Regions of Italy

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The Delrio law has brought the regions into more salience at the expense of the provinces. Consequently, I have promoted the regions to primary subdivisions and demoted the provinces to secondary. The Delrio law took effect on 2014-04-08. It provides that the provinces will cease to function on 2015-01-01. Ten of them will be replaced by metropolitan cities with the same territory. The ten are Bari, Bologna, Florence, Genoa, Milan, Naples, Reggio di Calabria, Rome, Turin, and Venice (source [9]). The change was not implemented in Reggio, and has been delayed in Venice.

There was one potential HASC code conflict. I have been using a code CI (not part of the HASC system) for Calabria. The HASC code for Carbonia-Iglesias was IT.CI. To avoid duplication, when defining HASC codes for the regions, I used LB for Calabria. The other region codes remain unchanged.

Gintautas Gaidamavicius sent me a link to a document that seems to be available only on the Internet Archive. Its title is "Circoscrizioni Statistiche", published by Istituto Centrale di Statistica in August 1958. With admirable thoroughness, it divides Italy into 10 regioni statistiche plus Rome, where each statistical region consists of one or more historical regions; 92 province; over 300 settori statistici; perhaps 1,000 regioni agrarie; and the thousands of comuni. Cutting across these are 5 zone altimetriche. It shows clearly how they relate to each other, and gives populations and areas down to the regione agraria level. Do these all still exist? A search for settori statistici nowadays turns up nothing geographic, but only economic sectors. Some provinces, at least, have regioni agrarie. A spot-check of Benevento shows that there are now 6 regioni agrarie in the province as compared to 5 in the 1958 document, but most of them have similar names.

There are some circondari, or unions of communes. As far as I can tell, they fall far short of covering all of Italy. I found no overall plan governing their creation, management, function, or even naming. For example, Wikipedia lists two unions in Genoa province, one with five communes and one with nine. Genoa has 67 communes in all.

The NUTS code scheme was revised in 2003. All codes for Italy that were listed on this page changed. The NUTS-1 level areas, known as gruppi di regioni (groups of regions) were consolidated from eleven groups into five. There was another change in 2010. Because of the transfer of seven communes from Marche to Emilia-Romagna, those regions were given new codes. Because of the hierarchical structure of NUTS, all of their provinces' codes also changed. Other changes resulted from the creation of three new provinces, which took effect in 2009. The new codes are shown in the tables below.

Fabien Antoine pointed out to me that a referendum was held on 2012-05-06 concerning the four Sardinian provinces that were created in 2001. The result was for their abolition, to take effect when a regional law is passed, no later than 2013-03-01. Even more significantly, according to Italy's Metronews website (source [6]), the Council of Ministers has decided that provinces should have a population of at least 350,000 and an area of at least 2,500 km.². Following those criteria, 66 provinces will have to be abolished; however, 10 of them will become metropolitan cities (città metropolitane), a new status which will apparently be on the same level as the provinces. The deadline for this transformation is 2014-01-01. Later, Le Figaro reported that the legislature has "buried the bill reducing the number of provinces under a rain of 700 amendments" (mixed metaphor in original: source [7]).

Newsletter II-2, an update to the ISO 3166-2 standard, is dated 2010-06-30. It changes the ISO codes assigned to three of the new provinces, so that province codes and sigle match.

ISO 3166-2 Newsletter number II-1, dated 2010-02-03, adds ISO codes for the most recently-created provinces.

The original ISO 3166-2 Newsletter I-8 was published on 2007-04-17. It had ISO codes for the new provinces of Italy. However, two of them didn't match the provincial sigle. When this was brought to the attention of the maintenance agency, they revised the codes. A corrected version of the newsletter was issued, bearing the same date; I received notification of it on 2007-05-10. (The reason I go into all this detail is that some of my readers may have saved the original newsletter, and may now be wondering why their ISO codes don't match mine.)

Mario Pezza writes that new provinces appear on maps as of the date of the law creating them, but only become active when their first provincial council is elected. Therefore, the provinces of Barletta-Andria-Trani, Fermo, and Monza e Brianza were defined as of 2004-06-11, the date the laws were passed. They became active in 2009-06.

International standard ISO 3166-2 was published on December 15, 1998. It superseded ISO/DIS 3166-2 (draft international standard). For Italy, the draft standard showed 20 regions and ignored the provinces. The final standard shows the same 20 regions with the same codes, but no longer as primary divisions of Italy. Instead, the 103 provinces are shown as the primary subdivisions.

Country overview: 

Short nameITALY
ISO codeIT
LanguageItalian (it)
Time zone+1 ~


Italy struggled its way to national unification in the 19th century, except for some Italian-speaking borderlands called Italia irredenta (unredeemed Italy). In World War I, Italy chose the winning side. In reward, it achieved its main territorial ambitions: the incorporation of the South Tyrol and the area around Trieste. After World War II, as a defeated Axis power, it lost part of Trieste, and all of its colonies.

Other names of country: 

  1. Danish: Italien
  2. Dutch: Italië, Italiaanse Republiek (formal)
  3. English: Italian Republic (formal)
  4. Finnish: Italia
  5. French: Italie f
  6. German: Italien n
  7. Icelandic: Ítalía
  8. Italian: Italia f, Repubblica Italiana (formal)
  9. Norwegian: Italia, Republikken Italia (formal)
  10. Portuguese: Itália f, República f Italiana (formal)
  11. Russian: Италия, Итальянская Республика (formal)
  12. Spanish: Italia f, República f Italiana (formal)
  13. Swedish: Italien
  14. Turkish: İtalya Cumhuriyeti (formal)

Origin of name: 

from Vituli, name of a tribe in Apulia

Primary subdivisions: 

Italy is subdivided into twenty regioni (sing. regione: region). Officially, these are autonomous regions with ordinary statute, except for five autonomous regions with special statute (FV, SC, SD, TT, VD). Regions were known as compartimenti (departments) until World War II.

BasilicataIT.BC77IT02ITF5 578,0369,9923,858Potenzalucani
Friuli-Venezia GiuliaIT.FV36IT06ITH41,218,9857,8453,029Triestefriulani
MoliseIT.ML67IT11ITF2 313,6604,4381,713Campobassomolisani
Trentino-Alto AdigeIT.TT32IT17ITHx1,029,47513,6185,258Trentotrentini
UmbriaIT.UM55IT18ITI2 884,2688,4563,265Perugiaumbri
Valle d'AostaIT.VD23IT19ITC2 126,8063,2621,260Aostavaldostani
20 regions59,433,744301,276116,325
  • Abv: Arbitrary two-letter region codes.
  • ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2.
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
  • NUTS: Nomenclature for Statistical Territorial Units. First three characters identify a NUTS-1 region.
  • Population: 2011-10-09 census.
  • Adjective: Masculine plural adjective for inhabitants of the region.


Further subdivisions:

See the Provinces of Italy page and the Communes of Italy page.

The regions are subdivided into province (sing. provincia: province). The provinces are further subdivided into comuni (communes). There are also some groups of communes that form an intermediate administrative level, the circondari (districts). When new provinces are formed, sometimes the area of the province is a former circondaro.

NUTS-1 areas, significant only for statistical purposes, are as follows.

NUTSNUTS nameCensus name
ITCNord-OvestItalia Nord-Occidentale
ITHNord-EstItalia Nord-Orientale
ITICentroItalia Centrale
ITFSudItalia Meridionale
ITGIsoleItalia Insulare


NUTS-2 areas correspond to regions, with one exception: Trentino-Alto Adige is divided into two NUTS-2 areas. ITH1 is Provincia Autonoma Bolzano/Bozen and ITH2 is Provincia Autonoma Trento.

Territorial extent: 

  1. The region of Sardinia occupies the entire island of Sardinia and neighboring small islands. The same is true of Sicily.
  2. The former regions of Venezia, Venezia Giulia e Zara, and Venezia Tridentina together were sometimes called Tre Venezie (the three Venetias), or Triveneto. They correspond to the modern regions of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Trentino-Alto Adige, and Veneto, plus some territory in Croatia and Slovenia.
  3. Agrigento includes the Pelagian Islands: Lampedusa, Linosa, and the tiny islet of Lampione.
  4. Arezzo includes an exclave within Pesaro e Urbino, which consequently is also an exclave of Tuscany region within Marche. It's part of Badia Tedalda commune.
  5. Benevento includes an exclave within Avellino, constituting the commune of Pannarano.
  6. Cagliari includes the islands of Sant' Antíoco and San Pietro.
  7. Caltanissetta includes an exclave within Palermo, constituting the commune of Resuttano.
  8. Como includes a small exclave within the canton of Ticino, Switzerland, constituting the commune of Campione d'Italia.
  9. Enna includes a tiny exclave within Caltanissetta.
  10. Foggia includes the Tremiti islands: San Domino, San Nicola, Caprara, Pianosa, etc.
  11. Gorizia includes islands in the Laguna di Grado, as far west as the inlet of Porto Buso.
  12. Grosseto includes the islands of Giglio, Giannutri, and the Formiche di Grosseto.
  13. Latina includes the islands of Ponza, Palmarola, Ventoténe, Zamone, and other nearby islands.
  14. Livorno includes most of the Tuscan Archipelago, including the islands of Elba, Capraia, Montecristo, Pianosa, and Gorgona.
  15. Matera includes an exclave within Potenza, part of Tricárico commune.
  16. Messina includes the Aeolian (Lipari) Islands, of which the largest are Lipari, Salina, Vulcano, Stromboli, Filicudi, Alicudi, and Panarea.
  17. When Monza e Brianza becomes a separate province, Milan will include an exclave of Lentate sul Severo, surrounded by Como and Monza e Brianza.
  18. Naples includes the islands of Ischia, Capri, Prócida, and other nearby islands.
  19. Oristano includes the island of Mal di Ventre.
  20. Palermo includes an exclave within Agrigento, part of Bisacquino commune.
  21. Perugia includes an exclave within Pesaro e Urbino (which consequently is also an exclave of Umbria region within Marche), part of Città di Castello commune.
  22. Rimini includes a tiny exclave within Pesaro e Urbino (and barely touching San Marino; consequently also an exclave of Emilia-Romagna region within Marche), part of Verucchio commune.
  23. Sassari includes neighboring islands such as Asinara, Maddalena, Caprera, Spargi, Tavolara, Molara, Santo Stefano, Santa Maria, Rázzoli, and Budelli.
  24. Terni includes an exclave on the border between Perugia and Siena, part of Fabro commune.
  25. Trapani includes the islands of Pantelleria, Maréttimo, and the Égadi islands (Favignana, Lévanzo, etc.).
  26. Udine includes islands in the Laguna di Marano, as far east as Santa Andrea.
  27. Viterbo includes a small exclave on the border between Rieti and Terni, part of Gallese commune.

The UN LOCODE page  for Italy lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.

Origins of names: 

  1. Abruzzi: unknown, may be related to Latin aper: boar or abruptus: steep
  2. Basilicata: Ancient Greek basilikos: royal; former name Lucania is from Latin lucus: woods
  3. Calabria: from Calaber, ethnic name
  4. Campania: Latin campania: countryside, fields
  5. Emilia: from Latin Æmilia Regio, the destination of the Via Æmilia, whose construction began under consul Marcus Æmilius Lepidus
  6. Friuli: Latin Forum Julium: city of Julius Caesar
  7. Lazio: Latin Latium: broad plain
  8. Liguria: from Liguri, ethnic name
  9. Lombardy: from ethnic name Langobardi, meaning men with long beards (or axes)
  10. Marche: Italian for march (buffer state)
  11. Piedmont: piedmont, or foothills, of the Alps
  12. Sicily: from ethnic name Sikeloi
  13. Trentino-Alto Adige: Alto Adige means the upstream part of the Adige River
  14. Tuscany: Latin Tuscus: having to do with the Etruscans
  15. Valle d'Aosta: Valley of Aosta (city).
  16. Veneto: land of the Veneti (ethnic name)

Change history: 

  1. 1920-07-16: Treaty of Saint-Germain took effect. Territory was transferred from several provinces of the Austro-Hungarian Empire to Italy. The southern part of Tyrol province (about half) and a small part of Carinthia became Venezia Tridentina region, consisting of Trento province. Most of Coastland (Küstenland) province and the enclave of Zara in Dalmatia were annexed to Venezia region, becoming the provinces of Gorizia, Pola, and Trieste.
  2. 1924-01-27: City of Fiume, and most of the Free State, annexed to Italy by treaty with Yugoslavia, becoming the province of Fiume in the region of Venezia.
  3. ~1935: Venezia region split into Venezia Euganea and Venezia Giulia e Zara regions. The latter consisted of Fiume, Gorizia, Pola, and Trieste provinces.
  4. ~1939: Name of Basilicata region changed to Lucania.
  5. ~1945: Basilicata region restored to its pre-war name.
  6. 1946-05-15: Sicily became an autonomous region with special statute.
  7. 1947-02-10: Peace treaty signed. Four small areas transferred from Piedmont and Liguria regions to France. An area around Trieste was made into the Free Territory of Trieste. It consisted of Zone A, containing Trieste itself, under U.S.-British allied military administration, and Zone B, under Yugoslavian military administration. Venezia Giulia e Zara region (except for small part of Gorizia province and the Free Territory of Trieste) transferred to Yugoslavia.
  8. 1947: Name of Venezia Tridentina region changed to Trentino-Alto Adige.
  9. 1948: Name of Emilia region changed to Emilia-Romagna.
  10. 1948-02-26: Valle d'Aosta region, consisting of the province of Aosta, split from Piedmont. It and Sardinia and Trentino-Alto Adige became autonomous regions with special statute.
  11. 1963-01-31: Venezia Euganea region (capital Venice) split into Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Veneto. Friuli-Venezia Giulia, an autonomous region with special statute, consisted of the provinces of Gorizia, Trieste, and Udine.
  12. ~1965: Abruzzi and Molise region (capital L'Aquila) split into Abruzzi region and Molise region.
  13. 1993-11-01: Under the Maastricht Treaty, the European Union replaced the European Communities, of which Italy was a member.

Other names of subdivisions: 

  1. Abruzzi: Abruzos (Portuguese, Spanish); Abruzzen (German); Abruzzes (French); Abruzzo (variant)
  2. Apulia: Apulien (German); Pouilles, Pouille (French); Puglia (Italian, Portuguese); Puglie (Italian-variant)
  3. Basilicata: Basilicate (French); Lucania (obsolete)
  4. Calabria: Calabre (French); Calabrie (Italian-variant); Kalabrien (German)
  5. Campania: Campanha (Portuguese); Campanie (French); Kampanien (German)
  6. Emilia-Romagna: Emilia (Italian-obsolete); Emilia-Romaña (Spanish); Émilie-Romagne (French)
  7. Friuli-Venezia Giulia: Friaul-Venetien (German); Frioul-Vénétie Julienne (French); Friuli-Venecia Julia (Spanish)
  8. Lazio: Lacio (Spanish); Lácio (Portuguese); Latium (French, German, variant)
  9. Liguria: Ligurie (French); Ligurien (German)
  10. Lombardy: Lombardei (German); Lombardie (French); Lombardia (Italian, Portuguese, Spanish)
  11. Marche: Marca (Spanish); Marches (French); Marches, The Marches (variant); Marken (German)
  12. Molise: Molisa (Spanish)
  13. Piedmont: Piamonte (Spanish); Piemont (German); Piémont (French); Piemonte (Italian, Portuguese)
  14. Sardinia: Cerdeña (Spanish); Sardaigne (French); Sardegna (Italian); Sardenha (Portuguese); Sardinië (Dutch); Sardinien (German)
  15. Sicily: Sicile (French); Sicilia (Italian, Spanish); Sicilië (Dutch); Sizilien (German); Сицилия (Russian)
  16. Trentino-Alto Adige: Trentin-Haut Adige (French); Trentino-Alto Adigio (Spanish); Trentino-South Tirol (variant); Trentino-Südtirol (German); Venezia Tridentina (obsolete)
  17. Tuscany: Toscana (Italian, Portuguese, Spanish); Toscane (French); Toskana (German)
  18. Umbria: Ombrie (French); Umbrien (German)
  19. Valle d'Aosta: Aostatal (German); Aosta Valley (variant); Val d'Aoste, Vallée d'Aoste (French)
  20. Veneto: Venecia (Spanish); Venetia (variant); Vénétie (French); Venetien (German); Venezia Euganea (obsolete)

Population history:

Friuli-V.G.  977,2571,030,2311,226,1211,165,0001,213,5321,233,9841,216,3981,183,7641,218,985
Molise      319,807328,371320,916320,601313,660
Trentino-A.A.  669,029660,825728,604783,000841,886873,413934,731940,0161,029,475
Valle d'A.    94,140102,000109,150112,353117,208119,548126,806


  1. [1] Fifth United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names. Vol. II. New York: United Nations, 1991.
  2. [2] Le Regioni in Cifre, edizione 1991. Istituto Nazionale di Statistica, Rome, 1991.
  3. [3] Il Leonardo: Almanacco di Educazione Populare. Ente Nazionale Biblioteche Popolari e Scolastiche, Rome, 1968.
  4. [4] I comuni della Sardegna  (the communes of Sardinia, retrieved 2003-11-28)
  5. [5] Targhe  (license plates, retrieved 2003-11-28)
  6. [6] "Cancellate 66 Province ", Metronews website (retrieved 2012-09-20).
  7. [7] "Ces réformes auxquelles Mario Monti a dû renoncer ", Le Figaro website (retrieved 2013-01-26).
  8. [8] 15° Censimento generale della popolazione e delle abitazioni : Struttura demografica della popolazione: Dati definitivi. Istituto Nazionale di Statistica (retrieved 2014-03-22).
  9. [9] "Delrio law in effect ", Italian government website (retrieved 2014-07-09).
  10. [10] Codici delle unità amministrative  (Codes of administrative units), Istituto nazionale di statistica (Istat). Using the link "Tutti i file," seven spreadsheets can be downloaded that include a list of the communes as of 2005-01-01 and a list of all changes in communes since 1991 (retrieved 2015-01-15).
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