This Copernicus Sentinel-2 image features the Po Valley, the most densely populated area in Italy, accounting for nearly half of the national population. This composite image contains several images captured between June 2018 and February 2019, allowing us to see the area free from clouds and smog.
The Po River, the longest river in Italy, flows over 650 km from west to east across the country, and ends at a delta projecting into the Adriatic Sea near Venice. The river flows through some of Italy’s important cities of the north.
On the very left of the image, next to the river, the city of Turin can be seen. A business and cultural centre, Turin is the capital of the Piedmont region. Rich in history, the city is home of the Shroud of Turin, a famous religious relic, as well as the Residences of the Royal House of Savoy. Turning to modern day, several International Space Station modules, such as Harmony and Columbus, were manufactured in Turin.
Moving east, the city of Milan can be seen nestling below the Alps. Although Milan is the second most populous city in Italy after Rome, the wider metropolitan area extends over Lombardy and eastern Piedmont, making it the largest metropolitan area in Italy.
Further east, the blue body of Lake Garda can be seen to the left of Verona. With an area of 370 sq km, Garda is the largest lake in Italy and the third largest in the Alpine region. East of the lake is the Adige River, flowing south before curving east toward Verona. The city of Verona has been awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO because of its urban structure and architecture such as the circular Roman amphitheatre.
Along the coast, the turquoise colours of the Venetian lagoon and the islands that make up the city of Venice are visible. Famous for its musical and artistic cultural heritage, millions of tourists flock to the archipelago every year.
As the Po River nears the Adriatic Sea, its agricultural landscape dominated by fields can be seen. Agriculture is one of the main industries in the Po Basin because of the fertile soils. Cereals, including rice, and a variety of vegetables are commonly grown in this area.
The main arms of the river push the delta into the sea. An important ecosystem, the area has been a regional park since 1988 and a biosphere reserve since 2015.
Copernicus Sentinel-2 is a two-satellite mission. Each satellite carries a high-resolution camera that images Earth’s surface in 13 spectral bands. Data from Copernicus Sentinel-2 can help monitor changes in land cover.
This image is also featured on the Earth from Space video programme.