From: Gillian at One Stop Italy.
Of all the nationalities, surely the Italians have it all …. a rich history and culture, a wonderful climate, a highly-developed sense of style and design, delicious food, fine wines, a beautiful language.
Yet look deeper and you will see that most Italians feel more closely attuned to their region than to the nation state of Italy. For example, they’re Tuscans first and Italians second. Why is this? Well there’s such a strong sense of regional identity because the country was not unified until 1871, when Rome became the capital. So the countryside is dotted with castles, fortresses and walled villages, reminders of a turbulent past when regions fought each other for control of territory.
There are 20 regions, each of which has its own capital and is divided into a number of provinces. The provinces themselves are then further divided into smaller administrative bodies called ‘comuni’, which are a kind of local council. The comune is the hub of all village life in Italy!