Provinces of Italy

The provinces of Italy (Italian: province d'Italia) are administrative divisions of Italy of intermediate level between a municipality (comune) and a region (regione). From 2015, the provinces were reorganized into "institutional bodies of second level", with the birth of 10 special Metropolitan cities. A further 4 such cities were added later.[1]

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There are currently 103 institutional bodies of second level in Italy, including 80 active provinces, 2 autonomous provinces, 6 free municipal consortia, 14 metropolitan cities, and Aosta Valley region. Additionally, 4 provinces in Friuli Venezia Giulia were abolished and replaced by 18 unions of municipalities.


A province of the Italian Republic is composed of many municipalities (comune). Usually several provinces together form a region; the region of Aosta Valley is the sole exception – it is not subdivided into provinces, and provincial functions are exercised by the region.

The three main functions devolved to provinces are:

  • local planning and zoning;
  • provision of local police and fire services;
  • transportation regulation (car registration, maintenance of local roads, etc.).

The number of provinces in Italy has been steadily growing in recent years, as many new ones are carved out of older ones. Usually, the province's name is the same as that of its capital city.

According to the 2014 reform, each province is headed by a President (or Commissioner) assisted by a legislative body, the Provincial Council, and an executive body, the Provincial Executive. President (Commissioner) and members of Council are elected together by mayors and city councilors of each municipality of the province. The Executive is chaired by the President (Commissioner) who appoint others members, called assessori. Since 2015, the President (Commissioner) and other members of the Council will not receive a salary.[2]

In each province, there is also a Prefect (prefetto), a representative of the central government who heads an agency called prefettura-ufficio territoriale del governo. The Questor (questore) is the head of State's Police (Polizia di Stato) in the province and his office is called questura. There is also a province's police force depending from local government, called provincial police (polizia provinciale).

The South Tyrol and Trentino are autonomous provinces: unlike all other provinces they have the same legislative powers as regions and are not subordinated to Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, the region they are part of.

List of provinces

  Metropolitan City   Free Municipal Consortium   Autonomous province   Abolished province

Type Province Capital ISO
Free Agrigento Agrigento AG Sicily Insular 438,276 3,053 144 43 Marcello Maisano (commissar)
Ordinary Alessandria Alessandria AL Piedmont North-West 424,174 3,559 119 188 Gianfranco Lorenzo Baldi (CR)
Ordinary Ancona Ancona AN Marche Centre 472,603 1,963 241 47 Liana Serrani (PD)
Abolished Aosta Aosta AO Aosta Valley North-West 126,202 3,261 39 74
Ordinary Arezzo Arezzo AR Tuscany Centre 343,449 3,233 106 36 Roberto Vasai (PD)
Ordinary Ascoli Piceno Ascoli Piceno AP Marche Centre 208,377 1,228 170 33 Paolo D'Erasmo (PD)
Ordinary Asti Asti AT Piedmont North-West 215,884 1,510 143 118 Marco Gabusi (CR)
Ordinary Avellino Avellino AV Campania South 439,137 2,792 157 118 Domenico Gambacorta (FI)
Metropolitan Bari Bari BA Apulia South 1,258,706 3,821 329 41 Antonio Decaro (PD)
Ordinary Barletta-Andria-Trani Barletta, Andria, Trani BT Apulia South 392,863 1,538 255 10 Nicola Giorgino (FI)
Ordinary Belluno Belluno BL Veneto North-East 213,474 3,676 58 63 Roberto Padrin (IND)
Ordinary Benevento Benevento BN Campania South 287,874 2,071 139 78 Claudio Ricci (PD)
Ordinary Bergamo Bergamo BG Lombardy North-West 1,098,740 2,723 404 243 Matteo Rossi (PD)
Ordinary Biella Biella BI Piedmont North-West 185,768 914 203 74 Emanuele Ramella Pralungo (PD)
Metropolitan Bologna Bologna BO Emilia-Romagna North-East 991,924 3,702 268 55 Virginio Merola (PD)
Ordinary Brescia Brescia BS Lombardy North-West 1,256,025 4,783 263 205 Pier Luigi Mottinelli (PD)
Ordinary Brindisi Brindisi BR Apulia South 403,229 1,839 219 20 Maurizio Bruno (PD)
Metropolitan Cagliari Cagliari CA Sardinia Insular 430,413 1,248 345 17 Massimo Zedda (CL)
Free Caltanissetta Caltanissetta CL Sicily Insular 271,729 2,124 128 22 Alessandro Di Liberto (commissar)
Ordinary Campobasso Campobasso CB Molise South 231,086 2,910 79 84 Rosario De Matteis (PD)
Ordinary Caserta Caserta CE Campania South 916,467 2,640 347 104 Giorgio Magliocca (FI)
Metropolitan Catania Catania CT Sicily Insular 1,090,101 3,553 307 58 Enzo Bianco (PD)
Ordinary Catanzaro Catanzaro CZ Calabria South 368,597 2,392 154 80 Enzo Bruno (PD)
Ordinary Chieti Chieti CH Abruzzo South 397,123 2,588 153 104 Mario Pupillo (PD)
Ordinary Como Como CO Lombardy North-West 594,988 1,288 462 148 Maria Rita Livio (PD)
Ordinary Cosenza Cosenza CS Calabria South 734,656 6,650 110 150 Franco Iacucci (PD)
Ordinary Cremona Cremona CR Lombardy North-West 363,606 1,771 205 113 Davide Viola (PD)
Ordinary Crotone Crotone KR Calabria South 174,605 1,716 102 27 Armando Foresta (IND)
Ordinary Cuneo Cuneo CN Piedmont North-West 592,303 6,902 86 247 Federico Borgna (CL)
Free Enna Enna EN Sicily Insular 172,485 2,561 67 20 Giovanni Corso (commissar)
Ordinary Fermo Fermo FM Marche Centre 177,914 860 207 40 Moira Canigola (PD)
Ordinary Ferrara Ferrara FE Emilia-Romagna North-East 359,994 2,630 137 21 Tiziano Tagliani (PD)
Metropolitan Florence Florence FI Tuscany Centre 998,098 3,515 284 41 Dario Nardella (PD)
Ordinary Foggia Foggia FG Apulia South 640,836 6,966 92 61 Francesco Miglio (PD)
Ordinary Forlì-Cesena Forlì FC Emilia-Romagna North-East 395,489 2,376 166 30 David Drei (PD)
Ordinary Frosinone Frosinone FR Lazio Centre 498,167 3,243 154 91 Antonio Pompeo (PD)
Metropolitan Genoa Genoa GE Liguria North-West 882,718 1,839 480 67 Marco Bucci (CR)
Abolished Gorizia Gorizia GO Friuli-Venezia Giulia North-East 142,407 466 306 25
Ordinary Grosseto Grosseto GR Tuscany Centre 228,157 4,501 51 28 Antonfrancesco Vivarelli Colonna (CR)
Ordinary Imperia Imperia IM Liguria North-West 222,648 1,156 193 66 Fabio Natta (PSI)
Ordinary Isernia Isernia IS Molise South 88,694 1,528 58 52 Lorenzo Coia (PD)
Ordinary La Spezia La Spezia SP Liguria North-West 223,516 881 254 32 Giorgio Cozzani (CR)
Ordinary L'Aquila L'Aquila AQ Abruzzo South 309,820 5,035 62 108 Angelo Caruso (CR)
Ordinary Latina Latina LT Lazio Centre 555,692 2,250 247 33 Giovanni Bernasconi (PD)
Ordinary Lecce Lecce LE Apulia South 815,597 2,759 296 97 Antonio Maria Gabellone (FI)
Ordinary Lecco Lecco LC Lombardy North-West 340,167 816 417 85 Flavio Polano (PD)
Ordinary Livorno Livorno LI Tuscany Centre 342,955 1,211 283 19 Alessandro Franchi (PD)
Ordinary Lodi Lodi LO Lombardy North-West 227,655 782 291 60 Giuseppe Russo (PD)
Ordinary Lucca Lucca LU Tuscany Centre 393,795 1,773 222 33 Luca Menesini (PD)
Ordinary Macerata Macerata MC Marche Centre 325,362 2,774 117 55 Antonio Pettinari (UdC)
Ordinary Mantua Mantua MN Lombardy North-West 415,442 2,339 178 64 Beniamino Mauro Morselli (PD)
Ordinary Massa and Carrara Massa MS Tuscany Centre 203,901 1,157 176 17 Gianni Lorenzetti (PD)
Ordinary Matera Matera MT Basilicata South 203,726 3,447 59 31 Francesco De Giacomo (PD)
Metropolitan Messina Messina ME Sicily Insular 653,737 3,247 201 108 Renato Accorinti (L)
Metropolitan Milan Milan MI Lombardy North-West 3,156,694 1,575 2,004 134 Giuseppe Sala (PD)
Ordinary Modena Modena MO Emilia-Romagna North-East 700,913 2,689 261 47 Gian Carlo Muzzarelli (PD)
Ordinary Monza and Brianza Monza MB Lombardy North-West 849,636 405 2,098 55 Luca Santambrogio (Lega)
Metropolitan Naples Naples NA Campania South 3,080,873 1,171 2,631 92 Luigi De Magistris (L)
Ordinary Novara Novara NO Piedmont North-West 371,802 1,339 278 87 Matteo Besozzi (PD)
Ordinary Nuoro Nuoro NU Sardinia Insular 210,972 5,838 37.4 74 Costantino Tidu
Ordinary Oristano Oristano OR Sardinia Insular 159,474 2,990 53.33 87 Massimo Torrente (Commissar)
Ordinary Padua Padua PD Veneto North-East 934,216 2,143 436 102 Enoch Soranzo (IND)
Metropolitan Palermo Palermo PA Sicily Insular 1,249,577 4,992 250 82 Leoluca Orlando (CL)
Ordinary Parma Parma PR Emilia-Romagna North-East 442,120 3,450 128 44 Filippo Fritelli (PD)
Ordinary Pavia Pavia PV Lombardy North-West 548,307 2,965 185 186 Vittorio Poma (CL)
Ordinary Perugia Perugia PG Umbria Centre 671,821 6,332 106 59 Nando Mismetti (PD)
Ordinary Pesaro and Urbino Pesaro PU Marche Centre 366,963 2,564 143 53 Daniele Tagliolini (PD)
Ordinary Pescara Pescara PE Abruzzo South 323,184 1,225 264 46 Antonio Di Marco (PD)
Ordinary Piacenza Piacenza PC Emilia-Romagna North-East 289,875 2,590 112 46 Francesco Rolleri (PD)
Ordinary Pisa Pisa PI Tuscany Centre 417,782 2,445 171 37 Marco Filippeschi (PD)
Ordinary Pistoia Pistoia PT Tuscany Centre 293,061 965 304 20 Rinaldo Vanni (PD)
Abolished Pordenone Pordenone PN Friuli-Venezia Giulia North-East 315,323 2,130 148 50
Ordinary Potenza Potenza PZ Basilicata South 383,791 6,549 59 100 Nicola Rocco Valluzzi (PD)
Ordinary Prato Prato PO Tuscany Centre 249,775 365 684 7 Matteo Biffoni (PD)
Free Ragusa Ragusa RG Sicily Insular 318,549 1,614 197 12 Dario Caltabellotta (commissar)
Ordinary Ravenna Ravenna RA Emilia-Romagna North-East 392,458 1,858 211 18 Michele De Pascale (PD)
Metropolitan Reggio Calabria Reggio Calabria RC Calabria South 566,977 3,184 178 97 Giuseppe Falcomatà (PD)
Ordinary Reggio Emilia Reggio Emilia RE Emilia-Romagna North-East 530,343 2,292 231 42 Gianmaria Manghi (PD)
Ordinary Rieti Rieti RI Lazio Centre 160,467 2,750 58 73 Giuseppe Rinaldi (PD)
Ordinary Rimini Rimini RN Emilia-Romagna North-East 329,302 863 382 25 Andrea Gnassi (PD)
Metropolitan Rome Rome RM Lazio Centre 4,194,068 5,352 784 121 Virginia Raggi (M5S)
Ordinary Rovigo Rovigo RO Veneto North-East 247,884 1,790 138 50 Marco Trombini (FI)
Ordinary Salerno Salerno SA Campania South 1,109,705 4,918 226 158 Giuseppe Canfora (PD)
Ordinary Sassari Sassari SS Sardinia Insular 493,357 7,692 64.1 92 Guido Sechi (commissar)
Ordinary Savona Savona SV Liguria North-West 287,906 1,545 186 69 Monica Giuliano (PD)
Ordinary Siena Siena SI Tuscany Centre 272,638 3,823 71 35 Fabrizio Nepi (PD)
Ordinary Sondrio Sondrio SO Lombardy North-West 183,169 3,210 57 77 Luca Della Bitta (CR)
Ordinary South Sardinia Carbonia SU Sardinia Insular 354,553 6,530 54.3 107 Mario Mossa (commissar)
Autonomous South Tyrol Bolzano BZ Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol North-East 507,657 7,400 69 116 Arno Kompatscher (SVP)
Free Syracuse Syracuse SR Sicily Insular 404,271 2,108 192 21 Antonio Lutri (commissar)
Ordinary Taranto Taranto TA Apulia South 580,028 2,436 238 29 Martino Carmelo Tamburrano (FI)
Ordinary Teramo Teramo TE Abruzzo South 312,239 1,948 160 47 Domenico "Renzo" Di Sabatino (PD)
Ordinary Terni Terni TR Umbria Centre 234,665 2,122 111 33 Giampiero Lattanzi (PD)
Free Trapani Trapani TP Sicily Insular 436,624 2,460 177 24 Giuseppe Amato (commissar)
Autonomous Trento Trento TN Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol North-East 529,457 6,203 85 175 Ugo Rossi (PATT)
Ordinary Treviso Treviso TV Veneto North-East 888,249 2,477 359 95 Stefano Marcon (LN)
Abolished Trieste Trieste TS Friuli-Venezia Giulia North-East 236,556 212 1,116 6
Metropolitan Turin Turin TO Piedmont North-West 2,302,353 6,829 337 312 Chiara Appendino (M5S)
Abolished Udine Udine UD Friuli-Venezia Giulia North-East 541,522 4,904 110 134
Ordinary Varese Varese VA Lombardy North-West 883,285 1,199 737 139 Nicola Gunnar Vincenzi (PD)
Metropolitan Venice Venice VE Veneto North-East 863,133 2,461 351 44 Luigi Brugnaro CR
Ordinary Verbano-Cusio-Ossola Verbania VB Piedmont North-West 163,247 2,256 72 74 Stefano Costa (PD)
Ordinary Vercelli Vercelli VC Piedmont North-West 179,562 2,088 86 82 Carlo Riva Vercellotti (FI)
Ordinary Verona Verona VR Veneto North-East 920,158 3,120 295 98 Antonio Pastorello (FI)
Ordinary Vibo Valentia Vibo Valentia VV Calabria South 166,560 1,139 146 50 Andrea Niglia (IND)
Ordinary Vicenza Vicenza VI Veneto North-East 870,740 2,723 320 119 Achille Variati (PD)
Ordinary Viterbo Viterbo VT Lazio Centre 320,294 3,614 89 60 Pietro Nocchi (PD)
Total 60,599,800 301,378 200.45 7,926
  • Sardinia — following the outcome of the regional referendums of 2012 it was decreed that such institutions should be reformed or abolished by March 2013 (thus remaining in office until February 28, 2013).[3] In January 2014 the Sardinian Regional Administrative Court declared "unconstitutional" the abolition of the Sardinian provinces, which occurred in 2013.[4] In 2016, Sardinian provinces were reformed by Sardinia regional executive: Cagliari became a Metropolitan City; the provinces Olbia-Tempio, Ogliastra, Medio Campidano and Carbonia-Iglesias were abolished.[5] In 2017, Regional council of Sardinia approved the institution of a new province, South Sardinia. It was formed by the municipalities of province of Cagliari that did not join to Metropolitan City of Cagliari, and those which belonged to the provinces of Medio Campidano and Carbonia Iglesias.[6]
  • Sicily — provinces were replaced by six Free Municipal Consortia in 2013 and three Metropolitan Cities.[7]
  • Friuli-Venezia Giulia — In 2016, the regional council of Friuli-Venezia Giulia approved a law which abolished the four provinces which formed the region, and replaced by 18 unions of municipalities.[8]
  • Metropolitan cities of Italy — In 2015, 14 metropolitan cities replaced the provinces of Bari, Bologna, Cagliari, Catania, Florence, Genoa, Messina, Milan, Naples, Palermo, Reggio Calabria, Rome, Turin, and Venice.
Italian provinces by population
Italian provinces by population density


Kingdom of Italy

In 1861, at the birth of the Kingdom of Italy, there were 59 provinces. However, at that time the national territory was smaller than the current one: regions of Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol and Lazio were not included in the kingdom.

In 1866, following the Third Independence War, territories of Veneto, Friuli and Mantua were annexed. There were therefore nine more provinces: Belluno, Mantua, Padua, Rovigo, Treviso, Venice, Verona, Vicenza and Udine, all previously part of the Austrian Empire. Eventually, in 1870, following the union of Rome and its province from the Papal States, the provinces rose in number to 69.

After the First World War, new territories were annexed to Italy. The Province of Trento was created in 1920. Provinces of La Spezia, Trieste and Ionio in 1923. In 1924 the new provinces of Fiume, Pola, and Zara were created, increasing the total number of provinces in Italy to 76.

Between the two World Wars

In 1927, following a Royal charter,[Note 1] a general province rearrangement took place. 17 new provinces were created (Aosta, Vercelli, Varese, Savona, Bolzano, Gorizia, Pistoia, Pescara, Rieti, Terni, Viterbo, Frosinone, Brindisi, Matera, Ragusa, Castrogiovanni, Nuoro) and the province of Caserta was suppressed. In the same year the institution of circondari, sub-provincial wards created before the unification, was abolished.

Province of Littoria (Latina) was created in 1934, and the Province of Asti in 1935.

Following the annexion of Yugoslavia in 1941, the Province of Zara was enlarged and joined the Governatorate of Dalmatia (comprising the provinces of Zara, Spalato, and Cattaro), while in the occupied central part of the present-day Slovenia the new Province of Ljubljana was created. This lasted only until 1945, when Yugoslavia was recreated.

After World War II

In 1945, after World War II, the province of Aosta changed its name to Valle d'Aosta and Littoria to Latina; the new province of Caserta was created. With the Paris Treaties, signed on 10 February 1947, Italy lost the provinces in the regions of Istria, Carnaro and Dalmazia and part of the provinces of Trieste and Gorizia. Moreover, the province of Trieste was occupied by United States and British forces. The Italian Republic therefore had 91 provinces at its birth.

The province of Ionio was renamed as Taranto in 1951, and in 1954 the province of Trieste was returned to Italy.

Recent history

The Province of Pordenone was created in 1968, the province of Isernia in 1970, and the Province of Oristano in 1974. In a reorganization in 1992 eight provinces were created: Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, Biella, Lecco, Lodi, Rimini, Prato, Crotone, and Vibo Valentia, while Forlì was renamed as Forlì-Cesena.

Four new provinces were created in Sardinia in 2001, with effect from 2005: Olbia-Tempio, Ogliastra, Medio Campidano and Carbonia-Iglesias. In 2004 three further provinces were created: Monza and Brianza, Fermo, and Barletta-Andria-Trani, making a total of 110 provinces.

In May 2012, a referendum abolished the eight provinces of Sardinia, and this suppression was to take effect on 1 March 2013. On 6 July 2012, new plans were published to reduce the number of provinces by around half.[9] In January 2014 the Sardinian Regional Administrative Court declared "unconstitutional" the abolition of the Sardinian provinces, which occurred in 2013.

Former provinces

Number of provinces
Year Provinces
1861 59
1866 68
1870 69
1923 75
1924 76
1927 92
1934 93
1935 94
1941 95
1944 94
1945 93
1947 91
1954 92
1968 93
1970 94
1974 95
1992 103
2001 107
2004 110
2016 107

Historical abolished provinces

  • Province of Aosta (Italian: Provincia di Aosta) (1927–1945). Became the Autonomous Region of Aosta Valley in 1948.
  • Province of Terra di Lavoro (Italian: Provincia di Terra di Lavoro ) (1861–1927). Was divided into the current provinces of Frosinone, Latina and Caserta.

Provinces of Istria and Dalmatia

Provinces established during World War II

  • Province of Ljubljana (Italian: Provincia di Lubiana) (1941–1943). Was occupied by Germany in September 1943 and was administered as a part of the German Operation Zone of the Adriatic Littoral.
  • Province of Spalato (Italian: Provincia di Spalato) (1941–1943). Was a part of the Governorship of Dalmatia. Was occupied by Germany in September 1943 and later annexed by the Independent State of Croatia.
  • Province of Cattaro (Italian: Provincia di Cattaro) (1941–1943). Was a part of the Governorship of Dalmatia. Was occupied by Germany in September 1943 and partially annexed by the Independent State of Croatia.

Colonial provinces

Theoretical provinces

  • Province of the Western Alps (Italian: Provincia delle Alpi Occidentali). Planned World War II province to be created of the annexed French territories of the Alpes Maritimes (including the Principality of Monaco) and parts of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Hautes Alpes and Savoie.[10] The town of Briançon (Italian: Brianzone) was to act as the provincial capital.[10]
  • Province of Ragusa in Dalmatia (Italian: Provincia di Ragusa di Dalmazia). Planned World War II province to be created of the annexed Dalmatian territories that were areas of the ancient Republic of Ragusa.
  • Provinces in islands of Greece: Provincia delle Ionie; Provincia delle Cicladi; Provincia di Samo. Planned World War II provinces to be created of the Italian-annexed islands of Greece.


Provinces are often deemed useless, and many proposals have been made in recent years to eliminate them.[11][12][13] However, the difficulty of changing a constitutional law and the opposition of some groups and politicians halted any reform proposal.[14][15] During his speech to the Chamber of Deputies, newly appointed Prime Minister Enrico Letta announced that a revision of the second part of the Italian Constitution is needed, in order to change the current bicameral parliamentary system and to abolish provinces. The proposal was rejected in the constitutional referendum held in 2016.

See also


  1. Regio Decreto Legislativo n. 1/1927, 3 January 1927, "Riordinamento delle circoscrizioni provinciali"


  1. "Addio alle vecchie province, è legge il Ddl Delrio". 2014-04-03. Retrieved 2014-08-15.
  2. "Le elezioni". Dipartimento per gli affari interni e territoriali.
  3. "Province, inizia il conto alla rovescia Gli enti scompariranno a febbraio 2013 - Cronache dalla Sardegna - L'Unione Sarda". 2001-08-17. Retrieved 2013-02-04.
  4. "Riordino province, incostituzionale secondo il TAR Sardegna". 2014-01-10. Retrieved 2014-08-15.
  5. "Enti locali: approvato nuovo assetto territoriale e nominati amministratori straordinari". Autonomous Region of Sardinia. 2016-04-20.
  6. "Carbonia diventa capoluogo della provincia del Sud Sardegna". La Nuova Sardegna. 2016-06-01.
  8. "Soppressione delle province del Friuli-Venezia Giulia". Autonomous Region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. 2016-12-14.
  9. Redazione Online. "Spending review, province ridotte del 50% Patroni Griffi:«L'accorpamento è una svolta". Retrieved 2013-02-04.
  10. Davide Rodogno (2006). Fascism's European empire: Italian occupation during the Second World War. Cambridge University Press. pp. 89–92. ISBN 0-521-84515-7.
  11. "Lombardo contro le Province "È giunto il momento di abolirle"". la Repubblica. 26 July 2011. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  12. "Pareggio di bilancio in Costituzione dal 2014 Addio Province (escluse Trento e Bolzano)". la Repubblica. 8 September 2011. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  13. "Più di un milione di persone a libro paga della Politica Spa". la Repubblica. 18 July 2011. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  14. "Il presidente della Provincia di Varese "Via le Regioni come Molise e Umbria"". la Repubblica. 16 July 2011. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  15. Fabrizzi, Federica. "LA PROVINCIA: STORIA ISTITUZIONALE DELL'ENTE LOCALE PIÙ DISCUSSO". Retrieved 21 November 2011.
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