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The _COMUNE_ (IPA: ; plural: _comuni_, IPA: ) is a basic administrative division in Italy , roughly equivalent to a township or municipality .

CONTENTS

* 1 Importance and function * 2 Subdivisions * 3 Homonymy * 4 See also * 5 References * 6 External links

IMPORTANCE AND FUNCTION

The _comune_ provides many of the basic civil functions: registry of births and deaths, registry of deeds , and contracting for local roads and public works.

It is headed by a mayor (_sindaco_) assisted by a legislative body, the _consiglio comunale_ (communal council), and an executive body, the _giunta comunale_ (communal committee). The mayor and members of the _consiglio comunale_ are elected together by resident citizens: the coalition of the elected mayor (who needs an absolute majority in the first or second round of voting) gains three fifths of the _consiglio's_ seats. The _giunta comunale_ is chaired by the mayor, who appoints others members, called _assessori _, one of whom is named his deputy _(vicesindaco)_. The offices of the _comune_ are housed in a building usually called the _municipio_, or _palazzo comunale_.

As of February 2017 there were 7,982 _comuni_ in Italy; they vary considerably in area and population. For example, the _comune_ of Rome , in Lazio , has an area of 1,307.71 km² and a population of 2,761,477, and is both the largest and the most populated _comune_ in Italy; Fiera di Primiero in the province of Trentino (Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol ) is the smallest _comune_ by area, with only 0.15 km², and Pedesina in the province of Sondrio ( Lombardy ) is the smallest by population, with 34 inhabitants.

The density of _comuni_ varies widely by province and region : the province of Bari , for example, has 1,564,000 inhabitants in 48 municipalities, or over 32,000 inhabitants per municipality; whereas the Aosta Valley has 121,000 inhabitants in 74 municipalities, or 1,630 inhabitants per municipality – roughly twenty times more communal units per inhabitant. There are inefficiencies at both ends of the scale, and there is concern about optimizing the size of the comuni so they may best function in the modern world, but planners are hampered by the historical resonances of the comuni, which often reach back many hundreds of years, or even a full millennium.

While provinces and regions are creations of the central government, and subject to fairly frequent border changes, the natural cultural unit is indeed the _comune_, for many Italians, their hometown. In recent years however, it has thus become quite rare for _comuni_ to be merged or divided.

Many _comuni_ also have a municipal police (_polizia municipale_), which is responsible for public order duties. Traffic control is their main function in addition to controlling commercial establishments to ensure they open and close according to their license.

SUBDIVISIONS

A _comune_ usually comprises:

* a principal town or village, that almost always gives its name to the _comune_; such a town is referred to as the _capoluogo_ (“head-place” or “capital”; _cf._ the French _chef-lieu _) of the _comune_; the word _comune_ is also used in casual speech to refer to the town hall. * other outlying areas called _frazioni _ (singular: _frazione_, abbreviated _fraz._, literally “fraction”), each usually centred on a small town or village. These _frazioni_ have usually never had any independent historical existence, but occasionally are former smaller _comuni_ consolidated into a larger. They may also represent settlements which predated the _capoluogo_: the ancient town of Pollentia (today Pollenzo), for instance, is a _frazione _ of Bra . In recent years the _frazioni_ have become more important thanks to the institution of the _consiglio di frazione_, a local form of government which can interact with the _comune_ and show it the local needs, requests and claims. Yet smaller places are called _località_ (literally “localities” and often, as in the phonebook, abbreviated _loc._). * other smaller administrative divisions called _municipalità _, _circoscrizioni _, _rioni _, _quartieri _, _terzieri _, _sestieri _ or _contrade _, which are similar to boroughs .

Sometimes a _frazione_ might be more populated than the _capoluogo_; and rarely, owing to unusual circumstances or to the depopulation of the latter, the town hall and its administrative functions move to one of the _frazioni_: but the _comune_ still retains the name of the _capoluogo_.

In some cases, a _comune_ might not have a _capoluogo_ but only some _frazioni_. In these cases, it is a _comune sparso_ ("sparse municipality") and the _frazione_ which houses the town hall (_municipio_) is a _sede municipale_ (compare county seat ).

HOMONYMY

There are not many perfect homonymous Italian municipalities. There are only eight cases in 16 _comuni_:

* Brione: Brione, Lombardy and Brione, Trentino * Calliano: Calliano, Piedmont and Calliano, Trentino * Castro: Castro, Apulia and Castro, Lombardy * Livo: Livo, Lombardy and Livo, Trentino * Peglio: Peglio, Lombardy and Peglio, Marche * Samone: Samone, Piedmont and Samone, Trentino * San Teodoro: San Teodoro, Sardinia and San Teodoro, Sicily * Valverde: Valverde, Lombardy and Valverde, Sicily

This is mostly due to the fact the name of the province or region was appended to the name of the municipality in order to avoid the confusion. Remarkably two provincial capitals share the name _Reggio_: Reggio nell\'Emilia , the capital of the Reggio Emilia province, in the Emilian part of the Emilia-Romagna region, and Reggio di Calabria , the capital of the homonymous province. Many other towns or villages are likewise partial homonyms (e.g. Anzola dell\'Emilia and Anzola d\'Ossola , or Bagnara Calabra and Bagnara di Romagna ).

SEE ALSO

* _ Circoscrizione _ * _ Contrada _ * _ Frazione _ * List of comuni of Italy by region and province * Alphabetical list of _comuni_ of Italy * _ Località _ * Municipality * _ Quartiere _

* _ Rione _

* _Rioni_ of Rome

* _ Sestiere _ * _ Terziere _

International

* Communes of France * _ Municipio _, Spanish -webkit-column-width: 30em; column-width: 30em; list-style-type: decimal;">

* ^ "Comuni dal 1861". _www.comuniverso.it_. Retrieved 19 March 2017. * ^ (in Italian) Complete list and infos on Comuni-italiani.it

EXTERNAL LINKS

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