Lazio is situated in the centre of Italy, beetween italian regions - Abruzzo, Toscana, Umbria, Molise and Campania. It extends over a a territory whose 20% are plains, 54% hills and 26% mountains.It is divided into 5 Provinces - Roma, Frosinone, Rieti, Viterbo, Latina. The Regional Administrative centre is Roma.
|Lazio has many facets. Perhaps it is one of the less homogeneous italian regions. Certainly its name is among the oldest ones. It is derived from the latin "latus" that means "vast". In fact, the ancient inhabitants looked at the open area on the Tiber in this way, in comparison with the Sabine, Ernici and Volscians' cities built up on the mountains. For many centuries the word "Lazio" was not used to indicate a specific region like happened with the well-known Etruria, Maremma, Sabina and the roman country. The region was named again "Lazio" only after 1870, when it became part of the Italian State. Later, some areas of Umbria, Abruzzi and Campania were joined to it.
Today Lazio is composed of 5 provinces: Viterbo, Rieti, Rome, Frosinone and Latina. Lazio split-up history, rich in dizzy happenings and incredible differences finds explanation also in the physical differences of its territory: 20% is flat, 54% is hilly and 26% mountainous. Besides, Lazio is rich in lakes, volcanes (which are extinct fortunately), mountains higher than 2000 mt, flat and rocky coasts, and not to be unmindful of the marvellous isles of the Pontine archipelago, Ponza and Zannone at the top. But Lazio was also a land of big marshes. Latina and its surroundings were drained and malaria disappeared only 50 years ago. Lazio lies in the centre of Italy and even all social and economic indicators seem to correspond to its physical position. Then, it is a joint-land between the North and the South of Italy under many aspects, with a remarkable peculiarity: it is the richest casket of cultural and environmental assets in the world - some universal examples are the Sistine Chapel, the Coliseum and the Roman Fori. But let's go back to data. 54% of the about 5 million and a half of the Region inhabitants live in Rome and this percentage rises to 73% if we consider also the province land. A bit more than 150 thousand people - divided almost into equal parts - live in Viterbo, Rieti and Frosinone, while those living in Latina are 100 thousand mostly coming from Veneto and Emilia Romagna, being descended from the first settlers after the Drainage. If along the centuries the city on the Tiber gained the appellation of caput-mundi and eternal city, today it could not be nothing else but the heart of Lazio and the capital of the Italian State. But Rome can be considered twice capital, for being also the centre of catholic christianity and having inside of itself the Vatican State, whose first citizen is John Paul II. These peculiarities made Rome the only city with a double network of foreign Embassies and an incredible series of Institutes, Accademies, Libraries and public and private universities which, with the Museums and Art Galeries, give prestige and vivacity to urban cultural life.
Rome shows a marked tendency to the tertiary industry: tourism, trade, cinema, television and informatics have great weight with the local economy. But this town has its own importance also in the field of industry - Tiburtina Valley -, finance - the most important banks have their offices here - and agriculture - Maccarese and Torre in Pietra.
Another relevant activity in Lazio is wine production at the gates of Rome, in the mediaeval hill towns to the south of the capital. Many roman activities inevitably turn around the public sector, above all for the presence of Government and the big public Bodies. Neverthless, what can be surprising is the fact that Lazio is not the region with the highest number of public employees. In fact, at the top of the list there is Lombardy.
There is so much to write about Rome, but the best way to know it is visiting it and above all feeling its atmosphere. It shows its best in spring and autumn, above all at the sunset, when the sky is clear. Legend has it that Rome was founded on April 21 in 753 b.C. by Romulus and Remus. It is evident how the Romans' genius succeeded in moulding environment, creating magic atmospheres in which art and nature merge wonderfully.
And how centuries-old experience shaped the Romans' character: vivacious and cheerful, but also disenchanted towards power they have been familiar with for a long time.
Were not they to mint the saying: "The kings is dead long live the king, no one is indispensable"?