There are twenty regions of Italy, five of which are autonomous. Each region is sub-divided into provinces and then further divided into municipalities (known as comuni).
The twenty regions are below, with their Italian name in brackets, followed by their provinces:
Abruzzo (Abruzzi): L’Aquila, Chieti, Pescara, Teramo
Apulia (Puglia): Bari, Brindisi, Foggia, Lecce, Taranto
Aosta Valley (Valle d’Aosta): Aosta
Basilicata: Matera, Potenza
Calabria: Catanzaro, Cosenza, Crotone, Reggio Calabria, Vibo Valentia
Campania: Avellino, Benevento, Caserta, Napoli, Salerno
Emilia Romagna: Bologna, Ferrara, Forli Cesena, Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Ravenna, Reggio Emilia, Rimini
Friuli Venezia Giulia: Gorizia, Pordenone, Trieste, Udine
Lazio: Frosinone, Latina, Rieti, Roma, Viterbo
Liguria: Genova, Imperia, La Spezia, Savona
Lombardy (Lombardia): Bergamo, Brescia, Como, Cremona, Lecco, Lodi, Mantova, Milano, Pavia, Sondrio, Varese
Marche (Le Marche): Ancona, Ascoli-Piceno, Macerata, Pesaro- Urbino
Molise: Campobasso, Isernia
Piedmont (Piemonte): Alessandria, Asti, Biella, Cuneo, Novara, Torino, Verbano- Cusio- Ossola, Vercelli
Sardinia (Sardegna): Cagliari, Nuoro, Oristano, Sassari, Sulcis, Medio Campidano, Ogliastra, Gallura
Sicily (Sicilia): Agrigento, Caltanissetta, Catania, Enna, Messina, Palermo, Ragusa, Siracusa, Trapani
Trentino –Alto Adige: Bolzano, Trento
Tuscany (Toscana): Arezzo, Firenze, Grosseto, Livorno, Lucca, Massa-Carrara, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato, Siena
Umbria: Perugina, Terni
Veneto: Belluno, Padova, Rovigo, Treviso, Venezia, Vicenza, Verona
The north of Italy is the wealthiest and most industrially developed part of the country (the ‘industrial triangle’ of Milan, Genoa and Turin is in the north) and home to about 65% of employees and about 54% of all businesses. Although the city of Rome is the official capital of the country, Milan (Milano) in Lombardy is considered Italy’s business and fashion capital. People living in the north also consider themselves more international and switched on to the global business world. The region of Emilia Romagna is home to some of the world’s leading hi-tech automotive manufacturers and has several private and public laboratories dedicated to intelligent automation.
As well as Umbria and Le Marche, Central Italy includes the world famous region of Tuscany, which is one of the most searched-for terms on Google after the word ‘Italy’. To many people Tuscany is Italy, although that is very far from the truth as the country is so diverse. Tuscany has the highest concentration of expatriates in Italy, so much so that it is often referred to as ‘Chiantishire’. With the world famous cities of Pisa, Florence and Siena located in the central region as well as Assisi – birthplace of St Francis, tourism is a strong factor in the economy.
The south of the country (which northern and central Italians jokingly consider to be anywhere south of where they live!) is in fact Basilicata, Campania, Calabria, Molise, Puglia, Sicily and Sardinia. It is known as Italia Meridionale and also often referred to as the mezzogiorno (midday). Campania has the highest unemployment rate in the EU.
The Italian government is currently investing heavily in the south improving the infrastructure and making good use of EU development grants as well as regional grants to promote the area with a total investment of well over 100 billion euros. Particular areas of interest are solar energy, tourism and property.
Quality of Life in the Provinces
The influential Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore publishes an annual index on the quality of life in all the provinces, taking into account a number of factors including personal safety, healthcare, free time and work. In the latest rankings published for the year 2008, the best province overall was Aosta (in Valle d’Aosta), followed by Belluno (Veneto), Bolzano, Trento (both in Trentino-Alto Adige) and Sondrio (Lombardia). The bottom four were all in Sicily: Trapani, Agrigento, Palermo and, in last place, Caltanisetta.