Municipalities of Italy
Comuni  (Italian)
CategoryRegionalised unitary state
LocationItalian Republic
Number7,904
Populations32 (Morterone) – 2,758,454 (Rome)
Areas0.1206 km2 (0.0466 sq mi) (Atrani) –
1,287.36 km2 (497.05 sq mi) (Rome)
Government
Subdivisions
Administrative divisions of Italy: - Regions (black borders)- Provinces (dark gray borders)- Comuni (light grey borders)
Administrative divisions of Italy:
- Regions (black borders)
- Provinces (dark gray borders)
- Comuni (light grey borders)

The comune (Italian pronunciation: [koˈmuːne]; plural: comuni [koˈmuːni]) is a local administrative division of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality.[1] It is the third-level administrative division of Italy, after regions (regioni) and provinces (province). The comune can also have the title of città ("city").[2]

Formed praeter legem according to the principles consolidated in medieval municipalities,[3] the comune is provided for by art. 114 of the Constitution of the Italian Republic.[4] It can be divided into frazioni, which in turn may have limited power due to special elective assemblies.[5]

Overview

The comune provides essential public services: registry of births and deaths, registry of deeds, and maintenance of local roads and public works.[6][7][8] Many comuni have a Polizia Comunale (communal police), which is responsible for public order duties.[9] The comune also deal with the definition and compliance with the piano regolatore generale (general regulator plan), a document that regulates the building activity within the communal area.[10]

All communal structures or schools, sports and cultural structures such as communal libraries, theaters, etc. are managed by the comuni.[11] Comuni must have their own communal statute and have a climatic and seismic classification of their territory for the purposes of prevention and civil protection.[12] Comuni also deal with the waste management.[13]

It is headed by a mayor (sindaco or sindaca) assisted by a legislative body, the consiglio comunale (communal council), and an executive body, the giunta comunale (communal committee).[14] The mayor and members of the consiglio comunale are elected together by resident citizens: the coalition of the elected mayor (who needs a relative majority or an absolute majority in the first or second round of voting, depending on the population) gains three fifths of the consiglio's seats.[15]

The giunta comunale is chaired by the mayor, who appoints others members, called assessori, one of whom serves as deputy mayor (vicesindaco).[16] The offices of the comune are housed in a building usually called the municipio, or palazzo comunale ("town hall").[17]

As of January 2021, there were 7,904 comuni in Italy;[18] they vary considerably in size and population. For example, the comune of Rome, in Lazio, has an area of 1,287.36 km2 (497.05 sq mi) and a population of 2,758,454 inhabitants, and is both the largest and the most populated.[19]

Mural crown for the title of comune. It is located in the upper part of the coat of arms of the comune
Mural crown for the title of comune. It is located in the upper part of the coat of arms of the comune

Atrani in the province of Salerno (Campania) was the smallest comune by area, with only 0.1206 km2 (0.0466 sq mi),[20] and Morterone (Lombardy) is the smallest by population.[21] Many present day's comuni trace their roots along timescales spanning centuries and at times millennia.[22][23]

The northernmost comune is Predoi, the southernmost one Lampedusa e Linosa, the westernmost Bardonecchia and the easternmost Otranto.[24] The comune with the longest name is San Valentino in Abruzzo Citeriore,[25] while the comuni with the shortest name are Lu, Ro, Ne, Re and Vo'[26]

The population density of the comuni varies widely by province and region. The province of Barletta-Andria-Trani, for example, has 381,091 inhabitants in 10 comuni,[27] or over 39,000 inhabitants per comune; whereas the province of Isernia has 81,415 inhabitants in 52 comuni,[28] or 1,640 inhabitants per comune – roughly 24 times more communal units per inhabitant.

The coats of arms of the comuni are assigned by decree of the President of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic by the Office of State Ceremonial and Honors, Honors and Heraldry Service (division of the Presidency of the Council born from the transformation of the Royal Consulta Araldica, suppressed pursuant to the provisions final of the Constitution of the Italian Republic).[29]

Subdivisions

Number of comuni and population in Italy[18][30]
Year Number Population Pop/Comune
1861 7,720 22,171,946 2,872
1871 8,383 27,295,509 3,256
1881 8,260 28,951,546 3,505
1901 8,263 32,963,316 3,989
1911 8,324 35,841,563 4,306
1921 9,195 39,396,757 4,285
1931 7,311 41,043,489 5,614
1936 7,339 42,398,489 5,777
1951 7,810 47,515,537 6,084
1961 8,035 50,623,569 6,300
1971 8,056 54,136,547 6,720
1981 8,086 56,556,911 6,994
1991 8,100 56,885,336 7,023
2001 8,101 56,995,744 7,036
2011 8,092 59,433,744 7,345
2021 7,904 59,236,213 7,494

Administrative subdivisions within comuni vary according to their population size.

Comuni with at least 250,000 residents are divided into circoscrizioni[31] (roughly equivalent to French arrondissements or London boroughs) to which the comune delegates administrative functions like the running of schools, social services and waste collection; the delegated functions vary from comune to comune. These bodies are headed by an elected president and a local council.

Smaller comuni usually comprise:

Sometimes a frazione might be more populated than the capoluogo; and rarely, owing to unusual circumstances (like depopulation), the town hall and its administrative functions can be moved 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 a comune sparso ("dispersed comune") and the frazione which hosts the town hall (municipio) is a sede municipale (compare county seat).

Homonymy

There are not many perfect homonymous comuni. There are only six cases in 12 comuni:[33]

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

Title of city

Mural crown for the title of città ("city").
Mural crown for the title of città ("city").

The title of città ("city") in Italy is granted to comuni that have been awarded it by decree of the King of Italy (until 1946) or of the provisional head of state (from 1946 to 1948) or, subsequently, of the President of the Italian Republic (after 1948), on the proposal of the Ministry of the Interior, to which the comune concerned sends an application for a concession, by virtue of their historical, artistic, civic or demographic importance.[2]

The comuni endowed with the title of città usually carry the golden crown above their coat of arms, except with different provisions in the decree approving the coat of arms or in the presence). "The crown of the city ([...]) is formed by a golden circle opened by eight city gates (five visible) with two cordoned walls on the margins, supporting eight towers (five visible) joined by curtain walls, all in gold and black walled".[34]

Statistics

Largest comuni by area

The following is a list of the largest comuni in Italy, in descending order of surface area, according to ISTAT data referring to 9 October 2011.[35] The provincial capitals are highlighted in bold.

Rome
Rank Comune Region Province Area (km²)
1 Rome Lazio Rome 1,287.36 km2 (497.05 sq mi)
2 Ravenna Emilia-Romagna Ravenna 653.82 km2 (252.44 sq mi)
3 Cerignola Apulia Foggia 593.93 km2 (229.32 sq mi)
4 Noto Sicily Syracuse 554.99 km2 (214.28 sq mi)
5 Sassari Sardinia Sassari 547.04 km2 (211.21 sq mi)
6 Monreale Sicily Palermo 530.18 km2 (204.70 sq mi)
7 Gubbio Umbria Perugia 525.78 km2 (203.00 sq mi)
8 Foggia Apulia Foggia 509.26 km2 (196.63 sq mi)
9 L'Aquila Abruzzo L'Aquila 473.91 km2 (182.98 sq mi)
10 Grosseto Tuscany Grosseto 473.55 km2 (182.84 sq mi)
11 Perugia Umbria Perugia 449.51 km2 (173.56 sq mi)
12 Ragusa Sicily Ragusa 444.67 km2 (171.69 sq mi)
13 Altamura Apulia Bari 431.38 km2 (166.56 sq mi)
14 Caltanissetta Sicily Caltanissetta 421.25 km2 (162.65 sq mi)
15 Venice Veneto Venice 415.90 km2 (160.58 sq mi)
16 Viterbo Lazio Viterbo 406.23 km2 (156.85 sq mi)
17 Ferrara Emilia-Romagna Ferrara 405.16 km2 (156.43 sq mi)
18 Andria Apulia Barletta-Andria-Trani 402.89 km2 (155.56 sq mi)
19 Matera Basilicata Matera 392.09 km2 (151.39 sq mi)
20 Città di Castello Umbria Perugia 387.32 km2 (149.55 sq mi)
21 Gravina in Puglia Apulia Bari 384.74 km2 (148.55 sq mi)
22 Arezzo Tuscany Arezzo 384.70 km2 (148.53 sq mi)
23 Olbia Sardinia Sassari 383.64 km2 (148.12 sq mi)
24 Caltagirone Sicily Catania 383.38 km2 (148.02 sq mi)
25 Manciano Tuscany Grosseto 372.51 km2 (143.83 sq mi)
26 Enna Sicily Enna 358.75 km2 (138.51 sq mi)
27 Manfredonia Apulia Foggia 354.54 km2 (136.89 sq mi)
28 Spoleto Umbria Perugia 348.14 km2 (134.42 sq mi)
29 Corigliano-Rossano Calabria Cosenza 346.56 km2 (133.81 sq mi)
30 Cortona Tuscany Arezzo 342.97 km2 (132.42 sq mi)

Smallest comuni by area

The following is a list of the smallest comuni in Italy, in ascending order of surface area, according to ISTAT data referring to 9 October 2011.[35]

Atrani
Rank Comune Region Province Area (km²)
1 Atrani Campania Salerno 0.1206 km2 (0.0466 sq mi)
2 Miagliano Piedmont Biella 0.6678 km2 (0.2578 sq mi)
3 Fiorano al Serio Lombardy Bergamo 1.0601 km2 (0.4093 sq mi)
4 Conca dei Marini Campania Salerno 1.1281 km2 (0.4356 sq mi)
5 Roccafiorita Sicily Messina 1.1682 km2 (0.4510 sq mi)
6 Solza Lombardy Bergamo 1.2278 km2 (0.4741 sq mi)
7 Maslianico Lombardy Como 1.2885 km2 (0.4975 sq mi)
8 San Lorenzo al Mare Liguria Imperia 1.2886 km2 (0.4975 sq mi)
9 Crosio della Valle Lombardy Varese 1.4407 km2 (0.5563 sq mi)
10 Ferrera di Varese Lombardy Varese 1.5265 km2 (0.5894 sq mi)
11 Casavatore Campania Naples 1.5267 km2 (0.5895 sq mi)
12 Piario Lombardy Bergamo 1.5451 km2 (0.5966 sq mi)
14 Vajont Friuli-Venezia Giulia Pordenone 1.5860 km2 (0.6124 sq mi)
15 Arizzano Piedmont Verbano-Cusio-Ossola 1.5995 km2 (0.6176 sq mi)
16 Longone al Segrino Lombardy Como 1.6045 km2 (0.6195 sq mi)
17 Viganò Lombardy Lecco 1.6049 km2 (0.6197 sq mi)
18 Brunello Lombardy Varese 1.6200 km2 (0.6255 sq mi)
19 Camparada Lombardy Monza e Brianza 1.6337 km2 (0.6308 sq mi)
20 Caines Trentino-Alto Adige South Tyrol 1.6345 km2 (0.6311 sq mi)
21 Curti Campania Caserta 1.6894 km2 (0.6523 sq mi)
22 Castel Rozzone Lombardy Bergamo 1.7066 km2 (0.6589 sq mi)
23 Lozza Lombardy Varese 1.7100 km2 (0.6602 sq mi)
24 Aci Bonaccorsi Sicily Catania 1.7243 km2 (0.6658 sq mi)
25 Calvignasco Lombardy Milan 1.7272 km2 (0.6669 sq mi)
26 Ventotene Lazio Latina 1.7454 km2 (0.6739 sq mi)
27 Lirio Lombardy Pavia 1.7457 km2 (0.6740 sq mi)
28 Masciago Primo Lombardy Varese 1.8082 km2 (0.6981 sq mi)
29 Montello Lombardy Bergamo 1.8156 km2 (0.7010 sq mi)
30 Carzano Trentino-Alto Adige Trentino 1.8202 km2 (0.7028 sq mi)

Largest comuni by altitude

The following is a list of the first comuni by altitude, in descending order.[36] The indicated altitude coincides with the height above sea level of the town hall.

Sestriere
Rank Comune Region Province Altitude
(Meters above
the sea level)
1 Sestriere Piedmont Turin 2,035 m (6,677 ft)
2 Chamois Aosta Valley 1,818 m (5,965 ft)
3 Livigno Lombardy Sondrio 1,816 m (5,958 ft)
4 Claviere Piedmont Turin 1,760 m (5,770 ft)
5 Rhêmes-Notre-Dame Aosta Valley 1,725 m (5,659 ft)
6 Ayas Aosta Valley 1,699 m (5,574 ft)
7 Argentera Piedmont Cuneo 1,684 m (5,525 ft)
8 Valgrisenche Aosta Valley 1,664 m (5,459 ft)
9 La Magdeleine Aosta Valley 1,644 m (5,394 ft)
10 Elva Piedmont Cuneo 1,637 m (5,371 ft)
11 Gressoney-La-Trinité Aosta Valley 1,635 m (5,364 ft)
12 Ceresole Reale Piedmont Turin 1,620 m (5,310 ft)
13 Pontechianale Piedmont Cuneo 1,614 m (5,295 ft)
14 Bionaz Aosta Valley 1,606 m (5,269 ft)
15 Bellino Piedmont Cuneo 1,572 m (5,157 ft)
16 Corvara in Badia Trentino-Alto Adige South Tyrol 1,568 m (5,144 ft)
17 Selva di Val Gardena Trentino-Alto Adige South Tyrol 1,563 m (5,128 ft)
18 Sauze di Cesana Piedmont Turin 1,560 m (5,120 ft)
19 Cogne Aosta Valley 1,544 m (5,066 ft)
20 Valsavarenche Aosta Valley 1,541 m (5,056 ft)
21 Valtournenche Aosta Valley 1,528 m (5,013 ft)
22 Pragelato Piedmont Turin 1,524 m (5,000 ft)
23 Curon Venosta Trentino-Alto Adige South Tyrol 1,520 m (4,990 ft)
24 Saint-Rhémy-en-Bosses Aosta Valley 1,519 m (4,984 ft)
25 Sauze d'Oulx Piedmont Turin 1,509 m (4,951 ft)
26 Foppolo Lombardy Bergamo 1,508 m (4,948 ft)
27 Torgnon Aosta Valley 1,489 m (4,885 ft)
28 Predoi Trentino-Alto Adige South Tyrol 1,475 m (4,839 ft)
29 Livinallongo del Col di Lana Veneto Belluno 1,475 m (4,839 ft)
30 Canazei Trentino-Alto Adige Trentino 1,465 m (4,806 ft)

Largest comuni by population

List of the first comuni by population in descending order, according to ISTAT data updated to 28 February 2022.[37] The regional capitals are in bold.

Milan
Rank Comune Region Province Inhabitants
1 Rome Lazio Rome 2,758,454
2 Milan Lombardy Milan 1,371,606
3 Naples Campania Naples 912,954
4 Turin Piedmont Turin 846 067
5 Palermo Sicily Palermo 628 883
6 Genoa Liguria Genoa 560 155
7 Bologna Emilia-Romagna Bologna 392,593
8 Florence Tuscany Florence 367,051
9 Bari Apulia Bari 316,113
10 Catania Sicily Catania 297,761
11 Verona Veneto Verona 257,176
12 Venice Veneto Venice 254,367
13 Messina Sicily Messina 219,565
14 Padua Veneto Padua 208,561
15 Prato Tuscany Prato 200,647
16 Trieste Friuli-Venezia Giulia Trieste 200,454
17 Parma Emilia-Romagna Parma 196,982
18 Brescia Lombardy Brescia 196,727
19 Taranto Apulia Taranto 188,848
20 Modena Emilia-Romagna Modena 185,628
21 Reggio Calabria Calabria Reggio Calabria 171,546
22 Reggio Emilia Emilia-Romagna Reggio Emilia 169,100
23 Perugia Umbria Perugia 163,614
24 Ravenna Emilia-Romagna Ravenna 155,968
25 Livorno Tuscany Livorno 153,901
26 Rimini Emilia-Romagna Rimini 150,068
27 Cagliari Sardinia Cagliari 148,697
28 Foggia Apulia Foggia 146,213
29 Ferrara Emilia-Romagna Ferrara 131,066
30 Salerno Campania Salerno 127,840

Comuni by demographic ranges

The data is updated as of 1 January 2021.[38]

Map of Italy's population density at the 2011 census
Map of Italy's population density at the 2011 census
Demographic range Comuni Population
Number % Residents %
more than 500,000 inhab. 6 0,08% 7,170,310 12.10%
from 250,000 to 499,999 inhab. 6 0.08% 1,874,966 3.16%
from 100,000 to 249,999 inhab. 32 0.40% 4,749,945 8.02%
from 60,000 to 99,999 inhab. 58 0.73% 4,446,634 7.50%
from 20,000 to 59,999 inhab. 404 5.11% 13,253,362 22.37%
from 10,000 to 19,999 inhab. 698 8.83% 9,662,013 16.31%
from 5,000 to 9,999 inhab. 1,179 14.92% 8,331,631 14.06%
from 3,000 to 4,999 inhab. 1,087 13.75% 4,222,171 7.13%
from 2,000 to 2,999 inhab. 921 11.65% 2,258,907 3.81%
from 1,000 to 1,999 inhab. 1,520 19.23% 2,213,443 3.74%
from 500 to 999 inhab. 1,101 13.93% 811,919 1.37%
less than 500 inhab. 892 11.29% 262,265 0.44%
Total 7,904 100.00% 59,257,566 100.00%

Demographic ranges for small comuni

The data is updated as of 1 January 2021.[38]

Demographic range Comuni Population
Number % Residents %
from 4,000 to 4,999 inhab. 5,521 69.85% 9,768,705 16.49%
from 3,000 to 3,999 inhab. 5,063 64.06% 7,719,721 13.03%
from 2,000 to 2,999 inhab. 4,434 56.10% 5,546,534 9.36%
from 1,000 to 1,999 inhab. 3,513 44.45% 3,287,627 5.55%
less than 999 inhab. 1,993 25.22% 1,074,184 1.81%

Demographic ranges by macroregion

The data is updated as of 1 January 2021.[38]

Demographic range Number of comuni Resident population
North Centre South North Centre South
more than 500,000 inhab. 3 1 2 2,804,841 2,783,809 1,581,660
from 250,000 to 499,999 inhab. 3 1 2 907,910 359,755 607,301
from 100,000 to 249,999 inhab. 17 5 10 2,503,474 749,523 1,496,948
from 60,000 to 99,999 inhab. 16 16 26 1,289,906 1,253,707 1,903,021
from 20,000 to 59,999 inhab. 158 78 168 4,974,716 2,647,385 5,631,261
from 10,000 to 19,999 inhab. 353 115 230 4,824,497 1,655,230 3,182,286
from 5,000 to 9,999 inhab. 672 155 352 4,723,268 1,139,230 2,469,133
from 3,000 to 4,999 inhab. 620 141 326 2,404,254 549,864 1,268,053
from 2,000 to 2,999 inhab. 501 100 320 1,229,705 242,581 786,621
from 1,000 to 1,999 inhab. 793 182 545 1,155,222 270,306 787,915
from 500 to 999 inhab. 627 110 364 458,324 82,312 271,283
less than 500 inhab. 622 64 206 175,415 19,431 67,419
Total 4,385 968 2,551 27,451,532 11,753,133 20,052,901

See also

References

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  21. ^ "Comune che "vince" non si cambia: 29 abitanti, Morterone è ancora il più piccolo d'Italia" (in Italian). Retrieved 3 May 2022.
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  38. ^ a b c "Comuni per fasce demografiche" (in Italian). Retrieved 4 May 2022.