History of origin
The subdivision of Italy into regions goes back to the time of the Roman Empire . At the initiative of Emperor Augustus , the Italian peninsula was built towards the end of the 1st century BC. It was divided into eleven regions as part of an administrative reform in order to be able to govern them more easily from Rome , in particular to be able to carry out the recurring censuses and tax collection more efficiently.
The term region comes from the Latin regere, which means "to rule". The Roman regions were therefore administrative districts without their own rights of self-government. The subdivision of central and southern Italy was based on ethnic and cultural aspects, while northern Italy was divided more according to geographic criteria (the Po River and the mountains).
This structure survived for centuries until the Germanic migrations and the formation of new political units led to a reorganization of Italy in the Middle Ages.
The historians of the Renaissance had to invent a new structure of Italy in the 15th century, which did justice to the historical events, and leaned only slightly on Augustus regions, they preferred geographical criteria. The concept of the region was conceived as an area that could change over time, always with the aim of facilitating government work.
With the Risorgimento , the regions were taken up again, but taking cultural and scientific criteria into account. The division of Italy worked out by Cesare Correnti , co-founder of the Italian Geographical Society and Italian Minister of Education, between 1851 and 1855 is, with various later revisions, the basis for the regional structure that still exists today.
After the unification of Italy in 1861, the Correntis division was taken over by Pietro Maestri , the coordinator of the statistical office of the Kingdom of Italy . Maestri called the regions compartimenti (districts), which were merely statistical units.
According to Giuseppe Mazzini , on the other hand, the regions should be developed into independent local authorities with legal, executive and administrative powers in matters of local interest. However, the decentralization projects of the government of Camillo Cavour and Interior Minister Luigi Carlo Farini were prevented and put on record.
The regional question was raised by Luigi Sturzo and the Partito Popolare Italiano after the First World War . With the subsequent seizure of power by the fascists , however, Italy was even more centralized, leaving no room for self-government efforts by regions (or provinces and municipalities).
After the Second World War , as a result of the proclamation of the Italian Republic , the constituent assembly incorporated an institutionalized regional model into the Italian constitution , which was modified in plenary compared to the autonomist emphasis of the Commission by Meuccio Ruini : only the regions with special statutes that have already ended Introduced in the 1940s, special autonomy rights should be granted.
The other regions (with normal statutes) should have their own government and parliament, but only marginal powers. In addition, their introduction was delayed by the ruling Christian Democrats , because at the height of the Cold War, the risk of the Communists taking over government was considered unacceptable in some regions.
It was not until the second half of the 1960s that the regional question began to move again. With the introduction of the regions with normal status, the strong social and political tensions of the time were to be defused, the citizens were to be more politically involved and the administration of Italy was to be modernized. The regions with normal status became operational in the 1970s.
The so-called “federalism debate”, which was initially kicked off by separatist parties such as the Lega Nord in the 1980s and 1990s, led to an important constitutional reform in 2001, which was confirmed in a referendum, through which the regionalization of Italy was expanded.
Comparison of the districts with today's regions
After the First World War , the Kingdom of Italy was divided into 18 statistical districts (compartimenti or circoscrizioni) (the Italian name in brackets): Piedmont (Piedmont, including today's Aosta Valley and a small border strip that is now under French administration), Liguria (Liguria ), Lombardy (Lombardia), Tridentine Veneto (Venezia Tridentina, today's Trentino-Alto Adige / South Tyrol), Veneto (Veneto, today's Veneto plus Friuli, which today forms Friuli-Venezia Giulia), Julisch Venetia and Zara (Venezia Giulia e Zara, today to Friuli-Venezia Giulia, if not under Slovenian or Croatian administration), Emilia (Emilia, today Emilia-Romagna), Tuscany (Toscana), Marche (Marche), Umbria (Umbria), Latium (Lazio), Abruzzo and Molise (Abruzzi e Molise), Campania (Campania), Apulia (Puglie, today Puglia), Lucania (Lucania, corresponds to today's Basilicata), Calabria (Calabrie, today Calabria), Sicily (Sicilia), Sardinia ( Sardegna).
The regions institutionalized by the republican constituent assembly were created on the basis of the existing districts, with occasional area shifts and name changes. The Aosta Valley (Valle d'Aosta) was created in 1948 and Friuli-Venezia Giulia (Friuli-Venezia Giulia) in 1963 . In 1963 Molise was also separated from Abruzzo (since then Abruzzo) .
Statute, institutions and competencies
All regions have a statute, a regional constitution. On the basis of the statute, the regions are divided into two or three categories. Unlike the German states, which are all legally equal, the Italian regions differ according to the extent of their autonomy within the framework of the “differentiated regionalism” practiced in Italy.
Regions with normal status
15 of the 20 Italian regions (namely Piedmont, Lombardy, Veneto, Liguria, Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, Umbria, Marche, Latium, Abruzzo, Molise, Campania, Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria) have a normal statute (statuto ordinario). This is passed by the regional council, in two consecutive ballots, no less than two months apart, and can be subjected to a referendum. The statute, which must be in accordance with the national constitution, defines the form of government in the region and the basic principles of its organization and functioning. It regulates the exercise of the right of initiative and the right to petition for a referendum on laws and administrative acts of the region, as well as the publication of the laws and ordinances of the region.
The standard statute therefore only contains organizational provisions. The responsibilities of the regions with normal statutes can be derived from the Italian constitution, as well as their financial autonomy, which has largely not been implemented to this day. However, the regions have their own tax, the IRAP, a value added tax that is comparable to the German trade tax, as well as a share of the IVA (value added tax) and the regional surcharge on income tax (addizionale regional IRPEF).
The institutions of the regions with normal status were not established until 1970.
Autonomous regions with special statutes
Five regions have a special statute (statuto speciale). This is passed by a state constitutional law by the parliament in Rome and is therefore formally legally on the same level as the state constitution.
The special statute regulates the responsibilities in the areas of legislation and administration and the respective financial constitution. In addition, the autonomous regions are entitled to all the powers and resources provided for by the general state constitution for regions with normal status. As a result, the regions with special statutes have far-reaching legislative and administrative competences which, as in the other regions, do not have to be financed by the state, but by themselves. Therefore, the special statute also grants more extensive financial autonomy than the other regions with normal statutes. In the case of Trentino and South Tyrol, around nine tenths of the tax revenue remains in the federal states.
The organizational structure and process of the autonomous regions is regulated in addition to the special statute in a so-called statutory law ( legge statutaria ), which is passed by the respective regional council.
Four of the five regions with a special statute were created by the Constituent Assembly in 1948: Sicily and Sardinia due to the strong autonomy movements (in Sicily the separatism was particularly pronounced in the post-war period), the Aosta Valley to protect the Franco-Provencal minority, Trentino-South Tyrol , then Trentino-Tyrolean Etschland, to protect the German-speaking minority in accordance with the Paris Agreement .
After the international status of Trieste had been clarified, the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region was established in 1963 and also received a special statute to guarantee the protection of the Slovenian minority and to promote the economic development of this peripheral area.
In 1972, after long negotiations, the Second Statute of Autonomy for Trentino-South Tyrol came into force, which was the basis for an extended autonomy for South Tyrol .
The region Trentino-Alto Adige is in accordance with Article 116, para. 2 of the Italian Constitution of the autonomous provinces of Trento and Bolzano. These are given powers equivalent to those of the autonomous regions. One also speaks of provinces with a special statute. (→ Second Statute of Autonomy )
The regions each have their own directly elected parliament , the regional council ( consiglio regional ), which is comparable to the parliaments of the German states. Its members are known as regional councils (consiglieri regionali) . The legislature of the region of Sicily is called the Sicilian Regional Assembly ( Assemblea Regionale Siciliana , ARS for short ) according to the autonomous orientation , its members are regional representatives (deputati regionali). The regional council is elected for five years and has the task of enacting laws and overseeing the regional government within the framework of regional competencies.
In the case of Trentino-Alto Adige, there are no direct elections to the regional council. The regional council of Trentino-Alto Adige , on the other hand, consists of the elected provincial councils (also called state parliaments due to their autonomous orientation) of the autonomous provinces of Bolzano and Trento.
The regional government is headed by the president of the regional committee (presidente della giunta regional) , who has been directly elected by the people since 2000. The statute, i.e. the regional constitution, can, however, also provide for election by the regional council. The president of the regional committee is also the president of the region (presidente della regione) and is unofficially known as the governor (governatore) .
In the Aosta Valley and Trentino-Alto Adige, the president is not elected directly by the electorate, but by the regional council. When electing the regional president, the regional council of Trentino-Alto Adige uses the principle of rotation , according to which the presidents of the two autonomous provinces, also known as governors , are elected to the head of the region for half a legislative period (around two and a half years).
The president of the region heads the regional committee (giunta regional, for example: regional government ), in which the regional ministers known as assessori are represented, whom he can appoint and recall at will. In addition, the president has the task of promulgating the laws approved by the regional council, convening and chairing the meetings of the regional government and representing the region in all matters. If the directly elected president is withdrawn from trust, resigns or lives off, new elections must be called.
The task of the regional government as a whole is to implement the regional laws, administer the areas of regional competence, and issue instructions to the subordinate regional authorities.
The exclusive legislation of the regions applies, which means that the regions have the right to legislate for all subject areas that are not expressly reserved for state legislation by the constitution.
Further areas belong to the framework legislation ( Italian competenza concorrente). The state defines the essential principles of a subject area by means of a framework law; Each individual region or autonomous province is empowered to develop these principles further, to specify them and to adapt them to its own needs through its own laws.
With a comprehensive constitutional reform from 2001 (Constitutional Amendment Act 3/2001), the Italian regions were basically given general legislative power. While the competences of the regions with normal statutes before the reform were limited to the subject areas listed in the constitution and could only be exercised to the extent that a state law regulated the main features of the matter, today it is the state, whose exclusive legislative power on a number of listed subject areas is limited.
In the autonomous regions, in addition to the state constitution, the respective special statutes regulate the distribution of competencies between the state and the region or autonomous province. According to the special statute of Trentino-South Tyrol, a distinction is made between primary and secondary responsibilities of the autonomous provinces and those of the state. While the latter is essentially reserved for the regulation of the core areas of immigration, defense, police, justice and finance, Trentino and South Tyrol are primarily for the areas of culture, vocational training, kindergartens, social affairs, roads, housing, local public transport, tourism, handicrafts, trade, Industry, agriculture, civil protection, nature parks are responsible and can issue their own laws without having to take state laws into account. In the secondary competence areas of school, health and sport, the autonomous provinces are responsible in accordance with the provisions of the framework legislation.
However, in all regions (including the autonomous regions) civil and criminal law remain the responsibility of the state, and the Constitutional Court tends to interpret what is actually exclusively or primarily regional powers restrictively.
Legislative power is exercised by the regional council or the parliament of the autonomous provinces. The so-called “Council of Local Autonomies ” ( Consiglio delle autonomie locali ), which represents the interests of metropolitan cities , provinces , municipalities and municipal associations at the regional level, has an advisory role in the legislative process . Usually this body, which consists of provincial presidents, mayors and other representatives of the municipalities, has the right to initiate legislation , especially when it comes to the concerns of the lower regional authorities.
Power of regulation
The state has the power to issue ordinances in the areas of its exclusive legislation. He can authorize the regions by law to issue ordinances in that area instead of him.
According to the general legal situation, the regions have the power to issue ordinances in the areas of framework legislation and exclusive regional legislation. The Regulations are adopted by the Regional Committee, with the exception of the Aosta Valley and Sardinia regions, where this power is delegated to the Regional Council.
EU and international law powers
Within their areas of responsibility, the regions and the autonomous provinces of Trento and Bolzano contribute to the drafting of European legal acts and ensure the implementation and enforcement of international treaties and European legal acts.
Within the scope of its areas of responsibility, the region can also conclude agreements with states and agreements with internal regional authorities of other states. However, a state law must regulate the cases and forms of these powers.
State controls over the regions
The national government can 127 of the Constitution regional laws in accordance with Art. Within sixty days after challenge its publication in the Constitutional Court if it considers that the responsibility of the region have been exceeded.
The government commissioners, now abolished in almost all regions, had the power to challenge a regional law before it was published. The government commissariat only continues to exist in Bolzano and Trento, albeit without this serious authority. The government commissioner only exercises the functions of a prefect , i.e. he is responsible for the decentralized state administration.
The national government also has the right, within thirty days of the publication of the regional statute, to challenge its constitutionality by bringing an action before the Constitutional Court. This only applies to regions with normal status.
The regional institutions are also subject to state control. On the one hand, there is a substitute control by the national government. In the event of non-compliance with international standards, contracts or European legislation; in the event of serious threats to public safety or security; if the protection of legal and economic uniformity, in particular the protection of the essential service levels with regard to civil and social rights, so requires, the national government can act instead of regional bodies.
In the case of unconstitutional behavior or serious violations of the law, the dissolution of the regional council and the impeachment of the president of the regional government can even be arranged. Dissolution and removal from office can also be ordered for reasons of state security.
Controls of the regions against the state (and the other regions)
The region can bring a constitutional complaint if it believes that a law of the state or any other region violates its jurisdiction.
In the event of administrative disputes, it can bring an action for jurisdiction before the Constitutional Court.
Coordination between state and regions
As there is no Federal Council in the Italian political system , the State-Regions Conference was brought into being in 1983 . It has been officially recognized as a collegial body since the late 1980s . The Legislative Decree 281/1997 regulates its composition and how it works: The Chairman is the Prime Minister, Deputy Chairman of Region Minister. All presidents of the regions and autonomous provinces (the governors of South Tyrol and Trentino) participate in the conference. The state-region conference serves primarily for the exchange of information and coordination between state and regions.
The lowest level of the regional authorities below the provinces and metropolitan cities are the municipalities . The reorganization of the municipalities is the responsibility of the respective region: After interviewing the affected population, they can create new municipalities, change districts and rename the municipalities through their own laws.
- NUTS: NUTS code
- Prov .: number of provinces including metropolitan cities, see Italian provinces #list
- Gem .: number of municipalities
- Sen .: Number of senators
|location||Region (German)||(Italian)||Capital||NUTS||population||Area in km² (%)||Provinces||Communities||Senators 3|
|Sicily 1||Sicilia||Palermo||ITG1||5,029,876||25,702.82 (8.53)||9||390||26th|
|Sardinia 1||Sardegna||Cagliari||ITG2||1,667,172||24,089.89 (7.99)||5||377||9|
|Friuli-Venezia Giulia 1||Friuli-Venezia Giulia||Trieste||ITD4||1,224,201||7,856.48 (2.61)||b0||219||7th|
|Trentino-South Tyrol 1||Trentino-Alto Adige||Trent||ITD1 / 2 4||1,010,044||13,606.87 (4.52)||2||339||7th|
|Aosta Valley 1||Valle d'Aosta||Aosta||ITC2||126.292||3,263.22 (1.08)||a0||74||1|
- Information from the Istituto Nazionale di Statistica , as of March 31, 2008
- 1 Region with special statute
- a the tasks of the province are taken over by the Aosta Valley region
- b The four provinces of Friuli-Venezia Giulia (Gorizia, Pordenone, Trieste and Udine) were abolished as independent institutions, but continue to exist as administrative districts of decentralized state administrations or as statistical areas.
The constitutional amendment law passed by the Berlusconi III cabinet at the end of 2005 by means of a majority in the House of Representatives and Senate was intended to further expand the autonomy of all regions. New legal competences should be granted exclusively to the regions, such as the school and health system and the administrative police. The strengthening of regional powers should be compensated for by the reintroduction of the national interest as a restriction of regional legislation. In addition, the previously directly elected Italian Senate should be formed from representatives of the regions and renamed the Federal Senate (Senato Federale) . The entry into force of this reform package, the so-called devoluzione (derived from the English term devolution ), was made dependent on a referendum (referendum), which took place on June 25 and 26, 2006 and was rejected by a large majority except in Veneto and Lombardy .
The amendment to the Italian constitution sought by the Renzi cabinet was intended to transform the Italian Senate into an assembly of representatives of the Italian regions and the Italian municipalities and, unlike Berlusconi's reform plan, to restore the regions' previous powers to the state as a whole. However, this reform also failed due to a referendum on December 4, 2016 ; it was only adopted in Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna and South Tyrol.
Under the Berlusconi IV cabinet , at the request of the Lega Nord, the financial autonomy (federalismo fiscale) of the regions with normal statutes should be implemented in accordance with the constitution. Indeed, in this area, particularly during the Monti cabinet, there has been a recentralization of public finances, and even the regions with special statutes have been burdened with considerable savings, some of which have been repealed by the Constitutional Court.
In addition, a reorganization of the regions, which should lead to a reduction in their number, is repeatedly debated. There are various models for this, ranging from a consolidation across twelve regions to a division of Italy into the three macro-regions North, Central and South (in between there are suggestions for an 11-region, 10-region, 8-region, 7-regions, 4-regions model or for an institutionalization of the five groups of Italian regions according to Eurostat).
The overcoming of Italy's differentiated regionalism with the abolition of regions and provinces with special statutes is also under discussion. Opponents of the special autonomies criticize their privileges, those in favor of maintaining or expanding the autonomy of all regions refer to the successes of the regions and provinces with special status in Northern Italy, especially Trentino-South Tyrol.
The regions and autonomous provinces can determine the electoral system to be used themselves. The regional electoral laws are essentially based on State Law 43/1995, also called Tatarella Law after its author, which originally applied to all regions with normal statutes and provided that four fifths of the seats in the regional council were allocated according to the strength of the parties' votes. The law also provided for a 3% threshold, but this did not apply if a party below the 3% threshold formed a coalition with a party that was able to achieve more than 5% of the vote. The remaining fifth of the seats were given to the winning coalition in order to guarantee stable government majorities. The regional electoral laws in line with these principles ensure that the regional governments generally remain in office for the entire five-year legislative period (with the exception of the Aosta Valley, where such regulations do not exist and there have been five changes of government since 2017).
During Italy's First Republic (until the collapse of the previously established political system as part of the Tangentopoli corruption scandal ), most regions were ruled by the Italian Christian Democrats and the allied Italian Socialists , with the exception of Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany and Umbria, which were predominantly from were ruled by the communists .
Since the establishment of Italy's Second Republic , rival center-right (led by Forza Italia and Lega Nord ) and center-left coalitions (led by the Partito Democratico and its predecessor parties ) have determined the political landscape at the regional level. Since then, regional elections have been given greater relevance, with implications for national politics. The first regional elections in the regions with normal status during the Second Republic took place in 1995. In 2000, Silvio Berlusconi's center-right coalition was able to assert itself as the winner in the regional elections. As a result, Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema resigned to form a new state government. After the 2005 elections, only four regions were ruled by center-right alliances: Lombardy, Veneto, Molise and Sicily. Because of this election defeat, in which six regions were lost to the center-left, Prime Minister Berlusconi resigned and formed a new government.
While individual regions have been ruled by one camp since the Second Republic came into being - for example, Lombardy has been ruled by center-right alliances since 1995, Emilia-Romagna by center-left alliances - there have been changes of government in several regions.
In the autonomous regions and provinces regional parties in part determine the political fates, which are not represented throughout Italy: in the autonomous province of Bolzano - South Tyrol ruled since 1948 without interruption, the South Tyrolean People's Party , in the autonomous region of Valle d'Aosta, the governments significantly from the Valdostan Union (with) certainly.
The political upheavals in Italy since the parliamentary elections in Italy in 2013 with the rise of the five-star movement have only partially reached the regions, especially since the movement does not have the president of the region in any of the 20 regions.
Currently (March 2020) center-right coalitions rule in twelve regions, four of them under the leadership of Lega Nord , four under the leadership of Forza Italia , in Abruzzo under the leadership of Fratelli d'Italia , in Sardinia under the leadership of the Sardinian Action Party and in Liguria and Sicily each under the leadership of a small party headed by the regional president. In five regions the Partito Democratico provides the president, the president of Apulia is a former non-party member of the Partito Democratico. In the Trentino-South Tyrol region, the South Tyrolean People's Party, Lega Nord and Forza Italia form the regional government. The Autonomists of Union Valdôtaine, Union Valdôtaine Progressiste, Stella Alpina , Pour Notre Vallée and Autonomie Liberté Participation Ecologie rule the Aosta Valley .
Acting regional presidents
|region||president||in office since||next elections||Political party|
|Aosta Valley||Renzo Testolin||2019||2023||UV|
|Trentino-South Tyrol||Arno Kompatscher||2016||2021 5||SVP|
|Friuli Venezia Giulia||Massimiliano Fedriga||2018||2023||LN|
|Campania||Vincenzo De Luca||2015||2020||PD|
- List of Italian regions according to the Human Development Index
- Political system of Italy (under centralism against federalism )
- Flags and coats of arms of the Italian regions
- NUTS: IT : Italian Groups of Regions (NUTS-1), Italian Provinces (NUTS-3)
- Alexander Grasse: Region as a modernization factor. Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 2005, ISBN 3-531-14638-6 .
- Stefan Köppl: The political system of Italy. An introduction. Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 2007, ISBN 978-3-531-14068-1 .
- Lutz Bergner: The Italian regionalism. A legal comparison with decentralized and federal systems, especially with the German federal system. Publishing house Dr. Kovac, Hamburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-8300-3997-6 .
- Istituto Italiano Edizioni Atlas, VIAGGIO NELLA STORIA DELLE REGIONI ITALIANE (= journey into the history of the Italian regions) 
- Regional Council of Latium: La nascita delle regioni a statuto ordinario (= The emergence of the regions with normal statute) http://www.consiglio.regione.lazio.it/binary/consiglio/consiglio_argomenti/la_nascita_delle_regioni_a_statuto_ordinario.pdf
- Istituto di Studi sui Sistemi Regionali Federali e sulle Autonomie Massimo Severo Giannini Institute for the Study of Regionalism, Federalism and Self-Government: Carlo DESIDERI, Se le regioni italiane abbiano un fondamento territoriale e quale sia, September 2012 (= Whether the Italian regions have a territorial foundation and which, September 2012) No. 5.1.
- The border adjustments in favor of France after the Second World War concerned the following areas: Little St. Bernhard Pass, the plateau of Mont Cenis, Mont Thabor-Chaberton, the upper valleys of Tinée, Vesubie and Roya, the district of Briga-Tenda, cf. Peace treaty with Italy, signed in Paris on February 10, 1947, Art. 2, Art. 9, Appendix III
- Istituto centrale di statistica del Regno d'Italia , 7th censimento generale della popolazione: April 21, 1931 (= 7th general census: April 21, 1931), Volume 4, page 20
- For the structure of Italy see also Istituto Nazionale di Statistica : Struttura e dinamica delle unità amministrative territoriali italiane Dall'unificazione del Regno al 2017, Annali di statistica Anno 147 - Series XIII - Vol. 1 (= structure and dynamics of the territorial administrative units of Italy from the Unification of the kingdom by 2017) https://www.istat.it/it/files//2018/07/Struttura-e-dinamica-delle-unit%C3%A0-amministrative.pdf
- This is South Tyrol ( Memento from September 24, 2015 in the Internet Archive ), page 30
- z. B. Regional Law (Friuli Venezia Giulia), June 18, 2007, No. 17, explanations https://www.consiglio.regione.fvg.it/pagine/primopiano/allegati/legge_statutariadef.pdf (Italian)
- This is South Tyrol ( Memento from September 24, 2015 in the Internet Archive ), page 24 f.
- www.statoregioni.it (homepage of the conference), details (German)
- According to a ruling by the Constitutional Court, the state would have to repay € 460 million and € 360 million for tax revenue that was wrongly withheld in the period 2012-2014 and due to Trentino and South Tyrol, cf. Il Trentino, Il governo vuole tenersi 460 milioni ( Memento of March 8, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) = The government wants to keep 460 million for itself, October 9, 2013
- Associazione GEOGRAFICAMENTE, Macroregioni al posto delle regioni = Macroregions instead of regions, January 5, 2015 (accessed December 17, 2016)
- Forza Italia , Riforma costituzionale e macroregioni ( Memento from December 20, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) = Constitutional reform and macro-regions, January 22, 2015 (accessed on December 17, 2016)
- stol.it, Costa is the new regional minister: What does that mean for autonomy? ( Memento of December 20, 2016 in the Internet Archive ), January 29, 2016, (accessed December 17, 2016)