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Lazio





Lazio (, Latin Latium, also sometimes used in English) is a region of central Italy, bordered by Tuscany, Umbria, and Marche to the north, Abruzzo to the east, Campania to the south, and the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west.

Geography



The National Park of Circeo
Latium is bordered by Tuscany, Umbria, Abruzzo, Marche, Molise, Campania, and the Tyrrhenian Sea. Its coast is low-lying and very sandy, punctuated by the headlands of Circeo (541 m) and Orlando (171). The Pontine Islands, which are part of Latium, lie opposite the southern coast. Behind the coastal strip, to the north we find: the Latium Maremma (the continuation of Tuscan Maremma), interrupted at Civitavecchia by the Tolfa Mountains (616 m), in the centre by the Roman Campagna and to the south by Agro Pontino. This area, once swampy and unhealthy, was reclaimed over the centuries (though work was finished only in the 1930s) for repopulation and agricultural exploitation.

The Latium Preapennines, marked by the Tiber valley and the Liri with the Sacco tributary, includes on the right of the Tiber, three groups of mountains of volcanic origin: the Volsini, Cimini and Sabatini, whose principal craters are occupied by the Bolsena, Vico and Bracciano lakes. To the south of the Tiber other mountain groups form part of the Preapennines: the Alban Hills, also of volcanic origin, and the calcareous Lepini, Ausoni and Aurunci Mountains. The Latium Apennines are part of the Abruzzo Apennines: the Reatini Mountains with Terminillo (2,213 m), Mounts Sabini, Prenestini, Simbruini and Ernici which continue east of the Liri into the Mainarde Mountains. The highest peak is Gorzano Mount (2,458 m) on the border with Abruzzo.

History




The Appian Way (''Via Appia''), a road connecting the city of Rome to the southern parts of Italy, remains usable even today.

The name of the region also survives in the tribal designation of the ancient population of Latins, from whom the Romans originated. In Roman mythology, the shadowy king Latinus allegedly gave his name to the region. The name is most likely derived from the Latin word "latus", meaning "wide", expressing the idea of "flat land" (in contrast to the local Sabine high country) but the name may originate from an earlier, non Indo-European one. Latium, originally inhabited by the Latins, extended its boundaries to the territories of the Sanniti, the Marsi and Campania thanks to the Roman conquests, taking in the lands of the Ernici, the Equi, the Aurunci and Volsci. This territory was called Latium Novi to differentiate it from Latium veteres, which indicated the original boundaries.

In the administrative system of the emperor Augustus, Latium - together with the present region of Campania - became the first Italian region.

After the Gothic War (535-554) and the Byzantine conquest, this region regained its freedom, because the "Roman Duchy" became the property of the Eastern Emperor. However the long wars against the barbarian Longobards weakened the region, which was seized by the Roman Bishop who already had several properties in those territories.

The strengthening of the religious and ecclesiastical aristocracy led to continuous power struggles between lords and the Roman bishop until the middle of the XVI century. Innocent III tried to strengthen his own territorial power, wishing to assert his authority in the provincial administrations of Tuscia, Campagna and Marittima through the Church's representatives, in order to reduce the power of the Colonna family. Other popes tried to do the same.

During the period when the papacy resided in Avignon, France (1309-1377), the feudal lords' power increased due to the absence of the Pope from Rome. Small communes, and Rome above all, opposed the lords' increasing power, and with Cola di Rienzo, they tried to present themselves as antagonists of the ecclesiastical power. However, between 1353 and 1367, the papacy regained control of Latium and the rest of the Papal States.

From the middle of the 16th century, the papacy politically unified Latium with the Papal States, so that these territories became provincial administrations of St. Peter's estate; governors in Viterbo, in Marittima and Campagna, and in Frosinone administered them for the papacy.

After the short-lived Roman Republic and the region's annexation to France, by Napoleon I, Latium became again part of the Papal States. In 1870 when the French troops abandoned Rome, General Cadorna entered the pontifical territory, occupying Rome on 20 September, and Latium was incorporated into the Kingdom of Italy.

Economy



Agriculture, crafts, animal husbandry and fishery are the main traditional sources of income. Agriculture is characterized by the cultivation of wine grapes, fruit, vegetables and olives.

Industrial development in Lazio is limited to the areas south of Rome. Communications have influenced the position of industry, favouring the areas with the best links to Rome and those near the Autostrada del Sole (motorway), especially around Frosinone. Firms are often small to medium in size and operate in the building and building materials (Rome, Civitavecchia), paper (Sora), petrochemical (Gaeta, Rome), textile (Frosinone), engineering (Rieti, Anagni), automobile (Cassino), electronic and electrotechnical (Viterbo) sectors.

Approximately 73% of the working population are employed in the services sector; this is a considerable proportion, but is justified by the presence of Rome, which is the core of public administration, banking, tourism, insurance and other sectors. Many national and multinational corporations, public and private, have their headquarters in Rome (ENI, Enel, Finmeccanica, Alitalia, RAI).

Demographics






The population density ranges from 765 inhabitants per km2 in the province of Rome to less than 60 inhabitants per km2 in the province of Rieti (2008 est.). The overall population density in the region of Lazio is of 326 inhabitants per km2, which is the third highest amongst the Italian regions after Campania and Lombardia. As of 2006, the Italian national institute of statistics ISTAT estimated that 275,065 foreign-born immigrants live in Lazio, equal to 5.2% of the total regional population.

Government and politics





Rome is center-left politically oriented by tradition, while the rest of Lazio is center-right oriented. In the 2008 general election, Lazio gave 44.2% of its vote to the centre-right coalition, while the centre-left block took 41.4% of vote.

Administrative divisions



Lazio is divided into five provinces:

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Source: Wikipedia