Longest Rivers In Italy

Turin along the banks of the Po River at sunset.
Turin along the banks of the Po River at sunset.

Italy is a unitary semi-presidential state with a population of 60,674,003, and a population density of 521.5 people per square mile. Rome is both the capital and the largest city in the country. Italy is one of the best-ranked states regarding green energy production. It is the fourth largest holder of installed solar energy capacity. The national parks make up 5% of the country. The state is located at the point where the Eurasian plate and the African plate collide which has led to high level of seismic and volcanic activity. Many islands and hills have been formed due to volcanic activities. In this article, we will discuss various major rivers in Italy.

Longest Rivers in Italy

Po River

The Po is the largest river in Italy, stretching a total length of 405 miles and draining a basin area of 28,572 square miles. The general flow of the river is from West to East and flows in the northern parts of the country. It flows through various major cities including Milan, Torino, Cremona, Piacenza, and Ferrara. 141 tributaries feed the river, and the widest width is 1,650 feet. River Po flows in a low gradient area and coupled with its massive flow its prone to heavy flooding and consequently, half of its flow is controlled with dikes. Turin and Milan which are major industrial centers in the country use water from the river for industrial purposes. Agriculture is also widely practiced along the river in large scale. Until 2002, Milan City had no sewerage treatment plant, and raw sewer flowed directly into the river. In 2005, the river was found to be contaminated by huge amounts of benzoylecgonine which is a chemical found in the urine of cocaine users. The most recent pollution took place in 2010 where the oil spill from a refinery in Villasanta spilled into the river. The river is often identified with the Eridanus river of Greek mythology.


The Adige river flows for a distance of 255 miles and has a basin of 4,672 square miles. Its source is in the Alpine province near the Italian border with Austria and Switzerland and flows through an artificial Lake Alpine and drains into the Adriatic Sea. The general flow is from West to East. A high population of fish is found in the river including the Marble trot which is decreasing in number due to interbreeding with the brown trout.


The river flows from Mount Fumaaiolo to the Tyrrhenian Sea, a distance of 242 miles. It passes through Umbria and Lazio and is the primary source of water for the city of Rome. The source of the river consists of two springs which are only 33 feet apart and are referred to as Le Vene. Benito Mussolini placed an antique marble Roman column at the point where the river starts. Several myths explain the etymology of the name Tiber with the most common being that it came from a legendary king, Tiberius. He is said to have drowned in the river and was later named after him. The river was important in the early Roman trade as ships would up to 50 miles up the river. The river was also used to dispose off executed criminals in the ancient Rome. The river is identified with Rome and Protestants use the term “swimming the Tiber” to mean that someone has converted to Roman Catholicism. The river is known for magnificent modern bridges as well as some few ancient bridges which are now pedestrian only.


The Tanaro is one of the major tributaries of the Po River and flows a distance of 171 miles from the Ligurian Alps from the slopes of Monte Saccarello. There are four main tributaries feeding the river, namely including the Stura di Demonte, Borgore, Bormida, and the Belbo. The river is highly prone to flooding having experienced 136 floods in the past 200 years. The worst flooding was experienced in 1994 where the whole of the river valley was severely flooded including the Alessandria town. The Battle of Pollentia in the year 941 took place along the left bank of River Tanaro.

Longest Rivers In Italy

RankLongest Rivers in ItalyLength
1Po405 miles
2Adige255 miles
3Tiber252 miles
4Adda194 miles
5Oglio174 miles
6Tanaro171 miles
7Ticino154 miles (shared with Switzerland)
8Arno150 miles
9Piave137 miles
10Reno132 miles

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