Physical maps of Italy show rivers, lakes and other large bodies of water, along with mountain ranges, coastlines and boundaries with other countries, while topographical maps of Italy show the elevation of the land and significant man-made structures. Topographical maps of Italy have few places marked, but show many contour lines, whereas physical maps feature detailed information about specific locations.
The major bodies of water listed on a physical map of Italy include the rivers Adda, Salto, Agri and Sinni, along with oceanic bodies including the Gulf of Venice, Mediterranean Sea, Adriatic Sea, Ligurian Sea and Ionian Sea. The area and length of these bodies of water are estimated in distance keys, which are available on the maps. Physical maps of Italy also include mountain ranges and peaks, such as Mt. Viso, Gran Paradiso and Mt. Adamella.
The elevations of Italy's mountains, valleys and flat lands are shown on the country's topographic maps and listed relative to sea-level. These maps are typically very detailed, using brown, orange and green keys to show differences in elevation. Topographic maps of Italy feature crowded contour lines that show the elevation of the land, while the distances between the contour lines indicate the slope of the land.