Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Importance and function
The comune provides many of the basic civil functions: registry of births and deaths, registry of deeds, contracting for local roads and public works, etc. It is headed by a mayor (sindaco) assisted by a council of aldermen, the Consiglio Comunale. The offices of the comune, referred to as the Municipio, are housed in a building usually called the Palazzo Comunale.
As of the 2001 census, there were 8,101 comuni in Italy; they vary considerably in area and population.
For example, the commune of Rome (Lazio) has an area of 1,285.30 sq. km and a population of 2,546,804, and is both the largest and the most populated commune in Italy; Fiera di Primiero, in the province of Trento, is the smallest commune by area, with only 0.10 sq. km, and Morterone (province of Lecco) is the smallest by population, with only 33 inhabitants.
The density of comuni varies widely by province and region: the province of Bari, for example, has 1,564,000 inhabitants in 48 communes, or over 32,000 inhabitants per commune; whereas the province of Aosta has 121,000 inhabitants in 74 communes, or 1,630 inhabitants per commune — roughly twenty times more communal units per inhabitant. There are inefficiencies at both ends of the scale, and there is concern about optimizing the size of the communes so they may best function in the modern world, but planners are hampered by the historical resonances of the communes, which often reach back many hundreds of years, or even a full millennium: while provinces and regions are creations of the central government, and subject to fairly frequent border changes, the natural cultural unit is indeed the comune, — for many Italians, their hometown: in recent years especially, it has thus become quite rare for comuni either to merge or to break apart.
A comune usually comprises:
- a principal town, that almost always gives its name to the comune; such a town is referred to as the capoluogo of the comune; the word comune is therefore naturally used in casual speech to refer to the town hall.
- other outlying areas called frazioni (singular: frazione, abbreviated Fraz.), each usually headed by a small town or village. The frazioni have no independent administrative existence, and in recent years have become less important. Within the frazioni yet smaller places are called localitÓ (abbreviated Loc., as in the phonebook).
Some few frazioni are more populated than the capoluogo; and very occasionally, due to unusual circumstances or to the depopulation of the latter, the town hall and its administrative functions move to one of the frazioni: but the comune still keeps the name of the capoluogo.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details