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Local Government

Italy was unified in 1861 and became a parliamentary republic in 1948. The seat of national government is in the capital of Rome. For administrative purposes, the country is divided into 20 regions (regioni) corresponding closely to the historical regions of the country. The regions are divided into provinces (province) which are further subdivided into councils (communi). Five regions are semi-autonomous or autonomous with special powers granted under the Italian constitution. These regions are: Sardinia, Sicily, Trentino-Alto Adige, Friuli-Venezia and Valle’d’Aosta.

Tuscany is one of the other 15 regions which have a narrower range of economic and administrative powers. These regions are the weakest element in the country’s political hierarchy. Tuscany is ruled by a giunta regionale (regional government) created by elections held every four years. The regional government are pretty much just an administrative link between the central state and the local government. The state pays funds to the regional government which can legislate on issues such as tourism, agriculture, forests, fairs, museums and libraries.

The Tuscan consiglio provinciale is the provincial equivalent of the regional assembly doing the day-to-day administrative work in alliance with the commune (town council), the lowest tier of Italian government. Elections are held every five years for the local government.

The Florence consiglio provinciale is located at Via Cavour 1, between the Academia di Belle Arti and Palazzo Pucci.

Not many people are aware that Florence was briefly the capital of Italy from 1865 until its reunification in 1871, when French troops left the city of Rome and its governance passed from the Vatican to the Kingdom of Italy. The Vatican remains a city-state to this day, encompassed within the city of Rome.

During Florence’s golden age, it was ruled from the Palazzo Signoira, also known as Palazzo Vecchio, which still stands today in Piazza Signoria in the heart of the city. Various nobles presided over this great and powerful city-state over several centuries, but none more legendary than the Medici Dynasty, who also produced no fewer than three popes. Now that’s a family tree.

 
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