italian history genealogy

The History and Political Division of Italy

Italy is divided politically into twenty regions, which in turn break down into 109 provinces, or 110 if including the Aosta Valley. The following subdivision consists of the Comuni, which are divided into cities, with a structure similar to that of municipalities in Brazil, which are called “COMUNE” (singular) and “COMUNI” (plural). Comune that in Italian has a male gender, in some cases they are further divided into “Frazioni“, which are similar to the districts.

Throughout Italy a total of 8,103 Comuni are found. The provincial capitals have the same names as the provinces, such as São Paulo, which is the name of the state, and also of the city in which its capital is based. As such, the Veneto region is made up of 7 provinces (Venice, Verona, Padova, Vicenza, Belluno, Rovigo and Treviso), the province of Verona encompasses 98 cities including Verona, which is its capital. The province of Rovigo is also subdivided into 50 cities, including the city of Rovigo itself, and so on.

Each region has a status, that is, its own constitution that can be distinguished between three Categories of Regions: 

Autonomous Regions with Special Status 

Of the twenty regions, five of them were created in 1948 and have a special statute which is a constitutional law of the Central State that guarantees broad legislative and financial autonomy.

Between 60% and 100% of all taxes remain in the territory of these regions, as well as the autonomy for cultural, linguistic and geographical factors that these regions have. These regions are part of the two islands of Sardinia and Sicily, of Trentino Alto Adige, having influence of the German and French language.

In 1972, the new statute for Trentino Alto Adige came into force and most of the competences were transferred to the provinces of Trento and Bolzano-Bozen, which have since been the only Italian provinces that are autonomous. This particular region has almost completely lost its importance, so the reform was carried out to ensure better management of Germanic culture which in the province of Bolzano represents about 70% of the inhabitants. 

Regions with Ordinary Status 

The fifteen regions of the Ordinary Statute were established in the 1970s, primarily to decentralize the state government machine. Following a constitutional reform in 2001, the legislative powers of the Ordinary Statute regions were expanded and state controls were significantly reduced, as was the command of the Central Government. But financial autonomy is still very limited. In fact, the status of the Ordinary Regions is simply a regional law. 

Regional Organs 

Each region has a council (Consiglio Regionale, Sicily Assemblea Regionale) elected for five years, which exercises the Regional Legislative Power. The Government of the region is a junta (Giunta Regionale) headed by a president who is at the same time the President of the Region, is responsible for the Council and must resign if it fails to maintain its confidence, which causes new immediate elections. 

Another important fact to keep in mind is that Italian civil records are issued in city hall offices (“Ufficio di Stato Civile”, “Ufficio Anagrafe” and also the “Liste di Leva” (military service), instituted by Regio Decreto no. 2,062 of 15 November 1865.

In many Comuni, however, the records were only implanted after 1870, and even though the immigrant ancestor was born before 1871 (which is In addition to the Certificate of Baptism that can be requested by letter to the respective Parish, the “Ufficio Anagrafe” of the Comuni can always be asked for a certificate called “Stato di Famiglia Storico”, issued on the basis of in the cartellini files that hold the data of all the components of the family nucleus. It is also convenient to request a search in the census books (“Ruolo della Popolazione”). 

The Comune can also provide the “Stato di Famiglia Storico”, which is a kind of family registration, which contains relevant and detailed information about the researched family. This document is a search alternative beyond online software to search for family-specific information.

In the case of research conducted to find out more details of my family, the Comune of Casaleone, for example where my maternal great-grandparents came from, “Minozzo Family”, made available the Giuseppe Minozzo birth certificate (Certificato di Nascita). the names of their parents and siblings with their dates of birth and death, as well as records of migration and immigration. 

As we can see, the Anagrafe department of each Comune has vital genealogical information and primary facts about each Italian citizen. In addition to the above information, we may also locate copies of passports issued upon departure of Italian immigrants to other countries, such as Brazil. 


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