rivers in Italy guide

Rivers In Italy: Key Facts & Gorgeous Riverside Destinations

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Italy boasts a stunning array of rivers, with the mighty Po reigning as the nation’s longest at 652 km. It’s also the widest, with the largest drainage basin and highest flow rate. The 405-mile Adige follows closely as the second-longest. The Tanaro holds the distinction of being the deepest river in Italy, while the Aril is the world’s shortest.

In this guide, we’ll look at the most important rivers in Italy, dive into the longest ones like the Po – passing through Turin and Ferrara, and share the prettiest riverside towns.



Po river is the longest river in Italy
Po River

Rivers Of Italy: 6 Key Facts To Know

  1. Total Number of Rivers: Italy has approximately 1200 rivers, many of which originate from the Alps and the Apennines.
  2. Alpine and Apennine Rivers Origins: Italian rivers, particularly those from the Alps and the Apennines, are abundant in water due to rainfall and glacier melting.
  3. Lombardy’s Richness in Rivers: Lombardy is known as one of Italy’s most water-rich regions, with numerous rivers, tributaries, and sub-tributaries of the Po River flowing across its territory.
  4. The Mighty Po: The Po River, stretching 652 km in length, holds the title of Italy’s longest river. It also boasts the largest drainage basin and the highest flow rate at its mouth.
  5. The Deepest River: The Tanaro River, located in Alessandria, is renowned as the deepest river in Italy.
  6. The Shortest River: The Aril, also known as Ri, is one of the 25 tributaries of Lake Garda. Flowing entirely through the Cassone fraction of Malcesine in Verona province, it’s the shortest river in Italy and in the world, measuring only 175 meters in length.
Aril river is the shortest rive in Italy
Aril River



These Are The 59 Most Important Italian Rivers

Below is a list of the most important Italian rivers, and an interesting fact or characteristic about each one.

  1. Adda: Da Vinci studied and designed plans to regulate it during the Renaissance.
  2. Adige: Offers thrilling white-water rafting near Merano in South Tyrol.
  3. Agogna: Home to diverse aquatic and bird life.
  4. Agri: Features ancient ruins like Heraclea in its valley.
  5. Arno: Inspires artists and poets with its scenic landscapes.
  6. Aterno-Pescara: The river is home to the Orsini-Colonna castle, a historic riverside castle located within the Aterno-Pescara gorge.
  7. Bacchiglione: Historically influenced agriculture in Veneto.
  8. Basento: Known for scenic beauty and diverse flora/fauna.
  9. Belice: Characterized by a meandering course in Sicily.
  10. Bormida: Vital water source for Piedmont and Liguria.

  11. Bradano: Known for rugged landscapes and historical significance.
  12. Brenta: Historically important waterway for transportation.
  13. Calore: Renowned for crystal-clear waters and scenic beauty.
  14. Cervaro: Offers tranquil spots for relaxation and fishing.
  15. Chiese: Celebrated for pristine waters and alpine scenery.
  16. Dora: Vital water source for agriculture and hydroelectric power.
  17. Dora Riparia: Powered mills and factories during Turin’s industrialization.
  18. Flumendosa: Famous for clear waters and rich biodiversity.
  19. Fortore: Revered for its role in local folklore and traditions.
  20. Imera: Surrounded by lush vegetation and ideal for birdwatching.

  21. Lambro: Significant in environmental conservation efforts.
  22. Liri-Garigliano: Important for agriculture and strategic during conflicts.
  23. Livenza: Renowned for scenic beauty and outdoor activities.
  24. Maira: Cherished for pristine mountain landscapes.
  25. Metauro: Steeped in history, and witnessed ancient battles.
  26. Nera: The Nera river’s tributary formed the spectacular Cascata delle Marmore waterfalls over thousands of years of erosion through limestone rock.
  27. Noce: Flows through stunning alpine landscapes.
  28. Ofanto: The Ofanto hosts a diverse ichthyofauna (fish life) of over 40 fish species including the threatened Italian barbel and Vairone.
  29. Oglio: Provides water for agriculture and hydroelectricity.
  30. Olona: Offers serene spots for relaxation and fishing.

  31. Ombrone: Flows through picturesque Tuscan landscapes.
  32. Panaro: Offers opportunities for outdoor activities.
  33. Piave: Its waters once marked part of the World War I frontline during the Battle of Caporetto.
  34. Platani: Surrounded by lush vegetation and wildlife.
  35. Po: Major transportation route and supports agriculture.
  36. Reno: The Reno river valley contains mineral and salt springs that supplied the historic development of spa towns such as Porretta Terme.
  37. Riu: The Riu Mannu canyon contains rich fossil deposits that provide insight into Sardinia’s prehistoric inhabitants and geological shifts.
  38. Roia: The Roia is one of the last undammed rivers in the region and home to wildlife including otters and trout.
  39. Sangro: The clear waters of the upper Sangro valley host the endangered Marsican brown bear.
  40. Sarca-Mincio: Sarca-Mincio National Park contains over 1,000 plant species, including unique orchids and aquatic flowers.

  41. Savio: The Savio river’s lower bed shifted eastward after catastrophic flooding events in the 19th century.
  42. Scrivia: The Scrivia gorge contains Busalla Cathedral, built into the side of the valley in the 11th century.
  43. Secchia: Secchia’s valley contains fossilized whale skeletons providing insights into marine life 5 million years ago.
  44. Serchio: The Serchio saw the world’s first hydroelectric plant open at the beginning of the 20th century.
  45. Serio: A significant stretch was rerouted in an engineering project early last century to supply Bergamo with hydropower.
  46. Sesia: The Sesia valley has a long history of Walser Germanic settlement starting in medieval times.
  47. Simeto: The Simeto floods a protected wetland nature reserve every spring, supporting unique endemic species.
  48. Stura: The Stura basin contains dozens of archaeological sites due to the availability of flint and other useful minerals.
  49. Tagliamento: Tagliamento is one of the last major Alpine rivers without dams for its entire length.
  50. Tanaro: The Tanaro Valley produces rare, high-quality white truffles (Alba), which grow in symbiosis with native oak trees.

  51. Taro: The Taro River Valley has many castles and fortifications after playing an important role in medieval power struggles.
  52. Tartaro-Canalbianco-Po di Levante: It is the only river whose course runs between the Adige river and the Po river and flows into the Adriatic Sea.
  53. Tevere: The Tiber river enabled the rise of Rome through trade, irrigation, and defensive abilities.
  54. Ticino: Ticino river islands contain Benedictine abbeys with Romanesque architecture and important medieval frescoes.
  55. Tirso: Tirso canyon contains petroglyphs and other artifacts indicating human inhabitation as far back as 6000 BCE.
  56. Trebbia: Trebbia flows by Bobbio Abbey, founded by Irish Saint Columbanus in 614 CE at a key pilgrimage crossroads.
  57. Trigno: The Trigno river mouth contains one of the few remaining undisturbed Mediterranean coastal forests.
  58. Tronto: Tronto was used to smuggle tobacco into papal territories in the 18th century when it was heavily taxed.
  59. Volturno: It’s the 6th longest river in Italy, and the longest in the South.
Tevere river in Italy passes through Rome
Tevere River



The 10 Longest Italian Rivers With Descriptions

These are the 10 longest rivers in Italy. Let’s learn something about each one of them.

  1. Po – 405 miles
  2. Adige – 255 miles
  3. Tevere – 252 miles
  4. Adda – 194 miles
  5. Oglio – 174 miles
  6. Tanaro – 171 miles
  7. Ticino – 150 miles
  8. Arno – 137 miles
  9. Piave – 132 miles
  10. Reno – 111 miles


Po River

Length: 405 miles

The Po River, renowned as Italy’s longest river, meanders through the northern part of the country. Originating in the Cottian Alps in the west, it flows eastward, crossing Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, and Veneto regions before emptying into the Adriatic Sea near Venice.

It carves out the vast and fertile Po Valley, a significant agricultural region known as the “granary of Italy.”


Adige River

Length: 255 miles

The Adige River, Italy’s second-longest river, originates in the Alps near the borders with Switzerland and Austria. It flows southward through the Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol region before curving eastward and eventually emptying into the Adriatic Sea.

The Adige course traverses picturesque landscapes, including deep valleys and vineyard-covered hillsides.


Tiber River (Tevere)

Length: 252 miles

The Tiber River, or Tevere in Italian, is historically significant in Italy, flowing through central Italy from the Apennine Mountains to the Tyrrhenian Sea. It passes through Umbria and Lazio regions, including Rome, the capital city of Italy, where it holds immense historical and cultural importance.

Tevere has played a pivotal role in shaping the history and development of ancient Rome. The other two rivers in Rome are Aniene and Almone.



Adda river in Italy
Adda River

Adda River

Length: 194 miles

The Adda River, originating in the Italian Alps, winds its way through Lombardy in northern Italy. It is characterized by its clear waters and picturesque scenery, making it a popular destination for outdoor activities such as fishing and boating.

The Adda also serves as a vital water source for irrigation and hydroelectric power generation in the region.


Oglio River

Length: 174 miles

The Oglio River flows through Lombardy and Trentino-Alto Adige regions in northern Italy, originating from the Adamello-Presanella Alps. Known for its meandering course and diverse ecosystems, the Oglio River supports a variety of flora and fauna along its banks.

It is also utilized for recreational activities such as kayaking and birdwatching.


Tanaro River

Length: 171 miles

The Tanaro River, originating in the Ligurian Alps, traverses the Piedmont region in northwestern Italy. It flows southeastward, passing through scenic valleys and vineyard-dotted landscapes.

It’s renowned for its role in shaping the region’s viticulture, contributing to the production of renowned wines such as Barolo and Barbera.


Ticino River

Length: 150 miles

The Ticino River, originating in Switzerland, enters Italy in the Lombardy region before merging with the Po River near Pavia. It is characterized by its clear waters and lush riparian vegetation, providing a habitat for diverse wildlife.

This river is also utilized for recreational activities such as canoeing and cycling along its scenic riverbanks.


Arno river in Italy passees through Florence
Arno River

Arno River

Length: 137 miles

The Arno River is the principal river of Tuscany, originating in the Apennine Mountains and flowing westward to the Tyrrhenian Sea. It passes through the historic cities of Florence and Pisa, contributing to their cultural and economic significance.

It is celebrated for its scenic beauty, with its banks lined by Renaissance-era buildings and picturesque landscapes.

If you are interested in the Arno river, you’re likely interested in the main city through which it flows – Firenze. Find out more here about what this city and its region have to offer.


Piave River

Length: 132 miles

The Piave River, originating in the Dolomites, flows through the Veneto region in northeastern Italy before emptying into the Adriatic Sea near Venice.

It is renowned as the “Sacred River of the Homeland” due to its historical significance during World War I. Its clear waters and surrounding natural beauty attract visitors to its picturesque landscapes.


Reno river in Italy
Reno River

Reno River

Length: 111 miles

The Reno River flows through Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany regions in northern Italy, originating from the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines. It passes through picturesque valleys and historic towns, serving as a vital water source for agriculture and hydroelectric power generation in the region.




Do You Love Rivers? Here Are 15 Beautiful River Cities To Visit In Italy

If you like me, you too enjoy a river city with its breathtaking landscapes and views, below is a list of the best ones to visit in Italy (in my opinion).

I’ve listed the name of the city, followed by the river passing through it, and the region. That way, you can easily identify the location.

Bassano del Grappa Italian river town
The River Brenta flows through Bassano del Grappa town in Veneto.


  1. Ivrea – Dora Baltea (Piedmont)
  2. Rovereto – Adige (Trentino-Alto Adige)
  3. Bassano del Grappa – Brenta (Veneto)
  4. Cividale del Friuli – Natisone (Friuli-Venezia Giulia)
  5. Torino – Po (Piedmont)
  6. Belluno – Piave (Veneto)
  7. Roma – Tevere (Lazio)
  8. Firenze – Arno (Tuscany)
  9. Visso – Nera (Marche)
  10. Verona – Adige (Veneto)
  11. Mantova – Mincio (Lombardy)
  12. Dolceacqua – Nervia (Liguria)
  13. Bovagna – Clitumno, Chiasco, Teverone e Topino (Umbria)
  14. Borghetto – Mincio (Lombardy)
  15. Bosa – Temo (Sardinia)



Test Yourself & Your Friends – Quiz

If you are here to study Italian geography, let’s see what you learned in this article. Try answering the following questions.

  1. What are the 3 main rivers?
  2. What is the largest Italian river?
  3. What is the national river of Italy?
  4. What Italian river starts with P?
  5. What is the longest and most important Italian river?
  6. What river starts with a?
  7. What river runs through Rome?
  8. What river is Florence on?
  9. What are the 3 rivers of Rome?


Answers:

  1. Po, Tevere, Arno
  2. Po River
  3. Po River
  4. Po River
  5. Po River
  6. Arno River
  7. Tiber River
  8. Arno River
  9. Tiber, Aniene, Almone
Alessia
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