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Southern Italy

From Academic Kids

Southern Italy, often referred to in Italian as the Mezzogiorno (a term first used in 19th century in comparison with French Midi ) encompasses six of the country's 20 autonomous regions:

The region of Abruzzo is often added as a reference to boundaries of the Kingdom of Two Sicilies.

Geographically, Southern Italy is much drier and hotter than the rest of Italy, and historically, has been exposed to significantly different influences than the rest of the peninsula, and in particular, to Greek settlement and Arab invasions. These factors and others have left their mark on today's Mezzogiorno: population density, for example, is much less compared to the North, with at the same time a higher proportion of large towns to small villages; wealth and education levels are not as high; and the day-to-day culture of the inhabitants is much more Mediterranean, clan-oriented, rural, and Catholic than that of the more industrialized North.

Some Northern Italians have thus come to speak of a "Mezzogiorno problem", viewed as an inherent and incurable climate of poverty and corruption and a sink-hole of government funds; such sentiments have fueled the rise of the Lega Nord movement seeking to accomplish a secession from Italy of the Northern regions, the so‑called Padania.

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