The Regions of Italy are the first-level administrative divisions of the state. There are twenty regions autonomous, five of them are constitutionally given a broader amount of autonomy granted by special statutes.
Originally meant as administrative districts of the central state, the regions acquired a significant level of autonomy following a constitutional reform in 2001. A further federalist reform was proposed by the regionalist party Lega Nord and in 2005, the centre-right government led by Silvio Berlusconi proposed a new reform of the Constitution that would have entailed greatly increasing the powers of all regions. In June 2006 the proposals, which had been particularly associated with the Lega Nord, and seen by some as leading the way to a federal state, were rejected in a referendum by 61.7% to 38.3%. The results varied considerably from one region to another, ranging to 55.3% in favour in Veneto to 82% against in Calabria.
Every region has a statute that serves as a regional constitution, determining the form of government and the fundamental principles of the organization and the functioning of the region, as prescribed by the Constitution of Italy (Article 123). Fifteen regions have ordinary statutes and five have special statutes.
These regions, whose statutes are approved by their regional councils, were created in the 1970s, even though the Italian Constitution dates back to 1947. Since the constitutional reform of 2001 they have had legislative as well as administrative powers. The regions have exclusive legislative power with respect to any matters not expressly reserved to state law (Article 117). . Yet their financial autonomy is quite modest: they just keep 20% of all levied taxes.
Article 116 of the Italian Constitution grants to five regions (namely Sardinia, Sicily, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Aosta Valley and Friuli-Venezia Giulia) home rule, acknowledging their powers in relation to legislation, administration and economy. They keep between 60% (Friuli-Venezia Giulia) and 100% (Sicily) of all levied taxes. In return they have to finance the health-care system, the school system and most public infrastructures by themselves (except for Sicily and Sardinia).
These regions became autonomous in order to take into account linguistic and cultural differences, such as the linguistic minorities in Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Aosta Valley, and Friuli-Venezia Giulia), or geographically isolation in the case of the two greater islands, Sicily and Sardinia.
Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol constitutes a special case. The region itself is nearly powerless and the powers granted by the region's statute are mostly exercised by the two autonomous provinces within the region, Trento and Bolzano-Bozen. In this case, the regional institution plays a merely coordinating role.
See also: Ranked lists of Italian regions. Italy is subdivided into 20 regions (regioni, singular regione). The five autonomous regions are in italic text.
Each region has an elected Consiglio Regionale (regional council), the legislative body, and a Giunta Regionale (regional government), the executive body headed by the regional President. President and members of Consiglio Regionale are elected directly by the resident citizens. The President chairs the Giunta and nominates and can dismiss its other members, called assessori. If the President resigns new elections are immediately called.
Other administrative divisions: