—  Region of Italy  —


Coat of arms
Country Italy
Capital Rome
 • President Renata Polverini (PdL)
 • Total 17,208 km2 (6,644 sq mi)
Population (2009-08)
 • Total 5,626,710
 • Density 330/km2 (850/sq mi)
 • Italian 92%
 • Foreigners 8%
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
GDP/ Nominal € 160.5 billion (2006)

Lazio (pronounced [ˈlattsjo], Latin: Latium, English: Latium)[2] is a region of west central Italy, bordered by Tuscany, Umbria, and Marche to the north, Abruzzo and Molise to the east, Campania to the south, and the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west. It is the region of Rome, capital of Italy.

Lazio is classified as being in the Centre territorial unit of Italy by the European Union, with a code of ITE.


Types of terrain found in Lazio.

The National Park of Circeo, part of the coastal plain.

Lazio contains 4,491 km2 (1,734 sq mi) of mountains (montagna), 9,291 km2 (3,587 sq mi) of hills (collina) and 3,424 km2 (1,322 sq mi) of plains (pianura). The term plains in this context refers to coastal land of mean elevation zero, some a few feet above and some a few feet below sea level. Inland of the coastal plains in the north is a landform termed the hills, or colli, which are intermediate to the mountains. Generally they are subsumed under the name of the Roman Campagna. It does not exist in the south. Inland of the hills or the coastal zone are the mountains.

Coastal plain[]

The coast of Lazio is low-lying with sandy beaches, punctuated by the headlands of Circeo (541 m) and Gaeta (171 m). The Pontine Islands, which are part of Latium, lie opposite the southern coast. Behind the coastal strip, to the north are found: the Maremma Laziale (the continuation of Tuscan Maremma), interrupted at Civitavecchia by the Tolfa Mountains (616 m), in the centre by the Roman Campagna and to the south by Agro Pontino and its continuation south of Terracina, the South Pontino. This area, once swampy and malarial, was reclaimed over the centuries for population and agriculturalization.


The Preapennines of Latium, marked by the Tiber valley and the Liri with the Sacco tributary, include on the right of the Tiber, three groups of mountains of volcanic origin: the Volsini, Cimini and Sabatini, whose principal craters are occupied by the Bolsena, Vico and Bracciano lakes. To the south of the Tiber other mountain groups form part of the Preapennines: the Alban Hills, also of volcanic origin, and the calcareous Lepini, Ausoni and Aurunci Mountains. The Apennines of Latium are part of the Apennines of Abruzzo: the Reatini Mountains with Terminillo (2,213 m), Mounts Sabini, Prenestini, Simbruini and Ernici which continue east of the Liri into the Mainarde Mountains. The highest peak is Mount Gorzano (2,458 m) on the border with Abruzzo.


See also: History of Italy

The Appian Way (Via Appia), a road connecting the city of Rome to the southern parts of Italy, remains usable even today.

The Italian word Lazio descends from the Latin word Latium. The name of the region also survives in the tribal designation of the ancient population of Latins, Latini in the Latin language spoken by them and passed on to the city-state of Ancient Rome. Although the demography of ancient Rome was multi-ethnic, including, for example, Etruscans and other Italics besides the Latini, the latter were the dominant constituent. In Roman mythology, the tribe of the Latini took their name from king Latinus. Apart from the mythical derivation of Latium given by the ancients as the place where Jupiter "lay hid" from his father seeking to kill him, a major modern etymology is that Latium comes from the Latin word "latus", meaning "wide", expressing the idea of "flat land" meaning the Roman Campagna. Much of Latium is in fact flat or rolling. The lands originally inhabited by the Latini were extended into the territories of the Samnites, the Marsi, the Hernici, the Aequi, the Aurunci and the Volsci, all surrounding Italic tribes. This larger territory was still called Latium, but it was divided into Latium adiectum or Latium Novum, the added lands or New Latium, and Latium Vetus, or Old Latium, the older, smaller region.

The emperor Augustus officially united all of present-day Italy into a single geo-political entity, Italia (Roman Empire), dividing it into eleven regions. Latium – together with the present region of Campania immediately to the southeast of Latium and the seat of Naples – became Region I.

After the Gothic War (535-554) and the Byzantine conquest, this region regained its freedom, because the "Roman Duchy" became the property of the Eastern Emperor. However the long wars against the barbarian Longobards weakened the region, which was seized by the Roman Bishop who already had several properties in those territories.

The strengthening of the religious and ecclesiastical aristocracy led to continuous power struggles between lords and the Roman bishop until the middle of the XVI century. Innocent III tried to strengthen his own territorial power, wishing to assert his authority in the provincial administrations of Tuscia, Campagna and Marittima through the Church's representatives, in order to reduce the power of the Colonna family. Other popes tried to do the same.

During the period when the papacy resided in Avignon, France (1309–1377), the feudal lords' power increased due to the absence of the Pope from Rome. Small communes, and Rome above all, opposed the lords' increasing power, and with Cola di Rienzo, they tried to present themselves as antagonists of the ecclesiastical power. However, between 1353 and 1367, the papacy regained control of Latium and the rest of the Papal States.

From the middle of the 16th century, the papacy politically unified Latium with the Papal States, so that these territories became provincial administrations of St. Peter's estate; governors in Viterbo, in Marittima and Campagna, and in Frosinone administered them for the papacy.

After the short-lived Roman Republic (18th century), the region's annexation to France by Napoleon Bonaparte in February 1798, Latium became again part of the Papal States in October 1799.

On 20 September 1870 the [capture of Rome]], during the reign of Pope Pius IX, and France's defeat at Sedan, completed Italian unification, and Latium was incorporated into the Kingdom of Italy.


Agriculture, crafts, animal husbandry and fishery are the main traditional sources of income. Agriculture is characterized by the cultivation of wine grapes, fruit, vegetables and olives.

Industrial development in Lazio is limited to the areas south of Rome. Communications have influenced the position of industry, favouring the areas with the best links to Rome and those near the Autostrada del Sole (motorway), especially around Frosinone. Firms are often small to medium in size and operate in the building and building materials (Rome, Civitavecchia), paper (Sora), petrochemical (Gaeta, Rome), textile (Frosinone), engineering (Rieti, Anagni), automobile (Cassino), electronic and electrotechnical (Viterbo) sectors.

Approximately 73% of the working population are employed in the services sector; this is a considerable proportion, but is justified by the presence of Rome, which is the core of public administration, banking, tourism, insurance and other sectors. Many national and multinational corporations, public and private, have their headquarters in Rome (ENI, Enel, Finmeccanica, Alitalia, RAI).

Lazio's limited industrial sector and highly developed service industries allowed the region to well outperform the Italian economy in 2009. The trend is set to continue over the next few years-the region's economy being amongst the most dynamic in Italy. This year the economy is predicted to grow by 1.3-1.5%, while in 2011 it's expected to expand by between 2-2.2%. These are the fastest rates in Italy and compare to national figures of between 0.8%-1.1% in 2010 and 1.1%-1.3% in 2011.


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1861 356,000
1871 1,173,000 +229.5%
1881 1,257,000 +7.2%
1901 1,586,000 +26.2%
1911 1,771,000 +11.7%
1921 1,997,000 +12.8%
1931 2,349,000 +17.6%
1936 2,655,000 +13.0%
1951 3,341,000 +25.8%
1961 3,959,000 +18.5%
1971 4,689,000 +18.4%
1981 5,002,000 +6.7%
1991 5,140,000 +2.8%
2001 5,112,000 −0.5%
2008 (Est.) 5,611,000 +9.8%
Source: ISTAT 2001

The population density ranges from 765 inhabitants per km2 in the province of Rome to less than 60 inhabitants per km2 in the province of Rieti (2008 est.). The overall population density in the region of Lazio is of 326 inhabitants per km2, which is the third highest amongst the Italian regions after Campania and Lombardia. As of 2006, the Italian national institute of statistics ISTAT estimated that 275,065 foreign-born immigrants live in Lazio, equal to 5.2% of the total regional population.

Government and politics[]

Rome is center-left politically oriented by tradition, while the rest of Lazio is center-right oriented. In the 2008 general election, Lazio gave 44.2% of its vote to the centre-right coalition, while the centre-left block took 41.4% of vote.

Administrative divisions[]

Lazio is divided into five provinces:

Latium Provinces.png

Province Area (km²) Population Density
Province of Frosinone 3,244 496,545 153.1
Province of Latina 2,251 543,844 241.4
Province of Rieti 2,749 158,545 57.7
Province of Rome 5,352 4,097,085 765.5
Province of Viterbo 3,612 314,690 87.1


Twenty most common surnames in the Lazio region.

See also[]

  • Geography of Italy


  1. ^ "Demography in Figures". Istituto nazionale di statistics (ISTAT). 
  2. ^ "Latium". Merriam-Webster OnLine. 

External links[]

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Coordinates: 41°54′N 12°43′E / 41.9, 12.717

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Lazio. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.