Lazio (Latium in Latin) is a regione of central Italy, bordered by Tuscany, Umbria, Abruzzo, Marche, Molise, Campania and the Tyrrhenian Sea. It comprises 5 provinces: Rome, Viterbo, Latina, Frosinone, and Rieti. The regional capital is Rome; the current President of the Region is Piero Marrazzo (center-left, elected 2005).
The name of the region also survives in the tribal designation of the ancient population of Latins, from whom the Romans originated. In Roman mythology, the shadowy king Latinus allegedly gave his name to the region. Modern linguists postulate origins in a Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) root *stela- (to spread, extend), expressing the idea of "flat land" (in contrast to the local Sabine high country). But the name may originate from an earlier, non Indo-European one. See the Online Etymological Dictionary. Since Latium is respected more as a designation for ancient Rome, it is not used as a label on maps or globes.
The region which would become Latium was, in the centuries before the future Romans inhabited it, populated by several different peoples, some originally non-Indo-European. It was dominated by the Etruscans, both culturally and politically, but was a region with many local cultures, each city-state having its own, somewhat akin to Greece. Indeed, trade with Greeks and Phoenicians strongly influenced the Etrurian culture, which acquired its alphabet (later inherited by Rome), and some cultural traits, from those two sources.
At the same time that the latest Indo-European tribes were moving into Greece, closely related tribes invaded many other regions, including what would someday be Italy. Among these were the peoples we now call the Latins, who settled in (what we now call) Latium. Initially, they were seen as weak newcomers, a sort of instant underclass, by most of the people of the native city-states.
This subjected them to quite a bit of local imperialism and eventually they united against the Etruscans and Samnites, fighting a series of wars which ended in 338 BCE with their main city, Rome, dominating the region. After the Social War in 90 BCE, Rome granted citizenship to all the people of the region.
Latium has great importance for history, art, architecture, archaeology, religion, and culture in general. The immense patrimony of the city of Rome forms only a part of the treasures spread over the hundreds of towns, villages, abbeys, churches, monuments, and other sites of the region.
- Rome (Roma) (pop. 2,546,807), capital city of the region, of the province with the same name, and of the country
- Anzio, site of Allied landings in World War II
- Cassino, site of famous monastery and the World War II battle
- Castel Gandolfo, summer residence of the Pope
- Cerveteri, site of one of the two best preserved Etruscan necropolises in Italy
- Civitavecchia, the region's principal port
- Frascati city of wine, well known in west-central Europe
- Frosinone, capital city of the province of Frosinone (pop. 477,950)
- Latina, capital city of the province of Latina (pop. 489,599)
- Nettuno, site of Allied landings in the World War II, site of the American Cemetery and Memorial, site of Saint Maria Goretti's Shrine
- Ostia, the ancient Roman port of Rome
- Rieti, capital city of the province of Rieti (pop. 151,000)
- Tarquinia, site of the other of the two best-preserved Etruscan necropoles in Italy
- Tivoli, site of Hadrian's Villa
- Viterbo, capital city of the province of Viterbo (pop. 285,254)
|Regions of Italy|
|Abruzzo • Aosta Valley • Apulia • Basilicata • Calabria • Campania • Emilia-Romagna • Friuli-Venezia Giulia • Lazio • Liguria • Lombardy • Marche • Molise • Piedmont • Sardinia • Sicily • Trentino-South Tyrol • Tuscany • Umbria • Veneto|