality can be strikingly different from one region to another (and sometimes within regions.)

These differences aren't too surprising when you consider that Italy only became one country relatively recently, in the late 19th century. It used to look very different - as this handy map of modern-day Italy in the year 1700 shows us.

Public domain/Wikimedia commons

To get an idea of the kind of variations Italy's modern-day residents can expect, we've dug out a few more recent maps that illustrate what various aspects of life are like in different parts of the country today.

Property prices

Where's the most expensive place to buy a house in Italy? And the cheapest? These are questions every prospective house-buyer asks when researching a move to Italy, and property website has the answers. The website has created an interactive map showing the average property price per square metre in every Italian region and municipality, based on data from its listings.


Italy's problems with pollution are well documented, and air pollution alone is said to be responsible for some 30,000 deaths in the country every year. Some areas suffer far more than others, as shown by these maps, from environmental researchers at the VIIAS project.

Maps show air pollution levels from 2005 and projections for 2020. Source:

Photography heat map

Everyone knows Italy is a popular tourist destination, but this map by Sightsmap, which is based on data from geotagged photos, pinpoints the exact places where people take the most (coloured yellow) - and least (coloured purple) - pictures in Italy's (and the world's) regions, towns and cities.

Population density

Another map that might come in useful for those wanting to avoid crowded places, this one shows Italy's population density based on census data.

Public domain/Wikimedia Commons

High-speed rail

Rail is a great way to get around Italy, and if you're zipping between big cities the high-speed trains are ideal. However, you might notice that elsewhere, things slow down a lot. That's because Italy's existing high-speed rail network (that's the blue line on the map below) reaches only part of the country. There are big plans for extensions, which are marked in yellow.

Rete Ferrovia Italiana

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about train travel in Italy 

Best beaches

With its 7,600km of coastline Italy has no shortage of beaches to choose from, and if you're struggling to pick one this map shows where to find the cleanest and greenest beaches in the country. The good news is that, according to Blue Flag, Italy has around ten percent of the best beaches in the world.

Road safety

Which part of Italy has the most dangerous roads? This map of road fatalitiies by Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore paints a fairly predictable picture, showing that most deadly collisions happen in the south. But more unexpectedly, the report also showed that accidents overall are far more common in northern Italiian cities.


Mosquitos have to be one of the worst things about summer in Italy, and it often seems like the whole country is absolutely full of them. And this dedicated “mosquito map” of Italy seems to confirm that nowhere is safe, except for very high altitudes.

McDonald's locations

If recent news stories are anything to go by, the presence of the American fast-food chain is still pretty controversial in Italy. But the country famed for its traditional cuisine can't be all that anti-fast food, as it has the fourth-highest number of McDonald's outlets in Europe.

Screenshot: McDonalds Italia/Google Maps

But perhaps some of the most interesting Italian regional differences of all are illustrated by these eight satiricial maps from Terrible Maps on Instagram, showing everything from how religious each part of the country is thought to be (“religious, way too religious, blasphemous, or The Pope”) to Italy's great butter/olive oil divide.



A post shared by Terrible Maps (@terriblemap) on Apr 25, 2019 at 9:50am PDT


Comments (1)

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Anonymous 2019/11/26 17:29
Very enjoyable article!

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