Constitutional Asymmetries in Italian Regionalism

Italy is a profoundly asymmetrical state, following a longstanding tradition of fragmentation that almost 160 years of unification have only partially mitigated. This presentation focuses primarily on constitutionally entrenched asymmetries, in particular the differences between ordinary and special/autonomous regions and the so-called differential regionalism, allowing ordinary regions to negotiate with the central government additional forms and conditions of autonomy in specific subject matters. Other elements of de jure asymmetry relate to the constitutional recognition of an autonomous status to the sole provinces of Trento and Bolzano and to the presence – in certain regions only – of metropolitan cities as autonomous levels of local government. As a conclusion, the presentation speculates on potential (positive and negative) developments of the increasing asymmetrical trajectory of the Italian constitutional framework in a struggle to accommodate unity and diversity.