The Italian Metropolitan Question

The institutionalisation of Italian metropolitan areas –­ the ‘Italian metropolitan question’ – has occupied a prominent position on the Italian public agenda since 1990, when an extensive meta-institutional change (law no. 142/1990) opened the way to a profound bottom-up reform of local government. This change in the national normative framework did not produce any effects at local level for more than two decades – notwithstanding the fact that it was repeatedly amended in the subsequent years to facilitate its implementation.

In 2014 a further institutional change was made with law no. 56/2014. This law seemed to be a breakthrough: it set the boundaries of metropolitan areas (the boundaries of the former provinces) and established a rigid timeline for adopting the statutes and appointing the political organs. Yet after four years since its approval no effective arrangement of metropolitan governance has emerged, and the risk that it will not produce any significant effect on the governance of metropolitan areas is very high.

In recent years I have contributed to the ongoing scientific and policy debate on the ‘Italian metropolitan question’ pointing up the shortcomings of the scientific discourse on the Italian territorial organisation as the most important factor explaining the repeated failure in reforming the institution of territorial governance.

1. Policy Reports

In this policy field I contributed to a policy report by Oecd on the Metropolitan Area of Venice (2015) and coordinated a study on the Metropolitan City of Naples on behalf of ‘Unione industriali di Napoli’ (2014). Besides, on behalf of ‘Confindustria-Rete delle Associazioni Territoriali delle Città metropolitane’ I conducted a comparative study on ten Italian metropolitan areas, addressing analytical and institutional issues from a European perspective (2011).

2. Scientific contributions:

L’area metropolitana di Napoli: interdipendenze territoriali e integrazione istituzionale (with F. Mazzoni), in Archivio di studi urbani e regionali, vol. XLVIII, N. 120, 2017 | Available at SSRN:

The Metropolitan Question in Italy, in Rivista Italiana di Economia, Demografia e Statistica, vol. LXX, n. 2, 2016, pp.15-34. | Available at SSRN:

Città e aree metropolitane in Italia, Gssi Urban Studies-Working Papers, 2014| 1 | Available at SSRN:

Macro-regions, Local Systems, and Cities: The Conceptualisation of Territory in Italy since 1950, in Scienze Regionali/Italian Journal of Regional Science, Supplemento, N. 3, 2009 | Available at SSRN:

Economie in cerca di città. La questione urbana in Italia, Donzelli, Roma 2009, pp. iv-150