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Liguria is bordered by France to the west, Piedmont to the north, and Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany to the east. It lies on the Ligurian Sea. The narrow strip of land is bordered by the sea, the Alps and the Apennines mountains.

Some mountains rise above 2000 m; the watershed line runs at an average altitude of about 1000 m.

The winding arched extension goes from Ventimiglia to La Spezia. Of this, 3524.08 square kilometres are mountainous (65% of the total) and 891.95 square kilometres are hills (35% of the total). Liguria's natural reserves cover 12% of the entire region, or 60,000 hectares of land. They are made up of one national reserve, six large parks, two smaller parks and three nature reserves.

The continental shelf is very narrow, and so steep it descends almost immediately to considerable marine depths along its 350-km coastline. Except for the Portovenere and Portofino promontories, it is generally not very jagged, and is often high. At the mouths of the biggest watercourses there are small beaches, but there are no deep bays and natural harbours except for those of Genoa and La Spezia.

The ring of hills lying immediately beyond the coast together with the sea account for a mild climate year-round. Average winter temperatures are 7 to 10 °C (45 to 50 °F) and summer temperatures are 23 to 24 °C (73 to 75 °F), which make for a pleasant stay even in the dead of winter. Rainfall can be abundant at times, as mountains very close to the coast create an orographic effect. Genoa and La Spezia can see up to 2,000 mm (79 in) of rain in a year; other areas instead show the normal Mediterranean rainfall of 500 to 800 mm (20 to 31 in) annually.