This post continues the current GeoCurrents initiative of distributing free customizable base maps, made in easy-to-use presentation software (Keynote and Powerpoint). These files can be downloaded by clicking at the links at the bottom of the post.
As can be see seen, today’s offering is of Italy, with the maps based on the regions of the country. In the links below, these customizable regional maps are offered with both English and Italian versions.
I have used this base-map to construct two thematic maps, one of population density and the other of per capita GDP. As can be seen, at the regional level there is no clear spatial pattern of population density in Italy, as both densely and relatively sparsely populated regions are found across the country. When it come to per capita GDP, on the other hand, the regional patterning is clear, as northern Italy is much more economically productive than southern Italy. I have also included a Wikipedia province-level map of extortion in Italy. As can be seen, the poorest regions of Italy are all plagued by high extortion rates.
Finally, I have included as well a simple map showing Italy’s autonomous regions. The issue of regional autonomy in Italy, however, is rather complicated. As noted in the Wikipedia, “all the regions except Toscana [Tuscany] define themselves in various ways as an ‘autonomous Region’ in the first article of their Statutes,” yet “fifteen regions have ordinary statutes and five have special statutes, granting them extended autonomy.” As the same Wikipedia article goes on to note:
Article 116 of the Italian Constitution grants to five regions (namely Sardinia, Sicily, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Aosta Valley and Friuli-Venezia Giulia) home rule, acknowledging their powers in relation to legislation, administration and finance. In return they have to finance the health-care system, the school system and most public infrastructures by themselves.
These regions became autonomous in order to take into account cultural differences and protect linguistic minorities. Moreover, the government wanted to prevent their secession from Italy after the Second World War.
Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol constitutes a special case. The region is nearly powerless, and the powers granted by the region’s statute are mostly exercised by the two autonomous provinces within the region, Trentino and South Tyrol. In this case, the regional institution plays a coordinating role.
Italy Base Maps (Keynote)
Italy Base Maps (PowerPoint)