Abruzzi, a region in east-central Italy,
with an area of 4,167 square miles (10,792 sq km). It comprises the provinces
of L'Aquila (Aquila), Teramo, Pescara, and Chieti and is bounded by the
regions of the Marches and Umbria on the north, Umbria on the northwest,
Latium on the southwest, Campania on the south, Molise on the southwest,
and the Adriatic Sea on the east.
The region is first mentioned in a.d. 600 as Aprutium, the name given to the bishopric of Teramo and its diocese. The Normans later popularized the name "Abruzzo." The division of the area by the Pescara River into "Abruzzo Ultra" and "Abruzzo Citra" explains the plural form of the word "Abruzzi."
Abruzzi is made up of two distinct physiographic areas of almost equal size. The central Apennines, with high valleys and basins, form the western area, which coincides with the province of L'Aquila. This Apennine region comprises three roughly parallel ranges running from northwest to southeast and attaining heights of 8,200 feet (2,499 meters) in Monte Velino, 9,170 feet (2,800 meters) in La Maiella, and 9,554 feet (2,912 meters) in Monte Corno, in the Gran Sasso d'Italia. Between the mountains lie the drained basin of Lake Fucino and the upper valleys of the Aterno, the Salto, the Liri, and the Sangro rivers. The three coastal provinces of Teramo, Pescara, and Chieti, which lie between the Apennines and the Adriatic, make up the other physiographic area. This is a region of clay and sand hills and parallel valleys, the most important being those of the Tronto, Tordino, Vomano, Fino, Pescara, Sangro, and Trigno rivers.
The Abruzzi region, particularly the central portion, is subject to disastrous earthquakes, and landslides and avalanches are common on the eroded hills of the eastern zones. The mouth of the Pescara and the promontory at Ortona offer the only anchorage along the 80-mile (130-km) coastline.
The climate varies with the altitude. The coastal regions have moderate temperatures, but winters in the mountains are long and cold. Snow sometimes lasts from November to May. Rainfall is sufficient for agriculture, varying from about 50 inches (1,270 mm) in the highlands to 28 inches (710 mm) in the valleys.
Agriculture is usually carried on above the chestnut woods that flank the steep slopes. The plateaus on the gentler slopes support potato and cereal farming and pastureland for grazing. Above this zone the meadows are seasonally occupied by flocks of sheep. The basins between the mountains, most notably Fucino, where the Romans first drained the lake of Avezzano, are of greatest agricultural significance. This basin was permanently reclaimed at the end of the 19th century.
The Adriatic hills have a much milder climate and soils that favor autumn-sown crops and tree crops, such as olive trees and grape vines. The latter, although prominent near the coast, occupy only 5 percent of the cultivated land. The majority of the land is used for growing cereals.
Generally, the coastal lands below 1,500 feet (460 meters) have intensive systems of mixed cropping and specialized vineyards. Between 1,500 and 2,800 feet (460-850 meters), cereal predominates; and above that altitude, degraded woodlands are important.
The region is not very industrialized, although there are sugar, chemical, and fertilizer plants at Avezzano and paper mills and copper works at Sulmona.
It is estimated that the Abruzzi region together
with neighboring Molise had about 520,000 people at the end of the 16th
century. The population rose somewhat irregularly to 1,689,500 in 1957.
The coastal regions and the basins of Fucino, L'Aquila, and Sulmona are
the most populous areas. In 1991 the population of Abruzzi was 1,243,690.
The principal cities are the provincial capitals of L'Aquila, in the valley of the Aterno; Teramo, on the Tordino; Pescara, on the Adriatic; and Chieti. Others of some importance are Sulmona, on the Gizio, the birthplace of Ovid; Celano to the east and Avezzano to the west of Lake Fucino; and Ortona, on the coast, south of Chieti.
In ancient times Abruzzi, was occupied by several peoples, including the Equi, Marsi, and Vestini, who were conquered by the Romans before the third century b.c. After the decline of the Roman Empire the region broke up into small feudal states more or less under Lombard rule. The Normans later subjugated most of the Abruzzi. They were followed by the Hohenstaufen, Aragonese, and Spanish Hapsburgs. The Bourbons, in the 18th century, were the last foreign rulers. By the early 19th century small liberal groups were taking part in revolutionary activities, and in 1860 the region became part of united Italy. In 1948 Abruzzi was joined with Molise, to the south, to form the region of Abruzzi e Molise; but in 1963 Abruzzi was separated from Molise.
Aosta, a city
in northwest Piedmont, in northern Italy, and the capital of the semiautonomous
region known as the Valle d'Aosta. Aosta is about 50 miles (80 km) northwest
of Turin, near the confluence of the Buthier and the Dora Baltea rivers,
at 1,800 feet (550 meters) above sea level. It lies in a pleasant valley
surrounded on three sides by some of the highest peaks of the Alps, including
Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, and the Gran Paradiso. Since early times Aosta
has been important as the meeting place of the transalpine routes over
the Great and the Little Saint Bernard passes to France and Switzerland.
The city is the administrative and market center for the Valle d'Aosta. It is also the starting point for excursions to scenic and sports areas in the surrounding mountains, and the tourist trade is an important source of income. During World War I the abundance of electricity encouraged the growth of iron works using the ore of nearby Cogne. In recent years chemical and textile industries have been developed. Following the Roman plan, the city is laid out with straight streets crossing at right angles. There are numerous remains of the Roman city, including the Praetorian Gate, the Arch of Augustus, a theater, an amphitheater, and the old walls (chiefly on the west and south). Among the interesting medieval structures are the cathedral, begun before the 12th century, and the Collegiata of Sant'Orso, with its cloister and priory. Pop. 1991, 36,095.
The Valle d'Aosta,
covering 1,259 square miles (3,261 sq km), corresponds to about two thirds
of the pre-World War II province of Aosta. The remainder of the former
province was joined to the province of Turin or ceded to France. The valley
was given semiautonomous status on Jan. 31, 1948 and is administered by
the 35-member Council of the Valley. The president of the council is responsible
directly to the Italian government. Both French and Italian are recognized
as official languages of the valley.
The Valle d'Aosta consists of the upper basin of the Dora Baltea, together with the Orco Valley. Heavily glaciated, it is wider than neighboring valleys and is relatively well populated. The valley has a level plain where agriculture is carried on. Snow and glacier-fed sources provide an abundant water supply, which has been harnessed for hydroelectricity.
The valley is sheltered and has relatively low precipitation. Vines and fruit trees are grown on the lower slopes and cereals on the level plateaus. Hay meadows are cultivated at all altitudes but primarily through irrigation on the valley floor. There are textile mills at Châtillon and textile and iron and steel factories at Aosta, the regional capital. Anthracite is mined at La Thuile. Tourism is important, and there are popular resorts at Courmayeur, Gressoney, and Cervinia-Breuil. The world's longest vehicular tunnel, under Mont Blanc, between Italy and France, was opened in July 1965, and the valley has since become an important highway.
When the Romans conquered the Valle d'Aosta from the Ligurian-Celtic tribes -- the Salassi -- about 26 b.c., they set up Augusta Praetoria as a rectangular walled camp garrisoned by three thousand Praetorians. After the Romans came the Goths, Byzantines, Lombards, Franks, and Burgundians -- with Saracen forays doing much damage. By the 11th century the House of Savoy had taken over control of the area. Except for brief periods of French occupation (1691, 1704-1706, 1798-1799, and 1800-1814), the region remained under the Savoy dynasty until 1945. The secondary branch of the House of Savoy is headed by the dukes of Aosta. Pop. 1991, 115,397.
Puglia or Le Puglie), a modern region and an ancient district of Italy,
lying along the lower Adriatic coast from the Monte Gargano Promontory
southeastward to the tip of the Salentine Peninsula. Modern Apulia, with
an area of 7,470 square miles (19,347 sq km), includes the five provinces
of Foggia, Bari, Brindisi, Lecce, and Taranto. Apulia is bounded on the
northeast and east by the Adriatic Sea and the Strait of Otranto, on the
south by the Gulf of Taranto, on the west by the Basilicata and Campania
regions, and on the northwest by the Molise region.
Topographically Apulia consists of the mountainous peninsula of Monte Gargano; the Tavoliere, or lowland, of Foggia; the terraced limestone Murgian Hills; the coastal plain between the latter and the Adriatic Sea, extending from Barletta to Brindisi; and the low and fairly level Salentine Peninsula, which is known as the heel of Italy. The high point of Monte Gargano is 3,480 feet (1,060 meters) above sea level, and that of the Murgian Hills, about 2,200 feet (670 meters). The highest elevations in Apulia are in the Neapolitan Apennines, which form the western border of the province of Foggia. Although the region has a coastline of some 800 miles (1,290 km), it has few good natural harbors, Brindisi and Taranto being the best. Shifting sand bars along parts of the coast are hazards to navigation. The climate of Apulia varies somewhat with altitude and latitude, but in general it is characterized by hot summers and moderate winters. The annual rainfall averages between 20 and 30 inches (500-750 mm), most of which comes in the early winter and runs off rapidly or disappears into the ground. There are thus few permanent streams south of the Ofanto River, which divides the provinces of Foggia and Bari. The Tavoliere of Foggia is crossed by a number of small rivers that descend from the Apennines. Because of the climatic conditions, the Mediterranean brush, or macchia, is the typical form of natural vegetation. There are forests only in the eastern Monte Gargano and in certain areas of the Murgian Hills.
The population of the region is very unevenly distributed, there being wide areas with a very low density in the hills and on the Tavoliere. The province of Bari is the most densely populated, and Foggia is the most sparsely populated. However, the density of the region as a whole is only slightly lower than that of all of Italy. The tendency to live in urban communities, common throughout southern Italy, is so accentuated in Apulia that only about 8 percent of the people live in scattered dwellings. As a result of the land reform of the 1950's, however, the proportion of people in isolated dwellings doubled by 1960. The proportion of towns and cities with over 20,000 inhabitants is high and indicates the extent of urban concentration even in exclusively agricultural areas. The principal city is Bari, the regional capital (pop. 1991, 341,273), and Taranto is the second city (232,200). Barletta, Molfetta, Brindisi, and Lecce are other major centers.
Apulia is one
of the driest regions of Italy; most of the area has less than 20 inches
(500 mm) of rainfall, concentrated into 65 days annually. Since much of
it has bare exposures of limestone, it has been called "a kingdom of drought
and stone." There is a marked contrast, however, between the High Murge,
a windswept moorland of poor pastures, and the orchard lands of the Low
Murge, especially the fertile land of the Terra di Bari region, surrounding
Apulia's capital. These orchard lands, covered by olives, vines, and almonds,
produce two thirds, by value, of the total agricultural output. Figs and
tobacco are grown in the Salentine Peninsula and the oats and cereal production
of the Tavoliere is important to the economic life of the region.
In the cereal-producing and pasturage lands of the Tavoliere and the High Murge, large estates are the characteristic form of land holding, whereas in the Low Murge the development of orchards has encouraged small family holdings. Extensive irrigation schemes are being developed in the Tavoliere and on the Metaponto plain west of Taranto. Of major importance is the Apulian Aqueduct, diverting the Sele River. Through a 150-mile (240-km) pipeline, it supplies water to some 400 centers, and there are 1,500 miles (2,400 km) of subsidiary channels that extend to the tip of the peninsula.
Industrial activity is closely allied with the processing of agricultural products. Olive oil mills, flour mills, pasta plants, and other food industries, together with clothing industries, employ almost half of the industrial labor force. Fishing is important at numerous ports, notably around the Monte Gargano, on the Tavoliere coast, and the major ports of Terra di Bari, such as Barletta, Trani, Molfetta, Bari, and Monopoli. Oysters are important products of Brindisi and Taranto. There are salt works at Margherita di Savoia, niter is extracted near Molfetta, and chemical works related to both these raw materials are rapidly developing. The largest industrial plants, however, are the petroleum refineries at Bari and Brindisi, and especially the modern iron and steel mills at Taranto. There are also shipyards at Taranto, which is one of the major industrial towns of southern Italy. Pop. 1991, 3,986,430.
The early tribes
of Apulia were the Daunii in the north and the Peucetii in the south. These
were Italic tribes having close political connections with the Samnites.
The origin of the Apulian tribes appears to have been Illyrian, and their
dialects are generally classified as Messapic, although a long inscription
in Oscan has been found at Bantia. The Apulian people were exposed to Greek
influences in the Classical period after the foundation of Tarentum (c.
708 b.c.). Their religion was modified, and they began to make pottery
which they decorated in the prevailing Greek fashion. Apulia became Roman
territory after the Second Punic War, during which it was the scene of
Roman-Carthaginian conflicts, notably the battle of Cannae (216 b.c.),
Hannibal's famous victory on the banks of the Ofanto River. The Romans
long regarded the area as lacking in culture, despite the fact that
the poets Livius Andronicus (fl. third century b.c.) and Quintus Ennius
(239-c. 169 b.c.) had their origin there.
After forming part of the Roman domain for some seven centuries, Apulia was fought over in the fifth century a.d. by Goths, Lombards, Saracens, and Byzantines. In the 11th century, under the rule of Norman adventurers, Apulia became a duchy. The Normans were succeeded by the Hohenstaufen rulers. Most famous of these was Frederick II (1194-1250), who erected a number of fortresses and castles, including Castel del Monte and Lucera, and spent much of his remarkable career there.
Further wars were engendered by the claims and counterclaims of the houses of Anjou, Aragon, and Hapsburg; but Apulia managed, nevertheless, to enjoy occasional periods of respite and prosperity. The Venetian Republic obtained trading privileges in Apulian ports, an arrangement that proved to be mutually advantageous. Beginning in 1734, the Bourbons established their rule over the region; and during the early decades of the Bourbon period Apulia contributed many illustrious men to the political and cultural life of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, of which Apulia was then a part. During the early 19th century, Apulia also contributed leaders to the various liberal and revolutionary movements that ended in the unification of Italy in 1860. In 1861 Apulia became part of the Kingdom of Italy. Since that date, life in Apulia has become more closely linked with that in the rest of Italy.
formerly known as Lucania, a modern region of southern Italy. It is a generally
poor and mountainous area that fronts on the Gulf of Taranto in the Ionian
Sea and on the Gulf of Policastro in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Basilicata extends
northward to the Ofanto River. The western half forms part of the Lucanian
Apennines, where elevations exceed 6,000 feet (1,830 meters). From these
highlands the terrain slopes southeastward to the Ionian Sea. Except for
the sections in the extreme north and southwest, the region drains into
the Gulf of Taranto. The chief rivers are the Sinni, Agri, Basento, and
Basilicata is situated in a zone of periodic and disastrous earthquakes, which were especially severe in the 19th century. The climate, to a large extent, varies with the altitude, being colder and damper in the mountains than in the lowlands. There is also more rainfall on the western slope than on the eastern. The natural vegetation varies with altitude and climate, from Alpine types on the heights to the typically Mediterranean at sea level. The chief crops are cereals, grapes, olives, potatoes, and fruit. Basilicata comprises Potenza and Matera provinces, with a total area of 3,856 square miles (9,987 sq km) and a population of about 605,940 in 1991. The most populous area is the hilly fertile zone of the Vulture Mountains, located in the northern part of Potenza Province.
The people are a mixture of ethnic elements: Italian, Greek, Lombard, Arab, Norman, Albanian, and others.
In the Classical era, modern Basilicata formed part of the region called Lucania and shared its political history: Greek colonization along the coast; war between the local Italic peoples and expanding Rome, ending in the victory of the Romans; integration into the Roman Empire, and then decay as the Empire declined; the invasion of Goths, Lombards, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Spaniards, and French. With the decline of Rome, the inhabitants of the once flourishing coastal area took to the hills in search of refuge from marauding bands of Germans and Saracens. After the unification of Italy, the inefficient administration of the Bourbons gave way to the fiscal exactions of the north Italian bureaucracy. Creditors seized lands, deforestation ruined the soil and spread malarial swampland, and emigration increased. Basilicata has long been one the poorest regions in Italy.
Calabria, a region occupying the southernmost peninsula, or toe, of the Italian mainland. The name originally applied to the heel of Italy (the Salentine Peninsula) and the instep (Lucania), as well as to the toe (ager Bruttium). Since medieval times Calabria has designated only the toe, and since Bourbon rule it has comprised the provinces of Cosenza, Catanzaro, and Reggio di Calabria. Calabria's capital city is Catanzaro.
Calabria, covering an area of 5,822 square miles (15,079 sq km) is 175 miles (281 km) long and varies in width from 20 to 72 miles (32-115 km). Bounded to the north by Mount Pollino, the region is generally mountainous, with elevations from 6,000 to 8,000 feet (1,850-2,400 meters). South of the high central plateau of the Sila, the Catanzaro basin divides Calabria in two. Coastal plains are narrow, and in some places the mountains seem to rise from the sea. The coast is devoid of islands and has few indentations, with only two mediocre natural harbors at Reggio di Calabria and Crotone. The peninsula is subject to frequent seismic disturbances, 30 disastrous earthquakes having occurred since the 12th century.
The climate depends on the altitude, with typically Mediterranean conditions prevailing in the lower and middle zones. Summers are hot, winters cool; rainfall in the winter varies from 20 to 35 inches (500-900 mm). On the plateaus, however, winters are cold with much snow, and the annual precipitation averages over 55 inches (1,400 mm). The water dissipates rapidly, and most Calabrian streams are trickles in the summer. The natural vegetation ranges from subtropical at sea level to alpine pastures and woodlands in the uplands (Sila).
The population of Calabria,
2,037,686 in 1991 compared with 1,240,000 in 1861, has increased rather
slowly because of the slow development of natural resources, the former
prevalence of malaria and other endemic diseases, the frequency of earthquakes,
poor communications, and the resultant emigration. Between 1901 and 1914
some 675,000 Calabrians emigrated, primarily to the United States, Argentina,
Brazil, and France.
The population is unevenly distributed. About 30 percent of the people live in the coastal zone up to 800 feet (245 meters), mostly in scattered dwellings. The balance of the population lives inland, 60 percent between 800 and 2,500 feet (245-750 meters), and the remainder at 2,500 to 3,250 feet (750-1,000 meters). Ethnically the Calabrians are fairly homogeneous, despite infusions of Arab, African, Greek, and Albanian elements during the Middle Ages. In the northeast are Albanian villages, founded in the 15th century. The region's few towns are mostly on or near the coast. Reggio di Calabria (pop. 1991, 178,496) and Crotone (54,300), an industrial center since the late 1920's, are Greek in origin. Catanzaro (103,802) was founded in the 11th century. Cosenza (104,483) is the only important town in the interior.
A large part of Calabria
is covered with woodlands and forests of larch and beech, with some oak
and chestnut trees. It is one of the richest sources of timber in Italy,
and the forest reserves have been better preserved there than elsewhere
because of the region's isolation. The raising of livestock on the Sila
and Aspromonte uplands is an important economic activity, and there is
a growing emphasis on dairying and pig raising. Although wheat is raised,
Calabria is not primarily a cereal region, and olives, citrus fruits, and
wine grapes are of greater economic importance. Despite its agricultural
potential, Calabria is still a poor region, lacking adequate communications
and industrial opportunities. Reggio di Calabria is the terminus of the
two coastal railroads, one from Naples and one from Bari and Taranto on
the Ionian coast. The roads are poor.
About one third of the industrial labor force is employed in food or allied industries, notably olive oil refining and the making of pasta at Cosenza. There is a large beet sugar mill at Santa Eufemia, and there are woolen mills at Cetraro and Praja a Mare in the northwest. However, the major industrial units are the chemical and zinc refinery plants at Crotone, developed since 1927 with the aid of hydroelectric power from the Sila River. Reggio di Calabria also has a number of industries associated with wood. Tourism, although not now a major source of income, has considerable potential, particularly at the numerous small coastal resorts and thermal springs.
The eastern coast of
the Calabrian Peninsula formed part of Magna Graecia, and such Greek colonies
as Sybaris, Crotona, Locri, and Rhegium played important roles in the history
of Hellenic politics and culture. Their influence, however, was confined
largely to the coast, for inland were the Bruttii, who blocked Rome's expansion
southward. Following the disintegration of the Empire, Byzantine rule was
asserted after a confused period of Gothic and other Germanic invasions.
In the tenth century Calabria was united as a theme under the Byzantine
Emperor Nicephorus Phocas II. Constantinople, however, was unable to promote
prosperity or offer protection against Arab raids. Commerce declined, malaria
spread over the lowlands, and the large estates (latifundia) gripped the
land in their social and economic tentacles. In the 11th century the Normans
drove out the Byzantines, and under Norman and Hohenstaufen feudal rule
that region enjoyed peace if not liberty, whereas decay set in under the
successive Angevin, Aragonese, and Hapsburg houses. The Spanish and Austrian
rulers took little interest in Calabria and allowed the feudal barons to
reassert some of their power, to the detriment of peasants and citizens
When the Bourbons assumed power early in the 18th century, they at first enlisted the strong support of the people. Later on, however, after the Napoleonic era, the Masonic, Carbonari, and other liberal and republican movements gained warm adherents in Calabria; and in 1860 the region fell to Garibaldi's forces. Following unification, the Italian government undertook to stamp out brigandage, illiteracy, malaria, and other age-old problems, but because of the region's backwardness and poverty these efforts met with little success.
On Sept. 3, 1943, during World War II, the British Eighth Army crossed the Strait of Messina to land with little opposition in Calabria along a coastal strip stretching from Reggio di Calabria to Crotone. The capture within less than a fortnight of three seaports and ten airfields in Calabria and Apulia enabled the Allies to launch large-scale operations against Naples and other major Italian cities. In 1968 Calabria was made one of 15 "ordinary regions" of Italy, with a regional council at Catanzaro possessing administrative and legislative powers over local issues and a degree of financial autonomy. Severe riots in Reggio di Calabria followed the choice of Catanzaro as capital, but in 1971 the central government reiterated its decision.
region in the southern part of Italy, comprising the area on the west coast
of the peninsula along the Tyrrhenian Sea, between the Garigliano River
on the north and the Gulf of Policastro on the south. Campania extends
inland to the easternmost range of the Apennines and includes a large proportion
of mountainous country. Also within the region are the islands of Capri,
Procida, and Ischia. The modern Campania thus refers to a much wider area
than did its ancient counterpart, ager Campanus, which was confined essentially
to the plain behind Naples. Campania comprises the provinces of Avellino,
Naples, Salerno, Benevento, and Caserta. It covers an area of 5,249 square
Topography. Economically and historically the coastal plains are the most important part of the region and contain a large part of the population in spite of the presence of Mount Vesuvius. The soil of the Campanian Plain, which lies between the lower Garigliano and the Sarno lowland in the south, is extremely fertile, particularly west and north of Naples, where it is of volcanic origin. The Campi Flegrei, located in the western part of the province of Naples, forms a zone of hot springs and extinct volcanic matter, while Vesuvius is still active. The Plain of Paestum, along the Gulf of Salerno in the south, is composed of material deposited by the Sele River and its tributaries.
The mountainous zones comprise the interior and also the peninsula of Sorrento, projecting 25 miles into the Bay of Naples, and the Cilento Peninsula, which is situated between the Gulf of Salerno and the Gulf of Policastro. Several roughly parallel chains or massifs provide the backbone of the mountainous zone. In the north is the Matese (6,300 feet); in the center, the Monti Picentini (6,000 feet); and in the Cilento Peninsula, several isolated peaks, of which the highest is Monte Cervati (6,200 feet). Except for its easternmost edge, Campania lies within the Tyrrhenian watershed. Its chief rivers are the Sele, Volturno, and Garigliano.
Climate. The wide variation in topography results in similarly marked differences in climate within the region. The coastal regions and the adjacent plains enjoy hot summers and moderately cool winters, as is evident from the palms and other subtropical vegetation found there. The highlands are not only colder in winter, but receive much more rain, as much as 75 inches, compared with 40 or 35 along the coast. The rainy season comes in late fall and early winter; the summers are generally dry.
Flora. The natural vegetation, in turn, reflects topographic and climatic conditions. Up to 1,300 feet, thickets, shrubs, and plane trees are found. On the middle slopes of the mountains, there are oak and other deciduous trees; and above the timber line are beech and fir, interspersed with pasture lands.
Population. About 85 percent of the population of Campania (pop. 1991, 5,589,587) live in urban centers. About two dozen cities have a population of over 15,000 and nearly all of these are on the Bay of Naples and in the fertile Campanian Plain. The chief industrial towns are Naples (pop. 1991, 1,024,601) and Salerno (pop. 1991,153,436). Rural population densities are irregular.
Only in recent decades has the population of Campania increased to any extent. The census records from 1861 to 1921 showed only a small increase, while the record for 1911 even showed a decrease over previous censuses. The emigration after the unification of Italy was the primary reason for the slow rate of population growth in the region, but the malarial conditions of the coastal lowlands and the unproductivity of the mountain areas were contributing factors. During the first fifteen years of the twentieth century the number of emigrants, most of whom went to the United States or Argentina, reached 1,000,000. The number dropped during World War I, but mounted again in 1920 to 82,779. Later the Fascist regime discouraged and eventually forbade emigration, and the rate dropped sharply.
Economic Activities. Agriculture
is the main source of wealth in Campania, and the most important farming
areas are in the lowlands of the Campanian Plain and the Terra di Lavoro,
west and north of Naples. The soil is exceptionally fertile, particularly
where it is of volcanic origin, and can sometimes support four layers of
crops: vegetables, vines, fruit trees, and walnuts. Fruits are the major
crop, and the region grows over half the national output of apricots, walnuts,
and hazlenuts; between one fifth and one fourth of the national production
of plums, cherries, and figs; and about ten percent of the apples, pears,
and peaches. Truck gardening is also important, and about a quarter of
the total national crop of potatoes, tomatoes, and cauliflowers is grown
in Campania. Hemp growing is carried on in Aversa.
Before the unification of Italy, Campania was the most industrialized area of southern Italy, and at one time the peninsula's major factories were located there: the military arsenal at Naples; the Castellammare shipyards; and the arms factories, foundries, and textile mills around Naples, Salerno, and Casserta. After the unification, however, its industrial status declined due to a lack of government support. Today four fifths of Campania's industrial development is in small or medium-sized factories associated with food processing, engineering, textiles, and lumber industries. The steel mills at Bagnoli, the aircraft factories, the Royal Arsenal, and the petroleum refineries around Naples are all exceptional in size. Quarrying, especially for pozzolana, used in cement, is also important. Tourism is of major economic significance in the Naples area, and the port of Naples is the second largest in Italy, handling considerable volume in passenger and commercial traffic.
History. The coastal area of Campania, especially around Naples, was colonized by the Greeks, whereas the mountainous interior was occupied by the Samnites and other Italic tribes. Campania was one of the early conquests of Rome, and as an important coastal and seaport area it played an important part in the expansion of her empire. After the disintegration of the Roman Empire, however, Byzantine rule was established along the coast. Lombard rule was established over the principality of Benevento and later over the principalities of Salerno and Capua in the interior. As the Byzantine power waned, Naples, Sorrento, and Amalfi became largely self-governing. This politically fragmented condition made the conquest of Campania by the Normans fairly easy. Starting with the county of Aversa in 1030, they expanded in all directions until, by 1139, even Naples fell to them. Thenceforth, the region was governed by the Normans, and by the Hohenstaufens, Angevins, Aragonese, Spanish, and Bourbons as part of the Kingdom of Naples, or the Two Sicilies. In 1860 Campania joined united Italy. The Campania region was heavily bombed and damaged during World War II.
a region in northern Italy, lying between the lower Po River, the Apennines,
and the Adriatic Sea. Formerly called Emilia, it is bounded on the south
by Tuscany and the Marches, on the west by Liguria and Lombardy, on the
north by Lombardy and Veneto, and on the east by the Adriatic Sea. It has
an area of 8,542 square miles (22,124 sq km) and consists of the provinces
of Piacenza, Parma, Reggio nell'Emilia, Modena, Bologna, and Ferrara, all
in the Emilia district, and Forlì and Ravenna, in Romagna.
Geography. The region's topography is characterized by the Po Plain in the east and north and the Apennine highlands in the south. The rivers of Emilia-Romagna rise in the Apennine highlands and flow in a generally northeasterly direction. The Reno, Santerno, Senio, Montone, Ronco, Savio, and Marecchia rivers empty into the Adriatic, and the Trebbia, Taro, Enza, Secchia, and Panaro empty into the Po. Most of the rivers are little more than torrential streams which dry up partially in the summer and are seldom navigable, but they provide water for power and for the essential irrigation systems. The interior sections have a continental climate, with hot summers and cold winters. Along the sea, where the climate is generally milder, the average annual rainfall is less than 30 inches (750 mm), but considerably more rain falls in the mountain areas.
Economic Activities. Emilia has the highest value of agricultural production per capita in Italy. Cereals, sugar beet, hay, wine, and vegetables, especially tomatoes, are the chief products of the plain, and rice is grown in the marshy areas of the Po. Dairying and cheesemaking, particularly of Parmesan cheese, are significant. Flax, hemp, and mulberries are grown. Silkworm culture and the raising of poultry and pigs are also important. In the hills the growing of cereals, vines, olives, and fruit trees predominates, while on the mountains there are forests of oak and chestnut trees as well as extensive summer pastures for sheep.
The region's industrial activities are traditionally associated with food processing, but engineering and automobile production are also carried on. The discovery of natural gas in the plain and near Ravenna since World War II has revolutionized the region's industrial potential. Ravenna has a tanker port. There is salt extraction and fishing on the coast.
Population. The population of the region in 1991 was 3,899,170. The population is concentrated in the plains and along the route of the old Roman Via Aemilia, on which lie the cities of Rimini, Cesena, Forlì, Imola, Bologna, Modena, Reggio nell'Emilia, Parma, and Piacenza. Bologna (pop. 1991, 411,803) is the major center of the region.
History. Emilia is named from the Via Aemilia, laid out in 187 b.c. by the Roman Consul Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. Following the decline of the Roman Empire, the region was held by the Goths and then by the Byzantine Empire, which established the Exarchate of Ravenna in the area. The Lombards finally overcame the Exarchate in the eighth century and divided northern Italy into Longobardia and Romania (the Exarchate). The Lombards, in turn, were subdued by the Franks, whose kings Pepin and Charlemagne conferred upon the Holy See a not too clearly defined area including Romagna. However, the claims of the Holy See meant little against the power of the Holy Roman emperors and local feudal nobility, notably Countess Matilda of Canossa. In the cities, as a rule, the local bishops acquired a dominant political position, thus preparing the way for the communes of the 11th and 12th centuries. In effect, however, the emperors maintained their authority in the region until 1278, when Rudolf of Hapsburg recognized papal sovereignty. Even then the Holy See made little headway against the claims of self-rule of the various communes and noble families, several of whom, such as the Este, had established local dynasties. Early in the 16th century, Pope Alexander VI and his son Cesare Borgia sought to gain control of the region, but failed, as did the French soon after. From the mid-16th century the Church controlled the eastern part of the region, and from 1796 to 1814 it was subject to French hegemony. The pope's rule was restored in 1814 but was maintained against his rebellious subjects only by Austrian arms. In 1859 the Austrians withdrew, and in 1860 the region joined Piedmont in the new Kingdom of Italy.
Giulia, the most northeastern region of Italy. The region has an area of
3,029 square miles (7,846 sq km) and comprises the provinces of Udine,
Trieste, and Gorizia. It is bounded on the north by the Carnic Alps along
the Austrian border, on the east by Yugoslavia, on the west by the region
of Veneto in Italy, and on the south by the Gulf of Venice in the Adriatic
Sea. In the southeast, a narrow strip of coastal territory, only 3 to 4
miles (4.8-6.4 km) wide, links the city of Trieste with Italy.
The northern half of Friuli-Venezia Giulia is very mountainous, with elevations of over 9,000 feet (2,500 meters) in the Carnic Alps. It has shallow infertile soils, except in a few valleys, a continental type of climate, and the highest rainfall in Italy. The southern half is a low coastal plain with more fertile soils, a more moderate climate, and a less abundant rainfall. The largest river is the Tagliamento.
Lumbering and the raising of livestock are the principal activities in the mountains. In the foothills, vines and fruit trees, principally cherry trees, are grown. The high plain is poor farming land where corn is the chief crop. On the low plains cereals and corn are important.
At Predil lead and pitchblende are mined. There are cement and pottery industries at Pordenone. The silk industry, traditional to the region, has been linked with the cellulose industry to produce new textile materials. Engineering at Udine, shipbuilding at Trieste and Malfalcone, and a scattered number of food-processing, chemical, paper, and textile factories are also important. Trieste (pop. 1991, 231,047) and Udine (98,322) are the chief cities.
Once called the Julian region by the Romans, parts of Friuli-Venezia Giulia have been controlled in the past by such powers as the Byzantines, the Venetians, and the Hapsburgs. However, the actual region was not formed until 1947, when Udine province (formerly part of the Italian region of Veneto) and Gorizia province (a small part of the former Italian province of Venezia Giulia, the remainder of which was transferred to Yugoslavia and the Free Territory of Trieste after World War II) were combined. The province of Trieste was added in 1954, when the United Nations gave Italy the control of the northern half of the former Free Territory of Trieste, including the city of Trieste. Since 1963, the region has been semiautonomous. Pop. 1991, 1,193,520.
Lazio), a region on the westcentral coast of Italy, comprising the provinces
of Frosinone, Rieti, Latina, Rome, and Viterbo. It has an area of 6,642
square miles (17,203 sq km).
Originally the name Latium applied only to the land of the Latini, a tribal area of limited extent on the right bank of the Tiber River. Under Roman rule, Latium was extended to include the entire area between the Tiber and Savo rivers. The region's present boundaries were defined in 1927, with a minor change in 1945.
Topography. Latium has a varied and complex geological structure with three major types of relief. More than one third of central Latium consists of volcanic hills: the Volsini, Cimini, and Sabatini hills north of the Tiber and the Alban hills to the south. These hills contain many crater lakes, notably Bolsena, Vico, and Bracciano in the north and Albano and Nemi to the south. In the lowlands along the coast drainage is impeded by fossilized sand dunes and soil crusts. The eastern border of Latium is framed by limestone mountains that rise steeply from the Tiber Valley in the Sabine Mountains. The highest peak, Monte Viglio, has an elevation of 7,074 feet (2,156 meters). Further south are the Lefrini, Ausoni, and Aurinchi mountains.
Along the coast and in the Tiber Valley, the summers are hot and the winters cool. Winters are colder in the hills, and in the highlands the snow lasts for months. Rainfall varies from about 25 inches (635 mm) along the coast to nearly 75 inches (1,900 mm) in the mountains.
Population. Latium had a population of 5,031,020 in 1991. Its most densely populated communes are generally in the hills and mountains. The exceptions are Rome, which contains more than half the region's inhabitants; Civitavecchia, the only city of size aside from Rome; Anzio; Nettuno; and Gaeta. About 80 percent of the people live in urban centers.
Economic Resources. The economy of Latium is based on agriculture rather than industry. Cereals are produced extensively, although summer droughts lower the yields of wheat and corn (maize). Almost one third of the land is still held in large estates, and about one fourth of the land in small holdings of less than 12 acres (5 hectares). Specialized vineyards planted on the slopes of volcanic hills, olives, and other tree crops account for almost half the total value of agricultural production. About a third of the gross agricultural revenue comes from livestock, notably from sheep raised in the mountains and cattle bred near Rome.
Latium's industries are centered in Rome. Food processing and the manufacture of textiles, chemicals, and paper are the main activities. Asphalt is mined and marble is quarried. Fishing is carried on from Civitavecchia, Latium's chief port, and from Gaeta, Anzio, and Terracina. The tourist trade, also centered in Rome, is significant.
History. The name Latium originally applied only to the land on the left bank of the Tiber River near and below Rome. The region extended generally southeast from Etruria toward Campania. Inhabited by the Latini, a Latin-speaking people of whom the historic Romans were an offshoot, Latium became the cradle of the Roman Empire. Following the disappearance of the empire in the west in the fourth century, Latium was overrun by Germanic peoples (including Visigoths, Vandals, Ostrogoths, and Lombards), by Greeks of the Byzantine Empire, and by Arabs from North Africa. Latium became the nucleus of the States of the Church (Papal States). Constant strife and neglect until the late 15th century took much of the land of Latium out of cultivation; malaria and famine also helped depopulate the region. Only after Latium became part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1870 were remedial steps taken. Under the kingdom, especially during the Fascist period, progress was made in reclaiming and irrigating the land.
Liguria, a modern
region of Italy, coextensive with the historic region of that name. It
is a strip of land along the north shore of the Ligurian Sea (the Gulf
of Genoa), with an average width of 15 miles between the mountains (Maritime
Alps and Ligurian Apennines) and the sea. It extends from the French frontier
at Grimaldi to Tuscany on the east. Liguria comprises the provinces of
Imperia, Savona, Genoa, and La Spezia and has a total area of 2,091 square
miles. In Roman times the region extended as far east as the valley of
the Po. Later the name "Liguria" ceased to have any meaning as practically
all of the territory was under the hegemony of the Republic of Genoa. The
name was revived in 1797 when, in the wake of the French invasion of Italy,
Napoleon created the Ligurian Republic. The modern region came into existence
Topography. The entire region is undulating terrain, and the coast is generally rocky and studded with countless small indentations. The mountainous hinterland is framed by the Alps to the west and the Apennines to the east. The coastlands are divided into the Riviera di Levante, east of Genoa, and the Riviera di Ponente, west of Genoa. The former is a rocky coast, heavily forested, with an annual rainfall of 60 to 80 inches. The Riviera di Ponente is more sheltered with a drier, milder climate. The latter, particularly the area between Ventimiglia and Alassio, is deservedly called the flower garden of Liguria. Between the two coasts is the industrialized area of Genoa, sometimes called the Riviera Centrala. The mountains rise steeply behind the coast, with Monte Beigue, within 4 miles of the sea, reaching to 4,222 feet. From the French frontier to the Cadibona Pass (Col d'Altare) near Savona where they join the Apennines, the Alps present a formidable barrier, rising to summits of over 6,000 feet. The Apennines are crossed by more passes and low gaps, notably the passes of Turchino, Bocchetta, Giovi, and Scoffera. Further south, however, the Apennines broaden into four parallel ranges, rising in the interior to summits over 5,000 feet. Small rivers with steep courses cut deeply into the mountains making narrow valleys.
Economic Resources. Careful forest management since the 19th century has made Liguria one of the major timber areas of Italy. About half of the region is forested. The rugged terrain makes agriculture difficult, and only a small percentage of the population is engaged in farming. The sloping hills, however, have been terraced for the production of flowers, vegetables, and tree crops, and there small holdings predominate. Olives, vines, and fruit trees occupy about a quarter of the cultivated land, and the growing of flowers provides more than one third of the agricultural income. Some livestock is raised in the mountains and fishing is also of importance.
Manufacturing industries and commerce are the principal economic activities of Liguria. Metallurgical and engineering industries located along the coast at Genoa, La Spezia, and Savona employ more than half of the industrial labor force. Shipbuilding yards at these ports, iron and steel plants at Sestri Ponente, and coke plants outside of Savona are also notable. Food processing, especially the production of olive oil and sugar refining, is carried on, and ceramics, petroleum products, and chemicals are economically important. In recent years tourism has become a source of income. The leading resorts of the region are San Remo, Alassio, Varazze, Finale, and Rapallo.
Genoa is the leading ship-outfitting port on the Mediterranean, and the headquarters of several leading shipping companies. It is also the Italian port that handles the lar gest volume of freight annually, mostly in transshipment to and from northern Italy, Switzerland, and southern Germany.
Population. In 1991 Liguria had a population of 1,668,078. Population growth has been relatively slow in the region: 1,086,000 in 1871 and 1,735,349 in 1961. A relatively low birth rate has been compensated for by steady immigration, especially from the south. The population is concentrated in the coastal cities, particularly Genoa and its suburbs (pop. 1991, 805,000); La Spezia, developed as a naval base between 1857 and 1869 (101,701); and Savona (68,997). La Spezia is the foremost city of the Riviera di Levante, and Savona is the leading city of the Riviera di Ponente. Rapallo, Chiavari, and Sestri Levante are the leading towns of the former and Ventimiglia, Bordighera, San Remo, Imperia, Alassio, and Albenga are the principal towns of the latter.
Transportation. An electrified railway runs along the coast, and other lines operate inland from Savona to Turin, Genoa to Milan, and La Spezia to Parma. The region also has an extensive highway network.
History. Because of its many caves,
particularly around Ventimiglia, Liguria has a long record of human habitation,
going back at least to the last interglacial epoch. By the fifth century
b.c., Genoa was the marketplace of the Ligures. The Romans made their appearance
during the First Punic War, and confirmed their occupation after the Second
Punic War. Little is known of the Gothic, Byzantine, Lombard, and Frankish
occupations. Raids and outright invasions by the Saracens from Sicily and
North Africa were a constant source of danger during the early Middle Ages.
During this period, the power of the feudal aristocracy was progressively diminished by the local bishops and by the growth of municipal liberties. Foremost among the cities was Genoa, which by the twelfth century had consolidated its position, expanded its trade, and started on its course of colonial aggrandizement. In Liguria, Genoa tended to dominate other towns, as well as feudal lords, though not without long resistance from them. Genoa's territorial expansion eastward brought it into direct conflict with Lucca and Florence in the early fifteenth century, Pisa having already been eliminated as a rival a hundred years earlier. By the sixteenth century, the process of establishing Genoese hegemony may be said to have become fairly complete. Early in the Napoleonic period, Liguria was recognized as a republic, but in 1805 was annexed to the French Empire. In 1814, it was united to the Kingdom of Sardinia as the Duchy of Genoa; and, in 1861, Liguria became part of the Kingdom of Italy. By the treaty concluded at Paris on Feb. 10, 1947, after the end of World War II, Italy ceded to France a narrow strip along the Ligurian border, up to 3 miles (5 km) wide and 10 miles (16 km) long, extending from north of Sospello to south of Briga.
a modern and a historic region of northern Italy. It is bounded on the
north by Switzerland, on the west by Piedmont and Lake Maggiore, on the
south by Emilia-Romagna and Liguria, and on the east by Veneto. It has
a total area of 9,202 square miles (23,834 sq km) and consists of the provinces
of Varese, Como, Sondrio, Milan, Bergamo, Brescia, Mantua, Cremona, and
Pavia. It is not clearly defined by natural features, and its area has
fluctuated widely during its history. Its present form was essentially
shaped in 1815.
Geography. The region, divided into the three physical zones of the Alps, the hills, and the plain, has a marked diversity of relief. In the Bernina Alps the maximum altitude is 13,304 feet (4,055 meters). The pre-Alps are generally lower, with some peaks below 8,000 feet (2,400 meters). Moraines and other glacial material constitute the hills, often damming the numerous lakes. The largest of these lakes are Maggiore, Lugano, Como, Iseo, and Garda, the last the largest lake in Italy. Below the high plain are springs that feed the rivers of the Po Plain. They make a zone of transition to the low plain that extends to the Po, there joined by its major tributaries, the Ticino, Adda, Oglio, and Mincio rivers.
The climate is continental, with hot summers and cold winters on the plains. Rainfall varies largely according to altitude, from 24 inches (610 mm) in the lowlands to over 75 inches (1,900 mm) in the mountains.
Population. In 1991 the population was 8,831,264, making Lombardy Italy's most populous region and the most densely populated. The population is unevenly distributed, with heavy concentrations in the industrialized area of the upper plains and hills. This is a reversal of medieval times when the low plain was the most densely settled area, with notable historic centers such as Pavia, Cremona, and Mantua. Epidemics severely affected Lombardy's population in the 15th and 17th centuries. Since industrialization, however, the population has grown sharply: 2,300,000 in 1815, 4,287,000 in 1901, and 7,406,152 in 1961. More than one fourth of the population is concentrated in and around Milan.
Economic Life. Lombardy is the foremost industrial and commercial region in Italy, and one of its richest agricultural areas. Almost 60 percent of the Po Plain is irrigated, much of it for meadows and rice fields. An elaborate system of canals and ditches has developed since the Naviglio Grande was built in the 12th century. Rice, wheat, corn, sugar beets, potatoes, and hemp are the principal crops of the plain. In the hills there is silk-rearing and viticulture, and cattle are raised in the Alpine pastures.
Some of Italy's largest iron and steel producers and the greatest number of metalworking plants are located in Lombardy. Armament production has also had a long history in the region. Milan, Sesto, San Giovanni, Bergamo, and Brescia are the major industrial centers. Woolen mills located at the mouths of the Alpine valleys, notably at Monza; cotton mills, which are scattered over the high plain and in Milan; and rayon and clothing factories in and around Milan are all economically important. Lombardy also has many chemical industries. Rich fields of natural gas are being exploited northwest of Cremona and there are important hydroelectric plants in the Alps.
History. In modern times, the region
of Lombardy is an arbitrary administrative unit corresponding only roughly
to any historical entity. Originally inhabited by Umbrians, Etruscans,
and Celts, it became subject to Rome after the Second Punic War. The invasions
that followed the decay of the Empire left their mark, notably that of
the Lombards, who gave their name to the area they ruled from a.d. 568
to 774. Frankish rule continued until 888; after this came a period of
confusion from which the German emperors in the next century sought to
lift the region. This was the time of bishop-counts who prepared the way
in the cities for the communes. Unhappily, the latter, by warring among
themselves, attracted the attention of Frederick Barbarossa. At first,
some of the cities, led by Milan, helped the Emperor against the rebels.
But in time, and under the influence of the Papacy, they joined in the
Lombard League, which defeated the Emperor at Legnano in 1176 and obliged
him to recognize their autonomy in the Peace of Constance, 1183. This victory
did not prevent the rival groups and classes in the various Lombard cities
from rallying around the Guelph (papal) and Ghibelline (imperial) standards,
with disturbing effects on the tranquillity of the communes.
By the 14th century these conflicts were being resolved by the establishment of overlordships, called the signorie, by strong men or families, who in several cases eventually set up local dynasties. Among these were the Visconti and Sforza in Milan, where a duchy was created; the Bonacolsi and Gonzaga in Mantua, where first a marquisate and later a duchy were established; the Colleoni and Suardi in Bergamo; and the Rusconi in Como. Milan acquired wealth and territory at the expense of her neighbors, but in turn lost Brescia and Bergamo to Venice.
The French invasions of Charles VIII and Louis XII threw Lombardy into confusion, and between 1500 and 1535 the Duchy of Milan had seven rulers. From 1535 to 1713 it was under Spanish domination, after losing territory to Venice, the Grisons, and the Canton Ticino. Spanish rule was corrupt and deadening; in the Treaty of Utrecht it was replaced by that of the Hapsburgs. The latter ruled until 1859, with two interludes. The first began with the French invasion of 1796, followed by the proclamation of the Cisalpine Republic in 1797. In 1802 this was converted into the Italian Republic, and in 1805 into the Kingdom of Italy, with Napoleon assuming the ancient "iron crown." The second interlude came in 1848, when, at the end of the period of Austrian repression associated with the name of Metternich, the Hapsburg forces were briefly driven out by the local inhabitants and the Piedmontese army, only to return in 1849. Lombardy was finally freed in 1859 by a Franco-Piedmontese army and accepted Victor Emmanuel II as king.
known in Italian as Le Marche, is a region in central Italy. In 1817 the
Marches was divided into the provinces of Ancona, Ascoli Piceno, Macerata,
Pesaro e Urbino. The capital of the region is the city of Ancona. The Marches
covers an area of 3,742 square miles (9,692 sq km).
Geography. The region is roughly rectangular, with a nearly straight coastline of 100 miles (160 km), broken in the middle by the promontory of Ancona and Monte Conero. The interior boundary with Umbria follows approximately the watershed between the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian drainage systems formed by the Umbro-Marchigiani Apennines. The latter reach their highest points in the Monti Sibillini, behind Ascoli Piceno, with elevations of some 8,000 feet (2,400 meters). The region is mostly mountainous or hilly, with a rather narrow coastal plain and restricted river valleys. The average distance between the coast and the divide is about 40 miles (64 km), which means that the numerous rivers are short. The important ones, from north to south, are the Foglia, Metauro, Cesano, Misa, Esino, Musano, Potenza, Chienti, Tenna, Aso, and Tronto. Disastrous floods sometimes occur in these streams after cloudbursts.
Climate. The climate varies according to altitude, the higher zones having cold and snowy winters. There is also a marked difference, due to the "elbow" on the coast, formed by Monte Conero -- to the north the winds, and consequently the general temperature, are much colder than to the south, and rainfall is less abundant. Annual precipitation is also much influenced by altitude and varies from 25 to 30 inches (635-750 mm) on the coast to more than 40 inches (1,000 mm) in the mountains.
Population. The population of the
Marches was 1,427,666 in 1990. Density is greatest along the coastal hills,
where it is 500 or more persons per square mile (1,295 per sq km), but
in the interior it is under 250 (647 per sq km). Towns are small except
for Ancona (pop. 1990, 103,268), the chief industrial center of the Marches
and the one port of any size between Bari and Venice. The towns are located
in three series. A few are on the coast, notably Pesaro (pop. 1990, 78,700),
a resort. Some 6 miles (10 km) from the coast are market towns such as
Iesi (40,380), Chieti (57,535), and Fermo (17,700). Another series of towns
lies 15 to 20 miles (24-32 km) inland, including Urbino (7,900), Macerata
(34,300), and Ascoli Piceno (43,100). Emigration to Rome and other more
favored areas has been traditional.
Economy. Agriculture employs some two thirds of the active population. The land is divided into small farms, and mezzadria, the sharing of the proceeds by the owner and tenant farmer, is prevalent. Natural conditions are not particularly favorable, but man has exerted much energy in creating a pattern of intense production. Much use is made of irrigation in the lower valleys. About one third of the area is normally planted in cereals, chiefly wheat, with some corn grown on the clay plateaus. Vines are important on the sandy lower hills. There are good traditional wines, but new vineyards have tended to produce more dessert grapes. Fruits, mulberries, hay, vegetables, and tobacco are other important crops grown on or near the coast. The Marches have more horned cattle than any other region of the peninsula, and the beef and draft cattle are famous. Fishing, carried on along the coast, is the second major occupation. San Beneditto del Tronto is the leading fishing port.
Manufacturing tends to be small and traditional. Silk is made at Iesi and Fossombrone, paper at Fabriano, musical instruments at Castelfidaro and Macerata, majolicas (glazed pottery) at Pesaro and Urbino, and furniture at Ancona. There are, however, larger, modern industries such as carbide and cyanimide works at Ascoli Piceno, a liquid oxygen plant at Chiaravalle, superphosphates works at Porto Recanati, and a naval shipyard at Ancona.
Two main railroads cross the region, the Bologna-Brindisi line along the coast and the Rome-Ancona line. There are many roads and some improved highways.
History. The early Umbrian, Picene, and Gallic inhabitants were subjugated by Rome, and the area was colonized by Roman settlers in the third century b.c. After the decline of the empire in the west, the coastal zone became part of the Exarchate of Ravenna, subject to the Byzantine Empire, and was known as the Pentapolis Maritima (Rimini, Pesaro, Fano, Senigallia, and Ancona). The Frankish monarchs, after destroying Lombard power, gave the area to the Church (752 to 774). Feudal practices, meanwhile, became entrenched, and it was long before the Church could overcome them and impose its own rule. The German emperors, beginning in the tenth century, created frontier or "march" areas: Camerino, Fermo, and Ancona. Also, communal governments were arising in some of the towns, and feudal families in the countryside. Conflicts inevitably took place between these local forces, as well as with those from the outside, the Holy Roman Empire and the Holy See never renouncing their claims. Political confusion resulted, but this did not halt the intense artistic and cultural activity or widespread prosperity. Among the more important feudal families were the Montefeltro of Urbino, the Varano of Camerino, the Malatesta of Pesaro, and the Sforza of Milan. Early in the 16th century, Cesare Borgia sought to unite the area under his rule by conquest of the smaller domains and their rulers. He prepared the way for the papacy, which established its control throughout the Marches and maintained it, except during the years of the Napoleonic upheaval, until 1860, despite revolutionary outbreaks in 1831, 1848-1849, and 1859.
Molise, a region
of south-central Italy, located on the Adriatic Sea between the regions
of Apulia, on the southeast, and Abruzzi, on the northwest. It has an area
of 1,713 square miles (4,438 sq km) and comprises the provinces of Campobasso,
along the coast, and Isernia, in the interior. The region straddles the
Apennine Mountains, and is essentially a mountain zone. Its western province
contains the upper basin of the Volturno River and drains into the Tyrrhenian
Sea. Campobasso lies in the Adriatic watershed, within the basins of the
Tronto, Biferno, and Fortore rivers. The highest elevation is in the southwest.
Winters are cold and wet, and snow often lingers on the peaks until June.
Campobasso and Isernia, the two provincial capitals, both in the mountains, and the small port of Termoli are the only towns. Economic activities are the growing of potatoes and wheat and the raising of livestock. Historically, the name Molise apparently originated in the Middle Ages. Lombards controlled the area until it was invaded by Normans in the 11th century, and a Norman county of Molise was created. After the first quarter of the 13th century Molise, along with neighboring Abruzzi, was successively under Angevin, Aragonese, Spanish, and Bourbon rule. With the establishment of modern Italy, the region of Abruzzi e Molise was organized; in 1963 the separate region of Molise was established. Pop. 1991, 327,893.
Piemonte), the second largest region of Italy and the base from which the
House of Savoy reunited the country. The region includes the provinces
of Alessandria, Asti, Cuneo, Novara, Torino, and Vercelli; it has an area
of 9,807 square miles (25,400 sq km) and is bounded on the west by France
(after World War II Piedmont lost four small border districts to France),
on the north by Switzerland and the Val d'Aosta (a semi-autonomous area
that was formerly part of the old Piedmontese province of Aosta), on the
east by Lombardy, and on the south by Liguria. The southern boundary approximates
the divide formed by the Maritime Alps and the Ligurian Apennines.
Geography. Piedmont is the most alpine of the Italian regions. Half of its area lies within a great arc of mountains formed by the Graian, Cottian, and Pennine Alps to the west and north and the Maritime Alps to the south. These mountains, notably Monte Bianco (Mont Blanc) and Monte Rosa rise to over 15,000 feet (4,600 meters). They are drained by the upper Po and its tributaries, chief of which are the Tanaro, Dora Riparia, Dora Baltea, and the Ticino. The Po valley widens below Turin in a sweep of rich agricultural lands around the Monferrato hills, which are also noted for their vineyards. There is a marked contrast between the cold continental climate of the mountains and the mild conditions of the plain where rainfall is distributed evenly throughout the year.
Population. The population of Piedmont has increased rapidly in the last century. Recent growth has been mainly the result of an influx into Turin and other cities from outside the region. There has also been considerable rural emigration, however, from the mountains into France and Switzerland. The population distribution is very uneven with the highest rural densities on the irrigated lowlands. Urban concentration is around Turin and the market towns between Ivrea and Biella. Around Lake Maggiore are tourist resorts. Regional centers are Novara, Vercelli, Alessandria, and Cuneo. Pop. 1991, 4,290,412.
Economic Life. About two-thirds of Piedmont's mountain area has poor resources with only lumber and livestock economies. Rural depopulation is severe. In the lower alpine valleys agriculture is intensive and hydroelectric power promotes local industries. Cereal crops predominate on the plain, with specialized rice growing in the Vercelli area, and rotation grass elsewhere supporting an important livestock industry. Winemaking, particularly vermouth, is carried on in the Monferrato hills.
Woolen textiles, concentrated chiefly in the Biella district, have traditional economic importance, and Piedmont still produces about half the national output. Cotton mills around Turin and artificial silk plants at Verrès and Chatillon are also notable. Iron ore in the Aosta valley first promoted a metallurgical industry, but today the major industry is engineering, centered at Turin. F.I.A.T., the chief plant, is one of Europe's largest industrial enterprises with, in addition to automobiles, a wide range of manufacturing, shipping, and oil interests. Food products are a third area of activity. There are also chemical, wood, nonmetallic minerals, paper, rubber, and leather manufactures. Nearly a third of the population is engaged in industry and trade.
Transportation. Piedmont is well supplied with railways and highways, including the autostrada between Turin, Milan, and Brescia. The Fréjus Tunnel carries a main railway line to France, and the Simlon Tunnel connects Italy with Switzerland. In 1962 a tunnel was completed under Mt. Blanc, linking Courmayeur, Italy, with Chamonix, France. Most of Piedmont's seaborn traffic passes through Savona and Genoa.
History. The Piedmont region was
inhabited by Ligurians, Gauls, and others in pre-Roman times. It was traversed
by the invading Carthaginian forces of Hannibal in the Second Punic War,
at the conclusion of which Rome made it part of Gallia Transpadana. When
the empire disintegrated, northwest Italy was invaded by Germanic peoples,
principally the Lombards and Franks. After the disruption of the Carolingian
Empire in 888, Piedmont fell under three great feudal houses: Ivrea, Turin,
and Monferrato. Of these, Turin succeeded in imposing its rule on the others.
By 1045 the March of Turin included considerable tracts in the upper Po
Valley and an outlet to the sea at Albenga. In that year the last Marquis
of Turin's daughter married the son of Count Umberto Biancamano, lord of
extensive lands in the Val d'Aosta and Savoy. From then until 1946 his
house furnished an uninterrupted line of 18 counts, 14 dukes, and 10 kings.
Beginning in the 11th century, the power of the counts was diminished by the rise of communes in a number of Piedmontese cities. Upon the decline of the latter, some of the feudal families reasserted themselves, while the House of Savoy divided into three territorial branches, not reunited until 1418. A confused period followed in which the rulers who had become dukes failed to take advantage of dynastic opportunities in Lombardy, Monferrato, and Saluzzo. These opportunities were seized instead by France and Spain. In the 16th century, however, Emmanuel Philibert, military ally of Charles V and Philip II, definitely oriented his house away from Savoy and toward Piedmont. He set up his capital in Turin. His successor, Charles Emmanuel I (1580-1630), acquired Saluzzo in 1601. He sought unsuccessfully to conquer Monferrato, not annexed until 1714.
Victor Amadeus (1675-1730) was accorded the title of king in 1713, first of Sicily, later of Sardinia. His son, Charles Emmanuel III (1730-1773), utilized his strong strategic position among the Great Powers to push his frontiers to the Ticino and Trebbia rivers in the east, thus completing the unification of Piedmont. He also abolished many of the old feudal rights and duties, a policy which his reactionary son Victor Amadeus III (1773-1796) was unable entirely to reverse. French armies invaded the country in 1796 and for 16 years Piedmont was under French hegemony, some of the time as an integral part of the Napoleonic empire.
The House of Savoy, which had sought refuge in Sardinia, returned to Turin in 1814 and tried to restore pre-revolutionary conditions. This inevitably created a reaction which led to a revolt in 1821, resulting in the abdication of Victor Emmanuel I. His successor, Charles Felix, put down the revolt with Austrian help. In 1831 the elder branch of the House of Savoy became extinct and Charles Albert of Savoy-Carignan became king. Of less reactionary inclinations, he permitted concessions to liberalism, culminating in the Statuto of March 1848. He also declared war on Austria, but on his defeat at Novara in 1849 he abdicated. It fell to his successor, Victor Emmanuel II, and his prime minister Cavour to build a united Italy on the basis of the Piedmontese dynasty, army, and administrative system.
Sardegna), the second largest island of the Mediterranean, off the west
coast of the Italian peninsula immediately south of Corsica (see Map
1). Sardinia, together with the islands off
its shores, forms a region of Italy with an area of 9,301 square miles
(24,089 sq km), divided into the provinces of Cagliari, Nuoro, and Sassari.
The city of Cagliari is the capital. The island is 170 miles (270 km) long
from Point Falcone, in the north, to Cape Teulada, in the south; and its
average width is about 60 miles (95 km). The total length of the coastline
is nearly 830 miles (1,300 km). However, the island is deficient in good
harbors, the northeast coast being the exception.
Geography. Sardinia is mainly mountainous but without distinct ranges. The terrain is rugged, except in the southern Campidano region, the one important lowland. Granite predominates in the eastern half, rising in a compact mass of elevated plateaus to the mountains of the Gennargentu region, where the summit of Punta La Marmora (6,017 feet; 1,834 meters) marks the highest point on Sardinia. In the northeast are the granite plateaus of Gallura, and in the southeast, the Sarrabus highlands. The Campidano lowland extends across the island diagonally, linking the Gulf of Cagliari in the south with the Gulf of Oristano on the west coast. It consists in fact of two campidani: the younger plain, elevated above the sea only in recent geologic time and still being drained of surface waters in the marshy lower Tirso valley; and the higher rolling relief, composed of older sediments and eroded into hills and valleys. In the southwest, the mountains of the Iglesiente region rise to over 4,000 feet (1,200 meters). In the northwest are plateaus of volcanic deposits, together with tilted blocks of limestone.
There are over 26,000 springs on the island, many of which originate in cavernous limestone or are hot springs, typical of volcanic areas. In a program of water control, some 200 lakes have been formed since 1907, with major reservoirs constructed on the Tirso River and its tributaries, the Coghinas, Flumendosa, Posada, Palmas, Cixerri, and Cuga rivers. Dams are also being constructed on the Cedrino, Temo, Vignola, Araxisi, and Flumineddu rivers. The Mannu River is another principal stream of the island. There is a major power and irrigation project on the Flumendosa River.
Climate. The climate of Sardinia is typically Mediterranean. There is a long period of summer drought followed by marked rainfall between December and February. As over two-thirds of the island is hilly, the rainfall is relatively heavy for a Mediterranean environment, ranging from 24 inches (610 mm) on the lowlands to more than 40 inches (1,000 mm) in the mountainous regions.
Population. The population of Sardinia according to the 1991 census was 1,637,705. The average density of about 176 per square mile (68 per sq km) is one of the lowest in Italy, and in some areas, such as the northeastern province of Nuoro, the density is only about 97 per square mile (38 per sq km). The great majority of the people live in compact villages and small towns. It is only in the districts of Nurra, Gallura, Sulcis, and Sarrabus that colonization movements of the 16th and later centuries encouraged isolated farms to develop. Owing to threats of piracy and malaria near the coast, the villages of Sardinia became concentrated in the interior, often near the sites of prehistoric towerlike structures, called nuraghi, of which some 6,500 ruins have been identified. There are only two cities of any size: Cagliari (pop. 1991, 211,719) and Sassari (120,011). Cagliari is the seat of the autonomous regional government of Sardinia and the chief port. It has chemical works associated with the nearby salt industry, paper and flour mills, food factories, and tanneries. Sassari is primarily an agricultural market and has food-processing activities. Smaller centers of note are La Maddalena, a naval base; Alghero, a popular resort; and Iglesias and Carbonia, the chief mining centers.
Economic Life. Agriculture, although the leading occupation of Sardinia, claims a much smaller proportion of the land than in any of the other regions of peninsular Italy. Spontaneous vegetation covers 67 percent of Sardinia; most of it is in permanent pasture while only 5 percent is woodland and 10 percent is in Mediterranean brush, or macchia. At least half of the total agricultural production is from livestock products, and there are almost three million sheep and goats on the island. Only about one third of the productive land is cultivated. Hard wheat is the chief grain, and potatoes, vines, olives, citrus fruits, almonds, and vegetables are also important. Many of the crops, however, have yields below those of the national average. Sardinia leads all Italy in the production of cork oak. The processing of meat, milk, cheese and a coarse fleece called orbace, used to stuff mattresses, are important. Wine, often with a high alcoholic content, is also produced.
Mineral production is Sardinia's main industry and is concentrated in the Iglesiente mountains of the southwest. Mining dates from prehistory, perhaps from the time of the nuraghi builders and certainly from the period of Phoenician and Roman domination. Montefioni and Montevecchio are famous mines of the Renaissance and later. The modern mining of lead, zinc, antimony, manganese, and iron ores (in that order of importance) began after 1887. Today, lead and zinc form the bulk of the output and both have good future reserves. The Sulcis coalfield is the third mineral producer but has brown coal of low fuel value. Recent surveys indicate considerable iron ore reserves in the Nurra, and production there is being expanded. Salt pans at Cagliari and Carloforte account for almost half of the national production.
The Sardinians traditionally have not been interested in fishing. Tuna are caught in considerable quantities, especially off the west coast, but this is done primarily by the Sicilians and Genoese. The chief center is Carloforte.
The principal railway line runs from Olbia through Oristano to Cagliari; and branch lines connect with Sassari, Portotorres, Iglesias, and other points on the island. There are also several hundred miles of narrow-gauge lines and private mineral lines. The highway system has been improved in recent years. There are few seaports. The three chief commercial ports are Cagliari, Terranova Pausania, and Porto Torres. Cagliari's artificial harbor handles most of the lead, zinc, and salt shipping. Terranova handles most of the mail and passenger traffic to the mainland port of Civitavecchia. Porto Torres is the outlet for Sassari and the Nurra iron mines and has steamship connections with Genoa. There are four airfields, two near Cagliari and two in the northwest near Sassari and Alghero.
Sardinia has long been one of the most underdeveloped areas of Italy but now appears to have brighter prospects. After World War II the entire island was sprayed with DDT, and malaria, which had long plagued the island, was eradicated in 1952. Major reclamation works, begun in the Fascist era, have been completed and land reform agencies have made a major impact since the 1950's with the creation of new settlements and improved communications. Tourism is beginning to have a considerable influence on the economy.
History. Archaeologists are still
seeking the answers to some of the riddles posed by the island's prehistory,
in particular by the nuraghi, the prehistoric towerlike structures that
dot the landscape. While the origin and nature of the culture that built
them are uncertain, it had expansive energies, for objects of early Sardinian
manufacture have been found in Corsica and Sicily. The historical period
begins in the first millennium b.c. with the arrival of the Phoenicians,
who established several colonies. Later the Carthaginians took over and
extended these colonies. The Romans followed between the First and Second
Punic Wars and held Sardinia until it was overrun by the Vandals in the
middle of the fifth century of the Christian Era. Belisarius put an end
to Vandal power in 534 and established Byzantine rule, which proved vexatious
and largely ineffec tive. Further Germanic attempts at invasion were
repelled, but the force of Arab attacks was not so easily resisted.
Sardinia was virtually independent from the eighth to the twelfth centuries, being divided into four regions or giudicati: Cagliari, Torres, Arborea, and Gallura. But the island was not allowed to develop in peace, for it became an object of Pisan and Genoese imperialism. At first Pisa established her hegemony in the south and east, Genoa in the north and west. Eventually Genoa gained complete control, only to be attacked in 1323 by the forces of Aragon, who invaded Sardinia with the encouragement of the Pope, one of the claimants to the island. However, Aragonese rule was not imposed upon the local population until after many years of warfare, and the island was not thoroughly subjugated until 1478. The joint rule of Ferdinand and Isabella began the following year, and until 1700 Sardinia languished under Spanish despotism and negligence. During the War of the Spanish Succession, Archduke Charles of Austria conquered the island, gaining possession by the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. Four years later Spain reconquered Sardinia, but in the Treaty of London, 1718, it was turned over to Victor Amadeus II of Savoy, who took possession in 1720, assuming the title King of Sardinia, which was borne by his successors until the formation of the Kingdom of Italy.
Under the House of Savoy the island began its long and slow regeneration, economically and socially. A French naval attack in 1793 failed, and in 1798 Charles Emmanuel IV took refuge in Cagliari after having been driven out of Turin. During the reign of Charles Albert (1831-1849), many of the remaining feudal privileges and servitudes were abolished, and in 1847 Sardinia was united with the continental domains of the House of Savoy, thus permitting it to participate in the benefits of the Constitution (Statuto) of 1848.
Sicily, an Italian
island in the Mediterranean off the tip of the Italian peninsula. At the
Strait of Messina, Sicily is only 2 miles (3 km) from Calabria, on the
Italian mainland, and on the southwest it is about 90 miles (140 km) from
Cape Bon in Tunisia on the North African coast. It has a roughly triangular
shape, marked at its corners by the following headlands: Cape Boeo or Lilibeo
at the western corner, Faro Point at the northeastern corner, and Cape
Passero at the southeastern corner. The island, which has an area of 9,831
square miles (25,462 sq km), is the largest in the Mediterranean Sea.
Sicily is one of the 19 regions into which Italy is divided for purposes of administration. The capital of this region is Palermo, and within its jurisdiction are several adjacent islands and archipelagoes: the Egadi Islands (west), Ustica and the Lipari Islands (north), the Pelagian Islands (south), and Pantellaria (southwest). The region of Sicily, now the largest of Italy, has a total area of 9,926 square miles (25,708 sq km). The provinces of Sicily are Messina, Catania, Syracuse (Siracusa), Ragusa, Agrigento, Caltanissetta, Enna, Palermo, and Trapani.
Topography. In general the topography of Sicily is hilly or mountainous. The average elevation is about 1,450 feet (440 meters), and about two thirds of the land is over 1,000 feet (300 meters) above sea level. The highest peak is the isolated, still active volcano of Etna, or Mongibello, 10,902 feet (3,323 meters), on the east coast. The main chain of mountains runs from Faro Point westward across two thirds of the island, parallel with the north coast. These mountains consist of three principal ranges: from east to west, the Peloritani, the Nebrodi or Caronie, and the Madonie. These mountains rarely exceed 5,000 feet (1,500 meters). A southern spur of this principal massif is formed by the Monti Erei, in the middle of the island. In the southeast are the Monti Iblei, attaining altitudes over 3,000 feet (900 meters). Elsewhere the terrain is hilly, with only a few plains. Along the Tyrrhenian Sea, coastal plains are either nonexistent or very narrow, except in a few favored places, such as around Palermo. The east coast north of Catania is very steep, but south of that city lies the Plain of Catania. This is formed by the alluvium of several streams; some of it is quite swampy, and on its southern side is Lake Lentini. Along the south coast, narrow plains are not infrequent, and at the western end of the island is the largest lowland of all -- between Menfi and Trapani.
Climate. The climate is generally mild, owing to maritime influences. Summers are usually no hotter than in central Italy or the Po Valley, though winters are more moderate. Snow is common only at the higher elevations. A peculiarity of the Sicilian climate is the sirocco, a hot, dry, often dust-laden wind that occasionally blows from Africa, with depressing and enervating effect on human beings. Rainfall tends to be irregular and deficient, especially along the coasts, where most of the people live. Practically all of the rain comes in the fall and winter, and the volume varies widely from year to year.
In 1991 the population of Sicily was 4,961,383, making it the fourth most populated region of Italy and one of the most densely populated, with 505 persons per square mile (193 per sq km). In 1871 the population was 2,584,000, and it had increased to 3,529,799 by 1901. Between 1901 and 1921, however, the population was relatively stationary because of heavy emigration overseas. The maximum outflow was attained in 1966, with 127,000 emigrants.
The population is distributed very irregularly, with areas of the highest density immediately adjacent to others of very low density. The high densities are not always around cities; several are in essentially rural districts, others in mining areas. As in southern Italy, the people tend to congregate in urban centers. Only about 10 percent live in scattered dwellings. There are three cities with populations in excess of 270,000: Palermo, Catania, and Messina.
Ethnically the people of Sicily represent a mixture of many elements -- Sicilian, Greek, Carthaginian, Roman, Arab, Berber, Norman, Spanish, and others. During the period of Muslim rule, one third of the population is believed to have been of North African origin. In general they tend to be short, stocky, and of a swarthy complexion, with dark hair and eyes. One aim of the Sicilian land-reform program is to reduce the high rate of illiteracy from its current level of between a fourth and a third of the population.
Agriculture. Despite the urban character of Sicily's population, the island's economy is predominantly agricultural. In ancient times Sicily grew both wheat and grapes. The latter were little cultivated under Arab rule; instead, rice, cotton, sugarcane, saffron, citrus fruits, and other exotic plants were introduced from Africa and the Levant. The Arabs also started the use of irrigation and the intensive cultivation of gardens. Approximately one half of the working population of the island is engaged in agriculture. Sicily has a higher percentage of land in sown crops and wheat than any other region in Italy, but is next to the lowest in productivity per acre, because of climatic conditions and backward farming methods. Normally Sicily produces one third of Italy's rye, 10 percent of her wheat, and one eighth of her olive oil. Only Apulia produces more olive oil. Grapes are grown in quantity, and one twelfth of Italy's wine comes from Sicily, which is noted for strong wines, such as the Marsala, Corso, and Etna.
It is in citrus fruits, particularly lemons and oranges, that Sicily ranks first in Italy. Flax is widely cultivated, and the growing of cotton has become important in recent years. Sheep, goats, and mules are raised in small numbers.
Other Industries. About one third of the Sicilian labor force is employed in nonagricultural industries, including mining and fishing.
The rich oil fields discovered near Gela and Ragusa in the 1950's provide the island's chief mineral resource. Natural gas is found near Catania. The Sicilian sulfur mines were formerly very profitable, but high production costs and foreign competition have depressed the industry. Other mineral resources include asphalt, potash, and salt.
The most important manufacturing industries are oil refining and production of petrochemicals. Shipbuilding and the manufacture of cement and other building materials, fertilizers, and pharmaceuticals are also significant. Handicraft articles in stone, wood, and textiles are sold to the many tourists who come to Sicily.
The waters around Sicily teem with fish, especially tunny, and about one fourth of Italy's fishing boats sail from Sicilian ports.
Transportation. The island is fairly well provided with railway and highway networks, a notable exception being the northern mountain chain. Through-railway traffic with continental Italy is provided by train ferries across the Strait of Messina. The chief ports, in order of their importance, are Palermo, Catania, Messina, and Syracuse. Smaller ports are Marsala and Trapani.
Relatively little is known about the Sicani and the Siculi, who inhabited the island in the Neolithic Age. Colonists from Greece came in large numbers during the eighth and seventh centuries b.c., founding Syracuse, Catania, Messina, Gela, and other cities. These in time came under the hegemony of Syracuse, which led them victoriously against the native Siculi and the invading Carthaginians. The jealousy of Athens brought on a conflict in which the Athenians suffered defeat. The high point of Greek civilization in Sicily came under Dionysius I (c. 430-367 b.c.), Tyrant of Syracuse. Thereafter it declined, despite momentary revivals under Timoleon, Agathocles, and Pyrrhus, and at last the island was unable to fend off invasion by Carthage.
In 264 b.c. Roman troops entered Sicily, and at the end of the ensuing First Punic War (264-241 b.c.) the island, except Syracuse, became Rome's first province. In the Second Punic War, Syracuse, allied with Carthage, was taken by the consul Marcellus, and all of Sicily became Roman. Under Roman rule the island became an important granary for the metropolis. Great estates were worked by slaves, and in general Sicily was exploited and impoverished.
The fall of the Roman Empire exposed Sicily to the Vandals, Ostrogroths, and Byzantines. The last maintained their rule for over three centuries after Belisarius' conquest in 535; but in 826 the Arabs began to invade the island and by 901 had overcome the last resistance. Under the two successive dynasties -- the Aghlabites and the Fatimites -- Sicily bade fair to become Arabized and Muslimized. Under the Fatimites the island was ruled by an emir at Palermo and enjoyed prosperity and a cultural revival.
However, in time, Arab rule was weakened by internal decay and conflict, thus opening the way for the energetic Count Roger d'Hauteville, who in 1060 began the Norman occupation of Sicily, finally completed in 1090. Under Roger II (r. 1130-1154) Palermo was the capital of a kingdom that included not only southern Italy but parts of Greece, and enjoyed a reputation as a great intellectual center where the Christian and Islamic cultures were blended. Under Frederick II (r. 1211-1250) Palermo reached even greater heights of splendor and artistic renown.
When Conradin, last of Frederick's three Hohenstaufen successors, had been executed in Naples in 1268, Sicily fell under the sway of Charles of Anjou. French rule proved most oppressive and was ended in the bloody uprising that began with the "Sicilian Vespers" in 1282. The Sicilian parliament called in the Aragonese, related by marriage to the Hohenstaufen, but found most of the monarchs in this line to be unsatisfactory. In the 14th century Sicily came under Spanish rule, Peter IV of the Spanish house of Aragon acquiring the island in 1377. Spanish rule was inefficient, cruel and corrupt, and only in the 19th century was the island finally freed from Spain.
Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Although Sicily and Naples had been temporarily united under the Normans in the 12th century, the formal establishment of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, as the united kingdom of Naples and Sicily was known, was not achieved until 1442 after the conquest of Naples by Alfonso of Aragon. The kingdom was divided shortly thereafter, but the two states were reunited in 1504 under Ferdinand of Aragon, king of Spain.
The 18th century saw many changes in the position of Sicily; by the Peace of Utrecht (1713-1714) it was ceded to Savoy; seven years later it became the property of the Austrian Hapsburgs, who retained it until 1738 when the Spanish Bourbons took possession. For the remainder of the 18th century Spain ruled over the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. The alliance of the Spanish Bourbons with the coalition against Napoleon led to defeat and the assumption of the crown by Joseph Bonaparte. The defeat of the Napoleonic forces led to the return of the Spanish Bourbons.
After the restoration of Ferdinand I, third son of Charles III of Spain, in 1815, the constitution which had been granted in 1812 was revoked and old abuses were revived despite the vote of the Sicilian parliament in 1812 abolishing feudalism. This reaction bred revolutionary movements, which broke out in violence during 1820, 1821, and 1848. In the last year a popular revolt drove the Bourbon troops out of Palermo and established a short-lived provisional government which unsuccessfully offered the Sicilian throne to a Savoyard prince. This revolt was fiercely suppressed in 1849. Thus in 1860 the Sicilians were ready to welcome Garibaldi and his "Redshirts." He landed at Marsala on May 11, occupied Palermo by June 6, and on July 27 took Messina. A plebiscite on October 21 gave 430,000 votes for annexation to the Kingdom of Sardinia and thus to Italy.
Sicily in Recent Years. In World War II Sicilian ports and airfields were much used by the Axis powers to support their armies in North Africa and to close the central Mediterranean to Allied shipping. The invasion of Sicily by Anglo-American forces, prepared for by air and naval bombardments, began on July 10, 1943, at several points on the south and east coasts. Palermo was taken on July 23, Catania was abandoned by the Germans on August 5 and Messina was captured on August 17. The successful invasion of Sicily brought about the fall of Mussolini and the creation of the Badoglio min istry, which made peace with the Allies on Sept. 8, 1943.
Even before the end of World War II latent separatist tendencies developed in Sicily and in time obliged the government at Rome to make wide concessions, including the revival of the insular parliament. All of the elections for this body in the postwar years have shown widespread Leftist tendencies.
Adige, formerly Venezia Tridentina, the northernmost region of Italy, comprising
the provinces of Trento (Trentino) and Bolzano (Südtirol, formerly
Alto Adige), with an area of 5,256 square miles (13,613 sq km). It is bounded
on the north and northeast by Austria, on the east and south by the region
of Veneto, and on the west by the region of Lombardy and Switzerland. The
former Alto Adige was officially renamed Südtirol (South Tirol) in
1969 as a concession to its German-speaking inhabitants.
Geography. The region lies almost wholly within the Alpine and pre-Alpine area of the Adige River watershed. It also comprises the upper basins of the Chiese and Sarca rivers, the latter draining into Lake Garda. Roughly in the form of a triangle, Trentino-Alto Adige is confined on the north by the crest of the Alps, on the east by the Dolomites, and on the west by the massifs of Ortles and Adamello. Within this triangular frame of mountains is the Bolzano Plateau, which has an average elevation of 4,300 to 5,600 feet (1,300-1,700 meters).
The High Tirol, about 50 miles (80 km) long and 20 miles (32 km) wide, is Italy's most mountainous area. It includes the Venoste, Brenner, and Aurine Alps, with several peaks exceeding 12,000 feet (3,700 meters). There are three important passes: Resia, Monte Giovo, and Brenner.
The Dolomites to the east are jagged mountains with elevations of about 9,000 feet (2,700 meters). In the granitic ranges of the Adamello and, especially, the Ortles mountains there are numerous glaciers.
The Adige Valley is the region's only extensive lowland. Its upper part, through which the Adige River flows eastward from its source near the northwest corner of the Resia Pass to Merano, is called the Val Venosta. Near Bolzano the Adige picks up the waters of the Iscaro and its tributary, the Rienza, which flows through the Val Pusteria and meets the Iscaro at Fortezza (Franzensfeste). Below Bolzano it is flanked by the valleys of the Noce and Avisio rivers. The northern tip of Lake Garda and the headwaters of the Mincio basin (Sarca River) lie in the southwest.
The climate varies widely, depending on altitude and location. Cold winds seep through the Brenner Pass and the eastern valleys in winter, but some of the valleys, particularly those facing south, are more sheltered and have warm springs and autumns and hot summers. The annual rainfall ranges from under 30 inches (750 mm) in the Val Venosta to between 50 and 60 inches (1,300-1,500 mm) in the mountains. Summer droughts are an agricultural risk, and frost is a recurrent feature of the basins in winter.
Population. The population of the region was 886,914 in 1991. The Adige Valley is one of the most densely populated in the Alps, with over 169 people per square mile (65 per sq km) and numerous small towns. The principal urban centers lie along the transalpine routes up the Adige and over the Resia and Brenner passes. They are Trento, the regional capital; Bolzano (Bozen), the chief industrial center; and Merano (Meran), the leading resort. The region is predominantly Italian-speaking, but more than three quarters of the people in the Südtirol are German-speaking.
Economic Activity. The economy of the region is linked with its mountainous character. More than half of the productive area is under woodland, chiefly red firs and other conifers, and about 10,000 people are employed by the region's widely scattered timber industries. The raising of cattle is almost equally important economically. The cultivated area is very small, and fruits, grapes, potatoes, and cereals are the principal crops. Irrigation has been developed in the basins and is used primarily for the growing of pears and apples.
The region has few minerals, with only minor granite quarries and some marble workings. However, waterpower resources are abundant, and there are numerous hydroelectric plants on the upper Adige and Isarco rivers. Metallurgical and chemical industries have been established at Bolzano. One of the largest of these concerns produces about a third of Italy's aluminum supply. Chemical fertilizers are also a major industrial product. Wooden handicrafts and textiles are more traditional activities.
Tourism is also an important source of the regional income. The great influx of tourists into the southern Tirol began with the construction of railroads in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. There are a number of mountain roads famous for their beauty, and the region is served by the rail line leading from Italy, via the Brenner Pass, to Austria.
Toscana), a region in north-central Italy, bounded on the north by Emilia-Romagna,
on the east by the Marches and Umbria, on the south by Latium and the Tyrrhenian
Sea, and on the west by the Ligurian Sea and Liguria. The Apennine Mountains
form most of the northern boundary of the region, except northeast
of Florence, where the region includes a strip on the northern side of
the divide. Tuscany has an area of 8,877 square miles (22,992 sq km) and
embraces the provinces of Arezzo, Firenze (Florence), Grosseto, Livorno
(Leghorn), Lucca, Massa e Carrara, Pisa, Pistoia, and Siena.
Geography. More than half of Tuscany is hilly, and about one third is mountainous. The northern Apennines in the northeast are steeper there than on the Emilian flank. The Apuanian Alps, with elevations of over 6,000 feet, rise abruptly in the northwest, close to the coast. In the southwest is the volcanic cone of Monte Amiata (5,702 feet; 1,738 meters), rising above the mineral-rich plateau. The remainder of Tuscany is rolling hilly country with soils of clay and sand. Prehistoric lakes, drained chiefly by the Arno, now form a series of enclosed plains. The most notable of these are the Garfagnana, Florence, Mugello, Casentino, the upper Val d'Arno, and the Chiana, which link up with an Umbrian series of the upper Tiber. Some of Tuscany's richest farmland is in this area. The coastal areas of the lower Arno and the Maremma are the region's largest lowlands. Malaria, large estate holdings, and poor drainage made the 850-square-mile (2,200-sq-km) Maremma one of Tuscany's poorest districts until drainage programs were begun in the 19th century and land reforms were instituted in the 1950's. The chief rivers of Tuscany are the Arno and its tributaries, the Era, Elsa, Bisenzio, and Sieve, and the Serchio.
Population. The population of Tuscany was 3,510,114 in 1991. The density of population, more than 395 persons per square mile (153 per sq km), varies greatly within the region. The heaviest population is in the lower Arno Valley from Florence to the sea, plus the Tyrrhenian coast from Carrara to Cecina. Regions of heavy density are also found around Siena and in the Chianti district. Southern Tuscany has a low population density -- about one third of the people live in scattered dwellings; the rest in urban centers.
The chief city and regional capital is Florence (pop. 1991), 402,316, followed by Leghorn (171,265), Pisa (101,500), and Siena (57,745). Prato, Pistoia, Lucca, Piombino, and Grosseto are also important centers. There are several spas, and popular resorts have grown up along the coast.
Economic Resources. Although much of the land is under cereal crops, principally wheat, tree crops are equally important. The Chianti vineyards produce, in a very limited area, over a quarter of the total Tuscan wine production. Olives are important particularly around Lucca and Pisa, and chestnuts and fruits are grown on a lesser scale. Sheep and goats are numerous.
The woolen industry of Prato is a remnant of the cloth trade of the Middle Ages. There are modern cotton mills at Florence, Leghorn, and Pisa. Mining and quarrying are traditional and still important. Iron pyrite for the preparation of sulfuric acid and superphosphates is processed in west Tuscany. Mercury is mined at Monte Amiata, salt at Volterra, and borax in the Cecina Basin. Building materials, principally Carrara marble, are produced in the Apuanian Alps.
Major industries of Tuscany are the iron and steel works at Piombino, the shipyards of Leghorn, and the motorcycle factories at Pontedera. Tourism is also important.
Transportation. The region is well served by numerous railroads that include main lines between northern and southern Italy. Express highways link Florence with Bologna and Milan, with Rome and Naples, and with the seacoast. Leghorn, once a free port, is one of Italy's leading seaports as well as a naval base and an important commercial center.
History. In pre-Roman times Tuscany
was inhabited by Etruscans and, in the northwest, Ligurians. The Etruscans
were subjected to Rome in the mid-fourth century b.c., and the name Tuscia
came to be applied to the region. After the decay of the Roman Empire,
Tuscany was invaded by Goths, Byzantines, Lombards, and Franks. The counts
of Lucca dominated Tuscany after a.d. 774, the counts of Canossa from about
1027. When Matilda of Tuscany died in 1115, she left her lands to the Holy
See. A long struggle between the popes and the emperors ensued, enabling
the prosperous cities to increase their power and independence.
Among the cities, Lucca and Pisa, often at swords' points, led during the 11th and 12th centuries. Pisa was victorious in the Arno Valley, but was defeated by Genoa in the sea battle of Meloria in 1284. In the early 13th century Lucca tried to dominate Tuscany under Uguccione della Faggiuola and Castruccio Castracani degli Antelminelli. But soon Florence, which dominated Pistoia and Arezzo, resumed its forward march. Pisa lost its independence in 1406 and Siena in 1555. This Florentine expansion was led by the Medici family, who in effect ruled the city from the early 15th century to the mid-18th century, except in 1494-1512 and 1527-1530. The Medici were patrons of art and literature and contributed greatly to the development of Florence as a political and cultural center. In 1569 Cosimo I received the title of grand duke of Tuscany. The Medici rulers became extinct with the death of Gian Gastone in 1737.
Tuscany passed to Francis I, husband of Maria Theresa, who also became Holy Roman Emperor in 1745. His son Leopold I (r. 1765-1790), the ablest grand duke of the Hapsburg line, promoted enlightened legislation and economic development. When he became Holy Roman Emperor in 1790, Leopold was succeeded in Tuscany by his son Ferdinand III. The armies of the French Revolution occupied Tuscany in 1799 and again in 1800. In 1801 the grand duchy was transformed into a Kingdom of Etruria under French control. In 1808 Tuscany was annexed by France. Ferdinand III was restored in 1814, after Napoleon's downfall. In 1824 he was succeeded by his son Leopold II, who granted a constitution in 1848 in hopes of forestalling revolution. But a republic was proclaimed in February 1849 and Leopold fled. He was restored by Austrian troops in July and withdrew the constitution in 1852. He was expelled again in 1859 during the Risorgimento. In 1860 Tuscany was annexed by the Kingdom of Sardinia, which became the Kingdom of Italy in 1861.
Umbria, a region
in central Italy, bounded by Tuscany on the northwest, the Marches on the
northeast, and Latium on the southeast and southwest. With an area of 3,265
square miles (8,456 sq km), it consists of the provinces of Perugia and
Umbria has three topographical sections: the interior basins and valleys, drained by the upper and middle Tiber River and its tributaries; east of these, the central Apennines, mostly forested; and in the west, rolling hills overlooking Lake Trasimeno, the largest lake in peninsular Italy.
The central basin is the most cultivated and settled. Terni (pop. 1991, 93,400) and the regional capital, Perugia (109,500), are the largest cities. Population began to decline in the 1960's, and in 1991 it was 804,054. Umbria is characterized by peasant farming on small holdings; cereals are the main crop, followed by olives and vines, the latter producing the respected wines of Orvieto and Perugia.
Industrial development, formerly modest, was promoted by the exploitation of a readily accessible supply of electricity based on water power, especially from the Nera and Velino rivers in the Terni district. Large plants, many established in the 1960's, produce iron, steel, and chemicals, and there are engineering works and food-processing establishments. Other industries are small and scattered, and are based on a tradition of local crafts, such as ceramics and woodcarving.
The number of historic places and artistic monuments in Umbria and the region's scenic beauty have helped to promote tourism, now a major source of income. Among the towns of historic interest are Foligno, Spoleto, Orvieto, Assisi, Todi, Città di Castello, and Gubbio.
Several roads and highways traverse the region. The main rail lines from Rome to Florence and Ancona pass through Umbria, and serve Orvieto, Terni, Spoleto, and Foligno.
History. Occupied in ancient times
by the Umbri, and then by the Etruscans, Umbria came under Roman sway before
the Second Punic War. After the fall of the Roman Empire, possession of
the region was contested by Goths and Byzantine Greeks. The Lombard invasion
in the sixth century a.d. led to the creation of the Duchy of Spoleto,
with which the political destinies of Umbria were closely tied until the
In the late 11th and early 12th centuries, the chief Umbrian cities established communes, which led to interminable strife between them and the feudal nobility, between different communes, and between contending parties in each city. Further, the nominal suzerainty of the Holy See collided with the temporal claims of the revived empire. Acceptance of the overlordship of the papacy under Innocent III (1198-1216) did not greatly alter the political realities, though it put an end to the Duchy of Spoleto. The Holy Roman emperors Otto IV and Frederick II both sought repeatedly to reestabish imperial power by force but always failed.
During this period of upheaval, Umbria became the scene of a great religious revival centering around the activities of St. Francis of Assisi (c. 1181-1226). In the 13th century, the region took the lead in art when the construction and decoration of the Church of St. Francis at Assisi attracted painters from other parts of Italy: Giunta Pisano, Giovanni Cimabue, Giotto, Simone Martini, and Pietro Lorenzetti. This artistic development was shared by Perugia, Gubbio, Città di Castello, Todi, Spoleto, and Orvieto.
In the late 14th and early 15th centuries, the cities were subjected to the rule of condottieri, usually outsiders, who often ruled on the nominal behalf of the papacy. After the Great Schism, the popes redoubled their efforts to bring the Umbrian cities under their direct rule but did not completely do so until 1540, during the papacy of Paul III.
In 1798, after the first invasion of Napoleon, Umbria briefly formed part of the Roman Republic. In 1808 it was annexed to the French Empire as the department of Trasimeno. After the restoration of papal sovereignty in 1814, liberal and nationalist opinion took ever-increasing hold in Umbria and led to political agitation and conspiracies, including revolts in 1831, 1848, and 1859. Finally, in September 1860, Umbria was occupied by the forces of Victor Emmanuel II; shortly thereafter, it voted to join the Kingdom of Sardinia, which in 1861 became the Kingdom of Italy.
Veneto, or Venetia,
a region in northeastern Italy. Veneto has an area of 7,092 square miles
(18,368 sq km) and comprises the provinces of Belluno, Padua, Rovigo, Treviso,
Venice, Verona, and Vicenza. Veneto is bounded on the north by the Carnic
Alps on the Austrian frontier; on the northwest, by Trentino-Alto Adige
and the Dolomites; on the southwest, by Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna, with
Lake Garda and the Po River; on the southeast by the Gulf of Venice in
the Adriatic Sea; and, on the east, by Friuli-Venezia Giulia.
Geography. The topography of Veneto consists of two clearly separate zones: the Venetian Plain and the mountainous area of the Dolomites and the Alps. There is a narrow transition zone of hilly country. About half of the region is plains, a third mountains, and the remainder hills.
The Venetian Alps descend in a series of limestone highlands from about 9,000 feet (2,700 meters) above sea level in the Dolomites to 5,000 to 6,000 feet (1,500-1,850 meters) in more isolated blocks. The region's rivers, the Po, Adige, Brenta, Piave, and Livenza cross the flat lowland of Veneto and reach the sea through swampy deltas. South of Vicenza, the volcanic hills of Monti Berici and the Colli Euganei rise abruptly from the plain.
The climate varies with the elevation, being coldest in the mountains and, in summer, quite hot on the plain. Rainfall, everywhere abundant, ranges from 80 to 125 inches (2,000-3,150 mm) in the mountains to about 25 to 35 inches (635-900 mm) on the plain. Late spring and fall have the maximum precipitation.
Wheat and maize are the principal crops. They are grown on the plain. Sugar beets and hemp are grown in the Padua district and the Polesine (the province of Rovigo) and tobacco is grown in the Brenta Valley, Verona, and the lower Po Plain. Also of importance are vineyards and orchards in the hills and green vegetables and potatoes in the Venetian estuary. Cattle are raised extensively on the plain. The Venetian Lagoon is an important fishing area and Chioggia is a leading fishing port.
Veneto had 4,363,157 inhabitants in 1991. The largest cities are Venice, Verona, and Padua.
History. At the time of the Roman
conquest, Veneto was occupied by a variety of peoples, including Celts
and Veneti. With the decline of the empire, it was occupied successively
by Ostrogoths, Byzantines, Lombards, and Franks. However, the invasion
of Attila in 452 led to the depopulation of large areas, and to the abandonment
of many cities. Some of the survivors sought refuge in the lagoon region
of Venice, thus originating the city. Venice long chose to preserve a political
connection with the Byzantine Empire, however tenuous, and thus lived a
life separate from that of the Venetian Plain. The latter became a part
of the Holy Roman Empire under various feudal lords and signori,
such as the La Scala, Carrara, Este, Visconti, and other families, as well
as under the patriarch-dukes of Aquileia, in the Friuli. But by the early
15th century, most of Veneto had been acquired by the Republic of Venice.
The republic came to an end in 1797. During the Napoleonic era, the region underwent Austrian and French rule and for a time was incorporated into the Kingdom of Italy. By the Treaty of Vienna (1815), it became part of the Lombardo-Venetian Kingdom, under the Hapsburgs. In 1866 it passed to Italy and in World War I was the scene of bitter fighting, notably at the battles of the Piave and Vittorio Veneto. After World War II the province of Udine, formerly part of Veneto, was included in the new region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia.