Geological map of south Italy and the Pollino study area.

The Southern Apennine chain is a fold-and-thrust belt formed between the upper Oligocene and Quaternary. CrITERIA focuses on the mountainous Pollino area, located in the southern Apennines at the Calabria-Lucania border zone, between the calcareous rocks of the Apennine platforms and the metamorphic and sedimentary rocks of the Calabrian-Peloritani Arc.

Geologically the area consists of thrust belts derived from the deformation of the African passive margin. Geological sequences also involve the Ligurian ocean ophiolitic crust and its sedimentary cover. In this area, the Liguride Complex is well exposed and is located in the highest position of the southern Apennines .

The Italian case study represents the wet end member of CrITERIA, with a temperate climate. There is a great deal of rainfall in Pollino, even in the driest month. The average temperature is 8.9 °C and annual precipitation here averages 1249 mm.

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