Italian Cartographic terms


Italian cartographic terms and abbreviations as found on Istituto geografico militare maps.

The common abbreviations used on maps of Italy for the scales of 1:25000 and 1:50000 with the addition of specific symbols used on old Istituto Geografico Militare maps.

Abbreviations, Complete forms and English forms.

a doppio transito: Two lane (road)

a forza idraulica: By water power

a scartamento ridotto: Narrow gauge (railway)

a semplice transito: Single lane road

a trazione electtrica: Electric traction (railway)

autostrada: Motorway

a vapore: Steam driven (factory etc.)

a vapore con fumaiolo: Steam driven with chimney, or stack

Abeti: Fir trees- larch use the same symbol on old IGM maps

Acquedotti: Aquaducts (not necessarily overground)

aero motore: Wind turbine, tower wind generators, or pumps.

agrumi: Citrus trees, oranges, lemons, limes etc.

A.; A.i Alp-e; -i: The Alps

altop.o altipiano/altopiano: Plateau; high lands, table lands

arcip.go, arcip.hi, arcipelag-o, -hi: Archipelago, island group, skerries

b., baia: Bay; gulf

b.o, b.i bosc-o, -hi: Wood land, forest, copses; b.chi banc-o; -hi: bank, slope, side

b.go,  borgo: Village; suburb; little town, hamlet

campestre: Rural, countryside (of a track or road)

c.o,  capo: Cape; point, promontory, headland 

capolinea: Terminus station

carreggiabile: Driveable (wagon?)

carrettabile: Passable with a carriage

cascata: Waterfall, force

Clo., Casello: Linesman’s hut, permanent way hut.(on railways)

castagni: Chestnut trees, presumably sweet chestnuts.

cast.o, cast.i castell-o; -i: Castle cava: Quarry

cedui: Cedar trees

centr.e,  centr.i, central-e; -i: Central; middle, chiesa: Church

cimitero: Cemetery

cipressi: Cypress trees

c.le, colle: Pass, hause, dore

Cle, Colle: Fell, hill, or sometimes a pass.

c.le, coll-e, -i: Hill, fell

coll.a, coll.e, collin-, -e: Knoll, low fell, modest hill or fell:

con manutenzione regolare: Regularly maintained (road)

Comunicazione secondaria: Minor road

con muri: With walls ( road), cim-a, -e: Peak, summit, top

com.e, com.i, comun-e, -i : Commune, municipal parish

c.po, c-pi, camp-o, -i: Field, grazing land

croce isolata: Isolated cross

di ferro: Made of iron (often a bridge)

di legno: Made of wood (often a bridge)

diruti: Abandoned, falling down, crumbling, ruined

d.e dorsale: Ridge, edge, dolina: Sink-hole, pothole

faggi: Beech trees

fanale: Coastal light, not a lighthouse

faro: Lighthouse

ferovia: Railway

ferovia a due binari: Double track railway

f.e forte: Fort, bastion

f., f.mi, fium-e, -i; Larger river

fondo naturale (strada): Un made-up road, unmetalled road.

for.a, foresta: wood; forest (original implication- hunting)

Forn, Fornace: Kiln sites, furnace

f.te, fonte: Spring; well, source, keld

font., Fontana, Fonte: Fountain, spring.

funicolare: Funicular: steep railway using a cogged rail.

gall.a, galleria: Tunnel (usually on a railway)

g. golfo: Bay; gulf; gh.i ghiaccia-io, -i : Glacier

gr. gran,, gr.di grand-e; -i: Big; great

gr.ta grotta: Cave

in costruz.e, in construzione: Under construction

in muratura: In stone

inf.e, inf.i inferior-e, -i : Lower

i., i.le, isol-a, -e: Isle, island, holm, i.ti, isolott-, -i: Islet; small island, holm, skerry

istmo: Isthmus

l., l.i lag-o, -hi: Lake, mere, water, lough

larici: Larch trees; firs use the same symbol on old IGM maps

limiti di stato, provincia, comune, bosco, coltura: Boundaries of state, province, commune, wood, agriculture., maggiore: Greater, migli-o-a: Mile (originally a 1000 double paces)

min.a, miniera: Mine, minor: Lower

m., m.ti, mont-e, -i: Mountain, large fell, pike

monumento notevole: Important monument.

mulattiera: Pack horse road

m.o, mulino: Mill

muri a calce: Lime walls

muri a secco e maceria: Drystone walls and rubble walls

muri di sostegno: Supporting walls, buttresses

naz.le,, nazional-e, -i: National

non perenne: Not in all seasons- non-perrenial water sources

olivi: Olive trees

0lmi: Elms; oaks use the same symbol on old IGM maps

palizzata o staccionata: Palissade or fence

palude: Fen, bog, mire, marsh

Passagio a livello: Level crossing on a railway, passo: Pass, dore (archaic)

penis.a, penisola: Peninsula

perenne: All the year round, perennial

per soli pedoni: Only on foot, picco: Peak, pike

Pini: Pine trees

pioppi: Poplar trees: symbol indicates Lombardy type poplar

pista: Track

p.te, p.ti, pont-e, -i: Bridge

Ponti: in muratura, di ferro, di legno: Bridges, stone, iron and wood.

pozzo: Well, water-source, keld

pozzo artesiano: Artesian well

pozzo cisterna: Well with cistern tank

pozzo con noria: Well drawn by mule or donkey?(guess here)

princ.le,, principal-e, -i: Principal; main

prom.o, promontorio: Cape, promontory, headland

prov.a, prov.e, Provinc-ia, -e,-ie: Province; district

p., punta: Cape, headland

punto e quota geodetica e topografica riferite al suolo: Spot height, and its metric height with reference to Point 0; which is called “ground level” here and this base line might not be the same as LWMMR in England (mean low water)

Querce: Oaks; elms use same symbol on old IGM maps

Rne., Regione: District. This can be very locally, a small valley, a hill side area

reticolato: Wire netting (of fence)

r., rio: Brook; river; stream, beck, burn, gill

Salici: Willow trees, osiers, withies

salto in conduttura: Jump in pipeline, perhaps this means break in pipeline.

S., San: Saint

S., SS. Sant-o, -a, -i, -e: Saint

sc.o, sc.i ,scogl-io, -i: reef; rock

scoperti: Literally “discovered”, perhaps visible, perhaps found?

sentero difficile: Arduous path

sentiero facile: Easy path

siepe: Hedge

sopraelevati: Raised (often of an aquaduct)

sotterranei: Underground (pl)

sottopassaggio: Underpass

sta.e, staz.i, stazion-e, -i: Station, halt

Strada di 1a cl.: First class road

Strada di 2a cl., Comunicazione principale: Principle route

Strada di 3a cl.: Ordinary road.

Strada di 4a cl. Non sempre praticabile: Not always passable.

Strada di 5s cl.: Is termed “Generalemente praticabile soltanto dai piccoli carti locali.”, str.ti strett-o -i: Canal; artificial waterway

sup.e, sup.i, superior-e, -i: Upper

su. viadatto: On a viaduct- (as an aerial aquaduct might be)

t., torrente: Hill stream, gill, beck, burn

traccia: Track

tranvai: Light railway, tramway

Tratturo, strada battuta dalle gregge: Herding path, drove road.

Valle, v.: Valley, dale, vale.

Via, v. : Road

viti: Vineyards, grapes, vines


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