CAMPANIA A HISTORIAL LOOK
Campania is a region in southern Italy. The region at the end of 2014 had a population of around 5.869 million people, making it the third-most-populous region of Italy; its total area of 13,590 km2 (5,247 sq. mi) makes it the most densely populated region in the country. Located on the Italian Peninsula, with the Mediterranean Sea to the west, it includes the small Phlegraean Islands and Capri for administration as part of the region.
Located on the Italian Peninsula, Campania was colonized by Ancient Greeks and was part of Magna Graecia. During the Roman era, the area maintained a Greco-Roman culture. The capital city of Campania is Naples. Campania is rich in culture, especially in regard to gastronomy, music, architecture, archeological and ancient sites such as Pompeii, Herculaneum, Paestum and Velia. The name of Campania itself is derived from Latin, as the Romans knew the region as Campania felix, which translates into English as “fertile country side”. The rich natural sights of Campania make it highly important in the tourism industry, especially along the Amalfi Coast, Mount Vesuvius and the island of Capri.
Saints Peter and Paul are said to have preached in the city of Naples, and there were also several martyrs in the region during this time. Unfortunately, the period of relative calm was violently interrupted by the epic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 which buried the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Sicily and Naples were separated in 1458 but remained as dependencies of Aragon under Ferrante. The new dynasty enhanced Naples’ commerce by establishing relations with the Iberian Peninsula. Naples also became a centre of the Renaissance, with artists such as Laurana, da Messina, Sannazzaro and Poliziano arriving in the city. During the Baroque era it was home to artists including Rosa, Caravaggio and Bernini; philosophers such as Telesio, Bruno, Campanella and Vico; and writers such as Battista Marino. A revolution led by local fisherman Masaniello saw the creation of a brief independent Neapolitan Republic, though this lasted only a few months before Spanish rule was regained.
Campania has an area of 13,590 km2 (5,247 sq. mi) and a coastline of 350 km (217 mi) on the Tyrrhenian Sea. Campania is famous for its gulfs (Naples, Salerno and Policastro) as well as for three islands (Capri, Ischia and Procida). Four other regions border Campania; Lazio to the northwest, Molise to the north, Puglia to the northeast and Basilicata to the east.
The mountainous interior is fragmented into several massifs, rarely reaching 2,000 meters (Miletto of 2,050 m), whereas close to the coast there are volcanic massifs: Vesuvio (1,277 m) and Campi Flegrei.
The climate is typically Mediterranean along the coast, whereas in the inner zones it is more continental, with low temperatures in winter. 51% of the total area is hilly, 34% mountainous and the remaining 15% is made up of plains. There is a high ‘seismic’ risk in the area of the region.
The agro-food industry is one of the main pillars of industry of Campania. The organization of the sector is improving and leading to higher levels of quality and salaries. Campania mainly produces fruit and vegetables, but has also expanded its production of flowers grown in greenhouses, becoming one of the leading regions of the sector in Italy. The value added of this sector represents around 6.5% of the total value added of the region, equaling €213.7 million. Campania produces over 50% of Italy’s nuts and is also the leader in the production of tomatoes, which reaches 1.5 million tonnes a year. A weak point, however, for the region’s agriculture is the reduced size of farms, equal to 3.53 hectares. Animal breeding is widespread (it was done in 70,278 farms in 2000) and the milk produced is used to process typical products, such as mozzarella. Olive trees cover over 74,604 hectares of the agricultural land and contribute by €620.6 million to the value added of agriculture, together with the production of fruit. Wine production has increased, together with the quality of the wine.
The region has a dense network of road and motorways, a system of maritime connections and an airport, which connect it rapidly to the rest of the Country. Campania has a series of historical problems and internal contrasts, although they are improving. The regional capital, Naples, one of the most populated and interesting cities in Italy, rich in history and natural beauty, both artistic and archaeological, still represents the centre of regional life. The port connects the region with the whole Mediterranean basin, and brings tourists to the archaeological sites, the cities of art (Naples and Caserta), to the beautiful coastal areas and to the islands. The services sector makes up for 78% of the region’s gross domestic product. The region, with a population of over 5.8 million inhabitants, is divided into five provinces: Naples, Benevento, Avellino, Caserta and Salerno. Over half of the population is resident in the province of Naples, where there is a population density of 2,626 inhabitants per km2. Within the province, the highest density can be found along the coast, where it reaches 13,000 inhabitants per km2 in the city of Portici. The region, which was characterized until recently by an acute economic contrast between internal and coastal areas, has shown an improvement in the last decade thanks to the development of the provinces of Benevento and Avellino. At the same time, the provinces of Naples, Caserta and in part Salerno, have developed a variety of activities connected to advanced types of services.
The Politics of Campania takes place in a framework of a presidential representative democracy, whereby the President of Regional Government is the head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the Regional Government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Regional Council.
The Regional Council of Campania (Consiglio Regionale della Campania) is composed of 60 members, of which 47 are elected in provincial constituencies with proportional representation, 12 from the so-called “regional list” of the elected President and the last one is for the candidate for President who comes second, who usually becomes the leader of the opposition in the Council. If a coalition wins more than 55% of the vote, only 6 candidates from the “regional list” will be elected and the number of those elected in provincial constituencies will be 53.