Italy, the land of our ancestors
Political division of Italy
Politically speaking Italy is divided into Regions and each region includes several provinces. Within each province there are communities (towns or cities) or administrative divisions called “comuni”. Many populated centres administratively depend on other comuni and are known literally as frazioni
Before 1860 Italy was not the country we know now but a group of kingdoms governed by different Royal Families. The state which carried out the Unification was the Piedmont-Sardinia Kingdom which by then included the French regions of Saboie and Niza.
Each Italian region lived peculiar historic processes producing typical documents which we will analyze in our website.
In recent history, there have been various important changes in the political division of Italy:
– towns which disappeared: called “the comuni soppressi”
– cities that changed their names
– territorial reorganizations by means of which new provinces are created are frequent. Reorganizations like this took place in 1920-1924; 1927, 1945-1951; 1968; 1992 and 2004.
It is important to take this into account because documents which were originated in one province may be included in the state archive of another one.
It can happen that although we look for information about one Italian comune we may not find anything for two reasons:
– It is a fraction or a populated centre which depends on a comune for its administration.
– Maybe the comune or fraction does not exist anymore or changed its name in the various territorial reorganizations that Italy made.
Regions, provinces, circondari and mandamenti
Since its unification the government has had to reorganize the local administrations. So the country was then divided into 4 administrative levels:
regions, provinces, circondari (districts) and mandamenti (departments)
by means of the so called “Ratazzi Law” of October 1859. So a new municipal and provincial organization was created.
This organization was suppressed in 1927 but it is necessary to bear this information in mind because many records such as the lists of recruits were organized per districts and sometimes the documents of one district in one province are included in the state records of another province.
- Elenco alfabetico delle province, distretti, circondari, comuni e villaggi del regno delle due Sicilie, con l’indicazione delle variazioni avvenute – Aprile 1854
- Provinces, circondari, mandamenti and comuni – 1867
- Provinces and circondari – 1867
- The David Rumsey Map Collection was started over 25 years ago and contains more than 150,000 maps. The collection focuses on rare 18th and 19th century maps of North and South America, although it also has maps of the World, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Oceania. The collection features over 300 antique maps of Italy.