Comune

Comune

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In Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, the comune (plural comuni) is the basic administrative division
Administrative division
An administrative division, subnational entity, or country subdivision is a portion of a country or other political division, established for the purpose of government. Administrative divisions are each granted a certain degree of autonomy, and are required to manage themselves through their own...

, and may be properly approximated in casual speech by the English word township
Township
The word township is used to refer to different kinds of settlements in different countries. Township is generally associated with an urban area. However there are many exceptions to this rule. In Australia, the United States, and Canada, they may be settlements too small to be considered urban...

 or municipality
Municipality
A municipality is essentially an urban administrative division having corporate status and usually powers of self-government. It can also be used to mean the governing body of a municipality. A municipality is a general-purpose administrative subdivision, as opposed to a special-purpose district...

.

Importance and function


The comune provides many of the basic civil functions: registry
Registry
-Computing:* Windows Registry, a database of configuration settings in Microsoft Windows operating systems* Domain name registry, an organization that manages the registration of top-level internet domain names...

 of births and deaths, registry of deeds, contracting for local roads and public works, etc.

It is headed by a mayor (sindaco) assisted by a legislative body, the Consiglio Comunale, and an executive body, the Giunta Comunale. Mayor and members of Consiglio Comunale are elected together by resident citizens: the coalition of the elected Mayor (who needs an absolute majority in the first or second round of voting) gains the three fifths of the Council's seats. The Giunta Comunale is chaired by mayor who appoint others members, called assessori
Assessor (Italy)
In Italy an Assessor is a member of a Giunta, the executive body in all levels of local government: regions, provinces and communes....

. The offices of the comune are housed in a building usually called the Municipio, or Palazzo Comunale.
Since the start of 2009 there have been 8,100 comuni in Italy; they vary considerably in area and population.

For example, the comune of Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 (Lazio) has an area of 1,307.71 km² and a population of 2,761,477, and is both the largest and the most populated comune in Italy; Fiera di Primiero
Fiera di Primiero
Fiera di Primiero is a comune in Trentino in the northern Italian region Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, located about 60 km east of Trento....

, in the province
Provinces of Italy
In Italy, a province is an administrative division of intermediate level between a municipality and a region .-Overview:...

 of Trentino, is the smallest comune by area, with only 0.15 km², and Pedesina
Pedesina
Pedesina is a comune in the Province of Sondrio in the Italian region Lombardy, located about 70 km northeast of Milan and about 25 km southwest of Sondrio...

 (province of Sondrio
Province of Sondrio
The Province of Sondrio is in the Lombardy region of Italy. Its capital is the town of Sondrio.It has an area of 3,212 km², and a total population of 176,856...

) is the smallest by population, with only 34 inhabitants. The smallest non-alpine comune in Italy is Montelapiano
Montelapiano
Montelapiano is a comune and town in the Province of Chieti in the Abruzzo region of Italy. It's the smallest non alpine comune in Italy by population :it:Ultimi 100 comuni italiani per popolazione....

 (CH
Province of Chieti
The Province of Chieti is a province in the Abruzzo region of Italy. Its capital is the city of Chieti.It has an area of 2,588 km², and a total population of 381,993...

), the fourth is Carapelle Calvisio
Carapelle Calvisio
Carapelle Calvisio is a comune and town in the Province of L'Aquila in the Abruzzo region of Italy. It is located in the natural park known as the "Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park" at 900 a.s.l.. It's mostly known as being one the smallest non-alpine comune in Italy, with only 90...

 (AQ
Province of L'Aquila
thumb|left|200px|Map of the province.The Province of L'Aquila is the largest, most mountainous and least densely populated province of the Abruzzo region of central Italy. It comprises about half the landmass of Abruzzo and occupies the western part of the region...

), both in the mountainous region of Abruzzo
Abruzzo
Abruzzo is a region in Italy, its western border lying less than due east of Rome. Abruzzo borders the region of Marche to the north, Lazio to the west and south-west, Molise to the south-east, and the Adriatic Sea to the east...

.

The density of comuni varies widely by province
Province
A province is a territorial unit, almost always an administrative division, within a country or state.-Etymology:The English word "province" is attested since about 1330 and derives from the 13th-century Old French "province," which itself comes from the Latin word "provincia," which referred to...

 and region
Region
Region is most commonly found as a term used in terrestrial and astrophysics sciences also an area, notably among the different sub-disciplines of geography, studied by regional geographers. Regions consist of subregions that contain clusters of like areas that are distinctive by their uniformity...

: the province of Bari
Province of Bari
The Province of Bari is a province in the Apulia region of Italy. Its capital is the city of Bari.It has an area of 5,138 km², and a total population of 1,594,109 . There are 48 comuni in the province, see Comuni of the Province of Bari...

, for example, has 1,564,000 inhabitants in 48 municipalities, or over 32,000 inhabitants per municipality; whereas the Aosta Valley has 121,000 inhabitants in 74 municipalities, or 1,630 inhabitants per municipality – roughly twenty times more communal units per inhabitant. There are inefficiencies at both ends of the scale, and there is concern about optimizing the size of the comuni so they may best function in the modern world, but planners are hampered by the historical resonances of the comuni, which often reach back many hundreds of years, or even a full millennium: while provinces and regions are creations of the central government, and subject to fairly frequent border changes, the natural cultural unit is indeed the comune, – for many Italians, their hometown: in recent years especially, it has thus become quite rare for comuni either to merge or to break apart.

Many comuni also have a Polizia Municipale (municipal police) which is responsible for public order duties. Traffic control is their main function in addition to controlling commercial establishments to ensure they open and close according to their license.

Subdivisions


A comune usually comprises:
  • a principal town or village, that almost always gives its name to the comune; such a town is referred to as the capoluogo (“head place”, or “capital”; c.f. the French chef-lieu) of the comune; the word comune is also used in casual speech to refer to the town hall.
  • other outlying areas called frazioni
    Frazione
    A frazione , in Italy, is the name given in administrative law to a type of territorial subdivision of a comune; for other administrative divisions, see municipio, circoscrizione, quartiere...

    (singular: frazione, abbreviated fraz., literally “fraction”), each usually centred on a small town or village. These frazioni have usually never had any independent historical existence, but occasionally are former smaller comuni consolidated into a larger. They may also represent settlements which predated the capoluogo: the ancient town of Pollentia, for instance, today known as Pollenzo, is a frazione
    Frazione
    A frazione , in Italy, is the name given in administrative law to a type of territorial subdivision of a comune; for other administrative divisions, see municipio, circoscrizione, quartiere...

    of Bra. In recent years the frazioni have become more important thanks to the instituction of the "Consiglio di Frazione", a local form of government which can interact with the comune and show it the local needs, requests and claims. Yet smaller places are called località (literally “localities” and often, as in the phonebook, abbreviated Loc.).
  • other smaller administrative divisions called municipio
    Municipio
    Municipio and Município are terms used for country subdivisions. They are often translated as municipality.-Overview:...

     or circoscrizione
    Circoscrizione
    Circoscrizione can refer to two different administrative units of Italy. One is an electoral district approximating to the English "constituency" but typically the size of a province or region depending on the election...

     or rione
    Rione
    Rione is the name given to a ward in several Italian cities, the best-known of which is Rome. Unlike a quartiere, a rione is usually an official administrative subdivision...

     or quartiere
    Quartiere
    A quartiere is a subdivision of certain Italian towns. The word is from quarto, or fourth, and was thus properly used only for towns divided into four neighborhoods. The English word "quarter" to mean a neighborhood A quartiere (plural: quartieri) is a subdivision of certain Italian towns. The...

     or terziere
    Terziere
    A terziere is a subdivision of several towns in Italy. The word derives from terzo, meaning "third"; and is thus used only for towns divided into three neighborhoods...

     or sestiere
    Sestiere
    A sestiere is a subdivision of certain Italian towns and cities. The word is from sesto, or sixth; and is thus used only for towns divided into six districts. The best-known example are the sestieri of Venice, but Ascoli Piceno, Genoa, Milan and Rapallo, for example, were also divided into sestieri...

     or contrada
    Contrada
    Contrada is a generic name given to various types of Italian city subdivisions, now unofficial. Depending on the case, a contrada will be a località, a rione, a quartiere , a borgo, or even a suburb.The best-known contrade are the 17 Contrade of Siena, since they form the teams in the Palio...

     which are similar to borough
    Borough
    A borough is an administrative division in various countries. In principle, the term borough designates a self-governing township although, in practice, official use of the term varies widely....

    .


Sometimes, a frazione might be more populated than the capoluogo; and very occasionally, due to unusual circumstances or to the depopulation of the latter, the town hall and its administrative functions move to one of the frazioni: but the comune still retains the name of the capoluogo.

In some cases, a comune might not have a capoluogo but only some 'frazioni': in these cases, it is called a "comune sparso" (sparse municipality) and the frazione which houses the town hall is called "sede municipale" (compare county seat
County seat
A county seat is an administrative center, or seat of government, for a county or civil parish. The term is primarily used in the United States....

).

Homonymy


There are not many perfect homonymous Italian municipalities. There are only eight cases in 16 comuni:
  • Brione: Brione, Lombardy and Brione, Trentino
  • Calliano: Calliano, Piedmont and Calliano, Trentino
  • Castro: Castro, Apulia and Castro, Lombardy
  • Livo: Livo, Lombardy and Livo, Trentino
  • Peglio: Peglio, Lombardy and Peglio, Marche
  • Samone: Samone, Piedmont and Samone, Trentino
  • San Teodoro: San Teodoro, Sardinia and San Teodoro, Sicily
  • Valverde: Valverde, Lombardy and Valverde, Sicily

This is mostly due to the fact the name of the province or region was appended to the name of the municipality in order to avoid the confusion. Remarkably two province capitals share the name "Reggio" : Reggio nell'Emilia, the capital of the Reggio Emilia province, in the Emilian part of the Emilia-Romagna region, and Reggio Calabria, the capital of the Calabria province. Many other towns or villages are likewise partial homonyms (e.g. Anzola dell'Emilia and Anzola d'Ossola).

See also


  • Circoscrizione
    Circoscrizione
    Circoscrizione can refer to two different administrative units of Italy. One is an electoral district approximating to the English "constituency" but typically the size of a province or region depending on the election...

  • Communes of France
    Communes of France
    The commune is the lowest level of administrative division in the French Republic. French communes are roughly equivalent to incorporated municipalities or villages in the United States or Gemeinden in Germany...

  • Contrada
    Contrada
    Contrada is a generic name given to various types of Italian city subdivisions, now unofficial. Depending on the case, a contrada will be a località, a rione, a quartiere , a borgo, or even a suburb.The best-known contrade are the 17 Contrade of Siena, since they form the teams in the Palio...

  • Frazione
    Frazione
    A frazione , in Italy, is the name given in administrative law to a type of territorial subdivision of a comune; for other administrative divisions, see municipio, circoscrizione, quartiere...

  • List of comuni of Italy by region and province
  • Alphabetical list of comuni of Italy
  • Località
    Località
    A località, in Italy, is the name given to inhabited places that are not accorded a more significant distinction in administrative law such as a frazione, comune, municipio, circoscrizione, or quartiere. The word is cognate to English locality...

  • Medieval commune
    Medieval commune
    Medieval communes in the European Middle Ages had sworn allegiances of mutual defense among the citizens of a town or city. They took many forms, and varied widely in organization and makeup. Communes are first recorded in the late 11th and early 12th centuries, thereafter becoming a widespread...


  • Municipality
    Municipality
    A municipality is essentially an urban administrative division having corporate status and usually powers of self-government. It can also be used to mean the governing body of a municipality. A municipality is a general-purpose administrative subdivision, as opposed to a special-purpose district...

  • Municipio
    Municipio
    Municipio and Município are terms used for country subdivisions. They are often translated as municipality.-Overview:...

  • Quartiere
    Quartiere
    A quartiere is a subdivision of certain Italian towns. The word is from quarto, or fourth, and was thus properly used only for towns divided into four neighborhoods. The English word "quarter" to mean a neighborhood A quartiere (plural: quartieri) is a subdivision of certain Italian towns. The...

  • Rione
    Rione
    Rione is the name given to a ward in several Italian cities, the best-known of which is Rome. Unlike a quartiere, a rione is usually an official administrative subdivision...

    • Rioni of Rome
      Rioni of Rome
      A rione is an Italian term used since the Middle Ages to name the districts of Rome, according to the administrative divisions of that time. The word originates from the Latin word regio A rione (pl. rioni) is an Italian term used since the Middle Ages to name the districts of Rome, according to...

  • Sestiere
    Sestiere
    A sestiere is a subdivision of certain Italian towns and cities. The word is from sesto, or sixth; and is thus used only for towns divided into six districts. The best-known example are the sestieri of Venice, but Ascoli Piceno, Genoa, Milan and Rapallo, for example, were also divided into sestieri...

  • Terziere
    Terziere
    A terziere is a subdivision of several towns in Italy. The word derives from terzo, meaning "third"; and is thus used only for towns divided into three neighborhoods...



External links



ANCI - National Association of Italian Comunes