The activities of the Italian IPA group include different topics: mainly relict periglacial features in the Apennines; permafrost distribution and monitoring, and periglacial features in the Alps. Moreover, Italians researchers are deeply involved in the Italian Antarctic Research Project.

A project lead by Mauro Guglielmin (Insubria University) about permafrost, ecosystems and climate change is running until the 2006/2007 Antarctic season with four main research goals: permafrost and active layer monitoring, active layer and vegetation relationships, ground ice distribution and ice wedges dynamics, granite weathering processes. Some results of these research have already been published, and presented at conferences. During the last Antarctic campaign, a new CALM grid and an automatic active layer monitoring station were established on Signy Island in cooperation with the British Antarctic Survey, very close to the site where Chambers in the 1960s studied periglacial features and measured the active layer. During the 2005/06 summer, a drilling and coring program is planned in cooperation with New Zealand researchers (Megan Balks and Jackie Aislabie) at Marble Point and Bull Pass (Dry Valleys) to enlarge the Antarctic permafrost monitoring network within the ANTPAS framework.

In Italy, the project «Cryoalp», led by M. Guglielmin and supported by the Italian Institute of Mountain Research, started last year and aims at studying permafrost ground ice (as a potential palaeoclimate archive) and the hydrology of high mountain permafrost areas. Within «Cryoalp», three new boreholes ranging between 15 and 24 m deep were equipped with automatic permafrost monitoring stations and the Stelvio PACE borehole equipment was improved.

In the Aosta Valley (NW Italy), the Insubria University and ARPA continued collaboration leading to the instrumentation of a CALM grid and two boreholes (6 and 43 m deep) close to Cervinia, and to the set-up of rock temperature monitoring on the south face of Matterhorn, to better understand the high rock fall frequency that has characterized this rock face for the last four years, and particularly in the summer of 2003.

Adriano Ribolini continued monitoring the active layer of some rock glaciers in the Maritime Alps. His geophysical studies of the internal structure of rock glaciers of that area, such as the Schiantala rock glacier, will allow him to define the relationships between rock glacier and glacier evolution in the Maritime Alps.

Marco Firpo and Cristiano Queirolo are studying relict block streams and block fields around Mont Beigua (Genova area), describing the surface morphology using high-resolution systems and analysing the relationships between the local geology and the distribution pattern of these block accumulations.

The AIGEO group on Periglacial Relict Features has finished its experimentation of a new systematic sedimentological and morphological approach to periglacial deposits in the Apennines. Fabio Scarciglia and others analysed granite weathering in Calabria and proved the influence of some periglacial processes on soil formations in the Southern Italian Apennines.

In cooperation with the Stelvio National Park, Nicoletta Cannone pursued her research on the relationships between periglacial features such as polygons, rock glacier, solifluction lobes and vegetation colonization, especially in the Central Italian Alps. Moreover, she continues a long-term monitoring of scree slopes dynamics and vegetation colonization within the permafrost belt.

Mauro Guglielmin (mauro.guglielmin@uninsubria.it)