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In ancient times Italy had several other names: it was called Saturnia, in honour of Saturn; Œnotria, wine-producing land; Ausonia, land of the Ausonians; Hesperia, land to the west (of Greece); Tyrrhenia, etc. The name Italy (Gr. Italia), which seems to have been taken from vitulus, to signify a land abounding in cattle, was applied at first to a very limited territory. According to Nissen and to others, it served to designate the southernmost portion of the peninsula of Calabria; but some authorities, as Cocchia and Gentile, hold that the name was given originally to that country between the Sele and the Lao which later was called Lucania. We find the name Italy in use, however, among Greek writers of the fifth and the fourth centuries B.C. (Herodotus, Thucydides, Aristotle, Plato); and in 241 B. C., in the treaty of peace that ended the First Punic War, it served to designate peninsular Italy; while in 202 B. C., at the close of the Second Punic War, the name of Italy was extended as far as the Alps.

Physical characteristics

Italy has an area of 110,646 square miles, of which 91,393 are on the Continent of Europe, and 19,253 on the islands. The area of Italy, therefore, is little more than half that of France.

Under the Romans and in the Middle Ages, under the powerful republics of Amalfi and of Pisa, of Genoa and of Venice, Italy ruled the Mediterranean Sea, which, however, after the discovery of America, ceased to be the centre of European maritime activity. The centre of European interests was carried towards the west: the Italian republics fell into decay, and sea power went to the countries on the Atlantic Ocean. But the opening of the Suez Canal (1869) and the tunnelling of the Alps (Fréjus, 1871; St. Gothard, 1884; Simplon, 1906), which brought Central and North-western Europe into easy communication with Italian ports, and especially with Genoa, have restored to the Mediterranean much of its former importance and made of Italy a mighty bridge between Europe and the Levant. Of the three great peninsulas of Southern Europe, Italy is that whose adjoining seas penetrate deepest into the European Continent, while its frontiers border on the greatest number of other states (France, Switzerland, Austria) and are in contact with a greater number of races: French, German, Slav.

Before Italy took its present form it was part of a great body of land called by geologists Tyrrhenses, now covered by the waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea, which was united to Africa In fact, a great part of the Tuscan Archipelago and of the other islands of the Tyrrhenian Sea, the masses of the Peloritan Mountains in Sicily, of Aspromonte and of Sila in Calabria, the Roian Alps, formed of archaic rocks, all are fragments of an ancient land now for the most part submerged. Another fact that gave to the configuration of Italy its present characteristic lines was the recession of the sea from that great gulf which became the fertile plain of the Po. Glaciers that at one time occupied the greater portion of Northern Italy gave rise to many moraine ranges. When the promontory of Gargano was an island, the Adriatic Sea, which separated that elevation from the Apennines and which occupied all the table-land of Apulia, projected an arm towards the south through the Sella di Spinazzola and the valley of the rivers Basentiello and Bradano, until it met the Ionian Sea. Therefore Italy is a recent formation, and consequently is subject to telluric phenomena that are unknown, or are less frequent, in the neighbouring countries. It is due to these causes that Sicily was separated from the Continent and became an island. Within historical times, the coast of Pozzuoli, near Naples, has undergone a slow depression that caused the columns of the temple of Serapis to sink into the sea, from which they emerged later through a rising movement of the ground. In consequence of the earthquake that destroyed Messina and Reggio (28 December, 1908), the ground has undergone alteration, and telluric movements show no tendency to cease. Italy has the characteristic shape of a riding boot, of which the top is represented by the Alps, the seam by the Apennines, and the toe, the heel, and the spur, respectively, by the peninsulas of Calabria, Salento, and Gargano. The country consists of a continental portion that terminates at almost the forty-fourth parallel, between Spezia and Rimini, of peninsular, and of insular portions. It is customary to divide the peninsular portions into two parts: Central Italy and Southern Italy, of which the former is contained between the forty-fourth parallel and a straight line that connects the mouth of the Trigno River with that of the Garigliano, marking the narrowest part of the peninsula between the Adriatic and the Tyrrhenian Seas. Southern Italy is the part of the peninsula which lies south of this line. Northern Italy includes Piedmont, Lombardy, Venice, Emilia, and Liguria; Central Italy includes Tuscany, Umbria, and Lazio; Southern Italy includes Campania, the Basilicata, and Calabria.

Insular Italy will be found treated of under the articles SICILY; SARDINIA. Piedmont, Lombardy, Tuscany, Venice, and the historic towns within those regions will also be found the subject of separate articles. Concerning the temporal power of the popes and events culminating in the seizure of Rome in 1870 see the article PAPAL STATES.

Coastline and seas

The coast-line of the Italian Peninsula measures 2100 miles. Its principal harbours are the Gulf of Genoa, the first commercial port in Italy; the Gulf of Spezia, an important naval station; Civitavecchia, an artificial harbour; the harbours of Gaeta, Naples, and the Gulf of Taranto; Brindisi, a natural port; the Gulf of Manfredonia, and the lagoons of Venice. The principal seas are:

The Sea of Italy

Also known as the Tyrrhenian Sea, which lies between the islands of Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica and the mainland. It slopes from its shores to its centre, where it attains a depth of more than two and one-quarter miles, and scattered over it are the Tuscan Archipelago, the Ponza and Parthenopian Island groups, the Ægadian Islands, the volcanic Island Ustica, and the Lipari or Æolian Islands, the latter being all extinct volcanoes with the exception of Stromboli. The tides of this sea vary by only eight or twelve inches; it abounds in coral banks, and anchovy, sardine, and tunny fishing is remunerative along the coasts of Sicily and Sardinia.

Ligurian Sea

The Gulf of Genoa is the most inland and also the most northerly part of this open sea, which extends to the south as far as the Channels of Corsica and of Piombino, through which it communicates with the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is open towards the Mediterranean, while its south-western limit is a line drawn from Cape Lardier, in Provence, to Cape Revellata in Corsica. The tides of this sea vary from six to eight inches. On account of its depth and of the absence of tributary rivers, it contains few fish.

Sea of Sicily; Sea of Malta

That branch of the Mediterranean that lies between Tunis and Sicily is called the Channel of Tunis or of Sicily, and has a minimum breadth of 90 miles. The branch that separates the Maltese Islands from Sicily is called the Malta Channel and has a minimum breadth of 51 miles. In the former, at an average depth of 100 fathoms, there is a submarine bank that unites Africa and Sicily; it has extensive shoals, known for their volcanic phenomena. Sponge and coral fisheries in this sea are lucrative. The tides are higher than those of other Italian waters, and a singular phenomenon, called marrobbio, is observed here, being a violent and dangerous boiling of the sea, having, possibly, a volcanic origin.

Ionian Sea

This is an open sea between Sicily and the Calabrian and the Salentine peninsulas, and the western coasts of the Balkan Peninsula; it communicates with the Tyrrhenian Sea by the Strait of Messina, which was formed by the catastrophe that violently detached Sicily from the Continent. This strait, which is one of the most frequented waterways of Europe, is funnel-shaped, having a breadth of 20 miles at its southern, and of 2 miles at its northern, opening. On the line between the islands of Sicily and Crete, the Ionian Sea reaches a depth of 2¾ miles, the greatest that has been found so far in the Mediterranean Sea. While the tides on the African coast rise over six feet, those on the coast of Italy are very slight; they are all the stronger, however, in the Strait of Messina, where the currents that pass between the Tyrrhenian and the Ionian Seas, especially when the wind blows, form vortices and surges that beat violently against the coast of Calabria. The fantasy of the ancients personified these two phenomena, in the monster Scylla, for the Calabrian coast, and Charybdis on the Sicilian side (Homer, "Odyss.", I, xii; Virgil, "Æneid", III, 420-425).

Adriatic Sea

This sea lies between the Italian and the Balkan Peninsulas, with an area of 51,000 sq. miles. It abounds in fish of exceptionally good quality.


Italy is a country of mountains and hills, with few high table-lands; while, of the latter, the two most important, those of Tuscany and of the Murgie, are broken and surmounted by hills and mountainous groups. Lowland plains are, on the contrary, the dominant characteristic of Northern Italy; plains, in fact, occupy about one-third of the surface of the country. The principal mountains of Italy are:

The Alps

They form a system of parallel ranges, at the north of Italy, forming an arc that presents its convex side to the west; they extend from the pass of Cadibona to the masses of Mt. Blanc, which is the highest point of the Alpine range (15,780 feet), and from that point, following a north-easterly direction, they extend to Vienna on the Danube. One of the greater eastern branches of this system, the Carnic and the Julian Alps, diverges in a south-easterly direction and terminates in the Fianona Point on the Gulf of Quarnero. Their length, from the pass of Cadibona to Cape Fianona, is nearly 735 miles. Their mean height is 6500 feet. The Italian watershed of the Alps is steep, with short spurs and deep valleys, while the opposite side is a gentle slope. Hence the facility of crossing over the Alps from without (France, Germany), and the corresponding difficulty of the passage from the Italian side, as history has shown by foreign invasions. The Alps are of climatic benefit to Italy, for they are a screen against the cold winds from the north, while the vapours of warm winds from the Mediterranean and the Adriatic Seas are condensed on the Alpine heights, producing the copious rains and snows that result in those numerous glaciers which are reservoirs for the rivers. The inhabitants of the Alps are a strong and robust people, sober, and attached to their native valleys. Temporary emigration, due to the nature of the land, is very great, but permanent emigration is rare. With the Alps is connected the typical Italian figure of the chimney-sweep evoked by the fancy of artists and of poets.

The Apennines

They form parallel trunk chains, arranged in echelon, like the tiers of a theatre; they extend from the Pass of Cadibona to the Strait of Messina and are continued in the northern mountains of Sicily as far as Cape Boeo. The range is of much less elevation than the Alps, its mean height being 3900 feet, nor has it the imposing, wild, and varied aspect of the Alps. Its summits are bare and rounded, the valleys deep, and cultivation goes on well up the heights. The sides were once covered with forests, but that wealth of vegetation has been improvidently destroyed everywhere along this range, and, consequently, iron grey, the ashy colour of calcareous rocks, and the red brown of clay and sand-beds are the predominant tints of the country. The highest summit is that of Mt. Corno (9585 feet) in the group of the Gran Sasso. On account of their latitude and of their proximity to the sea, the Apennines have neither snow-clad peaks nor glaciers, and, while the Pre-Alpine hills are of moraine origin the Pre-Apennine hills were formed of sands, clay, flint and other substances disintegrated and transformed by the waters. Rains are frequent on the Apennines in autumn and winter.

The configuration of the Apennine system is simple at its two extremities, but it becomes complex towards the centre, where it consists of a group of parallel chains, arranged in steps, those curving towards the east constituting the Sub-Apennine range; while those groups that extend along the Tyrrhenian and the Adriatic coasts constitute the Anti-Apennine system. Geographers do not agree on the determining lines of these three divisions. We will adopt the line from Cadibona Pass (1620 feet) to Bocca Serriola (2400 feet) between the Tiber and the Metauro Rivers, for the northern division; from Bocca Serriola to the Pass of Rionero between the Rivers Sangro and Volturno, for the Central Apennines, and from this point to Cape Armi, for the southern division. The Northern Apennines encircle the southern basin of the Po, in a northwest to south-east direction, and the Pass of Cisa (3410 feet) divides them into two sections, the Ligurian and the Emilio-Tuscan.

The Ligurian Apennines

They form an arc around the Gulf of Genoa and have their crest near and parallel to the coast; but, to the north of Genoa, they deviate towards the east. Their southern spurs are short and steep; those towards the Po are longer and more ramified, the two principal ones among them being those of Mt. Antola and of Mt. Penna, the former of which fans out between the Scrivia and Trebbia Rivers and contains Mt. Ebro (5570 feet) and Mt. Lesima (5760 feet), and it terminates near the Po, forming the Pass of Stradella; that of Mt. Penna, with numerous branches between the Trebbia and the Taro Rivers, contains Mt. Misurasca, or Bue (5930 feet), which is the highest point of this section. The Langhe and the hills of Monferrato, which last are called also Hills of the Po, famous for their sparkling wines, form a species of promontory of the Ligurian Apennines, enclosed between the Po, the Tanaro, and the western part of the Bormida. All this hilly region consists, superficially, of greenish and of yellowish sands, and below the surface, of clay and of bluish marl, alternating with veins of gypsum, of gravel, and at times of lignite. During the Miocene period, this region was a continuation of the Gulf of the Po and communicated with the Mediterranean Sea by the channel, or possibly the archipelago, of Cadibona. Four railroads cross this section:

The Emilio-Tuscan-Apennines

There are characteristic differences between the two slopes of this section of the Apennines. The branches towards the north-east, that is towards the Adriatic Sea, are parallel, and perpendicular to the crest that separates the watersheds; they terminate at a short distance from the Emilian Way. The most important branch, on account of its length and ramifications, and also because it separates Northern Italy from Central Italy, is the one which is called Alps of Luna, beginning in the dorsal spur of Mt. Maggiore (4400 feet), between the Marecchia and the Metauro Rivers and divided into three branches, the last of which closes the great valley of the Po near the Pass of Cattolica. On the south-western watershed the spurs are almost parallel to the mother chain and are separated from it by broad longitudinal valleys, forming the Sub-Apennines of Tuscany.

The Tuscan or Metalliferous Anti-Apennines

They consist of a group of parallel chains, directed from northwest to south-east on the Tuscan uplands, ploughed by the Ombrone of Pistoia. The eastern chain, towards the Arno River and the valley of Chiana, is formed by the wine-producing mountains of Chianti, Montepulciano, and Cetona. The interior chains consist of the mountains of Siena, abounding in marbles, the mountains of Volterra, that yield alabaster, and those of Montalcino, and they terminate in the volcanic mass of Mt. Amiata, the highest point of the Anti-Apennines (5640 feet). The coast range, abounding in metals, includes the mountains of Leghorn, the Cornate di Gerfalco, and the Poggio Montieri. They contain mines of copper, lead, zinc, salt, and are rich in borax and lignite coal. The highest point of the Emilio-Tuscan Apennines is Mt. Cimone (7190 feet). Other summits are the Alps of Succiso (6610 feet) and Mt. Cusna (6960 feet). Two railroads cross this section: the Bologna-Firenze and the Faenza-Firenze. Wherefore northern and central Italy are connected by five railroads which, together with the common roads, constitute the unifying system between these two divisions of the country.

The Central Apennines are divided into two sections, the Umbro-Marchesan, from Bocca Serriola to the Torrita Pass, between the Velino and the Tronto Rivers, and the Apennines of the Abruzzi, from the Torrita Pass (3280 feet) to that of Rionero.

The Umbro-Marchesan Apennines

This range is not formed of a single, well-defined chain, as is the case in the Northern Apennines, but, of three parallel ranges, in echelon, that gradually approach the Adriatic Sea towards the south. The first chain, that is the western one, is merely the prolongation of the Northern Apennines, and extends from Bocca Serriola to the highland plain of Gubbio, to terminate on the low plain of Foligno. The second, or middle, range, called also Chain of Mt. Catria, contains many peaks over 4900 feet, Mt. Catria being 5570 feet high. These two ranges are connected by a highland plain which terminates at the defile of Scheggia (1930 feet) and over which passed the ancient Flaminian Way. The eastern or Mt. San Vicino range begins to the right of the Metauro River and follows a north-easterly direction. It is cut by many openings through which flow the rivers that rise in the central chain and empty into the Adriatic Sea. From Mt. San Vicino this range takes a southerly direction and forms the Sibilline Mountains, of which the chief summits are Mt. Regina (7650 feet) and Mt. Vettore (8100 feet). Towards the Adriatic Sea the Sub-Apennine range consisted of chains parallel to the Apennines, but it was worn away by the waters and only the mountains of Ascensione, Cingoli, and Conero remain to mark the position that it occupied. The Umbrian or Tyrrhenian Sub-Apennines are divided into two principal groups. The first of these is between the Tiber and the Valley of Chiana, and beyond the Scopettone Pass (920 feet), it receives the names of Alta di S. Egidio (3400 feet), Perugia Mountains, Poggio Montereale and others. The second group stands between the Tiber, the Topino, and the Maroggia Rivers, containing the Deruta Mountains, Mt. Martano (3500 feet), and Mt. Torre Maggiore (3560 feet). There is but one railroad that crosses this section of the Central Apennines; it is the one between Ancona and Foligno that passes near Fossato, through a tunnel about a mile and a quarter long.

The Abruzzan Apennines

This section consists of three high ranges that form a kind of ellipse of which the major axis is in a south-easterly direction. They enclose the lofty plain of the Abruzzi that is divided into the Conca Aquilana, to the east, through which flows the River Aterno, and the Conca di Avezzano or of the Fucino, to the west. The eastern range extends from the defile of Arquata to the Sangro River and is divided into three stretches, namely, the group of Pizzo di Sevo (7850 feet), from the Tronto River to the Vomano; the Gran Sasso d'Italia, between the Vomano and the Pescara Rivers, the highest group of the peninsula, its greatest elevation being that of Mt. Corno (9560 feet); and third, the group of the Majella, which is preceded by the Morone chain and the highest point of which is Mt. Amaro (9170 feet). Bears are still to be found in these mountains. The middle range of the Abruzzan Apennines parts from the Velino River near Mt. Terminillo and divides into the groups of Mt. Velino and of Mt. Sirente, from which the range is continued to the south-east, by the Scanno Mountains, which are separated from those of Majella by the plains of Solmona and of Cinquemiglia.

The Roman Sub-Apennines

The Sabine Mountains rise between the Aniene, the Tiber, the Nera, the Velino, and the Turano Rivers, containing Mt. Pellecchia (4487 feet); they are a continuation of the mountains of Spoleto and develop a most picturesque region that is rich in historic memories. The Simbruini Mountains stand between the Turano and the Aniene Rivers, following the direction of the Sabine Mountains. Between the Sacco and the Aniene Rivers are the Ernici Mountains, which are of volcanic nature. They are followed in a northwesterly direction by the Palestrina Mountains, which contain Mt. Guadagnolo (3990 feet) and which are separated from the saddle of Palestrina (1130 feet) and from the Alban Mountains, which belong to the Anti-Apennines.

The Roman Anti-Apennines

This range extends from the Fiora to the Garigliano rivers and is divided into two parts. Between the Rivers Fiora and Tiber there is a predominance of volcanic groups like that of the Volsini Mountains (2270 feet) that form a chain of volcanic stone around Lake Bolsena, which was formed, possibly, by the reunion of several extinct craters. This group is followed by the Cimini Mountains around Lake Vico; the Sabatini Mountains around Lake Bracciano: Mt. Soracte (2270 feet), standing solitary on the Tiber, and the Tolfa Mountains (2000 feet) on the sea; these are rich in alum. The Alban Mountains, also of volcanic character, rise between the Rivers Tiber, Garigliano, Sacco or Tolero, and the sea, with their highest elevation in Mt. Cavo (3100 feet) near Rome. Beyond the gap of Velletri rise the Volscian Mountains, which are of a calcareous nature and which extend to the Garigliano. They are divided into three groups: the Lepini Mountains, containing Mt. Semprevisa (5000 feet), the Ausonian Mountains, and the Aurunci Mountains, which contain Mt. Petrella (5000 feet.) and which form the promontory of Gaeta. There are three railroads that cross this section of the Apennines: the Chieti-Aquila-Terni-Roma, the Chieti-Solmona-Avezzano-Roma, and the Aquila-Isernia-Naples.

The Southern Apennines are divided into three parts: the branch that is formed by the Neapolitan and Lucan Apennines, the true continuation of the Central Apennines, of which they preserve both the nature and the direction; the Apennines of Calabria, which are different in direction, aspect, and nature from the Apennines, having an Alpine character; the Murgie range, also differing in origin and characteristics from the Apennines.

The Neapolitan Apennines

This range extends from the Pass of Rionero to the saddle of Conza. Beginning at the north, there is first the highland plain of Carovilli, and then the mountains of Frentani or of Campobasso. These are followed by the vast highland plain of the Sannio and by that of Irpino which forms the eastern border of the Beneventana basin and terminates at the saddle of Conza. This series of elevations, although of medium height, marks the principal axis of the Apennine range.

The Neapolitan Tyrrhenian Sub-Apennines

They are formed of the groups of the Matese and of the Terminio, and of the Avellino Mountains. The Matese group, which is totally isolated, has its highest elevation in Mt. Miletto (6700 feet) and consists of two parallel trunks that are very close together, having between them a narrow height that contains a small lake. The group of the Terminio (about 6000 feet high), which contains Mt. Accellica and Mt. Cervialto, constitutes one of the most important oro-hydrographic points of Southern Italy. They abound in springs, and from them come the fresh waters of the Serino with which Naples is supplied through an aqueduct. Between the two above groups rise the Avellino Mountains that close the Beneventana basin. These are groups that are isolated by deep clefts, chief among them being Mt. Vergine (4800 feet) which has upon it a celebrated sanctuary.

The Neapolitan Tyrrhenian Apennines

This Anti-Apennine range extends in the direction of the Roman Anti-Apennines, through the volcanic group of Roccamonfina and of Mt. Maggione, to the Volturno River. On the coast is the region of Campi Flegrei, formed of small, extinct volcanoes; then the active volcano Mt. Vesuvius (4070 feet), and after that the Lattari or Sorrento chain which forms the peninsula of Sorrento and terminates at Campanella Point.

The Neapolitan Adriatic Anti-Apennines

They consist of the Gargano group which is entirely isolated and which differs from the Apennines in origin and in nature. It projects into the Adriatic Sea (the Gargano Head) for 30 miles and the River Candelaro now takes the place of the branch of the sea that formerly separated this group from the peninsula. The elevation rises steep above that river and the Gulf of Manfredonia, forming a series of forest-covered terraces upon which stand dome-shaped summits, as Mt. Calvo (3460 feet), and sloping down towards the north upon Lake Varano. From this side of Mt. Cornacchia (3800 feet) the Capitanata Mountains branch towards the north and pass around the plain of Apulia on the west.

Lucan Apennines

This is a chain that extends from the Sella di Conza to the Scalone Pass and is bounded by the Sele River, the Ofanto with its affluent the Locone, the Bradano and its affluent the Basentiello, the coast of the Gulf of Taranto, the Isthmus of Calabria, and the Tyrrhenian Sea. The range is divided into two parts by the plain of San Loja, which is crossed by a highway and by the Napoli-Potenza railroad. The northern part is grouped around Mt. Santa Croce (4670 feet) that gives out several ramifications, one of which extends to the group of Mt. Volture, an extinct volcano on the right of the Ofanto River. The second, southern division contains the Maddalena Mountains (Mt. Papa, 6560 feet), a short and rugged chain that runs from north to east, and the nearly isolated group of the Pollino which bars the entrance of the peninsula of Calabria and contains the highest summits of the Southern Apennines, Mt. Pollino and Serra Dolcedormi. The group of the Cilento which projects into the sea at Capes Licosa and Palinuro may be considered as the Lucan Sub-Apennines. It is separated from the Apennines by the longitudinal valley of Diano and constitutes one of the wildest and most broken borders of Italy. Its principal summits are Mt. Cervati (6000 feet), Mt. Sacro (5600 feet), and Mt. Alburno.


The Apulian group of the Murgie constitutes a system of its own, different from the Apennines in shape, origin, and nature. Its boundaries are the Ofanto River and its affluent the Locone, the Sella di Spinazzola, the Basentiello River, the Bradano, and the coasts of the Ionian and the Adriatic Seas. The Murgie are hills that are surmounted here and there by rounded elevations. Their height, which at the north is nearly 2000 feet, decreases more and more towards the southeast. There are no rivers or streams among these hills, for they absorb the rain-waters into deep clefts that are called lame or gravine. When the sea occupied the plain of Apulia and extended towards the south as far as the Ionian Sea, the Murgie were separated from Italy and were divided into islands and submarine banks.

The Calabrian Apennines

The mountains of Calabria, by their crystalline and granite nature, by their alpine appearance and by difference of direction, form a system that is independent of the Apennines. Their boundaries are a line drawn from the mouth of the Crati River to the Scalone Pass and the coasts of the Tyrrhenian and of the Ionian Seas. They constitute a straitened territory of mountain groups that are separated by deep depressions, or united by sharp crests, in which communication becomes very difficult. The highlands are covered with forests, and the lowlands with orange groves, vineyards, olive trees, and kindred plantations. These mountains are divided into four groups: first, the Catena Costiera, between the sea and the Crati River, extending from the Pass of Scalone to the River Amato; it contains Mt. Cocuzzo (5000 feet). As its name implies, this chain is always very near the sea, rising steeply to a mean height of 3700 feet, while at its southern extremity it is united with the highland plain of Sila. The second group is a vast highland plain of a mean height of 3900 feet, with gaps, here and there, through which flow the streams that rise on the plain. The highest summit is Botte Donato (6300 feet). The name of Sila is connected with the Latin silva and with the Greek hyle (forest) and refers to the rich growth of tall trees that covered the plain in ancient times, and even then were utilized in naval construction. To the south of Sila, between the Gulfs of Squillace and Santa Eufemia, there is the Pass of Marcellinara (800 feet), which was possibly a sea canal before the Strait of Messina existed. This pass separates the Sila from the third group, called the Sierre, which contains Mt. Pecoraro and which extends to Mercante Pass, terminating in the sea, at Cape Vaticano on the promontory of Monteleone (1600 feet). The fourth group rises between Mercante Pass and the Strait of Messina; it is Aspromonte, a vast conical mass of granite that rises by wooded grades and terraces. It contains Mt. Alto (6500 feet).


Plain of the Po

The spurs of the Alps and of the Apennines that are directed towards the valley of the Po never reach the shores of that river; on the contrary, there stretches between the base lines of those two mountain systems the vast plain of the Po (17,500 sq. miles), which may be compared to a great amphitheatre, open towards the east, the Alpine and the Apennine watersheds forming its tiers and the plain its arena. Its uniformity is broken by the hills of Monferrato and by those of the Langhe, by the Euganean hills, and by the Berici Mountains. If the sea should rise 300 feet, it would reach the base of the Monferrato hills and would enter the Apennine valleys; and if it should rise 1300 feet more it would enter the valleys of Piedmont. This plain of the Po, which is divided into plains of Piedmont, Lombardy, and Venice, on the left of the river, and into plains of Marengo and of Emilia on its right, was formerly a gulf of the Adriatic Sea that was filled in by the alluvial deposits of the rivers and was levelled by inundations. This process of filling in the Adriatic Sea is continuous, as is shown by the fact that the delta of the Po is carried forward by nearly twenty-six feet each year, while Ravenna, which in the time of the Romans was a naval station, is now five miles from the sea. The Alps contributed a greater portion of alluvial materials than did the Apennines, and therefore the course of the Po was thrown towards the lower range, so that the plain on the left of the river is greater than that on the right. The low plain of the Po has two light slopes that meet in the thalwegg of that river; one of them descends gradually from west to east (Cuneo, 1700 feet). While this plain covers only a third of the surface of the valley of the Po, it is nevertheless the historical and political centre of that valley.

Plains of central Italy

Between the mouth of the Magra River and Terracina there is a lengthy extent of low plains that vary considerably in breadth. These plains are monotonous and sad, in contrast with those of the river valleys, as that of the Ombrone, those of the Arno and of other rivers, which are fertile and beautiful. First there is the plain of Tuscany divided into the low plains of the basin of the Arno and the Maremma, of which the former were once marshy and unhealthy, especially that of the valley of Chiana; but, through the great hydraulic works of the Medicis of the sixteenth century, they are now most fertile and are model expositions of agriculture.

The Tuscan Maremma

This is a low expanse of level land where the rain-waters become stagnant and where the streams are sluggish on account of the too gentle slope of the land, and therefore they accumulate their refuse; this disadvantage, however, is now turned to profit in the fertilization of the ground by what is known as the filling-in system.

The Roman Campagna

The lightly undulating Roman Campagna lies on either side of the lower Tiber, and, although it has the monotony and sadness of all plains, it has a grandeur in itself, in its beautiful sunsets and in the gigantic and glorious ruins that witness how great a life there was in these now deserted places, abandoned to herds of cattle and to wild boars. The remains of the consular roads that traverse this plain in every direction, reminding one of the victorious armies that marched over them, are now scarcely to be discerned under the brush; the waters, no longer checked, have left their channels and formed extensive marshes, where malaria reigns; and houses and tillage are not to be found on the Campagna at many miles from Rome.

The Pontine marshes

From Cisterna to Terracina and from Porto d'Anzio to Mt. Circeo there lies a swampy expanse, 25 miles in length and from 10 to 11 miles in breadth, called in ancient times Agro Pomenzio, and now Pontine Marshes. Formerly this tract was cultivated and healthy, only a little swamp existing near Terracina; and in the fifth century of the Roman Era the Censor Appius constructed over it the magnificent way that bears his name. But the provinces having been depopulated by wars, and the cultivation of the soil having been interrupted, the stagnant waters overlaid all. The Consul Cethegus, however, by new drainage, made these lands healthy again, but the civil wars reduced them to a worse condition than the one from which they were redeemed; and in the time of Augustus, as Horace tells us, the Appian Way ran solitary through that vast swamp. Augustus and his successors attempted to drain the tract once more; but the barbarians destroyed every vestige of their work, Popes Leo I, Sixtus II, Clement XIII, and especially Pius VI, resumed the undertaking, and by means of large canals restored it to agriculture; but once more the region is unhealthy, and almost without inhabitants.

Plains of southern Italy

The plains of Southern Italy cover nearly four-tenths of its surface, the regions which contain more of them being Campania and Apulia. There are none in the Basilicata, and few in Calabria. On the Tyrrhenian Sea, there are;

The Campania Plain

This plain extends along the coast between the Garigliano and the Sarno Rivers. Over it rise the volcanoes of the Campi Flegrei and that of Vesuvius. This is the Campania Felix of antiquity, a region of extraordinary beauty and of exceptional fertility due to the volcanic soil and to the maritime climate.

The Plain of Pesto, or of the Sele

The second is much smaller than the first. It is situated at the mouth of the Sele River, not far from where stood Posidonia, or Pæstum, the city of roses, famous for its life of delights and delicacy, but already in ruins at the beginning of the Roman Empire. Now these places are marshy and unhealthy.

The Plain of Santa Eufemia

It is situated at the end of the gulf of the same name and traversed by the Amato River, and the Plain of Gioja, traversed by the River Mesima. They are small, marshy, and unhealthy plains in the shape of amphitheatres, formed by the alluvial deposits of those two rivers. Looking towards the Ionian Sea is the plain of Sibari, where once stood, at the mouth of the Crati River, the Greek city for which the plain is named. It is of alluvial origin and nature, as are the preceding two. Towards the Adriatic Sea the plains of the coast of Apulia have their northern terminal in the famous Tavoliere delle Puglie which is almost a steppe, treeless, monotonous, and sad, exposed to the winds and traversed by a few streams that change their channels. Formerly this plain was used for winter pasturage, but, the soil being fertile, corn is now grown. It is bounded by the Candellaro River, the Apennines, the Ofanto River, and the Gulf of Manfredonia. On the Salentine peninsula there is a species of Tavoliere, contained between the Brindisi-Oria railroad and a line drawn from Torre dell' Orso, on the Adriatic Sea, to Nardò on the Ionian.

Volcanoes and earthquakes

As Italy is one of the most recently developed parts of the mainland and of the crust that has risen above the waters, it is subject to the phenomena that are due to that internal energy of the earth called volcanism, which is manifested in the various forms of volcanic activity, in earthquakes and in microseisms. The valley of the Po contains no active volcano, but the Berici Mountains and the Euganean Hills that are rich in thermal springs (as at Abano) were, in remote times, two very active centres, as is shown by the great quantity of volcanic matter around them. In the peninsula of Italy and on the islands, volcanic activity is still very great, especially towards the Tyrrhenian coast. The Apennine zone that extends from the group of Mt. Amiata to Mt. Roccamonfina is almost entirely covered by extinct volcanoes: the San Vincenzo hills, to the north of Campiglia, and the Sassofondino hills, to the west of Roccastrada, are of volcanic nature, as is also the great cone of Mt. Amiata, which is the highest volcanic elevation of the peninsula; to the east of the Amiata rises the picturesque basaltic mass of Radicofani, and the Lakes of Bolsena (Vulsinio), Vico (Cimino), Bracciano (Sabatino), and Albano (Latino) are merely the principal craters of the many volcanoes that form the Roman group. A great number of these volcanoes began their activity under the sea which they filled in with their products, creating in this way the broken Campagna that consists chiefly of volcanic materials. In the valley of the Tolero or Sacco, near Frosinone, rise the Ernici volcanoes, of which the chief summits are those of Posi, Ticchiena, Callano, and of San Giuliano; and to the south of the plain through which the Volturno River flows stands the group of extinct craters that constitute Mt. Roccamonfina. The volcanic group of Naples is the most important one of them all, and the most famous, because it contains the oldest active volcano in Europe, namely Mt. Vesuvius (4000 feet). That ancient volcano rises between the destroyed cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, at about six miles from Naples. Diodorus Siculus, Vitruvius, Plutarch, and Strabo speak of it as a volcano that had been extinct for centuries in their day. In the year 79 of the Christian Era it suddenly became active again, burying in molten stone, sand, and ashes the cities of Stabia, Herculaneum, and Pompeii, and by its noxious vapours terminating the life of Pliny the Elder. Between the years 79 and 1631 Vesuvius had a few eruptions: those of 203, 472, 512, 689, 913, 1036, 1139, 1500; but, on 16 December, 1631, the diameter of the crater was increased nearly two miles, and nearly 72,000,000 cubic metres of lava were ejected from it in a few hours, while there descended from the summit devastating torrents of boiling mud. Thereafter eruptions became more frequent, the principal ones having occurred in 1737, 1794, 1822, 1858, 1861, 1862, 1868, 1872, and the last in 1906; but flickering flames and smoke are almost always emerging from the crater. The Campi Flegrei to the west of Naples occupy a surface of nearly 60 sq. miles and consist of low craters that have been partly filled in by the waters. Notable among these are Mt. Montenuovo, which was developed in a single night in September, 1530; and Mt. Solfatara, from the fissures of which, called chimneys, there constantly emanate smoke and vapours of sulphuretted hydrogen. The Vulture volcanic region to the east of the Apennines is not allied to the Tyrrhenian volcanic region. The Vulture consists of two concentric craters of which the interior one is more recent; this contains the two small lakes of Monticchio (2050 feet).

Thermal springs are very abundant in Italy, especially those containing sulphur and carbonic acid. Of gaseous springs, there are in Italy the so-called fumaiole that emit aqueous vapour with carbonic acid, the boraciferous blowers of Tuscany, and the sulphur-producing spring of Pozzuoli which burst into an eruption in 1198. Near Rome there are the Albula Springs. Lastly there are the mephitic springs that produce carbonic acid, the most famous of them being the so-called Grotta del Cane, near the Lake of Aguano, which is an ancient, extinct crater, near Naples.

Besides her volcanic characteristics, Italy, like Japan, is the classic land of earthquakes. The regions that are most subject to them are;

Of the famous catastrophes due to earthquakes, the best known are those of 1783, in Calabria, when there were destroyed 109 cities and villages, under the ruins of which 32,000 people were buried; the one of 1857 in the Basilicata that cost 10,000 victims to Potenza and its neighbourhood. The earthquake that shook the western Ligurian Riviera in 1887, although the most terrible catastrophe of its kind that has befallen continental Italy, was, withal, much less severe than those that have visited the southern portion of the peninsula. Calabria may be said to have been for ten years on the brink of the earthquake that culminated fatally on the morning of 28 December, 1908, when, in a few moments, the city of Messina, with 150,000 inhabitants, the city of Reggio, with 45,000 inhabitants, the town of Sille, and other smaller ones, were razed to the ground, burying more than 100,000 people under their ruins. Italy was comforted by all the civilized nations, and especially the United States, which built a town in the beautiful district of Santa Cecilia, in the neighbourhood of Messina, with nearly 1500 frame houses, after the fashion of Swiss chalets, prettily finished, and painted in white. The United States Avenue, parallel with the sea, and Theodore Roosevelt Avenue, parallel with the torrent of Zaera, divide the town into four quarters that are intersected by streets having the names of those generous Americans who helped in the work: Commander Belknap of the Navy, who was the head of the relief Commission; Lieutenants Buchanan and Spofford; Engineer Elliot, director of construction; Dr. Donelson, and others.



The rivers of Continental Italy empty into the Adriatic and the Ligurian Seas. The water-courses of the Ligunian slope are rapid torrents, dry in summer, while in autumn and in winter they carry enormous volumes of water. Chief among them are the Roja, the longest and most important water course of Liguria, on the banks of which are Tenda and Ventimiglia; the Taggia; the Centa, which is formed of the Arroscia and the Neva; the Bisagno and the Polcevera, between the mouths of which is the city of Genoa; and the Entella. The Adriatic watershed being bounded by the Alps and by the Apennines, it follows that the rivers flowing from the latter mountains are shorter than those coming from the Alps, and as they do not receive the drainage of the glaciers, but only that of the snow and of the rains, they have the nature of torrents, rather than that of rivers. This is a providential condition because it minimizes the danger of inundations in the valley of the Po; for the rivers of the Apennines come down charged with alluvial matter and enter the Po almost at right angles, engaging its channel; but the Alpine rivers that flow into the Po, farther down its stream, with less turbulence, yet with a strong flood, spread the alluvial deposits of the other rivers over the entire bed. Notwithstanding this, the bed of the Po tends continually to rise, and the waters of that river, contained by embankments, are seven, ten, and even seventeen feet above the level of the lands through which they flow.

The rivers of Continental Italy that empty into the Adriatic Sea are divided into four groups: (a) the Po and its tributaries; (b) the Venetian rivers; (c) the rivers of the Romagna, and (d) the rivers of Istria, grouped on account of their special characteristics.

The Po

The Po, which is the principal river of Italy, rises on the Piano del Re, on Mt. Viso, at a height of 6500 feet above the sea. It makes a first descent of 500 feet in a distance of only 10 miles, after which it opens into the plain near Saluzzo, and from there follows a northerly direction as far as Chivasso, where the Cavour Canal begins. Throughout the remainder of its course it flows from west to east, winding along the 45th parallel, and empties into the sea through a vast delta, the chief branch of which is Po della Maestra, which is unnavigable, while the other branch, the Po delle Tolle, has two navigable entrances. The surface of its basin is 27 square miles and its mean flood is 53,000 cubic feet per second, but when at its height, more than 70,000 cubic feet. In the middle of its course, at Cremona, its greatest breadth is three fifths of a mile, but at its greatest height, farther down the valley, it attains a breadth of two and one-half miles. Notwithstanding the volume of its waters, the Po is not well suited to navigation, on account of the instability of its bed, for which no artificial remedy has heen found. Available navigation begins at Casale for boats of about 9 tons, and from Pavia to the sea the river is navigable for boats of 120 to 130 tons. The River Po, unlike the Rhine, the Danube, and the Elbe, was never a politically unifying element, having always divided the inhabitants of its valley into two parts.

Among the Venetian rivers

The principal Venetian river is the Adige, which is the second river of Italy; after that are the Brenta, the Piave, the Tagliamento, the Isonzo, and others. The Alpine basin of the Adige has the shape of a triangle, with its summit at Verona, and its base on the Alps, between the Reschen hill, where are the sources, and the base of Tolbach, where are the sources of the Rienz. It enters the Italian region at Salurno and receives the Noce River, on the right, and the Avisio on the left, and it passes the boundary between the Kingdom of Italy and the Austrian Empire to the south of Ala. At Verona it enters the plain and flows parallel to the Po, flanked by massive embankments. Between the two rivers is a territory, portions of which have yet to be redeemed, as are the valleys of Verona, while the remaining portion is drained already by a labyrinth of canals, as for example, the Polesine. The Adige empties into the Adriatic Sea, after a course of 248 miles, having an average breadth of 330 feet between Trent and Verona, and of 220 feet between Verona and the sea. The Venetian rivers enter the plain charged with alluvial materials that would make them overflow, if they were not held in their beds by artificial embankments. Although the sources of some of these rivers are known, it is difficult to say where and how they empty into the sea; the Bacchiglione is a type of them.

The rivers of Romagna

The Po di Volano, once a branch of the Po, with which river, however, it is no longer connected, rises in the springs of the plain near Cento; at Ferrara it divides into two branches, one of which is navigable and, flowing towards the east, empties into the sea at Porto Volano; the other branch, which is not available for navigation, turns towards the south-east, terminating against the embankment of the Reno, a river that rises near Prunetta, passes to the east of Bologna, flows by Pieve di Cento, and, turning towards the east, enters the old channel of the Po di Primaro and empties into the sea at Porto Primaro, after a course of 124 miles. The Idice, Santerno, and the Senio are its affluents.

The rivers of Istria

They are very short, with little water, and flow in channels from which they disappear into the ground, to appear again in other channels or near the sea. The Recca-Timavo is the most important one of them; after a course of 28 miles in a narrow channel, it disappears into a cave, and it is probable that its waters go through the Carso and that they are the same that emerge from great springs, near Monfalcone, and empty into the Monfalcone Gulf under the name of Timavo. The other rivers, the Dragogna, the Quieto, the Lerne, which rises under the name of Foiba, all develop fords at their mouths, and the Foiba disappears and reappears several times; the Arsa empties into the Gulf of Quarnero.

On account of the bow shape of the Central Apennines the rivers that empty into the Adriatic Sea are very short and almost straight, while those that empty into the Tyrrhenian Sea are longer, and have a sinuous course in the longitudinal valleys through which they flow. They cut narrow channels through the mountain ranges or at times form cataracts like those of Marmore, near Terni (530 feet), those of Tivoli, and those of the Fibreno. Many of the long valleys between the Anti-Apennine and the Sub-Apennine ranges were occupied by lakes that were either filled in naturally by the alluvial deposits of the rivers or were artificially drained, as were the valley of Chiana, the valley of the Tiber, the plain of Foligno, the lands of Reati, of Fucino, and others. The Arno River, which has an average breadth of from 330 to 500 feet, rises on Mt. Falterona (5400 feet) and flows towards the southeast between the Apennines and the Pratomagno, through a beautiful spacious valley that is the continuation of the Val di Chiana and is called Casentino. It appears that formerly the Arno flowed into the lake that occupied the valley of Chiana and was a tributary of the Tiber through the Paglia. Now the Arno, abreast of Arezzo, arches round the Pratomagno and flows through a series of narrow passes between that chain and the mountains of Chianti. At Pontassieve it receives the Sieve which flows through the valley of Mugello, and then, turning directly to the west, it enters upon the second straight course; it flows through Florence, receives the Bisenzio and the Ombrone of Pistoia and flows through the plain of Prato which was once the bottom of a lake; it enters the Pass of Golfolina, 7 miles in length, between Mt. Albano and the mountains of Chianti; thereafter it receives the Pesa, the Elsa, and the Era, on the left, and the Pescia on the right — and in all this second course it flows over a low plain, between powerful artificial embankments. It empties into the sea at 6 miles from Pisa through a delta that is carried forward 16 feet each year.

The Tiber (Tiberis). — This is the most famous of all rivers, because there stands on its banks the city which of all has exercised the greatest influence upon the world, in ancient, as well as in modern, times. Geographically, the Tiber is the second river of Italy, in relation to its basin, and the third, in relation to its length, the first and the second being the Po and the Adige respectively. It flows from north to south, winding along the tenth meridian East of Greenwich, with an average breadth of about 500 feet, while the volume of its flood is 9500 cubic feet per second. It has a very sinuous course which is divided into four parts; the first of them is through a longitudinal valley, between the Apennines and the Sub-Apennines, called the Valley of the Tiber, the river passing by the town of Santo Sepolcro and the Città di Castello. It leaves Perugia on the right and receives the Chiascio, a river that has for affluents the Topino, which comes from the plain of Gubbio, and the Maroggia which itself receives the abundant waters of the Clitunno. At its juncture with the Chiascio, the Tiber begins its second tract: flowing in a south-easterly direction through a narrow valley of the Sub-Apennines of Umbria, it leaves Todi on its right and flows through the pass of the Forello, to receive the Paglia near Orvieto. The third division is in a south-easterly direction from the juncture of the Paglia to Passo Corese, where the Tiber receives the Nera, its largest tributary. The Nera, near Terni, receives the waters of the Velino through the falls of Marmore which are 530 feet high, the second waterfall of Italy, the first being that of Toce. The fourth division of the Tiber is through the Roman Agro, from Passo Corese to its mouth. The river divides Rome into two parts, and a little beyond the city it receives the Aniene, or Teverone, which forms the waterfall of Tivoli (347 feet) at the town of that name. The Tiber always carries a great amount of alluvial material, and consequently its mouth has always made encroachment upon the sea, and does so now by about 13 feet each year. The Isola Sacra divides the river into two branches; the southern one which washes Ostia is not navigable; the other, to the north, known as the Fiumicino Channel, is navigable and is formed by the so-called Trajan ditch. The Garigliano River in the first part of its course is called the Lin (Liris), but, after receiving the Rapido, it takes the name of Garigliano, because the Rapido in its lower part preserves its ancient name of Gari. Changing its direction, the Garigliano River flows around the Aurunci Mountains into the Gulf of Gaeta. In its higher course the River Liri, near Capistrello, receives the waters of the basin of Fucino through a subterranean passage nearly four miles long, the volume of the waters of the Liri being increased by 10,600 cubic feet per second.

The rivers of Southern Italy empty into three different seas, the Tyrrhenian, the Ionian, and the Adriatic. With the exception of the Volturno, the Sele, the Bradano, the Basento, and the Sinni, none of the streams of Southern Italy deserve the name of river; they have the nature rather of torrents, especially those of Calabria which, when running full, are very destructive. The rivers of the Adriatic watershed flow perpendicularly to the coasts, with the exception of the Candellaro, which flows in a south-easterly direction; those on the Tyrrhenian in their upper courses form longitudinal valleys. The alluvial plain of Sibari, which is the largest plain of Calabria, was developed by the Crati and its affluents.

The principal rivers of Southern Italy are: the Volturno (115 miles) which rises at Capo d'Acqua, on Mt. Rocchetta, with a considerable volume of water, receives the Vandra that flows from the plain of Carovilli, increased by the waters of the Cavaliere, on the banks of which stands Isernia. The Volturno thereafter flows through a broad valley, the bottom of which consists of the alluvial deposits of that river which, at the height of Presenzano, turns into a direction parallel to the Matese Mountains; in former times it probably maintained a southerly direction through the Teano depression and flowed along the present bed of the Saccione River. It receives the Calore River which flows into the Volturno at almost right angles, while the latter, turning to the west, flows through the Caiazzo Pass and opens onto the plain at Capua, with a breadth of about 500 feet, and from there on it is navigable as far as the sea (17½ miles). It flows into the sea through swampy lowlands that have been developed by its own alluvial deposits. The Sele takes its rise from numerous copious springs. Its principal affluent is the Tanagro, which disappears into the ground at Polla and appears again about one-third of a mile farther down the valley. The most important river of the Ionian versant is the Crati, that rises on the highland plain of Sila, passes through Cosenza, and flows through the depression between the Sila and the coast chains of the Apennines, which constitutes the valley of Cosenza. Near its mouth it receives the Coscile or Sibari, flowing from the Campotenese Pass, after having been engrossed by the waters of the Pollino. The Basento passes by Potenza and flows into the sea near the ruins of the ancient Metaponto. The Salerno-Potenza-Taranto railroad lies along the whole course of this river. The only stream of any importance on the Southern Adriatic watershed is the Ofanto River which beyond Conza describes an arc around the Vulture mass, the waters from which flow into the Ofanto through the Rendina River; the Locone is another of its affluents. Between the latter and the sea, the Volturno River supplies the waters of the artificial canal by which it is connected with Lake Salpi.


The Italian region has more lakes than rivers, especially on the plain of the Po, at the foot of the Alps. They are usually divided into (a) pre-Alpine lakes, (b) volcanic lakes, and (c) coast lakes.

Pre-Alpine lakes

These lakes that temper the climate of the Continental portion of the pre-Alpine region are one of the principal causes of the fertility of the soil, making possible the cultivation of the southern plains. The zone that contains them extends from Lake Orta to Lake Garda and is north of the moraine hills that close the entrance of the valleys of the Central Alps. Lake Orta or Cusio, northwest of Arona, is 950 feet above the level of the sea and has an area of about 7 sq. miles, with a maximum depth of 80 fathoms; its waters flow through the Nigaglia River into the Strona, a stream that enters into the Toce River which itself empties into Lake Maggiore (Lacus Verbanus). This lake stretches from north to south, the principal streams that flow into it being, at the north, the Ticino and the Maggia; on the west the Toce, and on the east the Tresa, which flows from Lake Lugano, and the Bardello which flows from Lake Varese. The River Ticino flows into Lake Maggiore at Magadino and leaves it at Sesto Calende. In its Gulf of Pallanza, Lake Maggiore contains the Borromean Islands, so famous for their beauty. The principal towns situated on the shores are Locarno in Canton Ticino, Pallanza, Intra, Luino, and Arona, the birth-place of St. Charles Borromeo, where stands his colossal statue in bronze, erected in 1697, having a height of 100 feet, including the pedestal, and representing the saint in the act of blessing Arona. Lake Lugano or Ceresio lies between Lake Maggiore and Lake Como; the Agno is the principal stream that flows into it, while its waters empty into Lake Maggiore through the Tresa River, On the shores of this lake are Lugano at the north, and Porlezza at the north-east, Capolago at the south, and Ponte Tresa at the west. Lake Como or Lario is formed by the River Adda that enters the lake at Colico and leaves it at Lecco, to form the minor lakes of Pescarenico, Olginate, and Brivio. Other streams flowing from Lake Como are the Mera, which receives the Liro, and the Pioverna. To the north of Lake Como is the minor lake of Mezzola through which flows the Mera. This small lake is in reality the narrowed part of Lake Como, developed by the alluvial deposits of the Adda. Bellagio Point divides Lake Como into two branches, the south-western one, which terminates at Como, and a south-eastern branch called Lake Lecco. Its varied shores are a beautiful garden of luxuriant vegetation, studded with villages, chapels, inns, and sumptuous villas. Manzoni made it still more celebrated by the description that he gave of it in his immortal novel, "I Promessi Sposi". Lake Iseo or Sebino is situated between Lakes Como and Garda, at the entrance of the valley of Camonica, and is formed by the Oglio River which enters it at Lovere and flows from it at Sarnico. It contains the island of Monte Isola on which are two villages of fishermen. Lake Garda or Benaco is the largest of the Italian lakes and the most southerly one of the Sub-Alpine region. The River Sarca is the principal stream that flows into it, while the Mincio is its chief outlet. Its smiling shores are covered with a growth of southern vegetation, the most notable places upon them being Riva, Salò, Desenzano, Peschiera, and Bardolino. The narrow peninsula of Sermione that protrudes into the lake between Desenzano and Salò was the happy sojourn of the Latin poet Catullus (Catul., XXXI, i); it is nearly two miles in length. Lake Idro is formed by the Chiese River, which is an affluent of the Oglio; it has an area of over 4 sq. miles, and its surface is 1200 feet above the level of the sea. Other minor lakes are those of Azeglio to the south-east of Ivrea, Varese, Alserio, Pusiano, Annone, and Segrino, between Como and Lecco; Lake Endine or Spinone between Val Seriana and Lake Iseo; Lake Molveno, Lake Ledro, west of Riva, and Lakes Caldonazzo and Levico, from which flows the Brenta.

The lakes of the peninsula, besides being smaller than those of Continental Italy, are, almost all of them, of a volcanic nature, or are coast lakes. The lakes of Montepulciano and of Chiusi, however, at the southern extremity of the valley of Chiana, constitute a class of their own, together with Lakes Perugia and Matese, the latter, on the mountain group of the same name, having a length of 25 miles and a breadth of 625 mile, To this class belongs also the small Lake of Pergusa, in the Erei Mountains, in Sicily. The Lake of Perugia or Trasimeno is the largest lake of peninsular Italy and contains three islands, Polvese, Maggiore, and Minore. Its shores are low and marshy, and its waters, which abound in fishes, are carried by an artificial outlet into a sub-affluent of the Tiber. The lake in fact is a remnant of a larger one that covered nearly all of the valley of Chiana, and there is a project on foot to drain it dry. It was near Lake Trasimeno that Hannibal defeated the Romans in 217 B.C. The two minor lakes of Montepulciano and of Chiusi are of the same nature, and were probably a part of Lake Trasimeno, At the first of the two begins the Canal of Chiana, a work of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany, which drains the Chiana valley and directs its waters into the Arno. From the second flows the Chiana River, which empties into the Paglia, au affluent of the Tiber. Wherefore, through these two lakes, connected by a canal, the Tiber and the Arno communicate with each other.

Volcanic lakes

Volcanic lakes are very plentiful in the peninsula; they are so called because they occupy the craters of extinct volcanoes, which accounts for their small dimensions. The principal one among them is Lake Bolsena (Lacus Vulsinius), containing two islands, Bisentina and Martana, on the second of which, it is said, Amalasuntha, the only daughter of Theodoric, was killed by Teodato in 534, The outlet of this lake is the Marta River. Other smaller volcanic lakes are those of Bracciano or Sabatino and Vico (Lacus Ciminus) which is situated between Lakes Bolsena and Bracciano at a height of 1650 feet above the level of the sea; also Lakes Albano and Nemi, near Rome, on the Albanian Mountains, having an area of 2.33 sq. miles and of .625 sq. miles, respectively, and an altitude of 961 ft. and of 1050 ft. Lake Albano having a depth of 558 ft., and Lake Nemi, a depth of 112 ft.; lastly, Lakes Averno, Agnano, and Lucrino, with others, in the Campi Flegrei, and Lake Gurrita, to the northwest of Mt. Etna.

Coast lakes

The Italian region abounds in lakes of this kind, but in many cases, rather than lakes, they are swamps that should be drained and their sites redeemed for agriculture. Among them the best-known are Lake Varano, to the north of Mt. Gargano; that of Salpi, between the Ofanto and the Carapella Rivers; Lake Lesina; Lake Massaciucoli, near the mouth of the Serchio (nearly 25 sq. miles); Lake Orbetello to the east of Mt. Argentario, with an area of 10 sq. miles; Lake Salso between the Carapella and Manfredonia; Lake Fondi to the east of Terracina; and the Lake of Fogliano, to the west of the Pontine Marshes; the lakes of Alimeni, in the Salentine peninsula; the swamps of Quartu, near Cagliari.


There is no country in which a system for the distribution of waters is more complete than is that of northern Italy, a pre-eminence which the other portions of the kingdom do not share. In the country between the Adda and the Ticino, especially, a close network of canals and ditches, rivulets and aqueducts, now meeting, now separating from each other, intersecting or passing over and under one another, makes all the waters, whether of spring, river, or rain, available. Probably works of this kind existed in ancient times; it is certain, however, that they were resumed in the twelfth century; and from that time, the Italians spent enormous sums of money on this undertaking and employed in it a special intelligence that established their position as the first hydrologists of Europe. There is no greater manifestation of the wealth and of the civilization of medieval Italian Republics than these gigantic works.

Physical divisions

Northern Italy is divided into the following regions, Piedmont, Lombardy, Venice, Emilia, and Liguria, which are politically subdivided into provinces. Piedmont, Lombardy, and Venice are the subjects of special articles.

Emilia is subdivided into the provinces of Bologna, Ferrara, Forlì, Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Ravenna, Reggio nell' Emilia.

Emilia, a region through which passes the ancient Emilian Way, whence the name, is quadrilateral in shape and embraces the territory formed by the north-east watershed of the Northern Apennines, and by the triangular plain, the sides of which are the Emilian Way, the Po, and the Adriatic Sea. The former is a rolling country ploughed by torrential streams that have washed out deep valleys, on which account its inhabitants live on the mountain sides; the apex of the triangular plain points towards Piacenza, while the base between Rimini and the mouths of the Po attains a length of 60 miles. It is a part of the great plain of the Po, the origin and nature of which it shares. In the district between Ferrara, the Po della Maestra, and Ravenna, it has lands that have not yet been drained, containing the so-called valli or lagoons of Comacchio, abounding in fish, and near which stands the town of the same name. They are connected with the sea by the Magnavacca Canal. Some of these valleys, like the polders of Holland, have been drained and are very fertile. The River Reno divides this region into two parts: the western, Emilia properly so-called, and the eastern, Romagna, a name that recalls the time when Ravenna was capital of the Western Roman Empire, and therefore called Romandiola, meaning Little Rome. All the roads from France, Germany, and Austria that lead directly to Brindisi, and by the Suez Canal to the Indies, pass through Emilia. The climate of this region is almost the same as that of the Continent, and agriculture is its chief industry, principally corn, sugar-beet, and cattle raising. In the lands around Bologna and Ferrara the cultivation of hemp predominates, of which staple these two districts are the chief centres of production. The cities of Emilia, with the exception of Ferrara and Ravenna, are all built on the Emilian Way, which skirts the base of the Apennines. Piacenza (pop. 36,000), on the Po, was an ancient Roman colony that became a republic in the Middle Ages and later with Guastalla a duchy of the House of Farnese. It is now a stronghold, defending the Pass of Stradella. Its communal palace of the thirteenth century and its cathedral of the twelfth century are notable structures. Piacenza was the birth-place of Melchiorre Gioja (1797-1829) and of the famous man of letters, Pietro Giordani. To the southwest of this city is the Field of Roncaglia, where the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa convoked his feudal lords to support the claims of the empire (1154-1159). The city of Bobbio (pop. 5000), on the River Trebbia, is famous for the convent founded there by St. Columbanus; and on the lower course of that river was fought a battle in 218 B.C. between Hannibal and the Romans, and one between MacDonald and Suvaroff in 1799. On the Arda is Fiorenzuola d'Arda (pop. 12,000), the birthplace of Cardinal Giulio Alberoni. In its neighbourhood were discovered the ruins of the ancient Veleia, and among them the famous Table of Trajan. Near Borgotaro, on the Taro River, where it receives the Ceno, is Fornovo, where Charles VIII of France defeated the Italian Confederation in 1495. In the valley of Stirone is Salsomaggiore, famous for its therapeutic springs; and in the plain is Borgo San Donnino (pop. 12,000), with its Gothic cathedral, and Busseto, the birth-place of the great musician Giuseppe Verdi. Parma (pop. 48,000), a very ancient Etruscan city on the Parma River, contains noble monuments, such as its cathedral and its baptistery. It became famous by its defence against Frederick II, who besieged it unsuccessfully (1247-48). It was the capital of a duchy under the princes of the House of Farnese and under the Bourbons of Spain. At the foot of the Pietra Bismantova (3440 feet) is the Castle of Canossa, where Queen Adelaide took refuge and where Gregory VII humiliated the Emperor Henry IV.

Reggio (pop. 59,000), on the Crostolo River, once the capital of Cisalpine Gaul, was the birth-place of the poet Ariosto and of the famous astronomer of our times, Angelo Secchi, S.J. Where the River Secchia opens into the plain, stands Sassuolo, famous on account of its volcanic phenomena, called salse; and to the north-east is Modena (pop. 63,000), the ancient Roman city of Mutina, which became the capital of a duchy and was the birth-place of the naturalist Spallanzani, of Sadoleto, of Sigonio, and of Tassoni. It contains a military school, Vignola is the birth-place of Ludovico Antonio Muratori, and contains the famous Abbey of San Silvestro.

Faenza (pop. 40,000) on the Lamone River was once famous for its majolica, called Faïence by the French. It is the birth-place of the physicist Torricelli.

Cesena (pop. 42,000) is the birth-place of Pius VI and of Pius VII. Rimini (pop. 44,000), at the termination of the Emilian, and the beginning of the Flaminian Way, is rich in historical memories. It contains the bridge and the arch of Augustus, the church of St. Francis, called the Malatestan Temple, after the Malatestas, lords of the city, who caused the church to be built by Leon Battista Alberti. Two hours from Rimini, between the Marecchia and the Conca Rivers, rises San Leo, the stronghold where Berengarius II was made prisoner by Otto I and where the famous Cagliostro died.

Ravenna (pop. 36,000), a most important port under the Romans, became the capital of the Western Empire, later the capital of the Goths, and finally of the Greek Exarchate. It has exceptionally fine examples of Byzantine architecture, among which should be mentioned the basilica of San Vitale. It is in this city that the immortal Catholic poet Dante Alighieri died, and where also is preserved his sepulchre. The ancient military port that was constructed by Augustus is now covered over, and the town is at a distance from the coast, with which it is connected by a small canal, 5 miles in length. Along the coast stretches the famous Pineta, 25 miles long, and from 1 to 2½ miles broad; but the negligence with which it is treated is allowing it to waste away. Liguria comprises the provinces of Genoa and Porto Maurizio and is bounded by the Apennines and the Ligurian Alps, and by the Roia and the Magra rivers. It is a mountainous country, with no other plains than the small one near Albenga. The mountain spurs that project into the sea produce an arc-shaped bay at the highest point of which is the port of Genoa. Rains, especially in the Apennines, are abundant (50 inches). This region is separated from the rest of Continental Italy by steep mountain ranges, but this barrier has been overcome by railroads that have made Liguria the natural outlet to the Mediterranean Sea for the valley of the Po and for western Germany. It has a maritime climate, but the natural fertility of its soil does not correspond with that climatic advantage, and therefore its inhabitants devote themselves to a seafaring life, as the fisheries along this coast are not remunerative. Sixty-one per cent of the population live on the coast. Where its soil is arable, Liguria produces oil, fruits, and flowers; but commerce is its chief industry. Between the Polcevera and the Bisagno Rivers, in the form of an amphitheatre, stands Genoa.

Central Italy contains five regions: Tuscany, Umbria, Lazio, the Marches, Abruzzo and Molise. While northern Italy may be called the head, central Italy is the heart of Italy, for it was this section of the country which in ancient times, as well as in the Middle Ages, predominated by its prowess, by its laws, and by its religion, as in modern times by its arts and by its letters. The fertile genius of its inhabitants, together with the happy conditions of its soil and freedom from prolonged foreign domination, all conspire to intensify an artistic and literary sentiment and to maintain in the race the ethnical type of its ancestors, the Etruscans, the Marsians, the Umbrians, and the Latins — who together conquered the world. The chief occupation of its inhabitants is farming, there being few manufacturing industries. Although this section has a coastline of 600 miles, it has only three ports: Ancona, which is the only one on the Adriatic Sea, and Leghorn and Civitavecchia on the Tyrrhenian Sea. The coasts of the latter sea being almost without inhabitants, owing to the malaria, Tuscany and Lazio have little or no seafaring populations; the corresponding shores on the Adriatic Sea, however, are abundantly peopled, but, as they are straight and low, they have no natural harbours, and consequently at the mouths of rivers small canal-ports have been dug out for fishing craft. This explains why the Marches and the Abruzzi have a considerable seafaring population that is devoted to the fishery, and not to navigation, as is the case in Liguria and Venice. The principal inland cities are Florence, on the banks of the Arno, and Rome on the Tiber. All the others, as Siena, Perugia, Urbino, and Pesaro, are famous cities that flourished in past centuries; but they have not a brilliant future under present economical conditions.

Umbria consists of a single province called Perugia. It has an area of 3800 sq. miles, an estimated population, on 1 January, 1908, of 693,253 inhabitants. It is an essentially mountainous region, of which the elevation is determined by the dorsal aspect of the Apennines and by the parallel chains of the Umbrian Sub-Apennines that form the upper basin of the Tiber, the valley of Foligno, and the basin of the Nera and its affluents, or the highland plain of Norcia, the basin of Rieti, and the Sabine mountains. In the Middle Ages, the preference given to the Tuscan roads over the Flaminian Way, left Umbria in an isolated position, on which account it lived apart a life of faith and of artistic inspiration all its own. It has a mild climate, and agriculture and the raising of cattle are the chief occupations of its inhabitants. Perugia (pop. 61,000), one of the twelve Etruscan lucumonies or sacred towns, not far from the Tiber, contains many monuments of art, for the most part churches, and many antiquities. It was the adopted country of the Perugian Pietro Vannucci (1446-1524), the master of Raphael.

Orvieto (pop. 18,000) is famous for its magnificent thirteenth-century cathedral, one of the grandest in Italy, especially on account of its splendid façade. At Gubbio, on the Chiascio, the Gubbio Tables were found. Assisi, the birth-place of St. Francis and of St. Clare, was the cradle of the Order of the Friars Minor. Its convent and church contain treasures of the mystic art of Umbrian painters and are the objects of devout pilgrimages. Spoleto (pop. 25,000), between the Ticino and the Maroggia Rivers, was the seat of a powerful Longobard duchy, and afterwards the residence of the Frankish dukes, of whom the last two, Guido and his son Lambert, were Kings of Italy. Terni (pop. 30,000), the ancient Interamna, home of the historian Tacitus, is now the site of important metallurgical works that use the waters of the Nera River, into which flows the Velino, over the famous Falls of Terni. Norcia (Nursia) was the home of St. Benedict; Narni, a very ancient city, on a precipitous height near the Nera, was the home of the Condottiere Gattamelata; Rieti is on a high plain called Agro Reatino, one of the most fertile lands in Italy, where celebrated grain is produced.

Lazio consists of but one province, called Rome, and has an area of 7400 sq. miles, a population estimated to be 1,300,014 inhabitants, on the 1st January, 1908. Its boundaries are the Mediterranean from the mouth of the Fiora to Terracina, and the Rivers Liri, Turano, Farfa, Tiber, and Paglia. It includes the Roman Sub-Apennines and Anti-Apennines, the deserted, undulating Roman Campagna, the Pontine Marshes, and the promontories of Linaro, Anzio, and Circeo. The lands on the right of the Tiber, formerly inhabited by the Etruscans and afterwards conquered by the Romans, constitute the territory of Viterbo and the Campagna of Civitavecchia. The Albanian and Sabine hills and the valley of the Tiber among them constitute the Comarca, better known by the name of Agro Romano; the valley of the Sacco or Tolero, with the hills that surround it, forms a region that is called Ciociaria on account of the style of footgear affected by its inhabitants. Lazio has essentially a maritime climate. The principal occupation of its inhabitants is the growing of corn, grapes, and olives, and the raising of horses and of cattle. The region is represented by Rome, that owes its origin and the beginning of its greatness to the advantages of its topographical position. In the volcanic zones of the Roman Anti-Apennines the centres of population are on the hill-tops, the principal ones being Acquapendente, an Etruscan city on the Paglia, that received its name on account of a neighbouring waterfall; Bolsena, on the lake of the same name; Montefiascone, to the south of that lake, famous for its Moscato wine; Viterbo, on the skirts of Mt. Cimino, rich in historical memories of the popes, and in the neighbourhood of which are the famous hot springs called Bulicame: Civita Castellana, near the ruins of the ancient Faleria and of the Castello di Patierno, where Otto II died; Corneto, built on the site of the ancient Tarquinia; Civitavecchia (pop. 17,000), the ancient Centumcellæ, a port built by Trajan, and now the principal one of Lazio, Rome. Ostia, founded by Ancus Marcius, was the ancient port of Rome, but now its ruins are totally buried and at a distance of one and a half miles from the sea. In the valley of the Aniene is Subiaco, and near it the cave to which St. Benedict, the founder of monasticism in the West, was wont to withdraw; Tivoli (Tibur) contains many ruins of ancient monuments and palaces. The falls of the Athene River at this point furnish Rome with electricity. In this neighbourhood are found the rich quarries of travertine marble that the Romans used so much in their monuments, and the sulphur springs, which are a bathing resort. By the wooded and vine-clad Albanian hills are the Castelli Romani, small villages that are popular summer resorts; Frascati, near the ruins of ancient Tusculum; Castelgandolfo, the papal villa; Marino; Ariccia, that has a splendid viaduct; Albano and Velletri (pop. 19,000). In the valley of the Sacco are Palestrina, upon the ruins of the ancient Præneste, which was the home of Pier Luigi, known as Palestrina, the prince of sacred music. Here remain still the ruins of the Temple of Fortune, famous for its oracles, called sortes prœnestinœ. Anagni, the home of Boniface VIII, who there received grievous offence at the hands of Sciarra Colonna and of Nogaret, envoy of Philip the Fair, King of France. Alatri, which has a Pelasgian burial-ground; Terracina (pop. 11,000) on the sea, the former Anxur, a watering-place that was much frequented by the ancient Romans.

The Marches, comprising the provinces of Ancona, Ascoli Piceno, Macerata, Pesaro e Urbino, is bounded by the Apennines, the Adriatic Sea, the Marecchia River at the north, and the Tronto at the south; it unites the ancient maritime Umbria and the northern half of the ancient Picenum. Originally, its elevation was formed by a group of mountain chains, parallel to the Apennines and diminishing in height as they approached the sea, but the rivers washed their way through these hills, cutting deep passes into them, so that now are seen only some isolated trunks that indicate the primitive direction of the chains. The climate of the Marches is less mild than that of Tuscany, and agriculture is its chief industry, while the fisheries, if they were well directed, would make the fortune of the numerous portion of the population that lives by that industry. This region, which in ancient times was inhabited by different peoples, became Romanized after the Flaminian Way, which was the chief outlet of Rome, had been carried through; but it lost somewhat of its importance when preference came to be given to the shorter way through Tuscany. It is a mountainous country that was subject to petty lordships, some of which were promoters of literature and the arts. The principal centres of population and places of historic interest are: Urbino (pop. 18,000), formerly the capital of a duchy (1213-1631) that was made famous by its fine arts; it was the birth-place of Raphael and of Bramante; Pesaro (pop. 25,000) at the mouth of the Foglia, the birth-place of the great musician Gioachino Rossini, and of the philosopher Terenzio Mamiani; Senigallia (pop. 23,000), the birth-place of Pius IX; Jesi (pop. 23,000), the birth-place of the Suabian Emperor Frederick II; Ancona (pop. 56.000), on the incline of a hill which forms an angle projecting into the sea. After Triest and Venice it is the most important port on the Adriatic Sea; it is famous for its heroic and successful defence when besieged in 1144 by Frederick Barbarossa. Not far from the mouth of the Musone, on a pleasant height, is Loreto, with its famous sanctuary, erected from plans by Bramante, and which according to pious tradition contains the Holy House of Nazareth that was transported from Dalmatia, by angels, to the place where later was erected this beautiful temple in honour of the glories of the Virgin. Macerata (pop. 23,000), between the Chienti and the Potenza, containing a university; Recanati (pop. 17,000), the birth-place of the modern lyric poet Giacomo Leopardi; Tolentino (pop. 13,000), famous for its sanctuary of St. Nicholas, of the Order of Hermits of St. Augustine. It was here that the treaty was signed between Napoleon I and Pius VI in 1797, and here, also, Murat was defeated in 1815. Camerino (pop. 12,000) was once the seat of a duchy, and has still a free university; Fermo (pop. 21,000) distinguished itself in the First Punic War by its firm fidelity to the Romans, whence its name; and finally, on the right of the Tronto, amid fertile lands, is Ascoli Piceno (pop. 29,000), a very ancient city and an enemy of Rome.

Abruzzi and Molise

The boundaries of Abruzzi and Molise are the Tronto River, the Adriatic Sea, the Fortore River, and an irregular line towards the Apennines. This region consists of the Altipiano or Abruzzo-Aquilano, along the seashore, which is divided into Abruzzo Teramano and Chietino; Molise, that consists of the entire watershed between the Sangro and the Fortore Rivers; the Marsica, which is formed of the basin of the Fucino River and of the upper valleys of the Liri and of the Salto. The climate is variable; severe on the uplands of Aquila and mild on the coast. The land is not very fertile, but pastoral pursuits are considerably developed: the flocks go for wintering to the Agro Romano or to Apulia, and especially to Capitanata, following very ancient grass-grown tracks called tratturi, which the flocks alone use. Industries are not flourishing, but they are being developed by the hydro-electric plants. The central part of this region may be called the Helvetia of the peninsula; in ancient times it was the home of the intrepid Sabini, Marsi, Marrucini, Peligni, and Frentani, who for more than a century checked the progress of Roman arms. They were subjugated, and then revolted under the Italic League; but Rome triumphed again, and from that time these people furnished the sinew of the Roman armies. Being a mountainous and poor country, it had little importance in the Middle Ages. Abruzzians have a great love for their native region; each winter great numbers of them, poor, honest, and industrious, go in search of work to Rome and to Naples, but invariably return to their homes in the spring, with their savings. This population furnishes the largest contingent of Italian cooks, scullions, stable boys, hotel servants, and policemen. The principal centres of population are Teramo (pop. 24,000) on the Tordino River, formerly the capital of the Pretuzii, whence the name Aprutium, Abruzzo; Aquila (pop. 21,000) on the Aterno River, founded in 1240 by Frederick II, not far from the ruins of Amiterno, the capital of the Sabines and birth-place of Sallust; it is famous for its saffron; Solmona (pop. 18,000), a city of the Peligni and the home of Ovid; Castel di Sangro, a strategic point at the opening of the Aquila-Naples road; Lanciano (pop. 18,000) has a beautiful cathedral; Campobasso (pop. 15,000), having a very old cutlery industry, and Tagliacozzo, at the source of the Salto or Imele River, an affluent of the Velino, where Conradin was defeated by Charles of Anjou, in 1268. Avezzano, formerly on the now drained Fucino River, is the most important place in the Marsica.

Southern Italy

The line drawn from the mouth of the Trigno River, on the Adriatic Sea, to that of the Garigliano, on the Tyrrhenian Sea, marks the shortest distance between those two waters and separates Southern from Central Italy. This division of the peninsula lies between three seas, the Adriatic, the Ionian, and the Tyrrhenian, and at its southern extremity, bifurcates into two peninsulas, the Salentine, which follows a south-easterly direction, and the Calabrian, which follows a south-westerly direction; and as the coasts are much more sinuous than those of Central Italy, it has yet other smaller peninsulas; they are the peninsula of Gargano, that of Sorrento, the promontory of Monteleone, and the headland of Sila, between the Gulfs of Squillace and of Taranto. The distance between the Gulf of Salerno and that of Manfredonia is 80 miles; between the Gulf of Taranto and the Tyrrhenian Sea, 30 miles, and between the Gulfs of Squillace and of Santa Eufemia 18 miles.

Southern Italy is divided into the following regions: Campania, Apulia, the Basilicata, and Calabria. On account of its distance from the rest of Italy, which was increased by want of ways of rapid communications, Southern Italy had a civil and political life of its own; it suffered little from the incursions of the barbarians, but was occupied by the Greeks and by a few Normans who established there the first Kingdom of Italy. The Carlovingians and the Othonians did not succeed in binding it to the empire. Notwithstanding the fact that the peoples of the two watersheds of Southern Italy were politically united for eight centuries, and notwithstanding the undeniable ascendancy of Naples, its capital, the various sections of which this region consists were almost strangers to each other until within recent years, although the Apennines offered no serious obstacles to communication between the different parts of the country; this was due to the want of roads, for which little provision has been made, although laws have been passed to that effect. The great majority of the inhabitants are agriculturists whose homes, contrary to the custom in Northern and in Central Italy, are in the towns, of which they have all the vices, without any of the rural virtues. The country is divided into vast estates whose owners live at Naples or abroad, so that the labourer gives his day's work without any interest or love for the soil he cultivates. The soil is very fertile and rewards even the poorest tillage. The principal products are maize, corn, wine, olives, almonds, figs, and vegetables. Notwithstanding its length of coast, the region contains a sparse maritime population, and therefore secures little advantage from a sea that teems with riches for other people. Its industries are as yet little developed; nevertheless, there is already a naval arsenal at Castellamare, important metallurgical works at Naples and at Pozzuoli; factories for farinaceous foods, cotton mills, and others (Laws of 31 March, 1904, and 15 July, 1906, in favour of the Basilicata, of the South of Italy, Sicily and Sardinia).

Campania comprises the provinces of Avellino or Principato Ulteriore, Benevento, Caserta or Terra di Lavoro, Naples, and Salerno or Principato Citeriore. It stretches from the Bay of Terracina to the Gulf of Policastro, except the valleys of the Tolero or Sacco and the Liri. Its elevation is formed by the Neapolitan and the Lucan Sub-Apennines and by the Neapolitan Anti-Apennines which form three different sub-regions, the Campania Plain or Terra di Lavoro, the Beneventana Basin, and the mountains of Cilento.

The ancient Campania (from campus), so famous for the fertility of its soil and for the enchantments of its coast, extended from the Garigliano to the Gulf of Policastro and was the ancient seat of the Oscians and of the Ausonians. It was later subjugated by the Etruscans and the Samnites, and later still by the Romans, who made it a place of recreation. This delightful region, which seems to have been destined always to be conquered, whether by Romans or Greeks, Normans, French, or Spaniards, always assimilated its conquerors to itself, by the fascination of its beauty. Its climate is variable, and agriculture is the chief occupation of its people; the raising of cattle, however, is not much pursued. The industries are few, but they are being developed gradually by means of fiscal assistance, for which provision is made by the recent law that was promulgated in behalf of Southern Italy. The chief cities of this section are placed along the coast, between the coast and the Sub-Apennines, and between this mountain range and the Apennines.

In the valley of the Liri is the thriving town of Sora (pop. 16,000), with its famous paper mills, called the Fibreno, after the waterfall of this tributary of the Liri which furnishes their power; the town is of Pelasgic origin; Arpino, the birth-place of Marius and of Cicero; Pontecorvo, a former possession of the Church; Aquino, the home of Juvenal and of St. Thomas, the prince of scholastic philosophy; on the Gari is Cassino, above which there stands upon an eminence the great Abbey of Montecassino, mother-house of the order established in 519 by St. Benedict of Nursia and the most ancient monastery in western Europe; Capua (pop. 14,000), on the Volturno River, a strong town that was founded by the Longobards on the ruins of the ancient Casilinum, where Narses defeated the Goths, and further to the south-east is Santa Maria Capua Vetere (pop. 22,000), occupying a part of the site of ancient Capua, which proved so harmful to the interests of Hannibal, and which, until the defeat of the Longobards, remained the second city of Italy; it was destroyed by the Saracens.

The chief town of the Beneventana basin is Benevento. Avellino is an agricultural city in the neighbourhood of which is the famous sanctuary of Monte Vergine to which pilgrimages are made. In the Campania plain are Caserta (pop. 33,000), founded by the Longobards in the eighth century, having a villa and royal palace, built by Charles III of Bourbon; this wonderful architectural production of Vanvitelli, after many years of deplorable abandonment, is about to be restored by Victor Emmanuel III; Nola (pop. 15,000), a very ancient city where Augustus died and where were born St. Paulhius, one of the best Christian poets, and the apostate Giordano Bruno; Aversa (pop. 23,000), the first possession of the Normans in Italy; Montesarchio, southeast of Benevento, is probably in the neighbourhood of the ancient Caudium on the Appian Way; from which the famous pass, so fateful to the Romans, was named the Caudine Forks. On the coast is Gaeta, a stronghold; it has a good port and is noted for the sieges that it underwent in 1799, 1806, and 1861. Pius IX took refuge there in 1848, as did also the last King of Naples, Francis II of Bourbon. Naples is treated in a special article. In Pozzuoli (pop. 17,000) the ruins of the Temple of Augustus and of that of Serapis are witnesses of the former splendour of the town, near which is obtained the pozzolana earth that is excellent for building purposes. At the foot of Mt. Vesuvius are Portici and Resina, under which, at a depth of from 65 to 100 feet lies Herculaneum that was buried under torrents of lava in the year 79 of the Christian Era. Farther to the east are the ruins of Pompeii, buried also by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius; but, contrary to what happened at Herculaneum, Pompeii was buried under heaps of ashes, on which account the excavations that were begun there in 1748 were relatively easy, and now the town is almost entirely unearthed. Another city destroyed by Mt. Vesuvius, in the same eruption, was Stabiæ over which is now built Castellamare, amid attractive surroundings, and having a good harbour and important docks. Sorrento, a beautiful spot, was the home of Torquato Tasso. The Parthenopian Islands rise around the Bay of Naples; they are Nisida, at the entrance of the Gulf of Baja; Procida that gave its name to the conspirator Giovanni da Procida, the enemy of the French; Ischia, with the volcano of Epomeo; Capri, mountainous and picturesque, and famous for its blue cave and for its wines; it was the last home of Tiberius. Salerno (pop. 42,000) is at the northernmost point of the gulf of its name; it was once the seat of a famous school of medicine and was an important place under the Longobard and the Norman kings; the cathedral of St. Matthew, where the great Pope Gregory VII is buried, was erected by Robert Guiscard and is one of the grandest Norman structures in Italy. Amalfi, in the Middle Ages, one of the strongest of the maritime republics, a rival of Genoa and of Pisa, was destroyed by them. It had the glory of framing laws, the "Amalfian Tables", by which maritime and commercial relations were regulated. Cava dei Tirreni contains a famous abbey of the Benedictine Order. To the south-east of the mouth of the Sele are the much admired ruins of Pæstum, which was founded by the Greeks, about the year 600 B. C., under the name of Poseidonia; the Temple of Neptune there is one of the most beautiful examples of Greek architecture in existence. Eboli (pop. 12,000) is an important road centre of this part of Italy.

Apulia comprises the provinces of Bari or Terra di Bari, Foggia or Capitanata, Lecce or Terra d'Otranto. The territorial boundaries of this region are the coasts of the Ionian Sea, as far as the mouth of the Bradano, this river and its tributary the Basentiello, the Saddle of Spinazzola, the Locone, the crest of the Apennines and that of the mountains of Capitanata as far as the mouth of the Biferno. Its topographical configuration is determined by the Promontory of Gargano, by the heights of the Murgie, and by the Tavoliere. The Murgie heights and the Promontory of Gargano at one time were two separate islands, and it is probable that the southern Murgie, to the south-east of Brindisi and Taranto were also islands. Apulia was debarred from exercising influence on neighbouring peoples, and its subjugation by them was made easy by reason of its position, its topographical conditions, and the character of its inhabitants, the Apulians, the Daunians, the Messapians, the Japygians, who were never of a warlike disposition. In ancient times, as at present, Apulia was the station between the East and the West; it was in the possession of the Greeks until the tenth century, when the Normans conquered it and established there the countship of Apulia, their first possession. This region has a mild climate and is essentially an agricultural country, wonderfully fertile in some parts; it has the disadvantage of lacking a sufficiency of water, but this defect is being remedied by the construction of a great aqueduct that will bring the waters of the Sele to this section. Its chief products are wines, oil, grain, almonds, and figs. Manufacturing industries are as yet little developed. Its principal towns are Foggia (pop. 53,000), the capital, on the right bank of the Celone River, in the heart of the Tavoliere; it is a railroad centre and a grain and wool market; it contains the notable ruins of the palace of Frederick II; Lucera (pop. 17,000), an ancient city upon a height, destroyed in the seventh century and rebuilt by Frederick II, who took to it Saracens from Sicily; Manfredonia (pop. 12,000) was founded by King Manfred, near the ruins of Sipontum; Monte Sant' Angelo, at the foot of Gargano, contains the famous sanctuary of St. Michael the Archangel; Cerignola (pop. 33,000), famous for the victory of the Spaniards over the French in 1503; Barletta (pop. 42,000), a former fortress, on the coast; here occurred the challenge of Barletta on 16 May, 1503; and in its neighbourhood was Cannæ, where Hannibal destroyed the Roman army; Trani, a port that was famous during the Crusades; Bari (pop. 78,000), a commercial port, containing the famous sanctuary of St. Nicholas. In the interior is Canosa (pop. 24,000), the ancient Canusium, not far from the position on the Ofanto River where the Romans found refuge after the defeat of Cannæ it contains ancient tombs and also that of Bohemund the crusader; Altamura, on the Murgie Mountains, was the birth-place of the musician Mercadante.

Terra d'Otranto, which comprises nearly the entire Salentine peninsula, was called the Tuscany of Southern Italy. Its four important seaports, Brindisi, Otranto, Taranto, and Gallipoli are situated respectively at the angles of a quadrangle, in the interior of which is Lecce, the capital. Brindisi (pop. 25,000), which is built on two inlets in the shape of horns, was in the time of the Romans a most important commercial and naval port, where the Appian, the Trajan, and the Tarentine Ways terminated. It was neglected in the Middle Ages, but in our days it has returned to new life and has become a station of communication with India. Otranto is famous for its sack by the Turks in 1480. Gallipoli (pop. 14,000) does a considerable commerce in oil and in wines. Taranto (pop. 61,000), the ancient Tarentum, is on the canal that unites the Mare Grande and the Mare Piccolo; it was founded by the Spartans, and through the fall of Sibani, became the strongest and richest town of Magna Græcia, but decayed after its defeat by the Romans; now it is one of the three principal points of naval defence and supplies of the Kingdom of Italy, the other two being Spezia and the Maddalena. Lecce (pop. 32,000) stands at a distance of less than a mile from the sea in a fertile plain, where tobacco is cultivated.

The Basilicata forms a single province called Potenza, after the name of its chief town. It is bounded by the valley between the Murgie and the Apennines, the Ofanto River, the group of Mt. Santa Croce, the Maddalena Mountains, the Pollino group, and the Ionian Sea. It has the shape of a horseshoe, with its calks on the Ionian Sea. Originally the Basilicata must have been a high plain, like that of Sila, but having been deeply ploughed by the waters, it became a rough and disjointed country, in which communication is very difficult. Its coasts are infected by malaria, on account of the swamps formed by the rivers and of neglect; and yet on these now deserted coasts there flourished Metapontum and Eraclea, cities of Magna Græcia. Besides its dense forests, the mode of life of its inhabitants, separated as they are from the rest of the country on account of the difficulty of communications, contributes to keep this region in a condition inferior to that of the other parts of the kingdom. The climate varies with the altitudes, and is also subject to sudden changes. Agriculture and herding are the principal occupations of its people, among whom industries and commerce are not developed. In view of the fact that the country is divided into vast estates, the peasants are very poor, and they emigrate, so that the census of 1901 showed a great falling off in the population. Potenza (pop. 16,000), the chief town, built at a height of 2700 feet above the sea, near the source of the Basento River, is relatively a modern city, because the ancient one, which was on the plain, at the place called La Murata, was destroyed by Frederick II and by Charles of Anjou. Melfi (pop. 15,000), on the slopes of Mt. Vulture, was the capital of the Normans and a stronghold of Robert Guiscard. Venosa was the home of Horace; Matera (pop. 17,000) has a splendid site.

Calabria comprises the provinces of Catanzaro or Calabria Ulteriore II, Cosenza or Calabria Citeriore, Reggio Calabria or Calabria Ulteriore I. Calabria includes the extreme western limit of the Italian peninsula and is connected with the rest of Italy by the Pollino group, which is its northern boundary, on all other sides it is bounded by the sea. A considerable narrowing between the Gulfs of Santa Eufemia and Squillace divides Calabria into its northern and southern parts. In ancient times it was called Bruzio, and on its Ionian coast stood the luxurious Sibari and the powerful Cotrone, with other famous cities of Magna Græcia. In the Middle Ages the pirates infested the coasts, whose inhabitants were driven to the mountains and abandoned the care of the waters so that the coasts became swampy; this is the reason why Calabria does not furnish a maritime population in proportion to the development of its coasts. Calabria is the land of all Europe that is most desolated by earthquakes. Its climate varies, according to altitude, between a southern climate on the Ionian coast and an Alpine one on the heights. It is an agricultural country of which the principal products are grain, oil, wines, figs, and especially bergamot, for the extraction of its essence. The extensive forests of Sila produce timber; there is some grazing of cattle, but the prevalence of vast landed estates keeps the labourers in poverty, and they emigrate to countries beyond the sea. Beginning at the north, the principal cities are Cosenza (pop. 21,000), capital of the Bruttians, on the Crati River, at its confluence with the Basento, in the bed of which, according to tradition, Alaric was buried with his treasures. On the mountain sides there are distributed sixteen Albanian towns, of which Spezzano is the most important. Corigliano (pop. 13,000) has a beautiful castle. San Giovanni in Fiore (pop. 13,000), on the Sila, was so called on account of a famous abbey that it contains; here, in 1844, the brothers Bandiera, who landed at the mouth of the Neto River to bring about an insurrection in Calabria, were defeated and taken prisoners. Castrovillari (pop. 10,000) is an ancient city on the slope of the Pollino, and Paola on the Tyrrhenian coast, the birth-place of St. Francis of Paola, the founder of the Order of Minims (1416-1507), contains a very famous sanctuary. Catanzaro (pop. 32,000) is built upon a height above the valley of Marcellinara. Squillace, on the gulf of the same name, was the birth-place of Cassiodorus, a civil officer of Theodoric. Cotrone, on the site of the victorious rival of Sibari, and seat of the Pythagorean school, is now only a small port. At Pizzo, on the Gulf of Santa Eufemia, Joachim Murat, once King of Naples, was shot 17 October, 1815. Nicastro (pop. 18,000) has a population of Albanian origin. Filadelfia was founded in 1783 by the survivors of Castelmenardo, a town that was destroyed by an earthquake. Reggio (pop. 45,000), a beautifully situated city of Greek origin, has undergone many calamities at the hands of men and by the action of nature; it was devastated by the Romans, by Totila, by the Saracens, by the Pisans, by Robert Guiscard, and by the Turks, and it was almost totally destroyed by the earthquake of 1783. It rose again, beautiful and splendid, but a more terrible earthquake on 28 December, 1908, reduced it to a heap of ruins, under which were buried more than the half of its inhabitants. As has been seen, large cities are numerous in Italy; in fact, that country contains a greater number of them, in proportion to territorial extent and to population, than does any other country in Europe; there are 65 cities with a population of more than 35,000 inhabitants each. This abundance of large cities, surrounded by smaller ones, is of great historical and artistic importance; it is also the cause of the limited influence of the capital upon the life of the nation, in contrast with the rule that obtains in other countries.


As a whole, Italy has a good climate, due to the Alpine wall that screens it from the northern wind and to the sea that surrounds it on three sides. From the Tyrrhenian and the Adriatic Seas arise vapours, with alternating winds, those from the southwest (Libeccio) and those from the south-east (Scirocco), which blow from the middle of September to the end of spring and which accumulate the sea vapours on the Apennine heights, where they are precipitated in rain and snow, and whence they furnish to the soil the humidity necessary for vegetation. Unhappily, the ill-advised devastation of forests over a great portion of the Apennines has destroyed, in great measure, what provident nature had done in that connexion for the good of Italy. The mean rainfall as a rule is between 20 inches and 60 inches, but it is subject to a considerable fluctuation on account of topographical conditions; so that it increases to a maximum of 100 inches on the Alps. The Tyrrhenian coast has a heavier waterfall than that of the Adriatic; while the plain of Apulia and the Salentine peninsula are the driest regions of Italy. In the north the most copious rainfalls occur in October and in the spring, and then the rivers of the valley of the Po are at their highest, whereas little rain falls in winter. In peninsular and in insular Italy the winter rains, on the contrary, are heaviest, and the absence of drainage causes the waters that overflow from the river-beds to inundate the lowlands of the coast and thereby to develop malaria. from which only six provinces are free. The regions where this evil prevails to the greatest extent are the Tuscan Maremma, the Roman Agro, the Basilicata, and almost the whole of Sardinia. Snow falls with frequency in the Alpine region and in the valley of the Po; it is more abundant along the Adriatic watershed than on that of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Fauna and flora

Italy lies within the Palearctic region, in which live a majority of the animals useful to man. It lies within the Mediterranean division of the floral kingdom and contains five botanical divisions:

The Italian flora contain 14,912 species, of which 325 have been introduced from Asia, Africa, and America.


The people of Italy

It would seem that in the quaternary period man lived in Italy, together with species of animals that have been lost or have emigrated, and witnessed those great commotions of the earth through which the sea receded from the lands of the Po, the Apennines arose, and the volcanoes of Lazio and of Campania became active. There has been much discussion as to the origin of the early inhabitants of Italy, as to the way by which they came, and as to the periods of their immigration, but, until now, only the most contradictory hypotheses have been reached. The most recent results that have been furnished by palæontology, by linguistics, and by archæology would show that Italy and a considerable part of Western Europe were primitively occupied by a race having a dolichocephalic cranium, and therefore of a branch of the family of Cham. Relatively nearer to our times, there are two orders of the Aryan immigration into Italy: the primitive and the posterior immigrations. In the former (1200-800 B.C.) we find two very ancient races, the Messapico-Iapygian, which came of the Illyrian trunk, and the Italic, properly so called. It would seem that the Messapians came by sea from Greece; and at a later period, by land, the Iapygians, who occupied the Adriatic coast, from Gargano to Cape Leuca, and were, possibly, the historical Autochthonians of the peninsula. The Italics, who are divided into two great families, the Latins and the Umbrians, descended into Italy from the East, or, as seems more probable, from the North, by the valleys of the Inn, of the Adige, and of the Adda, and occupied the plain of the Po; but, other peoples appearing, they moved to the south of the peninsula and became identified with the Latins, occupying the western watershed and dividing into the branches called Oscans, Ausonians, and Œnotrians or Italics. Then came the Umbrians, whose rule lasted a short time; and, having heen defeated by the Gauls on the Po and by the Etruscans on the Arno, they withdrew to that region to which they gave the name of Umbria. But, a great family of this race, the Sabines, passed farther on and established itself on the highland of Rieti, nearer Campania and Apulia; and having increased greatly in their new territory, they gave origin to the Samnian, Marsian, Pelignian, Vestinian, Marrucinian, and other peoples.

That broad territory that lies between the right of the Tiber, the Apennines, and the sea, came to be inhabited by the Etruscans, called also Rasenans or Tyrrhenians. As to the origin of this people there are two opinions, that of Herodotus, according to which the Etruscans came by sea, driven from Lydia by famine; and the other, that of Niebuhr, Mommsen, and Helbig, according to which the Tyrrhenians came into Italy by land, over the Rhætian Alps. Of the primitive inhabitants of Italy, these were the ones who reached the highest degree of civilization, as is shown by the splendid remnants of their cities and by the objects found in their tombs; it is a pity that their language is not yet known. Later immigrations were those of the Gauls and of the Greeks. The Gauls, who were formerly held to be of Celtic origin, which now, however, is doubted, came down from the Alps at the beginning of the sixth century B. C., divided into several families: Cenomanian, Insubrian, Boian, Senonian, etc. They were harsh and rapacious peoples, who made Cisalpine Gaul return to the barbarous state out of which the Etruscans had taken it, and often, in later historical ages, their nefarious influence was carried over the whole of Italy. On the southern portion of the peninsula there were established numerous Greek colonies, whose cities, as we have seen, arose to great power and splendour, whence the name Magna Grœcia, given to the southern part of Italy. This portion of the peninsula was also inhabited by the Ligurians and by the Venetians, the origin of which races is not yet established. Some persons consider the Ligurians to be a very ancient race, preceding the Aryans and allied to the Iberians, while other authorities hold that the Ligurians were of Celtic origin. However that may be, this people occupied a great portion of the western watershed of Italy, and then, expelled by the Italics and by the Etruscans, they sought new homes on the Rhone and on the Pyrenees. It would seem that the Venetian race originated in Illyria and that its expansion in Continental Italy was stopped by the Gauls; at any rate, this people, who, unlike the Etruscans, had not abandoned a pastoral life and its habits, knew a great deal about agriculture, which was the basis of private life and social relations among the primitive Italic peoples.


In 1770 the population of the territory that now constitutes the Kingdom of Italy was in round numbers 16,477,000 inhabitants; at the beginning of the nineteenth century it had grown to 18,125,000; and the census of 1901 showed a population of 32,475,253 inhabitants, implying an average annual increase of 7.38 per cent from 31 December, 1881. On 1 January, 1908, Italy had 33,909,776 inhabitants, being, therefore, the sixth state of Europe from the standpoint of population. The mean density of the population is 307 inhabitants per sq. mile, which is the highest in Europe, after Belgium, Holland, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland; but, when it is considered that those countries are agricultural, industrial, and commercial while Italy is devoted essentially to agriculture, and is backward in the development of that industry, its population is shown to be dense, which accounts for emigration. The population, moreover, is very unevenly divided over the territory, according as life is more or less easily supported by the fertility of the soil, by industry, or by commerce. The most crowded population is that of the province of Naples: 3448 inhabitants per sq. mile; after that come the province of Milan, the district of Genoa, the coast of Apulia, between Barletta and Monopoli, and the slope of Mt. Etna. The province of Sassari is the one least inhabited (80 inhabitants per sq. mile); but there are extensive regions, such as the Roman Campagna and the plateau of the Murgie, that are almost uninhabited. As to the distribution of population, 71.8 per cent of the inhabitants live in towns and 28.2 per cent live a country life. It is only in Venice and in Tuscany that the numbers of the town and country dwellers almost balance each other, while in Emilia, the Marches, and Umbria the country population is almost double that of the towns, while the opposite is the case in Sicily and in Sardinia. It is to be regretted that an ever-increasing tendency towards agglomeration is manifested, which, together with the absence of the landowners from the small centres where their properties are located, is the source of great economical, educational, and moral evil.

Foreign residents in the kingdom, on 10 January, 1901, which is the date of the last census, numbered 61,606, of whom 37,762 were permanent residents, and of these there were 9079 Swiss, 7995 Austrians, 5748 Germans, and 5033 French, after whom came in order of numbers the English and the North Americans.

The highest averages of marriages are furnished by Abruzzi and Molise (9.1), Campania and Calabria (8.1), Apulia (8.2), and the Basilicata (9). The highest birthrates are those of Lombardy, Venice, Apulia, and Calabria. And here it maybe observed that depopulation through the vice of neo-Malthusianism begins to show itself also in Italy, especially in the large cities, considering that the average of 36, in 1872-75, is reduced now to 31.4, notwithstanding the fact that the average of marriages has remained approximately constant; and while there is an average excess of 10.6 per 1000 of births over deaths, it is due, not entirely to the increase in births, but to the notable decrease in mortality, the average of which has fallen from 30.5, in 1872-75, to 20.8 in 1907. Sociology cannot overlook the alarming increase in the number of the still-born which is found especially in the cities of more than 100,000 inhabitants. In 1907 there were 4.33 for every 100 births, including those born dead. The lowest averages of mortality are furnished by Piedmont and by Liguria (19.7); and the highest are those of Lombardy (23), Apulia (25), the Basilicata (27), and Sardinia (24). Tubercular and intestinal maladies and pneumonia furnish the highest figures to the death-rate, together with acute and chronic bronchitis and heart disease. In 1907 there were 1315 homicides (3.9 per 100,000 inhabitants) and 2312 suicides (6.9 per 100,000 inhabitants).


Italy is subject to this very important sociological phenomenon, not only on account of over-population, as some believe, but, because capital does not promote industries, which is due to a moral as well as to an economic cause, the former being a lack of confidence between lender and borrower, and the latter, an exaggerated fiscalism and the want of a protective tariff; it is due also to a social cause, namely the subverting theories with which socialism inspires the working classes. These are the true mediate reasons for Italian emigration that produces a lack of labour, and, therefore, economical disorder, which itself is the immediate cause of Italian expatriation; all the other causes, such as the example of relatives and of friends who emigrate, the cheapness of travel, the facility of receiving news and of returning home, and the propaganda of navigation companies are of little consequence, when they do not rest upon economic uneasiness — which has been the determining element of every migratory movement in the world — nor can any human power prevent its effects. The law of 31 January, 1901, regulates emigration, and it is to be hoped that its provisions will remain in force, because the State should not promote, encourage, or guide the currents of emigration. Figures are clearer than words in these matters.

PER 100
PER 100

The difference between temporary and permanent emigration is no longer taken into account in statistics, for the very good reason that it does not show positive facts, either because of the facility of translocation, or because the emigrant, having found work and comforts at the place to which he has emigrated, may establish there his home. In any case, temporary emigration occurs more frequently from the provinces of Venice, Lombardy, and Piedmont, and is directed more especially towards France, Switzerland, Austria, and the Balkans. Sixty-four per cent of the emigrants are farm labourers. The regions that furnished the largest numbers to the total emigration in 1906 were Piedmont, Venice, the Marches, the Abruzzi, Campania, the Basilicata, Calabria, and Sicily. With relation to transoceanic emigration the largest proportions per 100,000 were furnished by the Marches (2222), the Abruzzi (3593), Campania (2677), the Basilicata (3764), Calabria (3953), and Sicily (3390). From 1 July, 1906, to 30 June, 1907, there emigrated to the United States 285,731 Italians, nearly 43 per cent of the total of emigration. In 1907, during the economical crisis in the United States 154,500 Italians who had emigrated returned to their country, and there was a suspension in emigration — only a suspension, because in the first six months of 1909 there were 210,432 emigrants, of whom 187,086 went to the United States, an increase of 152,320 and 151,406, respectively, over the corresponding figures for the first six months of 1908. The undesirable element in Italian emigration is not furnished by the illiterate cafone, who has given — and continues to give — actual value to lands in the United States but rather, by ungodly educated emigrants who use their unfortunate fellow-countrymen, as well as the native of his class, for their own ends.

Is Italian emigration a good or an evil? For the economy of Italy it is a good, seeing that the credit of Italians in foreign countries, on 31 December, 1908, in the savings postal accounts amounted to 290,979,711.94 lire ($12,000,000 nearly), and the deposits of emigrants for the period of 1 January, 1909, to 31 August, 1909, amounted to 21,702,664.20 lire. In other words, there are nearly 4,000,000 Italians scattered over the world, like the overflow of a prolific and sober race, in search of better living; and over the world is said advisedly, because the Italian emigrant, overcoming all obstacles, as poverty and ignorance, goes, exploited and little protected withal, into distant lands, among peoples whose customs are totally different from his own, and whose languages are unknown to him. This adaptability to climate and to social life is indicative of his cosmopolitan character.

Language and religion

Although the population of Italy is ethnically mixed, and although there is considerable variation in its physical types, it is nevertheless different from that of all the other countries of Europe in the astonishing unity of its culture, of its language, and of its religion. That which is foreign is soon absorbed; and the Italian nation has the further advantage that, although it has a population of nearly 36,000,000 inhabitants, only 2,000,000 of them are subject to foreign governments. The Roman conquests spread popular Latin, first, over Italy, and then over the known world; it was at first slowly altered by the linguistic habits of the various countries, and then, more rapidly, through the decay of the Roman Empire and through distance from Rome. Thus originated the Romanesque or neo-Latin languages, and the first of them, by its historical excellence, is the Italian, which is the pure and clear continuance of vulgar Latin, because the latter, in Italy, was unaccompanied by other tongues. Formerly it was the principal commercial language known by foreign peoples, especially by those of the Levant. At present it is spoken by nearly 36,000,000 people.

The dialects that properly belong to the Italian system are the Tuscan, which is the typical and the literary language of the Italians, the Venetian, Corsican, Sicilian and Neapolitan, the Umbro-Roman, and the Marchisan. To the Gallo-Italic system belong the dialects of Liguria and of Piedmont and the Lombard-Emilian. Those are the principal dialects, spoken in the various regions after which they are respectively named, having themselves subdivisions that are due to phonetic alterations. To the neo-Latin non-Italian dialects belong the Franco-Provençal, which is spoken in the high valleys of the Western Alps, and the Ladino or Reto-Roman dialect, which is spoken in the Canton of the Grisons, in Friuli, and in Molise. The German language is spoken in Piedmont and in Venetia by the descendants of colonies that were established in those provinces in the eleventh and in the twelfth centuries. The language of Albania is spoken by the descendants of colonists who went to Southern Italy and to Sicily, in 1461, with Skanderbeg after the fall of Albanian independence. The descendants of the Greeks who migrated to Calabria and to the territory of Otranto, between the ninth and the eleventh centuries, preserve their original language. In all, there are nearly 770,000 persons in Italy who speak languages other than Italian.

The predominant religion is the Catholic, to which belong 97.12 per cent of the population. The census of 1901 showed the presence of 65,595 Protestants and of 35,617 Jews, while 795,276 persons made no mention of their religion in their declarations.


In the first half of the Middle Ages, among the fine arts religious architecture reached a certain degree of perfection; the churches which it created reproduced the ancient Roman basilicas (Santa Maria Maggiore, San Clemente, and others, in Rome), and its baptisteries, octagonal in form, imitated cellœ of the Roman baths; in this way the Christian-Roman or neo-Latin style was developed. At the same time the Greeks brought the Byzantine style to Italy (San Vitale in Ravenna, 537, and San Marco in Venice, 876). Towards the year 1000 there appeared in Italy the Romanesque style, which substituted the vaulted roof for the plain ceiling (the cathedral of Pisa); while Arabic influence was felt in Sicily in the construction of the magnificent cathedral of Monreale and of its adjacent cloister. Towards the latter part of the Middle Ages, painting, through the impetus given to it by Giotto, produced true masterpieces. Among the painters who became famous at that time are Senesi, Buoninsegna, and Martini, the two Gaddi, Fra Angelico, and Masaccio, who was the true founder of the modern school of painting. Among the famous sculptors were the two Pisanos, Orcagna, Ghiberti, and — most famous of them all — Donatello (1386-1466), who may be called the Masaccio of sculpture. Finally, we should name Luca della Robbia, a popular sculptor who invented the terra-cotta process that is known by his name. The erroneously so-called Gothic style that was developed in France was brought into Italy, where, however, it was not fully adopted, except in the cases of the church of St. Francis at Assisi and of the cathedral of Milan; the churches of Santa Maria Novella and of Santa Croce in Florence, the cathedrals of Siena and of Orvieto and others are based upon it, as are, among other civil edifices, the Ducal Palace in Venice, the Orcagna Loggia, in Florence, and the communal palaces of Udine and Siena.

The Renaissance in the first decades of the sixteenth century led to the further development of the fine arts, and great masterpieces were produced. Here it is enough to mention the three great names of Leonardo da Vinci (1425-1519), Michelangelo Buonarroti (1474-1564), and of Raphael Sanzio (1483-1520), which have made that age immortal. In architecture Roman forms were adopted, and the first examples of Renaissance architecture were the churches of Santa Maria dei Miracoli in Venice, San Lorenzo in Florence, etc.; and among civil buildings, the Pitti and the Strozzi palaces in Florence, the ducal palace of Urbino, etc. The best architects were Bramante, Giacomo Barozzi, called Vignola, Peruzzi, Palladio, the two Sangallos, Sansovino, and Buonarroti, who planned the cupola of St. Peter's. Sacred music reached its acme in the compositions of Palestrina (1529-1594). The straining after odd and exaggerated forms which were condemned in the literature of the seventeenth century also appears in the architecture and in the sculpture of that time. Bernini (1598-1680) and Borromini (1599-1677), men of great but bizarre genius, introduced the barocco style which was disfigured by their imitators. But painting remained free from the defects of that period, through the influence of Dolci, Sassoferrato, the two Carracci, Albani, Domenichino, and Guido Reni. The heavy and contorted manner of building which prevailed in the seventeenth century gave way to a lighter but peculiar style marked by ornamentation; it was brought to Italy from France. This style, which is called rococo, corresponds to what in literature is known as preciosity; but towards the middle of the eighteenth century classical forms were revived, especially in the works of the famous architects Vanvitelli and Juvara, while Canova restored its simplicity to sculpture, combining the study of nature with that of classic forms. Music also continued its ascendant progress under Pergolesi, Porpora, and Paisiello. In the nineteenth century architecture attempted the "liberty" style, which came from beyond the Alps; sculpture developed, as is shown by the names of Bertolini, Tenerani, Dupré, Monteverde, and others; but painting produced less noted names (Celentano, Fracassini, Morelli, Maccari, Michetti, etc.). Profane music, on the other hand, reached its greatest height in Bellini, Donizetti, Rossini, and Verdi.

Economical factors


Italy was once the classic land of agriculture; but, in our day, notwithstanding a reawakening that foretells better times, it is one of the countries in which agriculture is most backward. This is due to many causes, of which the chief are fiscalism and the landlord system (there were 3,351,498 landed proprietors in 1882, which number was reduced to 3,286,691 in 1901); absenteeism and the inertia of the large landowners, the ignorance of agriculture and the lack of capital and of agrarian credit are also to blame. And consequently the average yield of an acre of corn in Italy is less than one-half the yield in Germany and England, notwithstanding better conditions of soil and of climate. Exact data concerning these matters will not be had until the valuations that are made conformably to the law of March, 1886, are available. So far investigations have been limited to agricultural products, to the silk-worm industry and to the cultivation of tobacco. But, in order to remedy this evil, there was established, in 1907, an office for the express purpose of collecting agricultural statistics. The production of wheat is inferior to the demands of the population, and great quantities of that staple are imported, notwithstanding the high duty. On the other hand, there is an over-production of wine. The cultivation of vegetables is important, as is also that of kitchen herbs and of fruits, in which there is a great deal of exportation that could be profitably increased if refrigerator cars were used for transportation, as in America. In the production of silk-worms, Italy is the leading country of Europe, and the third, after Japan and China, in the world: in 1906, there were produced 538,380 new cocoons, and the native and the imported cocoons that were spun by the factories throughout the kingdom produced a total of 6666 tons. Among industrial plants hemp and flax hold an important place in Italian agriculture, there being a yearly product of nearly 80,000 tons of the former and of nearly 20,000 tons of the latter, furnished in greater part by Lombardy. Among the other industrial plants are the sumac and the manna in Sicily, saffron in Aquila, liquorice, hops, madder, straw for the manufacture of hats, etc. Cotton is imported from America, and of late years there has been a successful effort to cultivate beet-root for the manufacture of sugar, and also to cultivate tobacco, which, in 1905, yielded a product of more than 7000 tons from 12,500 acres. Horticulture also has made notable progress in recent times, especially in Tuscany and on the Ligurian Riviera, which has an exceptionally favourable climate for this industry. Unfortunately, notwithstanding so many favourable conditions, agriculture, which is a source of great profit in foggy England, in Italy is in a rudimentary state as yet. Between 1867 and 1906 there were reafforested, at the expense of the Government and with its assistance, 114,000 acres, costing in all $1,700,000, a very small showing in the presence of the serious problem of reafforestation.


There is not much raising of live stock in Italy, not enough even to supply the home demand, in which that country is behind the nations of Central and of Northern Europe; and it is not easy to understand why agriculturists do not profit by the advantages offered by the Government in this connexion. The animals that are chiefly raised are oxen, horses, asses, mules, goats, sheep, and hogs. On account of the natures of the different peoples, in northern Italy is found chiefly the raising of the larger animals, while on the peninsula the raising of smaller animals is prevalent. Poultry and eggs are a special source of wealth; still their supply is not equal to the demand. The fisheries, of river and of sea, are neglected by the Government; each year there is a retrogression in these pursuits that is stayed by the co-operative efforts of a few fishermen of the Adriatic shores of the Marches, assisted by their priests.


In view of the lack of coal, Italy is not very rich in mineral products, although lignite, anthracite, and peat are not scarce. It is the first country in the production of sulphur, however, as we have seen, when speaking of Sicily; formerly there was no competition in this commodity, but now California has closed the American markets to the Italian product, Italy abounds in salts (Salsomaggiore and Volterra); it is rich also in iron ores of the best quality, found in the regions of Brescia, Bergamo, and Comasco, and more especially in the island of Elba. In Liguria, Piedmont, and Venice is found copper, but more abundantly in Tuscany, near Campiglia Marittima, where there is a great establishment for smelting the ores of Lanzi and of Mt. Temperino; these mines were known to the Etruscans and to the Romans, who left there the traces of their industrial spirit. The greatest yield of mercury is obtained from the mines of Grosseto, near Mt. Amiata, and from those of Siena. In 1906 the total production of minerals, in which 69,224 workmen were employed, amounted to a value of $20,000,000. Another source of wealth to Italy are the quarries that produce valuable materials for construction, as pozzolana (cement), volcanic tufa, calcite, sandstone, etc., and stone, such as decorative and statuary marbles, granite, slate, peperine etc., as well as other materials for use in the arts, such as pumice stone, lithographic stone, asbestos, and colouring clays, etc. Italy is rich in thermal and in mineral waters that compare favourably, from the therapeutic standpoint, with those of other countries, and they could be made the sources of considerable profit, if they were competently exploited. Among these thermal waters special mention should be made of those of Acqui (Alessandria), Salsomaggiore (Parma), Telese (Benevento), and Bormio. Among the mineral waters, the following obtain highest favour: Montecatini (Tuscany), Recoaro (Venice), San Gemini and Nocera (Umbria), and Ischia and Casamicciola (Naples).

Of late years Italy has not been idle in regard to the redemption of lands: from 1884 to the present time nearly 4,000,000 acres have been redeemed, whether by the process of filling-in, by draining, or by the use of hydraulic machines. In 1905 the King of Italy, at the petition of the American agriculturist Lubin, initiated the establishment of an International Agricultural Institute which, totally independent of all political connexion, should study agricultural conditions in the different countries for the general good. All the Powers accepted the initiative and appointed each a representative in accordance with it, so that the institution is now an accomplished fact.


Industries and manufactures fell from the prosperous condition in which they were in the Middle Ages when Italy was the teacher of other countries. Political dissensions, internal strife, and lack of technical instruction, the want of capital, and an exaggerated protectionism produced a certain relaxation and want of care, in consequence of which national industry neither followed the progress of the times nor even produced the supply required by national demand; and it fell entirely upon the discovery of steam, which revolutionized the economy of peoples and of states. But in recent years Italy has reawakened and, notwithstanding obstacles in the way of development, increased by an exaggerated and ill-advised fiscalism, has made notable progress in its industrial life, especially through the intelligent efforts of its northern population, to the extent, in fact, of attaining the highest ranks in the silk industry, as well as in those of cotton, wool, leather, of the metals, and of alimentary products (cheese, salted meats, and pastes). Notable also are the soap industry, the chemical products and the paper industries, the manufacture of artistic furniture, of jewellery, of objects in straw, matches, glasses, beads, porcelains, majolica, mosaics, and, in general, all of the artistic industries, due to the natural good taste of the Italian people. Visitors to Italy take into the country from $60,000,000 to $80,000,000 each year. Available fuel and motor power are the measure of industrial activity, and in 1887, in which year regular investigations on these points began, the amount of fuel used in the industries aggregated a tonnage of 4,004,065, representing a value uf $18,000,000 while, in 1905, according to the most recent statistics, the tonnage was 6,912,183, with a value of $33,000,000. The importation of coal alone, deducting the amount of that commodity that was exported or entered into the manufacture of conglomerates, was nearly 6,000,000 tons. The total sum of the various motor forces available on 1 January, 1904, according to the statistics of the "Ispettorato generale dell' Industria e Commercio", published in 1906, was as follows: steam engines, 2,472,133 horse power; gas motors, 45,855 horse power; hydraulic forces, 490,000 horse power; motors of other kinds, exclusive of windmills, 446 horse power — total, 3,008,452. As regards textile industries, in which Italy is making an effort to regain the primacy that it enjoyed in the glorious Middle Ages, we give in round numbers the following approximate data:—

Silk 2,200 13,000 2,000,000 20,000 196,000
Wool 800 21,000 330,000 12,000 390,000
Linen, Hemp
and Jute
320 14,000 110,000 8,000 27,000
Home Weaving . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 300,000 . . . . . . . . . . . .

The mechanical industries, in the working of iron, are also growing, as in the manufacture of arms, foundries, and naval construction. Coal has been used until now almost exclusively in the industries, and consequently Italy is yearly a tributary to foreign countries in the sum of nearly $50,000,000; but now it can substitute electrical power, derived from its numerous watercourses, an inexhaustible wealth that Raddi estimates to be equal to 10,000,000 horse power. This is the white coal, according to the happy expression of Bergès, which will be capable of supplying both the great and the small industries; and the Italian mind must have presaged this new force, in which the future prosperity of Italy lies, seeing that in this country, where, nearly a century ago, Volta discovered the electric pile, have appeared also the two greatest transformers of electrical energy, Pacinotti and Galileo Ferraris; while Marconi, utilizing the Hertzian waves, has opened up a new horizon.

The principal centres of the silk industry are Milan, Como, Genoa, Turin, and Florence; those of the cotton industry are Milan, Bergamo, Como, Turin, Novara, Genoa, Salerno, Udine, and Pisa; the principal centres for the wool industry are the Biellese, Vicenza (Schio), and Tuscany; the principal centres for the manufacture of linen textures and for the hemp industry are in Lombardy, Emilia, Venice, and Campania; the metallurgical industries are centred at Follonica (Grosseto), Cecina, Piombino, Portoferraio, Terni, Iglesias, and Pertusola in Sardinia. Pozzuoli, Terni, and Brescia enjoy a high reputation for their metallurgical industries in general, and for the manufacture of arms in particular, while the products of important shops in Lombardy, Piedmont, Venice, Tuscany, Liguria, and Naples, in marine engines, railroad supplies, automobiles, and kindred productions enjoy high favour. Naples, Leghorn, Spezia, Genoa, and Sestri Ponente have considerable dock yards, while the largest arsenals are at Spezia, Venice, Naples, Castellammare di Stabia, and Taranto.

Italy occupies an important position with regard to the industrial trades, the development of which is being promoted through the establishment of the museums of Turin, of Rome and of Naples, and by the opening of industrial schools. Florence, Venice, and Rome are famous for their mosaic productions; Venice, the Romagna, the Milanese, and Tuscany, for their terra-cotta, majolica, and porcelain arts; Venice and Murano for their mirrors, for glass, and for glass beads; Naples, Genoa, Leghorn, and Trapani are famous for their coral works, and Turin, Naples, Venice, Rome, and Florence, for their bronzes, statues, pictures, tapestry, etc. Tuscany, and especially Florence, enjoys a good reputation for the manufacture of straw hats, as do the establishments of Piedmont, Lombardy, and Liguria for the manufacture of paper, and especially so Fabriano, in the Marches, for its hand-made paper, one of the oldest establishments of its kind in Europe. Milan is the principal centre of Europe for the printing of music and is the chief centre of Italy for the polygraphic industries. In alimentary products Liguria and Naples lead for pastry, and Bologna and Modena for their sausages; Liguria for salt fish; Lombardy for its cheeses; Tuscany and Liguria lead in the production of oil. The best-known wines, enjoying high esteem in foreign countries, are Barolo, Barbera, Grignolino, and Vermouth of Piedmont; Sangiovese and Canino, of the Romagna; Chianti, Pomino, and Rufina, of Tuscany; Orvieto and Aleatico, of Umbria; the wines of the Roman Castelli; Tauraso, Capri, and Falerno, from the southern provinces.


More intimate relations with the principal powers, with which Italy has commercial treaties, and the increase of ways of communication by land and sea, especially the tunnelling of Fréjus, the St. Gotthard, and the Simplon, and the opening of the Suez Canal, have facilitated commercial relations and have increased the intercourse of Italy with other countries. This is sufficiently shown by the fact that, while the sum total of Italian commerce in 1861 was of a value of $3,200,000, it was of a value of $922,000,000 in 1907, exclusive of precious metals, of which amount $552,000,000 represent the imports, and $370,000,000 the exports. The most important commercial centres are Lombardy, Piedmont, Liguria, and Venice, which is due not only to the greater activity of the inhabitants of those regions and to their contact with the neighbouring foreign peoples, but also to the many good highways of those provinces, and to their navigable canals and railroad development. In the second rank are Emilia, Tuscany, the Marches, Umbria, and Lazio. The commerce of Southern Italy and of Sicily is yet at a low standard, although it is slowly awakening. The greater portion of foreign commerce is done by maritime transportation, the most active ports being those of Genoa, Leghorn, Naples, Palermo, Catania, Brindisi, and Venice. The economical conditions of Italy, on the whole, are not unfavourable, but the nation is far from enjoying the prosperous conditions to which other countries have attained in this regard. The weak points are in the backward unscientific conditions of agriculture and of the raising of cattle, wavering on the verge of excessive cultivation; while there is a considerable danger in the exaggerated protectionism that gradually is fixing its roots in the sentiment of the people and in that of nations.

The merchant marine is not at the height that it attained in the Middle Ages under the glorious maritime republics, and a complication of historical and of geographical causes, added to the inertia of Governments and to the lack of judicial protection, have obstructed its favourable progress. Nevertheless private enterprise has not been abated in the development of the merchant marine, although it be true that it has not attained the favourable results that have crowned like efforts in other countries. In the last four years, however, the Società di Navigazione Generale Italiana, the Veloce Company, the Italia Company, the Italian-Lloyd, the Sabaudo-Lloyd, and the Società Siculo-Americana have added thirty-five large, twin-screw, transatlantic steamships to the emigrant service, with a capacity of 240,000 tons burden, and accommodation for nearly 70,000 passengers, which was done at an expense of not less than $28,000,000. The Italian merchant marine occupies the seventh position among those of the large countries. The State, to assist the merchant marine, grants navigation prizes and compensation for the construction of ships and for repairs that are carried out in Italian yards, amounting in all to a yearly maximum of $1,600,000. This system, however, which has been in force since 1886, and involving a larger sum of money, has not produced the results desired, because the cost of construction in Italian yards is higher than those in other countries, and consequently the Government's compensation is without practical effect. According to a new bill, the direct protection of the State would assist the mercantile marine by a compensation of equipment for a duration of not less than ten months per ton burden and by compensation for velocity, for every half mile above a 14-knot speed, as well as per ton. For ships constructed in foreign yards, the bill provides that these compensations be one-half of those granted in the case of ships that are built at home. It grants a great many reimbursements of taxes and other compensations to the thirty-one shipyards of the kingdom, if they use the home metallurgical products. This bill continues the former policy of uniting the metallurgical, the shipyard, and the navigation interests. The sum total of merchandise that was shipped or unloaded in 1906 amounted to 23,287,916 tons, of which less than half (10,503,815 tons) was carried on Italian bottoms; this is worthy of consideration, in view of the fact that 75% of the value of Italian commerce with foreign powers is transported by sea. There are 302,296 persons bearing certificates of matriculation or whose names appear on the registers of seafaring people. On 31 Dec., 1907, 4981 sailing ships, with a tonnage of 503,260, and 548 steamships with a tonnage of 497,537, had received certificates of nationalization.


The metrical system is in force in Italy for the measure of objects and of value; the lira is the unit of value; its nominal worth is 20 cents. Italy, France, Belgium, Greece, and Switzerland form the Latin Monetary Union, having a bimetallic basis, which is imperfect, however, because since 1879, suspicion has attached to the coinage of the pieces of five lire; the fractional coins were nationalized. From 1862 to 1907 the State coined, in all denominations, a sum total of $220,000,000 and a sum total of $154,000,000 were withdrawn from circulation, with a loss of 7.2 per cent on their nominal value. On 31 December, 1907, the treasury resources were: gold, 303,313,673 lire; silver, 71,862,419 lire; nickel, 2,537,285 lire; copper, 2,595,212 lire; total, 380,309,129 lire ($76,061,826).

The Bank of Italy, the Bank of Naples, and the Bank of Sicily are the only financial establishments that are authorized by law to issue bank-notes that are legal currency; this authorization is for a limited time and upon condition of financial compensation to the State; the bank-notes are for values of 50, 100, 500, and 1000 lire respectively (law of 9 October, 1900). The Treasury also issues state notes of 5, of 10, and of 25 lire, all legal currency, and to some extent, legal tender, because, although they are de jure convertible into metallic money, the treasury de facto does not redeem them. This kind of paper circulation is limited by law to 467,500,000 lire, and on 31 December, 1907, it actually amounted to 437,518,410 lire, being 26.8 per cent of the gold security. The amount of the bank-notes in circulation on the same date was 1,851,541,950 lire, being 72.4 per cent of the gold reserve. In sum, the paper circulation on 31 December, 1907, amounted to 2,289,060,360 lire, or 68 lire per head of the population.

Labour organization

The highest wages for workmen in the manufacturing industries and in commerce is of slightly more than a dollar a day, and the lowest is 30 cents, for men; and the salaries for women vary from 60 to 10 cents a day. According to the census of 1901, there were 2,471,672 wage-earning women, above the age of 9 years, as compared with 5,662,672 men; and according to the declaration made by employers conformably with the law of 19 June, 1902, concerning the work of women and of children, there were, in 14,510 establishments, 414,915 workmen and 414,975 working women. The laws of 17 May, 1898, and of 29 June, 1903, compel the employer, in some trades, to insure his workmen against accidents in work, and by the law of 8 July, 1883, the Cassa Nazionale was established for that purpose, without, however, prohibiting such insurance in private companies or in syndicates of mutual insurance. According to the statistics of the Ufficio del Lavoro, working men and women, insured and non-insured, who suffered through accident, in 1906, numbered 166,561, of whom 9963 were women; there were 398 cases of death and 259 accidents in which many workmen suffered. It should be noted that the great increase in the number of accidents is not to be ascribed to a noteworthy increase of industrial activity, or to less prudence, but rather to the malice of the workmen, and it is extremely doubtful whether there does not exist a medical criminal school, established for the purpose of encouraging the men to simulate serious injuries. Recently a bill has been introduced into the Legislature to remove these evils, which cause high insurance premiums and are otherwise detrimental to industry and to insurance societies. The statistics compiled by the "Ispettorato generale del Credito e della Previdenza" in 1906 show that there were 63,369 accidents for which financial compensation to the amount of $120,900 was paid. In 1905 there were 540,850 workmen insured in the Cassa Nazionale di assicurazione; the number of injured among them amounted to 145.50 per 1000, and the indemnities paid to $830,000. In the third quarter of the year 1908 there were 48,621 accidents.

Regarding the organization of workmen, on 1 January, 1908, there were 4477 leagues, having a membership of 612,804 industrial workmen; on 1 January, 1909, there were 98 camere del lavoro, having 3834 sections with 501,220 members; 43 of these camere belonged to the Confederazione del Lavoro; there were 22 federazioni of trades, on 1 January, 1908, with 2550 sections and 191,599 members. There were 2814 leagues registered in the camere del lavoro, and 1324 in the federazioni of trades, while 339 were independent. In 1906 there were 1302 strikes, affecting 257,809 workmen; in 1907 there were 1963 strikes, affecting 276,535 workmen, and in 1908 there were 1543 strikes in which 218,289 workmen participated. The year 1907 developed the greatest number of strikes, much in excess of those of 1903, in which latter-named year there occurred the maximum of industrial strikes. The chief cause of strikes related to wages, to hours, to the monopoly of labour, and to discipline, and, as is natural, the first two produced the greatest number of strikes, and questions of discipline more than those related with the monopoly of labour. In 1906 20.5 per cent of the strikes were entirely successful, while 2.53 per cent were unsuccessful; in 1907, 25.5 per cent succeeded, as compared with 27.7 per cent that failed; in 1908, 21.1 per cent were successful, and 36.4 per cent failed. The remainder were partly successful. In the first quarter of 1909 there were 217 strikes, in which 34,118 workmen took part. There are in all Italy 69 organizations for the defence of the demands of workmen in the industries and in commerce.

The habit of making savings, which is one of the forms of natural provision, and also that of attending to the needs of parents have always obtained among Italians, especially in the labouring classes, whether agricultural or industrial, with greater force, in fact, than that of physical and intellectual development, and this is reflected in the remittances made by emigrants to their homes. Prior to the establishment of savings banks, these fruits of economy were merely hoarded up by individuals and exposed to the dangers of loss; when those banks were established, however, offering ample security through the supervision of the State, and also facilities in relation to time and place, the proportion of savings was vastly increased. In 1872, there were 120 savings banks in Italy, a number that has been increased now to 208, while the number of depositors, which was 676,237, has now grown to 2,048,364. The aggregate of deposits in 1872 amounted to nearly $100,000,000, and is now equal to $400,000,000. The people's banks, which take savings accounts, had, in 1898, deposits to the sum of $75,000,000, and now have deposits of a total of $147,000,000; and the post-office savings bank that was established in 1876 has now 5,000,000 depositors, with accounts to their favour of more than $300,000,000. The sum total of savings, therefore, may be estimated, in round numbers, at $800,000,000. Unhappily the savings banks are obliged to invest their deposits in state bonds and in first-class hypothecary loans, while the post-office bank invests deposits in loans to the Communes and to the provinces; the former, therefore, are not available in the manufacturing industries and in agriculture. Here it may be observed that while the figures given above are evidence of the habit of Italians of making savings, which is nothing but deferring consumption, those figures show also the want of the habit of placing savings in profitable investments, that other form of provision which consists in renouncing the possession of the sum saved, that is, of the power of consumption, to transform it into other powers, or for one's own security against want. Hence the slow and laboured progress of the professional unions and of the leagues, of the societies of mutual assistance and of insurance against sickness, loss of employment, or old age, the existence of which institutions depends upon the contributions of their members. Possibly this condition may be in a measure due to the malversation of funds by the directors of such corporations and to the failure of kindred establishments that are without solid foundations or competent direction, all of which causes have increased the want of economical confidence that is instinctive in the Italian character. The proof of this is furnished by the national bank that was established in 1898 for insurance against disability and against old age for workmen, conformably with the law of 31 May, 1907, No. 376; for in this establishment notwithstanding its total amount of funds of nearly $13,000,000, there were registered on 28 February, 1909, only 297,749 workmen, mainly by public corporations which, in their own interests, wished to provide for the old age of their employees.



The highways of Italy, exclusive of those bordering on private property, in 1904, measured in the aggregate 85,757,300 miles; while there was a total length of 35,400 miles of mule and foot roads.


The first railroad in Italy, the Napoli-Portici, was opened on 4 October, 1839; in 1871 there were 3960 miles of railroad in operation, and on 30 June, 1907, there were 10,705 miles of railroads. The principal railroad lines are:

The Italian railroads and those of France communicate by two lines, that from Genoa to Marseilles and that from Turin to Lyons, through the Fréjus, and they will soon connect, also, by the Cuneo-Nice line. They connect with the Swiss and with the German railroads by the Novara-Luino-Bellinzona line, by the Milan, Chiasso, Lugano, Bellinzona, and Airolo (the St. Gotthard road), by the Genoa, Alessandria, Novara, Domodossola (the Simplon Way); lastly, the Italian railroads connect with those of Austria by the Verona-Trent (the Brennero line), by the Venice-Udine (the Pontebba line) and by the Udine, Cormons, Görz, and Monfalcone line.


The first tramway that was operated by mechanical traction was opened in 1875 between Turin and Moncalieri, and on 31 December, 1904, there were 2450 miles of tramway lines in operation, 475 miles being electrified; and the combined personnel employed on all these lines included 14,742 persons. With the tramways are connected waterways, aggregating a length of 1100 miles by river, and 680 miles by navigable canals. Interior navigation, however, has been neglected until now by Italy, to the detriment of commerce and of industry, and it is a matter for congratulation that the Bertolini bill, bearing upon this matter, became law on 2 Jan., 1910.

The postal service

On 30 June, 1908, the postal-telegraph offices and the places for collection numbered together 10,580, an average of 28 for each 100,000 inhabitants; there were, moreover, 143 such offices on wheels or afloat. This important public service is due in great measure to mutual conventions with other countries, on the basis established at Berne, 9 October, 1874, and developed in subsequent congresses (Berne, 1876; Paris, 1878 and 1880; Lisbon, 1885; Vienna, 1891; and Washington, 1897), leading to the establishment of the Universal Postal Union. In some foreign places where the Italian colonies are considerable, whether through the number of emigrants or by the importance of their commerce, post-offices have been established, as in the Republic of San Marino, in Albania, Tripolitania, and Crete, at Constantinople, Valona, Salonica, Jerusalem, and in the Italian colony of Eritrea and Somalia. On 30 June, 1908, there were in all 24,198 employees in the postal and telegraphic service, and in 1908-1909 the postal, telegraph, and telephone receipts continued to increase, notwithstanding the effects of the great economical crisis in the United States that caused a stagnation in business, in exchanges, and in emigration. The combined expenses in 1898-1899 amounted to $12,490,000, and in the last year of the following decade, that is, 1907-1908, they amounted to $24,610,000. The combined issue of stamps, postal orders, post-cards, cards for packages, registrations, and answers prepaid amounted in value to $17,296,000. During the above year there were 12,749,309 packages mailed, and 2,205,214 packages were received from foreign countries. These figures were due no doubt to the convention with the United States, providing for the direct exchange of packages of from 6 lb. to 11 lb., which came into force on 1 August, 1908. There were established 11 automobile services; and in order to expedite the distribution of letters and of telegrams in Rome, Milan, and Naples, there is about to be established the pneumatic postal service of the American engineer Batcheller, in a total length of 23.4 miles of tubes. By the law of 5 April, 1908, the postal service of the navigation lines between Italy and the islands of Sicily and of Sardinia was placed under the administration of the railroads of the State, while the postal and the commercial service of other lines is entrusted to private parties, with the assistance of a subsidy by the State to which, however, all profits above 5 per cent. must be paid. The contract period is limited to twenty years, the present contracts coming to an end on 30 June, 1910.


Statistics for 30 June, 1908, show that there were 30,650 miles of telegraph lines, with 157,044 miles of wires; the submarine cables belonging to the State are of a combined length of approximately 1250 miles, There are 5312 telegraph offices belonging to the Government, while the number of those belonging to railroads and to other companies is 2582; in all, 7894.


Telephone service was established in Italy in 1881, and, until 1907 it was furnished by private companies, except for international communication; but, by the law of 15 July, 1907, the State assumed control of city telephones, for which purpose was established the Direzione Generale dei Telefoni. There are 10 international lines, and 303 lines between cities. Moreover, there are four submarine telephone cables of a combined length of 22 miles. On 30 June, 1908, there were 2988 telephone employees and 50,278 subscribers to city telephones.

Wireless telegraphs

Italy has 14 fixed wireless telegraph stations that transmitted, in the period of 1907-1908, 1478 messages, containing 29,320 words, and received 4760 messages containing 77,186 words.


With the foundation of Rome (754 B.C.) the historical life of Italy begins. About 600 B.C. the Gauls appear settled on either side of the Po (Padus); to the west along the Mediterranean are the Ligurians, and eastward around the Adriatic the tribes of Venice and Istria. In central Italy the Etrurians, of mysterious origin, had reached a high degree of civilization, as their sepulchral architecture and art remain to prove. Their neighbours, the Italici, were divided into two great groups, the Latin tribes and those of Umbro-Sabine origin. To the south was "Greater Greece" (Magna Græcia), a number of Greek colonies, the most important of which was Tarentum. This is not the place to relate how gradually the small city of Rome extended its rule until all Italy, the Mediterranean lands, Gaul and Germany, Egypt and the hither Orient, i. e. the known world (orbis terrarum) acknowledged its authority (see ROME). In those centuries of conquest and assimilation Rome was alternately a kingdom, a republic, and finally an empire. It was under the first Roman emperor, Augustus Cæsar, and through his world-wide edict, that Jesus Christ came to be born at Bethlehem in Judea, and in an incredibly short time the religion of the Crucified One had been established at Rome (Romans 1:17; 15:23; Suetonius, "Vita Claudii", xxv; Tertullian, "De Præscr.", xxxvi; Tacit., "Ann.", lib. XV, xliv; see SAINT PETER; SAINT PAUL), had penetrated all parts of the peninsula and made converts in every class. Not to speak of the more or less reliable claims of many Italian cities to Apostolic origins for their churches (Cappelletti, "Le chiese d' Italia", Venice, 1844-71; J. Rivière, "La propag, du Christ. dans les trois premiers siècles", Paris, 1907), the historian Eusebius exhibits Christianity as vigorous and expansive in Italy previous to Constantine (see Fabricius, "Lux salutaris Evangelii"; Harnack, "Mission und Ausbreitung des Christenthums", 2nd ed., Leipzig, 1905; Duchesne, "Hist. Ancienne de l'Église", I, Paris, 1906, and Idem, "The Roman Church before Constantine", New York, 1909).

Political necessity eventually led to the abandonment of Rome as the administrative centre of the unwieldy empire and the foundation (327) of a new city (Constantinople, New Rome) on the site of ancient Greek Byzantium, in a situation so incomparable for defence and attack that for many centuries the new city was impregnable (Bury, "History of the Later Roman Empire", London, 1889). In the meantime had been fought (311) near Rome the battle of the Milvian Bridge which sealed the fate of paganism, though in the higher classes and amid the rural population it lingered to the end of the fourth century (De Broglie, "L'église et l'empire romain au IVme siècle", Paris, 1856-66; Duchesne, "Hist. ancienne de l'Église", II, Paris, 1907; Allies, "The Formation of Christendom", IV, VI, London, 1861-95; G. Boissier, "La fin du paganisme", 5th ed., Paris, 1907). Outside of Rome, the cities of Milan, Aquileia, and Ravenna acquired ecclesiastical rank and influence, largely for political reasons. The synodal life of the peninsula was vigorous (Hefele, "History of the Councils") in the fourth and fifth centuries, particularly at Rome, and the relations with Constantinople were close and often friendly, a situation that was sadly affected by the momentous Acacian schism that divided Constantinople and Rome for thirty-five years (484-519) and inaugurated, though remotely, the final separation of Italy from the Eastern Empire.

The barbarian invasions reached their height at precisely this time. After a century of destructive assaults on various parts of the empire, including the capture of Rome (408) by Alaric, King of the Goths, the Roman imperial authority collapsed in Italy, where Odoacer, King of the Heruli, ruled the peninsula (476-93) until overthrown by Theodoric, King of the Ostrogoths (493-526). Despite the beneficent genius of this great king, and the efforts of his patriotic prime minister, Cassiodorus, the short-lived Ostrogothic State fell before the assaults of the Byzantine generals Belisarius and Narses (553), and Italy was again part of the Roman Empire, governed by an exarch at Ravenna, subject also to the cæsaropapism of its Byzantine rulers (see POPE VIGILIUS; THE THREE CHAPTERS) and helpless as before in presence of new invasions (Hodgkin, "The 'Variæ' of Cassiodorus"; Pfeilschifter, "Theod. d. Grosse und d. Kirche", 1896; Bury, "Later Roman Empire"). In 568 the German Langobardi (Lombards) overran Northern Italy and by the middle of the eighth century had almost extinguished Byzantine authority in the peninsula (Hodgkin, "Italy and her Invaders", London, 1880; Kurth, "Origines de la civilisation moderne", Paris, 1905; Grisar, "Gesch. Roms u. der Päpste", I, Freiburg, 1901; Dahn, "Könige der Germanen", Munich, 1861-97). Rome itself was on the point of falling into their hands, when Pope Stephen II made his famous journey across the Alps and persuaded King Pepin (754) to intervene and save the Romans from a yoke that they equally feared and detested. He took from the Lombards the Pentapolis and Romagna, former Byzantine territory, twenty-four cities, and gave them to the Roman Church (see PEPIN THE SHORT). Again in 774, at the call of Pope Adrian, Charlemagne entered Italy, suppressed the Lombard kingdom, united it with his own, and by new gifts added the greater part of the exarchate to the papal possessions.

The generosity of the faithful, the political results of the attempt to spread Iconoclasm in Italy, the hard need of self-defence, and culpable neglect on the part of the Byzantine court, had already done much to make the papacy a quasi-sovereign power. Thus arose in Italy the States of the Church (Stato Ecclesiastico, Patrimonium Petri, Temporal Power; Duchesne, "Les premiers temps de l'état pontifical", 2nd ed., Paris, 1904; Miles, "History of the States of the Church; Schnürer, "Entstehung des Kirchenstaats", 1894). At Christmas, 800, Charlemagne was crowned Western emperor by Leo III in the Basilica of St. Peter (J. de la Servière, "Charlemagne et l'Église", Paris, 1904), and for the next two centuries his descendants laid claim to, and occasionally enforced the title of King of Italy, constantly disputed by the Italian descendants of great Frankish nobles and by other ambitious and violent rivals, foremost among them the factious nobles of Rome, represented typically by the Counts of Tusculum, whose rule in the tenth century was the occasion of shameful ecclesiastical disorder (see PAPACY). While in Northern and Central Italy during the ninth and tenth centuries, the bishops often represented, as missi dominici, the imperial power, the Lombard duchies to the south (Spoleto, Friuli, Benevento) were never able to overcome their chronic anarchy long enough to withstand a new peril, the invasion of the Saracens. In the ninth century the latter seized on Corsica and (848) advanced to the gates of Rome; in the eleventh century they conquered Sardinia and Sicily, and meanwhile set foot firmly in some districts of Southern Italy, the greater part of which, however, continued always subject to Constantinople, and took on in this period strongly accentuated Greek characteristics (C. Lenormant, "La Grande Grèce", Paris, 1884).

With Otto I the German imperial authority reasserted (951) its right to the crown of Italy, and henceforth made use of the episcopal sees, especially in Northern and Central Italy, in order to sustain its claims (Cantù, "Storia degli Italiani", 4th ed., Turin, 1893-96; M. Hartmann, "Gesch. Italiens im Mittelalter", 1897-1903; Leo, "Gesch. der ital. Staaten", 1829-32). Secularly minded bishops were only too often imposed on the population of these cities, which soon resented the feudal rights and privileges of their spiritual rulers, while these, on the other hand, found support in the German emperor, whose ambitious aims at that period culminated in the world-empire that Otto III (died 1002) hoped to realize (Dresdner, "Kultur- u. Sittengesch. d. ital. Geistlichkeit im 10. u. 11. Jahrhundert", Berlin, 1890; A. Vogel, "Ratherius v. Verona u. das 10. Jahrhundert", 1854; Atto of Vercelli," De pressuris ecclesiasticis", in P.L., CXXXIV). The second half of the eleventh century ushered in the long and disastrous conflict between the papacy and the empire, whose protagonists were Gregory VII (died 1085) and Henry IV (died 1106). Meanwhile a new political power, the Normans, had been growing up in Southern Italy at the expense of the Byzantines, the Saracens, and the remnants of the former Lombard duchies. During the first half of the eleventh century descendants of the ninth- and tenth-century Northmen had sought fortune in these lands and found it; by 1070 their new kingdom was held as a fief of the Apostolic See, a new order of things made possible by the length and intensity of the conflict between the papacy and the Western Empire and the wretched weakness of the Byzantines (Von Schack, "Normannen in Sicilien", 1889; Von Heinemann, "Normannen in Unteritalien u. Sicilien", I, 1894; Chalandon, "Domination normande en Italia et en Sicile", Paris, 1907; Dondorf, "Normannen u. ihre Bedeutung f. europ. Culturleben", 1875). Owing to them, and to the hearty support of the Lombard League of cities, the papacy was victorious in the first phase of its conflict with the empire (Peace of Venice, 1177).

Matilda, Countess of Tuscany (1064-1115), had meanwhile passed away, and left to the papacy her vast possessions in central Italy (Reggio, Lucca, Modena, Mantua, Ferrara, etc.), a new bone of contention with the empire that asserted its overlordship over rights of inheritance and administration (Tosti, "La Contessa Matilde", 3rd ed., Rome, 1886; Renée, "La grande Italienne", Paris, 1859; M. Huddy, "The Countess Mathilda", London, 1905). When Emperor Henry VI married in 1194 Constance, heiress of the great Norman house, the Kingdom of Sicily (with Southern Italy) passed into the hands of the Hohenstaufen, a combination most odious to the papacy, which rightly feared the near extinction of its independence. Out of this union of the imperial German crown and the royal crown of Sicily arose the second phase of the great medieval conflict between pope and emperor (see FREDERICK II; POPE GREGORY IX; POPE HONORIUS III) that ended (1265) in the complete ruin of the Hohenstaufen and the establishment of a French dynasty, the House of Anjou, on the throne of Naples. Only a few years did Charles of Anjou retain Sicily, for the native population came to detest the French knights and in the famous "Sicilian Vespers" (1282) cast off the yoke of France and called in the Spanish line of Aragon (Broglio, "Storia del Vespro Siciliano", Milan, 1858; see "Scienza e Fede", 1882, 241-61).

Meantime, Italian genius had been culminating variously during this stirring thirteenth century. Education had been nobly fostered by the growth of universities like Bologna and Padua, created or protected by the papacy; law and order had been put on a solid basis by the growth and academic acceptance of the Roman Law (see LAW; PANDECTS); and by the new codification of the canon law (PAPAL DECRETALS; CORPUS JURIS CANONICI); religion had been honoured and confirmed by the rise of the Mendicant orders (Franciscans, Dominicans); the fine arts had thriven despite feudal and municipal conflict endlessly various and passionate (Cimabue, Giotto, the Pisani); the civic spirit had developed with the growth of the communes in wealth, population, and self-consciousness, especially in Northern and Central Italy. Commerce and industry had taken on vast proportions (Venice, Florence, Milan, Genoa, Pisa); a glorious vernacular literature had sprung up (Dante), and in general Italy had entered deeply into all the phases of human activity that she was soon to develop so rapidly and so richly. At the same time the papacy, which with Innocent III (died 1216) had entered the "trecento" as arbiter of rulers, peoples, and nations and the acknowledged conscience of Europe, touched its lowest depths of humiliation when the century ended.

French ambition and interests had gradually been supplanting the immemorial imperial influence, and with the death of Boniface VIII (1303) and the establishment of Avignon (1307) as the future seat of the papacy, a new political order set in for the peninsula. The Angevin kings dominated the south, while in the north the last traces of German overlordship (imperial vicars) disappeared after the ill-fated attempts of Henry VII (1308-13) and Louis the Bavarian (1314-47) to dominate in Italy after the manner of the Ottos and the Fredericks. The former power of empire and papacy was now eagerly divided up between their more or less authorized representatives, and soon the "age of the despots", the nubes tyrannorum, set in, bold and resourceful men who kept and increased on all sides the power they had once obtained. The Visconti and Sforza at Milan, the Baglioni at Perugia, the Malatesta at Ravenna, the Scaligers at Verona, and a hundred others are types of a masterful and unique race that dominated for personal ends the prevailing anarchy (J. A. Symonds, "The Age of The Despots", New York, 1888). The great Spanish captain and cardinal, Gil d' Albornoz, between 1350 and 1370 restored in great measure the papal authority in its hereditary possessions (Wurm, "Cardinal Albornoz", 1894), but it was not until after the close of the Western Schism (1417) that in Martin V the States of the Church again recognized in a practical way the domination of the pope (Von Reumont, "Gesch. d. Stadt Rom", Berlin, 1867).

Fifteenth-century Italy beheld the famous reform councils of Basle (1431), Ferrara-Florence (1438-39), the vain attempts at a parliamentary organization of the Roman Church, the equally vain efforts at reunion with the Greeks, the fall of Constantinople (1453), the rapid and influential development of a pagan-minded humanism (Symonds, "The Revival of Learning in Italy", New York, 1888; Burckhardt, "The Culture of the Renaissance") and of the fine arts, the moral disorders of some high-placed ecclesiastics, offset however by an extraordinary development of sanctity (St. Bernardine of Sienna, St. John Capistran, St. Antonine of Florence, St. Frances of Rome, and others). For a while the well-known "five states" of Italy (Milan, Venice, Florence, Naples, Rome) represented the political order, but from the end of the fifteenth and the first half of the sixteenth century Spain and the pope divided the mastery of the peninsula until early in the eighteenth century. After vain efforts to establish its suzerainty at Naples and Milan, France was obliged to abandon the rich prize, and after the first quarter of the sixteenth century no longer repeated its earlier attempts at the hegemony of the peninsula. The Protestant Reformation made little headway in Italy, owing to the vigorous measures of the civil and ecclesiastical order, the antipathetic genius of the people, the Inquisition (reorganized at Rome, 1542), the Society of Jesus (1540), the Council of Trent (1545-63), the lives of holy reformers like St. Charles Borromeo, the new orders and congregations, and the combined religious, ecclesiastical, and theological activities known as the Counter-Reformation (Cantù, "Gli eretici d' Italia", Florence, 1865-67; see PROTESTANTISM; SOCINIANISM; GIORDANO BRUNO).

The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries offer a rather sad spectacle in the various politico-ecclesiastical conflicts of Catholic states with the Holy See, in large measure, however indirectly, a result of the Thirty Years War (1618-48), e.g. Naples apropos of the so-called Monarchia Sicula; the conflict of Venice in 1605-07 with Paul III, on which occasion its state-theologian, Fra Paolo Sarpi, contributed power fully to the Venetian opposition; the stubborn purpose of Victor Amadeus II, Duke of Savoy, to control fully all larger ecclesiastical appointments in his state; the offensive attitude of Louis XIV apropos of his ambassador's impossible privileges (1685), and other similar troubles. To these may be added the political workings of Jansenism (see JANSENIUS AND JANSENISM; also UNIGENITUS) and Gallicanism, and the concern for the safety of Christendom against the encroachments of Islam. By the Treaty of Utrecht (1713-14) Austria succeeded Spain in Northern Italy (Mantua, Milan) and later (1737) obtained the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Savoy received Sardinia (1720) and by the middle of the century, Naples and Sicily, Parma and Piacenza acknowledged the rule of Spanish Bourbons. The ecclesiastical relations of the new powers with the Holy See, much troubled in the previous fifty years, were placed on a more satisfactory basis by a series of concordats, with Sicily in 1741, Sardinia in 1742, and Milan in 1745 (Vincenzo Nussi, "Concordata" etc., Rome, 1870). The Patriarchate of Aquileia, whose territory lay partly in Austria and partly in the Republic of Venice, was divided into two archiepiscopal sees, Görz for Austria and Udine for Venice. Italy was henceforth alternately the instrument of Spanish or Austrian policy, as was seen when in 1767 the Bourbons of Naples, Parma, and Piacenza expelled the Jesuits, and in 1786 when the ill-famed Synod of Pistoia promulgated in Italy the anti-ecclesiastical principles and measures of the Austrian Emperor Joseph II (see POPE PIUS VII; SCIPIO RICCI). Religious life nevertheless flourished in Italy where the orders of the Redemptorists (1732) and the Passionists (1741) were established by their respective holy founders, St. Alphonsus Liguori and St. Paul of the Cross. Ecclesiastical learning was also vigorously cultivated, and few ages show more erudite scholars than Muratori, Mansi, Bianchi, Bianchini, the Ballerini brothers, Zaccharia, Nons, and others.

The French Revolution put an end to the ancient Republic of Venice (1797) which fell to Austria, while the latter lost Lombardy, where the short-lived Cisalpine Republic of northern Italy was soon followed by the equally ephemeral Ligurian (Genoa, 1798), the Roman (1798), and the Parthenopean (Naples, 1799) republics. The Congress of Vienna (1815) restored the ante-revolution situation, save in Venice, which remained subject to Austria, henceforth mistress of northern and central Italy, the rest of Italy being subject to three other powers, the Kingdom of Sardinia (Turin), the papacy, and the Spanish Bourbons of Naples and Sicily. The second quarter of the nineteenth century is noted for a deep unrest in Italy against Austrian rule (the Carbonari, also Mazzini, Gioberti, Balbo, and others) culminating in a general adhesion of all the dissatisfied to the House of Piedmont whose prime minister, Cavour, was henceforth the soul of the new Italian unity (Kraus, "Cavour", Munich, 1901; Von Reumont, "Charakterbilder", 1886). The revolutionary agitations of 1848 led to the flight of Pius IX to Gaeta and the establishment of the second "Roman Republic" soon suppressed by the French under General Oudinot (July, 1849).

Prior to 1859, Italy was divided into the following states: the Kingdom of Sardinia, the Duchies of Modena, Parma, and Piacenza, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the Pontifical States, the Republic of San Marino, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and the Principality of Monaco. The Italian territories subject to foreign powers were: Corsica, belonging to France; the group of Malta, belonging to England; the Canton Ticino, belonging to Switzerland; Lombardy, Venice, Trent, Triest, and Istria, belonging to the Austrian Empire. In 1848 Piedmont went to war with Austria for Italian independence, but was defeated at Novara in 1849. Ten years later, however, Piedmont made an alliance with France, the second war of independence was declared, and Austria having been defeated at Solferino, 20 July, 1859, by the Franco-Sardinian allies, Lombardy was annexed to Piedmont. In 1860 the Duchies of Modena and Parma, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and the Romagnas (12 March), the Marches and Umbria (5 November), Naples and Sicily (21 October), were incorporated with Piedmont, and on 17 March, 1861, the Parliament at Turin proclaimed the Kingdom of Italy. In 1866, by its alliance with Prussia, Italy obtained Venice; finally, on 20 September, 1870, Rome, having been taken by force of arms, declared its union with the Kingdom of Italy through the plebiscite (2 October) of that year.

In the formation of the new kingdom, says Minghetti, the revolution was the impelling force, not abandoned, however, to the hands of conspirators unorganized and without authority, but directed by the government of Piedmont, especially by Baron Cavour, who used it in the interest of Piedmontese supremacy, while he appealed to the sentiments of independence and of Italianism very strong in the people of northern Italy. By these two forces, ably manipulated, Cavour secured the political unity of Italy under the sceptre of Savoy. The unification of Italy was essentially an act of the Piedmontese Government; otherwise Cavour himself and Massimo d'Azeglio would not have said that once Italy was created it remained to create Italians, nor would there be still, after fifty years of legal unity, that latent germ of regionalism which occasionally asserts itself more or less vigorously. If the truth of history be regarded, it will be recognized that the idea of Italian unity arose towards the end of the eighteenth century; with the exception perhaps of Machiavelli, who thought Duke Valentino (Cæsar Borgia) able to bring about the union of the Italians, not one of the great men of Italy like Dante, Petrarch, and others, and none of the popes, had the idea of Italian unity. Joachim Murat, by his Rimini proclamation (1815), first suggested this idea but was not understood and was left to perish alone. His idea, however, was taken up and was vigorously pressed by the enemies of Christianity who held that, if, under the pretext of the unification of Italy, his temporal power should be wrested from the pope, the Church of Christ would of necessity come to an end. In 1871 Rome was declared the capital of the Kingdom of Italy. In that same year Pius IX refused to accept the Law of Guarantees, and in 1878 issued the decree "Non Expedit" against Catholic participation in elections to the Italian Chambers. Pius X modified this measure (1905), and has permitted, under given circumstances, the participation of Catholics in the national elections.

Political and civil government

Political establishment

The Kingdom of Italy took the form of a constitutional monarchy, hereditary in the male line of the House of Savoy, according to the Salic law, and conformably to the Fundamental Statute that was promulgated by King Charles Albert on 4 March, 1848, for the Sardinian states. This statute which was extended to the various parts of Italy, as they were annexed by the Piedmontese realm, is similar to the French Constitution of 1830; according to it, sovereignty is divided between the king and the nation, the latter electing its representatives by popular suffrage. The legislative power is exercised by the king and Parliament, which consists of the Senate and of the Chamber of Deputies. With the exception of the right of initiative, which is common to all, these three governmental entities have each special functions: it is the province of the king to convoke both houses of Parliament, to close the sessions, to dissolve the Chamber of Deputies, to sanction and promulgate the laws. The Senate and the Chamber of Deputies have the functions of legislation and of watching over the finances, that is to say, the approval of the state budget, which is prepared by the executive branch of the Government; the houses of Parliament have also the function of investigation in both political and administrative matters; it is exercised through interrogation, interpellation, inquest, committees of vigilance, and by other means. Laws of taxation, however, and those concerning the budget must first be approved by the Chamber. On the other hand, the Senate has judicial functions, that is, by royal decree the house may be turned into a high court of justice, to pass upon cases of high treason and of attempts against the security of the State and to judge the ministers who may be accused by the Chamber of Deputies. The latter consists of 508 members who are elected upon the uninominal system by as many electoral constituencies, into which the nation is divided, there being an average population of 66,000 inhabitants for each constituency; the constituent districts may be changed every five years. The period between two general elections is called a legislatura, of which there have been 23, since 8 May, 1848, when the first legislatura was opened. The electoral franchise is exercised by all male citizens who, enjoying their civil and political rights, have attained the age of twenty-one years, know how to read and write (Electoral Law of 28 March, 1895), and have the minimum requirements of intellectual capacity and of income. All citizens who have attained the age of thirty years and who enjoy political and civil rights are eligible to office. In 1909 there were 2,930,473 registered voters, an average of 11.7 per cent of the total population of the kingdom. In the last general election there were 1,903,687 voters, or 65.3 per cent of the total electorate.

The Senate consists of members, partly hereditary (the princes of the blood), and partly appointed by the king for life, and without a definite limitation in their number, the age of forty years being a requisite for appointment. Since 1848, 1392 senators have been appointed, there being 370 of them at the present time, not counting the princes of the blood, who become senators at the age of twenty-one years and receive the voting power at the age of twenty-five. Senators and deputies enjoy personal immunity in penal matters, and therefore the Senate alone is competent to judge a senator; while to judge a deputy the magistrate must have the consent of the Chamber of Deputies. A senator or a deputy cannot be arrested, except in flagrante delicto. Their Service is without financial remuneration. The king, as the head of the executive power has the assistance of ministers who are responsible to Parliament; they constitute the cabinet, and are responsible collectively for the official acts of each. They are named and dismissed by the king, who, however, in the exercise of this function must hold in account the manifest tendencies of the Chamber; wherefore the government of Italy is strictly parliamentary. The minister who is the head of the cabinet, called also president of the council, represents the unity of action of the Government, in contraposition to the diversity of functions among the different ministers. The royal prerogatives are: power to declare war, to conclude treaties of peace and of alliance, providing they do not require the cession of territory or of funds, the right of pardon, and that of decree. In the relations of individuals to the State the constitution establishes the following general principles of justice: legal equality, individual liberty, inviolability of domicile, that of property and of public debt, liberty of the press, freedom of association and of meetings, and, finally, equity and proportion in taxation.

Church and state

The first article of the constitution of the kingdom declares the Catholic religion to be the only state religion. Nevertheless the Italian State and its jurisprudence are atheistical; and in all solemn public functions, as in speeches from the throne, for several years past, any reference to the Divinity is studiously avoided, while the Government, whether conservative or liberal, has always been more or less covertly Voltairian and given to State-worship. The famous formula of Cavour, "A free church in a free state", which is a truth in the United States of America, in Italy is applied only to the domestic concerns of the Church; in all else the Church, in civil and in parliamentary matters, is subject to the State through a jus singulare, which places it in a worse condition than a private citizen in regard to property rights. The laws affecting the Church in Italy are mainly Articles 1 to 18 of the Fundamental Statute of the kingdom; the fundamental constitutional law of 13 May, 1871, on the prerogatives of the sovereign pontiff and on the relations of the State to the Church, called the Law of Guarantees; the law on the suppression of regular and of secular ecclesiastical legal entities, and on the conservation of others (laws of 7 July, 1866, and 5 August, 1867). By the eighteenth article of the constitution, excepting Rome and the six suburbicarian episcopal sees, the revenues from ecclesiastical benefices that are vacant belong as of royal right to the Crown, which, after deducting expenses of administration and those incurred in the interest of the vacant benefice, ought to apply the funds to purposes of worship and of charity, such as subsidies to priests and parochial needs, public worship, and the repair of poor churches.

By the Law of Guarantees, the person of the sovereign pontiff is sacred and inviolable; offences committed against him are punished as those committed against the king; royal honours are granted to him; the precedence recognized in him by Catholic sovereigns is maintained, and he is given the right to have guards for his person and for the protection of his palaces. The latter, that is the Vatican, the Palace of the Lateran and the Villa of Castel Gandolfo, with all their appurtenances, enjoy the right of extraterritoriality, which makes them free from visitations and inspections by public authorities, without the authorization of the pope. The exercise of his spiritual ministry is freed from all intervention by extraneous authority, and to this end the pope is given the right to post his decrees on the doors of the churches of Rome, without censorship and with immunity for those persons whose office it is to make such publication. The law also ensures to the sovereign pontiff freedom of correspondence with the Catholic world, there being preserved to him, with this object, the head houses of the various religious orders in Rome, while he is given the faculty of establishing postal and telegraphic offices, with employees of his choosing, at his residence. The envoys of the pope and those accredited to him by foreign powers are guaranteed the prerogatives and immunities that are recognized in diplomatic agents, by international law. Finally, the law sets aside an annuity of $645,000, to be paid to the pope for the needs of the Holy See, for the maintenance of the Apostolic palaces, and for the salaries of servants attached to his person; this annuity is exempted from taxation for all time. During a vacancy of the pontifical throne no judicial or political authority may interfere with the personal liberty of cardinals, and the Government is obliged to protect the meetings of the conclave from any external violence. The cardinalate is among the titles that make the holder eligible to the Senate, and, in matters of ceremonial precedence and of military honours, cardinals are made equal with the princes of the blood. The law assigns a sum of $20,000 to be paid to the Holy See for the maintenance of the houses of the various religious orders, excepting that of the Jesuits.

The right of royal exequatur over the acts of the sovereign pontiff and that of royal placet over the acts of diocesan bishops, is exercised by the State only in regard to the use of ecclesiastical property and to the provision for the benefices, except in the city of Rome and in the suburbicarian sees; this royal prerogative, however, is of a provisional nature, because it is to cease with the re-arrangement of ecclesiastical property that is promised by the Law of Guarantees. All religious character has been taken from matrimony and from oaths; all intervention that the Church exercised in public charities and in education, according to historical tradition, has been suppressed and has been more and more replaced by lay authority; the cemeteries have been placed under civil authority; the courses of theology have been abolished in the universities, as has also the office of military chaplain, except in the case of penal establishments; there remains only the ancient custom of blessing the flags in the army and in the navy. The law that suppressed religious corporations, the regular ecclesiastical bodies having legal personality, and kindred secular ecclesiastical bodies, that is simple benefices, collegiate churches, chaplaincies, prelacies, pious legacies, and every other perpetual religious institution having religious cult for its object, was deprived of legal personality, which, contrary to Roman and canon law, is merely a concession of the State, while the property of these establishments was absorbed into the public treasury and civil patrons were given the right to receive in part the goods of the suppressed benefices. The same laws, however, maintained the episcopal sees, the seminaries, cathedral chapters (although reducing the number of canons), the confraternities, and the admnistratorships. A part of the property of these bodies, excepting parishes, confraternities, and administrations, equivalent to 30 per cent of their value, was taken into the public treasury for the benefit of the State, and the remainder of their real possessions was transformed into movable property, i.e., into state revenues, less 5 per cent for the expense of administration, exception being made of parishes, confraternities, artistic buildings and those destined to religious cult, and the building necessary to these bodies in performance of their functions, as episcopal palaces, seminaries, and others.

Simultaneously with the suppression of ecclesiastical bodies, there was established an autonomous administration, independent of government superintendence, called Fondo per il Culto, with the function of administrating the property of the suppressed bodies, despoiled of 30 per cent of its value and converted into public bonds, and of applying the income thereof to the purposes of religion and charity. The first duty of this administration was to provide for the charges upon the suppressed bodies in the cases of the existence of their personal incumbents, who have the right to require such provision through process of law; the duty also devolved upon this establishment of paying pensions to the members of suppressed religious orders; and when the pensions become extinct, three-fourths of the capital sum registered in favour of the Fondo per il Culto, representing the property of the suppressed corporations, will revert to the State. The administration in question is obliged to supplement the episcopal incomes that may not have reached the sum of $1200, as also to supplement the salaries of parish priests whose net income is less than $200. Under the pretext of distributing the remainder of its revenue in equitable proportions among the different ecclesiastical benefices, but in reality to bolster up the Fondo per il Culto, upon which were imposed expenses beyond its resources, all the ecclesiastical bodies that were retained are obliged to make yearly increasing contributions, called "quota of assistance". As to the confraternities, the law places them among the bodies who must assist in the support of the infirm; and as these institutions have always secondary, beneficent ends, the State obliges them to render account of their operations in this field, and authorizes the communes to require them to divert their resources to lay works, for local benefit, allowing the confraternity only a minimum annuity for expenses of religious worship. Wherefore, of all the property of the Church in Italy, the State has left only a small portion to the bodies that have been retained, and that under strong vigilance and censorship, as regards either the diminution or the increase of that remnant. Another portion was taken from proprietary bodies, to establish a fund for religious cult; and a small part was taken from the Church, to be returned to lay patrons who might ask for it, or to apply it to purposes of instruction and of beneficence. In short the greater part of the ecclesiastical property, under different showings and by subtle expedients, was confiscated.

Ecclesiastical circumscription

The territory of the kingdom is divided into 275 dioceses, including that of Rome, the Pontifical See, of which the bishop is the Vicar of Jesus Christ, successor of the Prince of the Apostles and Pontiff of the Universal Church; 6 dioceses are suburbicarian, namely, Ostia and Velletri, Porto and Santa Rufina, Albano, Frascati, Palestrina, and Sabina. The titular cardinalates, i.e. the suburbicarian sees, the titular churches, and the diaconal ones existing in Rome number 75. Of Italian sees, 75 are immediately subject to Rome, of which 13 are governed by archbishops, and the remaining 200 constitute 37 ecclesiastical provinces, consisting each of a metropolitan see, which is one of the archdioceses, and of a number of suffragan sees that are governed by bishops. Among the metropolitan sees, that of Venice is that of a patriarchate. There are 11 abbeys and prelacies nullius diœceseos. Each diocese is subdivided into parishes, of which there are 20,685 in all the kingdom; there are 60,446 churches, chapels, and public oratories, the service of which is maintained by 69,310 priests, regular and secular. The episcopal seminaries have 21,453 students. There are 30,564 religious; lastly, the Catholic educational establishments consist of 532 schools for boys, having 55,870 scholars, and 1302 for girls, with 102,491 scholars.


In Italy there are seven codes, namely, the civil, the commercial, the penal, the civil procedure, the penal procedure, the military, and the mercantile marine codes.

The confusion between Roman and canon law, Germanic and Italian written law, and local common law obstructed the straightforward and expeditious administration of justice; and this gave rise to the first codifications, chief among which in Italy is the "Codice Vittorio", formulated in 1723, under Victor Amadeus III of Savoy; but the most important and best prepared work of codification was without doubt the "Codice Napoleone", which was published on 21 March, 1804, and which served as a model for the civil legislation of almost every country in Europe or in America, including the states into which Italy was divided; the present civil code of the kingdom is directly derived from it, and for this reason, the history of French law is of great importance for the interpretation of Italian law. The authors of the Napoleonic Code were not carried away by the doctrines of the school of natural right, as were German legislators, but they sought in the countries de droit coutumier and in the jurisprudence of parliaments guides to make the Roman written law, the Germanic law, and the law of the land more harmonious with the requirements of the times.

Once Italy had constituted itself into a nation, there was felt the need of a common civil code which should unify the various codes of the former states of the peninsula; accordingly, on 25 June, 1865, there was published the Civil Code of the Kingdom of Italy, which went into force on 1 January, 1866. This code, which is based upon Roman law, is the only civil law of the land; and it needs some reformation to make it more consonant with new economical and social needs. The code consists of three books and, like the French code, follows the clear and traditional Gaian division: "Omne jus, quo utimur, aut ad personas, aut ad res, aut ad actiones pertinet." Furthermore, the code is preceded by twelve articles which, as leges legum, lay down rules for the publication, the interpretation, and the application of laws in general.

The very ancient rules of merchant guilds, which date back to the eleventh century and which did much to promote the greatness of the Italian communes, were the source of the commercial legislation, and little by little they were systematically put in order, so that between the years 1200 and 1800 the various statutes, when approved by the overlord, came to constitute the written mercantile law of the different states of Italy. By two ordinances of Louis XIV (1673, 1681) the commercial law was codified and from this the Napoleonic Code was partly taken (1808). The latter was carried by French arms into many European countries. The Italian Code, the Albert Code of 1842, and the code of 1865 also were modelled on the French Code. But, as the one of 1865 was no longer in harmony with the modern conditions of traffic, it was succeeded on 1 January, 1883, by the new Code of Commerce, which shows progress by the wealth of its contents, by its recognition of the freedom of the contracting parties, by the simplicity of its forms, by the conciseness of its language, and by its efficacious protection of credit, specially in regard to exchange. Rumania adopted this code, almost literally, in 1887. Contrary to the order obtaining in civil matters, the law regards commercial matters as resting, primarily, on the code and on commercial legislation; in the second place, on mercantile practices; and in the third place, on civil law. The code is divided into four books; the first relates to commerce in general, the second to maritime commerce and to navigation, the third to bankruptcy, and the fourth to commercial causes.

Before the unification of Italy, each one of the states into which the country was divided had penal laws of its own; when, however, the union had been accomplished, the Albert Code of 1859, which was in force in Piedmont, was made applicable to the other states, excepting Tuscany, where there remained in force the Code of 1853. Reasons, analogous to those suggested in relation with commercial matters, made apparent the need of a new penal code, and one was published on 30 June, 1889, which came into force on 1 January of the following year. This code deals first with transgressions and punishments in general, and then with transgressions in detail, and it adopts the rational, ontological division of violations of the law into felonies and misdemeanors. On the other hand, in the case of participation of several persons in a crime, by articles 63 and 64, the law accepts the sound doctrine of aiding and abetting, while the system of intensive cumulation of punishments of Bauer was adopted for cases of multiplicity of crimes and punishments. With regard to relapsed criminals the following principles were adopted:—

The system of punishment adopted, and known as the Irlandese, consisted in:—

Imprisonment for life has taken the place of the death sentence, and periods of imprisonment for various offences vary from three days to twenty-three years, with or without hard labour according to the nature of the offence. Another penalty enforced for periods of not less than a month and not more than three years is enforced residence within assigned limits but without imprisonment. The only financial punishment is in the nature of a fine of not less than $2 and not more than $2000. Finally, there is the loss of civil and political rights, and of public office, which may be temporary, for periods varying from three months to five years, or it may be perpetual. The punishments for misdemeanours are arrest for not less than one day or more than 2 years, and fine, of not less than $0.20 or more than $400, and finally suspension from the practice of a profession or of a trade, for a period of not less than three days or more than two years. Domiciliary arrest and judicial reprimand may be substituted for other punishments; admonition, surveillance, and forced residence in a certain place are additional punishments. A recent law sanctions conditional condemnation. Causes that may nullify the trials, besides the death of the accused, are amnesty, or withdrawal of the charge by the interested party, and prescription. A special reason for annulling a trial in cases of misdemeanour is voluntary surrender. Amnesty, pardon and rehabilitation are special causes of the nullification of a trial. In civil proceedings the usual course is to issue a summons citing the individual to appear for trial on a fixed day. Arrest in civil proceedings is the exception. Finally, as the present Code of Penal Procedure does not fulfil the modern requirements of a speedy trial and of fairness to the accused, several modifications have already been provided, especially in the preparation of the case for the purpose of avoiding the evils of long preliminary arrest, which violates the principles of habeas corpus, especially as the State pays no indemnity to those detained in prison while awaiting trial.

Judicial establishment

Justice emanates from the king and is administered in his name by judges whom he appoints. To secure judicial independence judges cannot be degraded, their salaries cannot be withheld, and their residences cannot be changed. In Italy the function of the judge is limited to recognizing the existence of a law and to applying it. As regards the acts of the executive power, these, to be valid before the courts, must be conformable to the laws. For the administration of justice the kingdom is divided into five principal districts with High Courts of Appeal, for civil cases, subdivided into twenty districts with Courts of Appeal, for both civil and criminal cases and consisting each of one or more Assize Circuits, which have only criminal jurisdiction, there are 162 districts of civil and criminal tribunals, and 1535 preture, or petty-sessions courts having civil and criminal jurisdiction. Every commune, according to its population, has one or more arbitration judges, dealing only with civil cases. These unsalaried officials may be called on to arbitrate money disputes, and they have the right to pass sentence in trials not involving sums of more than $20. The prætor, who sits alone in his court, is the representative of the law in the popular imagination, and the State attaches to his office many functions of a purely administrative nature; in civil matters his court is also one of appeal from the sentence of the arbitration magistrates, and is the court of first instance for civil cases involving sums of more than $20 and less than $300, and for cases of possession, whatever be the sums involved, excepting questions of taxation, in which only the tribunals have jurisdiction. The prætor has jurisdiction in all felonies and misdemeanours in which the accused may be sentenced to confinement or imprisonment for not more than three months, to restriction of residence for not more than one year, or to a fine of not more than $200. Each tribunal consists of three members and has civil and commercial jurisdiction, as a court of first instance, in all cases that are above the competency of the prætor, from whose judgments there is an appeal to the tribunal. In criminal matters, the Tribunal is the court of first instance, in cases not belonging to the jurisdiction of the prætors or of the Assize Courts, and it hears appeals from the sentences of the prætor. Jurisdiction in the second instance, in cases that are appealed from civil or criminal tribunals, belongs to the Courts of Appeal, which consist each of five members. The Assize Courts consist each of a president, who is a state judge, and of twelve citizens, called jurors, who are selected by lot from the district lists of those who are duly qualified by age and by intelligence, to fill the office. The Assize Courts have jurisdiction in criminal cases in which the punishment may be imprisonment or other restriction of personal liberty, for a period of not less than five years or more than ten years, and also in Cases concerning political rights, those relating to the offences by ministers of religion in the exercise of their functions, and to public violations of the liberty of the press.

The High Courts of Appeal are the supreme custodians of the law and of judicial functions, and therefore their jurisdiction is limited to matters of law, determining only the question of legal error on the part of inferior courts, confirming the sentence, if such error be not found, or, on the contrary, annulling the sentence and ordering the rehearing of the case by another judge. If the new judge does not observe the principles of law laid down by the High Court of Appeal, the defeated party may again appeal to a competent High Court of Appeal, which will thereupon decide on the merits of the case, such decision to be final. Contrary to the functions of the other High Courts of Appeal, which are established respectively at Turin, Florence, Naples, and Palermo, that of Rome is final in criminal, in revenue, and in ecclesiastical matters. According to statistics of 1904, published in 1908, civil proceedings were instituted in 1,900,856 cases, an average of 57 per cent of the population, the greater number of which originated in the southern provinces; the criminal statistics of the year show 804,683 indictments, 523,206 for felony and 281,477 for misdemeanours. The number of convictions, which in 1881 was 305,593, was increased by 24.29 per cent to 379,820 in 1904. Crimes of violence, resistance to authorities, commercial dishonesty, crimes against public and private morality, and criminality among juveniles have increased. All suggest remedies for this condition of things, ignoring, either through stupidity or malice, the fact that the only remedy consists in religious education.

Administrative departments

The ministries are the superior directing offices of the Italian administration at the capital; each one of them is under a minister assisted by a sub-secretary of state; they are eleven in number, and are known as Ministers of the Interior, of Foreign Affairs, of Finance, of the Treasury, of War, of the Navy, of Clemency, of Justice and of Religious Worship, of Public Works, of Agriculture, of Industry and Commerce, and of Public Education. There is a Council of State, the function of which is to advise the Government; it is a supreme assembly whose duty it is, besides that of administrative justice, to give the administration "opinions", which are called "obligatory" in those cases in which the law obliges the minister to seek such opinions; and in these cases, if the Council be not consulted, the administrative act is unconstitutional and legally void. Another supreme assembly, exercising control over the public administration, is the Court of Accounts; its chief functions are to examine all decrees, from the standpoint of their legality, and thereafter to affix to such decrees its approval, after which they become executive, to control and audit all income and expenditure, to represent the State in all litigation over public funds or other securities of the State or for which the State is liable, and over those salaried officials guilty of peculation or maladministration of public funds.

Political divisions

The kingdom is divided into 69 provinces, 284 departments, 1805 boroughs, and 8290 communes. The province and the commune are self-governing entities, having a legal personality, exercising their activity in their own interest and indirectly in the interest of the State; they are, moreover, territorial organs of the national administration. On the other hand, the district is a hierarchical division of the province, while the borough is a division of the large communes or an aggregation of small ones and is an electoral territory, and in some measure a judicial and fiscal one. Although the commune is a natural division, like the Italian province, it is a creation of the Italian law. In the province, which is regarded as the local arm of governmental administration, the State exercises its functions through a prefect, who represents the central executive power and is assisted by a prefectoral council and an office of his own. Under him are the sub-prefects at the capitals of districts, the executive and governmental offices, and the public charities. In the commune the State exercises its functions through a syndic, who, therefore, is a government officer. The province and the commune have deliberative bodies that are self-governing and are called respectively provincial council and communal council; they consist of a membership that varies in numbers according to population, there being from sixty members to twenty members in the provincial councils, and from eighty to fifteen in the communal council, all of whom are elected by the people. The executive branch of the province is the deputation, consisting of from ten to six members, according to population, while that of the commune is composed of the syndic and the communal board, which consists of from ten to two members called assessors. All of these bodies are drawn from their respective councils. The prefect, representing the State, exercises juridic control over all the acts of the provincial council, of the communal council, of the deputation, and of the boards; and if they be not according to law, he annuls them. By administrative control, a semi-elective assembly, called provincial board, over which the prefect presides, examines, for its approval, all of those acts of the above bodies that are beyond those of normal administration, as are the alienation or the hypothecation of capital, expenses that are binding upon the budget for more than five years, regulations, etc. Finally, for weighty reasons of public order or because of maladministration, the Government may dissolve the communal or the provincial councils and name, to replace them, a commissary for the commune, and a commission for the province, for the time required to reconstruct the councils.

Administration of justice

In Italy, conformably with the principle of unum jus, una jurisdictio, all differences between the citizen, the self-governing political divisions of the country, and the State are referred to the judicial power, whether it be a question of civil or of political rights; but controversies concerning private interests or damage through a given act of the Government are referred to two administrative bodies which have jurisdiction in litigation of this nature; they are the administrative board, in each province, and the Council of State (sections 4 and 5). The former determines the right and wrong, in the first instance, of cases of illegality on the part of provincial or of communal administrators or of those of corporations, in acts that may be done by those officials to the detriment of private persons or of corporations in cases that are enumerated by the law. The Council of State judges in cases of appeal from the decisions of the provincial administrative boards (section 5); moreover it exercises jurisdiction alone in cases of incompetency, of abuse of power, or of violation of the law by a deliberating administrative body, except in regard to acts of government done in the exercise of political power (section 4). By this novel institution, which the executive power has borrowed from the judicial, the Staatsrecht has been established in Italy. In the not remote possibility of conflict between the judicial and the executive powers, the Court of Cassation of Rome, which is the supreme organ of the judicial branch of government, has the deciding power. Finally, for the protection of the property of the commune, under certain conditions, the actio popularis procuratoria may be exercised by any taxpayer, as actio suppletiva, to supplement the work of the communal authorities, or as actio correctiva, in pursuance of a right of the commune against its functionaries; but the actio popularis, or motion on behalf of the people, must be made before the usual magistrate, whether criminal or civil, excluding, however, the administrative magistrate.


The new Kingdom of Italy not only inherited the financial burdens of the former Italian states, but also bore those of the debt incurred on account of the wars and of the expense of maintaining the army on a war footing, so that the first budget (1862) was closed with a deficit of nearly $90,000,000, which in 1866, on account of the war for the acquisition of Venice, was increased to $144,000,000. From that time the financial policy of Italy has had no other purpose than to balance its budget, and consequently new taxes were imposed upon the people, e.g. by the taxation of the grinding of cereals and by an increase of one-tenth on all direct taxation, while the expense of the civil administration was reduced from $6,300,000 to a little more than $4,000,000, notwithstanding the annexation of Venice; and the military expenses were reduced from $116,000,000 to little more than $37,000,000. As, notwithstanding these measures, the deficit continued, law of 11 August, 1870, increased existing taxations and created new taxes, till finally, in 1875, the budget closed with a surplus of nearly $3,000,000; nevertheless the former deficits still weighed upon the treasury: 50 per cent of the receipts was disbursed in the payment of interest on debt, and the compulsory acceptance of paper currency encumbered circulation and maintained money at a high price, impeding the development of national progress. Under these conditions the parliamentary revolution of 8 March, 1876, was accomplished, and the party of Cavour (the right) fell from power. The party of the opposition, having assumed the administration of public affairs, directed its financial policy towards the equalization of taxes by reducing some of them and by increasing others; in 1884 it abolished the odious tax on the grinding of cereals, which brought over $16,000,000 to the treasury. To this great loss of revenue was added an increase of 83.18 per cent to the expenses of administration and defence, besides the interest on the debt caused by the suppression of compulsory acceptance of paper currency; and, in the fiscal year of 1885-86 there reappeared the deficit, which in 1888-89 reached the sum of $50,000,000. The Government then bethought itself of putting a stop to the increase of burdens upon the budget and of eliminating all unnecessary expense; as, however, the finances remained unbalanced and the debt was increased by the war in the colony of Eritrea, further economies and new taxes were devised; so that, in the fiscal year 1895-96, when Italy celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of the taking of Rome, it was possible to foresee financial equilibrium; but, owing to the war with Abyssinia, that expectation was not realized until the fiscal year 1897-98. Then, however, the position of the treasury being more favourable and circulation having become more free, there were three objects towards which financial policy could tend: the immediate lightening of taxation, the improvement of the public service, and the preparation for the conversion of the debt; and the economical awakening of the nation and the improvement of financial conditions made it possible to seek the attainment of these three ends almost simultaneously; thus, while the expense for the army and for the navy was increased, the law of 23 January, 1902, abolished the internal taxes on farinaceous products; by law of 22 April, 1905, the State assumed control of the railroads, and by law of 29 June, 1906, was effected the conversion of the Rente, the 5 per cent gross and the 4 per cent net, into 3.5 per cent net. In the period from 1862 to 1907-1908 the receipts amounted to $12,260,000,000, the expenses to $12,883,000,000, with a total deficit of $1,623,000,000. The Treasury receipts for the year 1907-1908 amounted to nearly $400,000,000, the expenditure for the same period being $340,000,000. The extraordinary cash expenses for the same year amounted to $41,000,000. The intangible expenses, which, in 1868, represented 50.28 per cent of the total of extraordinary expenses, amounted only to 39.85 per cent for 1907-1908. The greater portion of these disbursements is connected with the payment of interest on the debts and with the payment of civil and of military pensions. From the establishment of the kingdom to the last named fiscal year, the State has paid more than $5,000,000,000 in interest on debts. From 1868 to 1907-1908 this expense has been increased by $32,000,000, 39.8 per cent. This increase is due to the suppression of compulsory paper money in 1882, to the expense for the war in Abyssinia, to the redemption of the Adriatic railways, and to the provision of funds for the operation of the state railways. The expenses for pensions in the same period of time increased by 76.09 per cent; general expenses of civil administration, which in 1886 were $3,750,000, are now more than $8,000,000, haying increased 221.49 per cent, while those of the public service have increased about 219.55 per cent. The increase of $35,500,000 between 1868 and 1907-1908 in the ordinary military expenses is the result of an increase in the war budget of $17,200,000 and of $18,300,000 for the navy. The nominal capital of the public debt on 30 June, 1908, was $2,655,000,000. The law on the administration of the property of the State and on the general accounts, and the corresponding rules and regulations, establishes the methods for all accounting, whether in regard to economical or to property matters or in regard to the budget.

Defence of Italy

The Alps and the sea, the natural boundaries of Italy, constitute the best frontiers that a nation could desire, while they do not isolate the country from the neighbouring states. But the many political vicissitudes that Italy has undergone have left considerable portions of the Alpine region in foreign hands; consequently the northern barrier is partially nullified for defensive purposes; and with a view to strengthening the weakened points of the western frontier, many fortifications were built, as those of Zuccarello, St. Bernard, Tenda, Fenestrelle, Assietta, Cenisio, and others. The River Po constitutes the second line of defence, protected along its western portion by the fortresses of Genoa and of Alessandria; at the centre, by those of Piacenza and Pizzighettone, and on the east, by the Quadrilateral and by Venice. The Northern Apennines constitute the third line of defence; it is not as strong as the former two, but is none the less important because it is oblique to the line of invasion; on the west it has the fortresses of Genoa and of Piacenza, and the fortifications of Bologna at the centre. Peninsular Italy has no lack of good positions for defence, but they are of little value if the army be not supported by a powerful fleet. It should be noted, as history shows, that the determining events of war in Italy always take place — or thus far have done so — on the Continental portion of the territory. The present parliamentary committee of inquiry or the army, in order to correct the serious defects in the defence of the frontier, has proposed the establishment of new defensive works costing approximately $28,000,000 for the land frontiers, and $10,000,000 for the coasts.


The army is divided into the permanent army, the movable militia, and the territorial militia. All citizens capable of bearing arms are obliged to serve in the army or in the navy (law of 6 August, 1888); this compulsory service extends from 20 to 39 years of age, partly in the ranks and partly under unlimited leave; while service in the ranks should be three years, a new law has reduced the length of service to two years. After the eighth or ninth year of compulsory service, the citizen is transferred from the permanent army to the movable militia, where he remains registered until 31 December of the twelfth year of compulsory service, and during the last seven years of it he is in the territorial militia. The recruiting is done under the mixed system, that is, national, with movable posts, in time of peace, to strengthen the sentiment of union; and territorial in the case of mobilization; the first is based upon the district, and the second upon the regimental reserves. In 1907 and 1908, 225,000 men constituted the army on a peace footing; on this basis the average strength of a company of infantry is 80 men. About 29,300 men of all arms (except cavalry) on unlimited leave are recalled each year for instruction, that is, less than 22 men per company, as compared with 75 who are recalled in Germany, 100 in France, and 135 in Austria-Hungary. The contingent of men that must join the ranks is determined annually by Parliament and is thereafter divided among the provinces, the districts, and the commanderies; it constitutes the first draft; the men over and above that number are given unlimited leave and belong to the second draft. Whether a man will belong to the first or second draft will depend on the number of men in his year, on the number of recruits wanted, on the chance of his drawing a high number from the urn, and on the number of recruits dismissed as unfit for military service. The third draft consists of young men who have been declared capable of bearing arms, but who are exempt from service in the ranks for family reasons, determined by law (law of 15 December, 1907). Soldiers registered in the second class may be called to arms in time of peace once or oftener, but for a combined length of time of not more than six months (law of 24 December, 1908). The rapid or progressive increase in the losses of the yearly contingent, notwithstanding the growth of the population, is alarming. In the decade comprising the call of those born between 1864 and 1873, 18.44 per cent of those registered were excused from service; in the call for 1906 the proportion of those excused from service was 26.09 per cent, 14.48 per cent of these on account of weak chests and 19.24 per cent on account of diseased constitutions, making 33.72 per cent. Wherefore more than one-third of those excused from service owe their release to lack of nutrition or to the effects of vicious living, and in 1909, 39 out of every 100 conscripts have been found unfit to bear arms; in the southern provinces those unfit for service amount to three-fifths of the whole; Sicily furnishes an average of 1 out of 5 competent for the service, and Sardinia only 1. The insufficiently nourished come from the country, and those broken down by vice from the towns and large centres. There is a markedly increasing reluctance among the young men in answering the call to arms and in presenting themselves for military training. Between 1901 and 1905, 8.1 per cent were disaffected: in 1906, 8.8 per cent; and in 1906 alone the number of defaulters was 11,443. Nor does the number seem to have diminished in succeeding years.

The law of 20 June, 1897, divides the Italian army in time of peace into twelve army corps of two divisions each; the territory of a division is subdivided into eighty-eight districts, the recruiting for each division being under the charge of from two to seven of these districts in time of peace, while mobilization is under the charge of the regimental reserves. Each division contains two brigades of infantry, consisting of two regiments, one of cavalry and one of artillery, besides two skeleton regiments of infantry and one section of artillery of the movable militia. The Bersaglieri and the Alpine regiments are under the direct orders of the commanders of army corps. The territorial service of troops and of administration is under territorial direction, 13 for the artillery, 15 for the engineers, 12 for the sanitary corps, 12 for the commissary department, and 13 military tribunals. There are 96 regiments of infantry, two of them grenadiers, and 94 of the line, and consisting each of 3 battalions of 4 companies, each company in time of war consisting of 250 men; 12 regiments of bersaglieri, each of 3 battalions, with 1 cyclist company for each regiment; 7 Alpine regiments that are divided into 22 Battalions and 75 companies. The permanent army and the movable militia are armed with the Manlicher-Carcano rifle, model 91, calibre 6.5 mm., with a fixed magazine for 6 cartridges; the territorial militia is armed with a modification of the Wetterly rifle. The total force of the army in time of peace consists of 13,765 officers and 272,187 non-commissioned officers and men, and 52,548 horses and mules. In 1908 the army on a war-footing amounted to 3,401,038 men, that is, 272,187 men under arms; 488,487 men on leave; 372,560 in the movable militia, and 2,274,737 belonging to the territorial militia, besides 39,067 officers.

The infantry and cavalry officers are educated at the Military School of Modena, and those of the artillery and of the engineers at the Military Academy of Turin; there are, moreover, the military colleges of Naples and of Rome for primary military education, while the School of War, the School of Application for the artillery and the engineers, the Central School of Marksmanship for artillery, furnish instruction to officers; non-commissioned officers are taught at the Central Military School of Defence; and surgeons are trained at the School of Applied Military Hygiene.

The service of military intendance is exercised by twelve bodies, having the function of direction and vigilance, and by twenty-four commissary sections, stationed with each commander of an army corps or of a division. This body, in time of war, has the duty of assuring the subsistence of the army, of managing the funds, and of providing the uniforms and equipment; while the accountants have charge of the accounts and administration in these matters. The regiments provide themselves by means of the fixed allowance granted by the State per man and per day of service as follows; daily pay 10 centimes; food 61 centimes; uniform 12 centimes; extras 16 centimes, total, 99 centimes, or nearly 20 cents. This allowance goes to meet the cost of mess, uniform, etc., and is used by each regiment to best advantage.

The permanent Council of Administration of the regiment has charge of the regiment's administrative matters and is responsible to the ministry. This system, which has the merit of being a well-ordered decentralization of power does not satisfy present military requirements; whether through the interference of the central administration or because the assignment is no longer in harmony with economical conditions, the messes of the regiments are either in debt or must have recourse to makeshifts.


For the administration of the navy the coasts of the Kingdom of Italy are divided into three maritime departments: Spezia, Naples, and Venice. The department of Spezia comprises the coast from the French frontier to Terracina, the island of Sardinia and its dependencies, and the Tuscan Archipelago; the department of Naples comprises the coast from Terracina to Cape Santa Maria di Leuca and the island of Sicily and its dependencies; the department of Venice includes the littoral from Cape Santa Maria di Leuca to the Austrian frontier. The twenty-four maritime divisions, the six arsenals, the ports of construction, the depots of stores and of coal, the maritime fortifications and the sixty-four telegraphic posts along the coast are all under their respective maritime division. The recruiting for the navy is, in principle, identical with that for the army: all citizens registered in the twenty-four maritime divisions are liable to be called for naval service, those who have served their time are put on unlimited leave, and are at once transferred to the permanent army, so that, with the exception of the officers, there is scarcely any naval reserve. In 1908 there were in the naval service 23,143 men, afloat, 5249 on the coasts, and 2035 officers; total peace strength, 30,427 men. In 1909 the fleet consisted of 15 battleships, 10 armoured cruisers, 25 protected cruisers, 122 torpedo-boats, torpedo-gunboats, and torpedo-destroyers, and 7 submarines. There were, moreover, 2 battleships, 1 protected cruiser, and 10 torpedo-boats in course of construction.

In 1909-1910 the expenses on naval construction are anticipated to amount to nearly $9,000,000. Italy is the seventh of the naval powers and has an efficient tonnage of 150,980. The naval academy at Leghorn and the engineering school of Venice provide officers for the navy.


In the Kingdom of Italy education is divided into primary or elementary, secondary and superior, and the scholastic administration, in general, is under the Ministry of Public Instruction, which is assisted by a partly elective Superior Council, consisting of thirty-two members; local educational administration, excluding universities, is under the prefect, a provincial scholastic council, the superintendent of studies, the board of vigilance for the technical and nautical institutes, and the district inspectors of the elementary schools. Elementary instruction is divided into two grades, the lower and the superior, each of which is divided into three classes, and the law compels the communes to furnish it; it is, as a rule, gratuitous, and parents and guardians are obliged to see that their charges receive it between the ages of six years and twelve years, unless they provide otherwise for their children's instruction (laws of 15 July, 1877, and 8 July, 1904). The State furnishes primary instruction, also, in schools established in foreign parts. No citizen is allowed to vote who has not passed the examination at the end of the primary course. The normal schools train the teachers of the elementary schools. It is evident, however, that compulsion in regard to this elementary education, both so far as the communes and the heads of families are concerned, is as yet only a laudable wish, seeing the very slow diminution in the numbers of those unable to read and write. Those who did not know how to read and write, according to the census of 1872 constituted an average of 68.7 per cent of the population; the same class, in the census of 1901, furnishes a corresponding average of 52.3. The illiterate among the army conscripts born in 1886 numbered 50,642, or 29.3 per cent of the enrolled, and the corresponding figures of the navy conscripts born in 1885 were 5833 or 48.7, In the marriages contracted in 1906 there was a proportion of 29.3 per cent of the men, and 42.1 per cent of the women illiterate. The causes of permanent illiteracy, notwithstanding expenditure and government effort, are poverty of workingmen's families, which are constrained to make their children earners before they have reached the age of twelve years; the moral debasement of the teachers who, with some exceptions, have become apostles of socialism and atheism, because of their miserable remuneration, which is inferior to the salary of a workman; the want of care on the part of the communes in regard to the hygiene of the schools, which makes the school a repellent rather than an attractive centre; the fact that the agricultural population is scattered through the country, which makes profitable attendance at school difficult for the children; many children leave school without having acquired instruction, knowing scarcely how to write their names. What are the remedies?

Suburbicarian Sees
(1) Ostia and Velletri, (2) Porto & S. Rufina, (3) Albano, (4) Frascati, (5) Palestrina, (6) Sabina
I.   Subject Immediately to the Holy See

Aquino, Sora
    & Pontecorvo
Borgo S. Donnino
Cava & Sarno
Città della Pieve
Città di Castello
Cività Castellana,
    Orte and Gallese
Corneto Tarquinia
    & Civitavecchia
Fabriano &
Gravina &
    Monte Peloso
S. Marco &
Melfi & Rapolla
Molfetta Terlizzi
    & Giovenazzo
Narni & Terni
Osimo & Cingoli
Penne & Atri
Poggio Mirteto
Recanati &
Sutri & Napi
Terracina and
Valva & Sulmona
Viterbo and
Piedmont and
Lombardy and
States of
the Church
Tuscany and
Savona &


    della Paglia
Casale Mon-


Belluno &


Macerata &
S. Severino


S. Angelo in
    Vado &
Caglia &

Borgo San
Colle di Val
S. Miniato
Pistoia &

Massa di


Massa Marit-
Southern Provinces SicilySardinia
    & MATERA


Ruvo & Bitanto

S. Agata del Goti
Ascoli, Satriano
    & Cirignola
S. Severo
    XVII Cont.


Calvi & Teano
Isernia &
Sessa Aurunca


S. Angelo del
    Lombardi &
    XXI Cont.
Muro Lucano




    all' Ionio
Nicotera &

Nocera Dei

    XXVII Cont.


    di Stabia






Mazzara del




Ales &

Ampurias &

There is only one: the liberty of elementary teaching in the broadest sense of the word, not only as regards the teachers but also as regards the course of studies, except on questions of morality; and the establishment of premiums in proportion to the number of children who obtain the diploma of the course.

PER 1000
Infant Asylums
Elementary, Various
Festive & Autumnal
Complementary for Girls
Normal for Boys
Normal for Girls
PER 1000
Infant Asylums
Elementary, Various
Festive & Autumnal
Complementary for Girls
Normal for Boys
Normal for Girls

According to the law of 13 November, 1859, secondary instruction is of two kinds, classical and technical. The classical course of the first grade is given in the gymnasia (colleges) and extends over a course of five years; that of the second grade is given in the lyceums, the course being three years. The technical instruction is also of two grades, the first, given in the technical schools, lasts three years, and the second, in the technical or in the nautical institutes, the course lasting four years. Ordinarily the burden of secondary instruction is divided among the State, the province, and the communes.

Technical Schools
Technical Institutes
Nautical Institutes

Of other special courses of secondary instruction that are not wholly allied with those to which reference has already been made are given by the State under the ministry of Public Instruction and under that of Agriculture, Industry and Commerce, and also by the autonomous divisions of the kingdom.

Schools of Practical Agriculture
Special Schools of Agriculture
Schools of Mines (Agordo, Iglesias, Caltanisetta)
Industrial Schools
Schools of Industrial Arts
Commercial Schools
Professional Schools for Women
Oriental Institute (Naples)
Industrial Schools
Schools of Industrial Arts
Commercial Schools
Professional Schools for Women

There are thirteen government institutes for the study and assistance of the fine arts, and as many other establishments of the same kind that are not governmental, with two hundred and twenty-seven teachers. In the school year of 1905-1906 these schools had in all 3759 students, a decrease of 445 during the preceding five years. There are five conservatories of music belonging to the Government and forty-eight private institutions, with five thousand five hundred students and four hundred and forty-four teachers. Superior instruction includes four faculties: law, medicine and surgery, mathematics, physics and natural science, philosophy, and rhetoric. There belong to it also the schools of pharmacy and the independent veterinary schools of Milan, Naples, and Turin, the schools of applied engineering of Rome and of Bologna, the superior schools of commerce of Bari, Genoa, Venice, Milan, and Rome, those of agriculture of Milan, Portici, Perugia, and Florence, those for teachers at Rome and at Florence, and the naval school at Genoa. Superior instruction is given in seventeen state universities, which, in the Middle Ages, had been centres of knowledge and culture for all Europe: the Universities of Bologna (1200?), Padua (1222?), Naples (1224), Rome (1303), Cagliari, Catania, Genoa, Macerata, Messina, Modena, Palermo, Parma, Pavia, Pisa, Sassari, Siena, and Turin. There are four free universities, those of Perugia, Camerino, Urbino, and Ferrara. Higher education is also furnished by three law schools connected with the lyceums of Aquila, Bari, and Catanzaro, by the three polytechnic schools of Milan, Turin, and Naples, by the Finishing Institute of Social Science at Florence and by the Scientific and Literary Academy at Milan. In the scholastic year of 1893-1894, these universities and higher educational establishments were attended by 22,289 students, an average of 71.9 per 100,000 inhabitants; and in the scholastic year of 1905-1906 the number of students was 27,009, an average of 81 per 100,000 of the population. The professors are divided into ordinary (who are irremovable), extraordinary, special lecturers, and privat-dozents. The university is governed by a rector, appointed by the king on the recommendation of the body of ordinary professors, by an academic council, consisting of the rector and of the presidents of the different faculties, and by the general assembly of professors. There are other institutions connected with public instruction, as the libraries, some of which enjoy the prerogative of incorporation, while others are merely the property of the State, of the commune, or of the province. The public has not the same free use of all these libraries, there being a distinction between those that are independent and those that are annexed to other institutions, or to offices, as those of the ministries, of the Senate, of the Chamber of Deputies, etc.; the first are public in the full sense of the word, while the second are so only upon certain conditions. Only persons over the age of sixteen years may receive books for reading in the libraries. Books are permitted to be taken out of the library only in special cases. There are approximately 1830 libraries open to the public, 32 of them belonging to the Government.

Other educational institutions are: the national boarding schools for boys, and those for girls, under the direct supervision of the Ministry of Public Instruction; institutions belonging to the provinces or to the communes; endowed institutions; the seminaries; and private boarding schools. Those of the Government are 43 in number for boys, and 8 for girls, and according to the last statistics the former had 4165, and the latter 593 pupils. The others together number 880, with 60,000 boarders. There are no precise statistics as to the teachers in boarding schools for boys; it is known, however, that in 1906, 360 of the directors, approximately, were laymen, while the remainder were of the regular or of the secular clergy. In 320 boarding schools, all the teachers were laymen; in 215 all were ecclesiastics, and in the remainder of these schools the teachers were, some ecclesiastics, and some laymen. The number of persons who are connected with the administration and with the teaching of the boarding schools for girls is nearly 8686, of whom only 3587 are lay, the remainder belonging to the secular clergy or to religious congregations. New publications, including new editions of works already published, amounted to 9975 in the year 1900, at which time statistics on this subject were discontinued; this was exclusive of monthly publications, which, in 1898, amounted to 971. There were 151 new daily papers, and the total number of periodicals in 1905 was 3120, published in 363 cities, 815 of these publications dealing with politics, and 147 daily. Lombardy has the greatest proportion of periodicals (544), and the Basilicata the smallest (11).


Charity, which was unknown to paganism, is a Christian growth that found a fertile soil in Italy, the home of the head of the Christian Church; and under his influence that country developed a wealth of beneficent institutions for the relief of every form of want; while the Council of Trent formulated laws to prevent the waste of the funds of the poor (Sess. VII, "De reform.", c. xv; Sess. XXV, "De reform.", c. viii). And the stream of charity flows on, notwithstanding the exclusion of the Church from all intervention in charitable works, for, between 1881 and 1905, there were founded 1626 new charitable institutions, with a combined capital of nearly 27,000,000, while the donations and legacies of that same period to already existing establishments amounted to 31,328, with an aggregate value of $56,000,000. There are 27,078 charities in Italy, with an aggregate capital of $400,000,000, an average of $12 per inhabitant; their combined income is nearly $34,000,000, and their charitable disbursements amount to $22,000,000. The English system of official charities (taxation on behalf of the poor) is unknown in Italy, where charity is left to the voluntary action of individuals, and as we shall see is made compulsory only in fixed cases. The law of 17 July, 1890, limits the action of the State to protecting and favouring the free exercise of public charities, to watching over the opere pie, which are the chief benefactors of the poor, and to reforming them by the union of several, by statutory revision, and by the changing of their purpose. In Italy the forms in which charity is generally practised are: aid to infants (foundling asylums, orphanages, asylums for education, hospices, etc.); aid to those who are in want and unable to work (retreat for mendicants, dormitories, etc.); eleemosynary aid (economical restaurants, patronages, home assistance. etc.); hospital aid (hospitals, insane asylums, etc.), and monti di pietà. The law requires the existence of a charity association in each commune for the care of the interests of the poor; its members are taken from the communal council and consist of a president and of from 4 to 12 councillors, according to the population. The charitable association and the opere pie are required by law to give aid in urgent cases, to support the needy who are unable to work, where there is no local home for the poor, and to care provisionally for orphans and for deserted minors, for the blind, and for the deaf mutes who are poor.

Besides the work of institutions that are created for the purpose, the State, the province, and the commune are obliged to provide otherwise for certain public charities; thus the commune is compelled to provide sanitary service, doctors, midwives, surgeons, and medicines for the poor, when they are not provided for by any institution. The province is bound to care for the insane poor, and the law divides between the province and the commune the expense of the support of foundlings. Lastly, the support of those who are not able to work falls upon the State, when the province and the commune are unable to provide for them. According to the last statistics, in 1899, the communes spent $9,000,000 in public charity; the provinces spent $4,600,000; and the State, in 1905-1906, spent $1,500,000. There were assisted by orphan asylums or placed out with nurses directly by the communes, in the five years from 1902 to 1906, 127,586 children, of whom 8456 were born in lawful wedlock. According to the last statistics of the monti di pietà, on 31 December, 1903, there were 527 of these establishments that loaned money on 4,790,539 pledges to the amount of $14,000,000, of which 1,405,206 were renewed for an amount of $4,899,205; there were 4,425,422 redemptions for an amount of $13,348,493 and 412,336 sales of a total amount of $769,345.

All institutions of public beneficence are under the watchful care of the Government with the assistance of a superior council for public aid and charity, which has an advisory function. In all that concerns economical ends, local vigilance is exercised by provincial commission; and the administration of any opera pia may be dissolved for grave reasons, but must be reconstructed.

Hygiene and health

Sanitation, which is an important juridical and social function of the modern State, has made no little progress in Italy, where it is regulated, in general, for all the kingdom by the law of 7 August, 1907, by other sanitary laws, and by corresponding rules and regulations, while it is regulated for local purposes by various provincial and communal regulations of importance. The sanitary laws provide for the safety of the public health by a series of imposts on the citizen, and by police restrictions regarding the practice of medicine, of surgery, of the veterinary art, of pharmacy, and of obstetrics, all of which professions are subject to supervision and have special obligations imposed upon them for the security of the sick and for the gratuitous attendance of the poor.

8,191 10,263 12,375 861 23,499 69

In order to prevent the spreading of infectious diseases, physicians are obliged to denounce cases of infectious disease, and citizens are obliged to submit to visitations, to disinfections, and to vaccination. Under this head comes a special supervision over aqueducts, the sewage system, and the right of the Minister of the Interior to prevent or to suppress evils regarded as causes of contagious disease. There are, moreover, burial laws, the chief end of which is to prohibit the burial of bodies elsewhere than in cemeteries, exception being made in favour of illustrious personages and of private burial grounds that are situated in the country and not open to the public. Landing in Italy is made under special supervision, for which purpose there is a medical officer in each port. There are many pure food regulations, the first of which is the right of inspection and that of provisional seizure of suspected articles by the sanitary authorities, the establishment of laboratories for chemical analysis, the prohibition of slaughtering unhealthy animals, or of any animals outside of the regular slaughter houses. Special attention is given to preventing the adulteration of wines and to the prevention of skin diseases.

TOTALPER 100,000
6,615 8,000 6,199 14,199 42
4,934 10,996 33 658 13,000 (?)

Hygiene is under the Minister of the Interior, and in charge of the prefects, the sub-prefects and the syndics, under him. He is assisted by a superior sanitary council, or advisory body, and by a General Directory of Sanitation; the prefect is assisted by a Provincial Sanitary Council; the former care for the sanitary conditions of the whole kingdom; the latter, for the communes of the whole province. In each province there is a physician and a provincial office whose function is to watch over the sanitary service, the hygienic conditions of the communes, the sanitary institutions and the execution of the sanitary laws; the physician investigates the causes of diseases and inspects pharmacies, hospitals, etc. There is a provincial veterinary whose business is to supervise disease among animals. In each commune, moreover, there is a sanitary officer, who, besides his supervisory duties, must inform the syndic and the provincial physician of all circumstances that may in any way affect health or hygiene.

Foreign possessions


At about the time of the Mahdi's revolt in Upper Egypt, European nations were seized with the desire of acquiring lands in Africa; Italy also entered upon the course of colonial conquest, and consequently it has come into the possession of territories, and has created protectorates and zones of influence on the western coast of the Red Sea, on the Gulf of Aden, and on the Indian Ocean.

The direct possessions of Italy are the colonies of Eritrea and Italian Somalia (Benadir). The colony of Eritrea originated in the possession of the Bay of Assab, which was proclaimed by law of 5 July, 1882. The colony extends along the western coast of the Red Sea from Cape Kasar (18.2° N.) to Cape Doumeirah (12.30° N.) on the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb. From Cape Kasar the boundary line has a generally south-western direction to the confluence of the Khor-Um-Hagar and the Setit Rivers. The southern or Abyssinian boundary is formed by a line drawn towards the west from the confluence of the Khor-Um-Hagar and the Setit Rivers, along the latter stream, to its confluence with the Maiteb, and follows the course of the latter to the Mareb at the confluence of the Mai-Ambessa; it follows the Mareb River as far as its junction with the Belesa, and then the latter river, after which it follows the course of the Munma, and turning to the south-east, at a distance of 37 miles from the coast it reaches the frontier of French Somalia, near which the boundary line leaves the extreme point of Doumeirah and follows the watershed line of the promontory of that name, for one mile, and turns to the place called Bisidiro on the Weima; from this point it turns east and south-east as far as Daddato (Italo-British Agreements of 15 April, 1891; 7 December, 1898; 1 June, 1899; 16 April, and 22 November, 1901; Italo-French Protocols of 24 January, 1900, and 10 July, 1901; Italo-British Ethiopian Convention of 15 May, 1902; Italo-Ethiopian Conventions of 10 July, 1900, and 16 May, 1908). The Archipelago of Dahlac and the minor islands along the Dancala coast belong to the Colony of Eritrea. The Colony of Somalia consists of that region of eastern Africa that lies between the Sultanate of Obbia, which is an Italian protectorate, the Giuba River, the Indian Ocean, Ethiopia, and English Somalia. The boundary between Somalia and the Ethiopian Empire is a line that, beginning at Dolo, reaches the confluence of the Daua and the Ganale Rivers, and, to the north of the fourth parallel, it takes an easterly course, as far as Uebi-Scebeli, which is located at the extreme north of the Baddi Addi country; from Uebi-Seebeli it follows a north-easterly direction towards British Somaliland.

The Colony of Eritrea, within its present boundaries, has an area of nearly 50,000 sq. miles, of which the Dahlac Archipelago occupies 580, and its population is 279,551 inhabitants, of whom 3949 are Italian. The area of the Colony of Somalia may be estimated at 146,000 sq. miles, with half a million of inhabitants who, along the coast, are Somalians, and in the interior, Galla. The plain of Danakil and the coast country about Massowah, in Eritrea, are worthless for agricultural purposes, but the higher portion of the territory and the lands which are intermediary between it and those of the coast and which are watered by the Barka and by the Anseba Rivers, may become fertile through a good system of irrigation. In the colony there is little industry and less commerce, as is shown by the statistics of the custom house of Massowah, which show imports for a value of 2 millions of dollars, and exports for $600,000, approximately. The United States send to the colony only petroleum, and cotton textiles, carried in English bottoms, for a value of about $40,000, and they export a small amount of hides. Commerce by caravan with Ethiopia increases continually; in 1906 it amounted to $1,200,000 for imports, and to nearly $2,000,000 for exports. The commerce of the country is in the hands of Greeks and of Banians, Indian merchants. Hair, musk, wax, medicinal plants, and especially pearls and mother-of-pearl, are exported. The imports of the Colony of Somalia for 1906 amounted to $720,000, and the exports to $546,000. The principal exports include animal products: hair, ivory, and amber. The arrivals at the port of Massowah numbered 146 steamships, and 1893 sailing vessels, with an aggregate tonnage of 164,148; the clearances were 147 steamers and 1874 sailing vessels, with an aggregate tonnage of 204,814. In Eritrea there are 10 post offices, for both the postal and telegraph services; there are 4 offices of the kind in Somalia. The number of postal orders issued in the Colony of Eritrea in 1904-1906 was 28,619, to the value of $3,650,000, and 14,507 were cashed, for an aggregate sum of $2,770,000. There were 2395 deposits in the postal savings banks, amounting in all to $100,000, and there were 1305 withdrawals to the amount of $70,000. The number of telegrams sent was 15,697, and of those received, 2610. The telegraph system of Eritrea consists of:

The law of 14 July, 1907, authorized the expenses for the establishment of wireless telegraph stations at Asmara, in the Colony of Eritrea, and at Mogadiscio, Brava, Merka Giumbo, Bardera, and Lugh, in Somalia. The first railroad line, the Massowah-Saati, 16½ miles long, was opened in 1887; thereafter, the line was extended to Ghinda, and so attained a length of 43 miles. In 1907 the Ghinda-Asmara line, 31 miles long, was opened to traffic. The colonial budget is approximately $2,000,000, both for receipts and expenses; and the nation's African expenses since 1882 have amounted to nearly $92,000,000, exclusive of provisions and materials to the army and to the navy. The corps of colonial troops consists of 126 officers and 4451 men, 193 horses, 521 small mules, 147 mules, and 10 scouting camels. Each one of the colonies is governed by a civil governor, assisted by residents, who are placed under his orders. The chief centres of population in Eritrea are Massowah (population, 10,000), situated upon an islet that is connected with the mainland by an embankment, Keren (population, 2000), and Asmara, the capital. The chief places in Somalia are the ports of Brava, Merka, Mogadiscio, Marshek, and Obbia. The administration of justice is under colonial judges, and is based upon Moslem jurisprudence (Cheriat), the common native law (Testur), and the different religious regulations and habits.


Under the protectorate of the Kingdom of Italy are;

The limits of the zone of influence in Somalia were established by the Italo-British protocols of 24 March, 1891, and 5 May, 1894. They first established the western and the southern boundaries by a line which, from the sea, follows the wady of the Giuba River to the sixth degree of northern latitude, and from there to the thirty-fifth meridian E. of Greenwich, where it reaches the Blue Nile. The second protocol established the boundary by a line from Gildessa towards the eighth degree of N. latitude, along the north-eastern frontier of the territories of the Girri, Bertiri, and Rer Ali tribes; from that point, the line follows latitude 8° N. to its intersection with parallel 48° E. of Greenwich, whence it goes to the intersection of latitude 9° N. with the parallel of 49° E. of Greenwich, and thence on follows that meridian to the sea. Bender-Ziade, although situated to the west of the forty-ninth meridian, is included within the sphere of Italian influence.

By the agreement of 7 June, 1902, the Chinese Government recognized the concession of Tien-tsin, in China, a small territory that is situated on the right of the Pei-ho River, which constitutes the southern boundary for nearly a mile; on the east this territory is conterminous with the Russian concession, and on the west with the Austrian concession, while the lands of the Imperial Chinese Railroad Company form its northern boundary; its area is nearly 18 sq. miles and it contains a village and some salt mines; its native inhabitants number about 17,000. The concession is in charge of the consul, who is assisted by an administrator.


For the history of Italy see the medieval annals, best collected in the monumental work of MURATORI, Scriptores Rerum Italicarum, etc. (500-1500) in 28 folio volumes (Milan, 1725; new ed., small 8°, Città di Castello, 1900); see also his valuable Annali d'Italia — from the beginning of the Christian era to 1749 — (12 vols., Milan, 1744-49); SIGONIUS, Hist. de regno Italiæ, 570-1200; BALAN, Storia d'Italia (2nd ed., Modena, 1894); HEGEL, Storia della costtituzone dei municipi italiani (Milan, 1861); SISMONDI, Hist. des républiques italiennes du moyen-âge (Paris, 1817-18), non-Catholic and often prejudiced; LANZANI, I communi, da Carlomagno ad Henrico VII (Milan, 1880); FICKER, Forschungen zur Reichs- und Rechtsgeschichte Italiens (Innsbruck, 1894); MANN, History of the Popes in the Early Middle Ages (St. Louis, 1904 sqq.), and PASTOR, History of the Popes since the End of the Middle Ages, tr. ANTROBUS (London and St. Louis, 1902-); VAN DUERM, Pouvoir temporel des Papes (Lille, 1890); PERTILE, Storia del diritto italiano (Padua, 1887-88); LITTA, Famiglie celebri italiane (Milan, 1815-69); COPPI, Le università italiane nel medio evo (2nd ed., Florence, 1880); BALZANI, Le cronache italiane nel medio evo, also in English transl., S. P. C. K.; TONIOLO, Le buone tradizioni della storia d'Italia (Lendinara, 1891); AMPÈRE, L'Histoire d'Italie et ses historiens in Rev. des Deux Mondes, V, 1856, 45-81. Histories of Italy should be read with caution, as writers are frequently moved by anti-papal or anti-Catholic prejudice or passion.

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APA citation. Tacchi-Venturi, L. (1910). Italy. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Tacchi-Venturi, Luigi. "Italy." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Douglas J. Potter. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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