Types - Commons - Italy

Italian commons - Data

 

In 1946, common lands mainly belonged to municipalities and other agrarian associations (Medici 1948a, 262) that own land collectively (comunaglie, università agrarie…). Regarding their extension, we have two kinds of data. The most extensive survey (extended over 90 provinces) is presented in table 1. For a map showing the provinces, click here.

 

Table 1: Common lands in Italy, 1946

(Source: Medici 1948a)

Province

Hectares

% over total land

Alessandria

2,267

0.9

Asti

795

0.5

Cuneo

227,362

31.4

Novara

3,528

3.4

Torino

186,044

27.6

Aosta

139,552

43.3

Vercelli

7,702

5.8

Piedmont

567,250

24.2

Imperia

27,592

24.1

Savona

5,780

11.4

Genova

6,618

10.1

La Spezia

795

4.3

Liguria

40,785

16.4

Bergamo

50,483

19.3

Brescia

136,451

31.2

Como

41,721

23.4

Cremona

938

0.6

Pavia

5,065

1.8

Milano

4,798

1.9

Mantova

2,993

1.4

Sondrio

174,962

55.1

Varese

6,139

6.0

Lombardy

423,550

19.2

Bolzano

237,660

33.9

Trento

399,876

63.3

Venezia Trentino

637,536

47.8

Verona

9,208

3.3

Vicenza

44,439

17.0

Belluno

172,814

48.8

Treviso

6,366

2.7

Udine

162,345

26.7

Padova

4,148

2.0

Rovigo

5,280

3.1

Venezia

3,627

1.7

Veneto

408,227

17.6

Piacenza

12,792

5.3

Parma

9,724

3.0

Reggio Emilia

15,214

7.0

Ravenna

12,802

7.1

Ferrara

35,881

14.2

Modena

10,029

3.9

Bologna

14,601

4.1

Forli

5,048

1.8

Emilia-Romagna

116,091

5.5

Arezzo

4,874

1.6

Firenze

2,756

0.7

Grosseto

19,261

4.4

Livorno

2,705

2.3

Lucca

16,067

9.4

Massa-Carrara

12,077

11.0

Pisa

8,155

3.5

Pistoia

1,007

1.1

Siena

2,806

0.8

Tuscany

69,708

3.1

Ancona

3,171

1.7

Ascoli Piceno

12,051

6.0

Macerata

39,333

14.5

Pesaro

13,837

5.0

Marche

68,392

7.3

Perugia

70,745

11.8

Terni

22,809

11.3

Umbria

93,554

11.7

Rieti

87,452

32.8

Frosinone

90,497

28.7

Latina

96,507

43.6

Roma

96,792

18.6

Viterbo

43,903

13.1

Lazio

415,151

25.0

L'Aquila

219,456

48.8

Chieti

28,348

12.7

Pescara

19,280

16.4

Teramo

31,851

16.9

Campobasso

63,478

15.9

Abruzzi and Molise

362,413

26.3

Avellino

36,967

13.7

Benevento

21,734

11.1

Caserta

48,183

18.9

Napoli

4,897

4.5

Salerno

133,817

28.1

Campania

245,598

18.8

Bari

12,116

2.4

Brindisi

1,690

0.9

Foggia

80,199

11.6

Lecce

5,011

1.9

Taranto

4,691

2.0

Apulia

103,707

5.5

Matera

27,133

8.2

Potenza

108,135

17.2

Basilicata

135,268

14.1

Catanzaro

34,300

7.7

Cosenza

103,126

18.2

Reggio Calabria

48,608

18.1

Calabria

186,034

14.5

Agrigento

5,776

2.0

Caltanissetta

1,360

0.7

Catania

27,809

8.1

Enna

6,285

2.5

Messina

42,793

13.9

Palermo

13,792

2.9

Ragusa

243

0.2

Siracusa

1,907

0.9

Trapani

1,941

0.8

Sicily

101,906

4.1

Cagliari

135,406

14.9

Nuoro

213,332

29.9

Sassari

50,215

6.8

Sardinia

398,953

16.9

ITALY

4,374,123

15.7

 

Table 2 instead uses a more restricted definition of commons (Medici 1948a, 264) and provides more aggregated data. These data, refers to the extension of common lands only and does not coincide with the data about the allocation of property rights per category of local entities; this is due to the fact that in the data common property and property of public entities cannot be distinguished (Medici 1948a, 264).The evidence about the evolution of the privatization process from the eighteenth century, however, are few and dispersed. Moreover, these earlier figures are not very reliable because they generally do not stand the comparison with contemporary ones.

 

For example, the data offered by Corona (2003, 160) systematically underestimate the extension of the commons. While in some areas of Lombardy (Brescia, Bergamo, Como, and Sondrio) there were 75,000 hectares of collective land in the beginning of the twentieth century, commons there occupied 403,617 hectares in 1946 (Medici 1948, 232-3). Something similar is observed for Marche and Umbria where commons supposed to have a much lesser extension in the beginning than around mid twentieth century (22,359 against 161,946 hectares). Likewise, in Southern Italy and Sicily where we find 657,554 and 101,906 hectares respectively in 1946 (Medici 1948, 245), while Corona just refers to 568,000 and 60,000 hectares at the end of the eighteenth century. More recent data  also underestimate the extent of the commons. In 1927, 711,259 hectares still remained as commons in Italy as a whole (Corona 2003, 170) while in 1948 we observe 4,374,123 hectares. Corona also quantifies a lesser extension in the Mezzogiorno (272,570 hectares of waste land and 11,802 hectares of arable land) and in the Alps region (803,823 hectares of waste land and 5,761 of arable land) in 1945.

 

On the other hand, it seems clear that the appropriation of the commons was already quite advanced in some areas (Bagioli 2007)  The privatization of the commons can be traced to the Middle Ages. Demographic pressure, especially in areas close to the cities, forced the ploughing of common pasture and woodland (Bagioli 2007). For example, in the Duchy of Savoy, which controlled Piedmont, common lands just constituted a 17 percent of the territory on the beginning of the eighteenth century (Medici 1948a, 71) but this figure contrasts again with the one for 1946. Other sources point that between 1680 and 1717 18.6 percent of the commons were privatized in Piedmont (Bevilacqua 1992, 545).

 

Table 2. Commons (restricted definition) in Italy in 1947 

(Source: Medici 1948b)

Province

Hectares

% over total land

Alp region

1,733,720

27.4

Po Valley

23,357

1.2

Northern Apennines

100,888

2.2

Central Apennines

285,815

10.8

Lazio

168,208

12.1

Southern Italy

386,692

6.3

Sicily

44,534

1.8

 ITALY

3,085,028

11.1