Between the late 19th and the middle of the 20th centuries ca., the Emilia-Romagna Sector of the Po River Delta (Northern Italy) experienced huge reclamation projects, carried on through dewatering pumps, aiming at the drainage of the wetlands in order to create new agricultural lands. This process, to be encompassed in the broader context, at that time, of a national economy based on the Primary Sector, was developed in three main stages: at the end of the 19th century, in the framework of private investments; during the Fascist Age, in the context of State-driven operations and autarchic economy; between the 1950s and the 1960s, during the Italian Land Reform (which was funded by the Marshall Plan). Phase by phase, the newly reclaimed areas saw the superimposition of an invented toponymy, which reflected the ideological and political background of the works. The paper will focus on the second and the third stages of the program above mentioned. In particular, during the Fascist Age, as obvious for a totalitarian regime, the ‘invented toponymy’ for these ‘invented lands’ was characterized by a strong nationalistic dimension, whose aim was to stimulate the national pride among the new settlers and to celebrate the policies of Fascism: the placenames of the reclamation of Gallare wetland (drained before the rise of Fascism, but partially colonized during the 1920s-1930s) referred to the Italian victories at the battles of Vittorio Veneto and Podgora (WWI); the toponymy of the reclamations of Trebba, Ponti and Isola wetlands (Municipality of Comacchio) was based, respectively, on Italian key-cities and regions (‘Roma’, ‘Milano’, ‘Bologna’, ‘Veneto’, ‘Romagna’, etc.), on Italian key-rivers (‘Tevere’, ‘Po’, ‘Rubicone’: in Fascist propaganda, rivers related to the destiny of Rome) and Alpine passes located on the ‘sacred border’ of the country (‘Sempione’, ‘Brennero’). During the Italian Land Reform, now developed under a democratic regime, the Christian Party, which led the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic for decades, adopted here the perspective of a virtual recomposition, through the placenames, of the territories which Italy had gained after WWI and had lost after WWII (Istria, Dalmatia): ‘Capodistria’, ‘Buiedistria’, ‘Portorose’, ‘Pola’, ‘Dalmazia’, etc. After the end of the Land Reform and after the institution of the ordinary statute Regions as Emilia-Romagna Region (1970), some small villages founded in the drained areas (e.g. Anita, Municipality of Argenta), now ruled by the Communist Party at the regional and local levels, decided to officialize a new urban toponymy: as a reaction to the placenames instituted by the Christian Party in the previous years, this toponymic new deal showed a leftist connotation, referring to Socialism (‘Fossa dei Socialisti’) or to Communist partisans of the WWII.

Invented Toponymy for Invented Lands. Placenames and Reclamation in the Emilia-Romagna Sector of the Po River Delta (Northern Italy), 1920s-1960s / Stefano Piastra. - ELETTRONICO. - (2021), pp. 13-14. (Intervento presentato al convegno Permanence, transformation, substitution and oblivion of geographical names tenutosi a Napoli nel 22-24 settembre 2021).

Invented Toponymy for Invented Lands. Placenames and Reclamation in the Emilia-Romagna Sector of the Po River Delta (Northern Italy), 1920s-1960s

Stefano Piastra
2021

Abstract

Between the late 19th and the middle of the 20th centuries ca., the Emilia-Romagna Sector of the Po River Delta (Northern Italy) experienced huge reclamation projects, carried on through dewatering pumps, aiming at the drainage of the wetlands in order to create new agricultural lands. This process, to be encompassed in the broader context, at that time, of a national economy based on the Primary Sector, was developed in three main stages: at the end of the 19th century, in the framework of private investments; during the Fascist Age, in the context of State-driven operations and autarchic economy; between the 1950s and the 1960s, during the Italian Land Reform (which was funded by the Marshall Plan). Phase by phase, the newly reclaimed areas saw the superimposition of an invented toponymy, which reflected the ideological and political background of the works. The paper will focus on the second and the third stages of the program above mentioned. In particular, during the Fascist Age, as obvious for a totalitarian regime, the ‘invented toponymy’ for these ‘invented lands’ was characterized by a strong nationalistic dimension, whose aim was to stimulate the national pride among the new settlers and to celebrate the policies of Fascism: the placenames of the reclamation of Gallare wetland (drained before the rise of Fascism, but partially colonized during the 1920s-1930s) referred to the Italian victories at the battles of Vittorio Veneto and Podgora (WWI); the toponymy of the reclamations of Trebba, Ponti and Isola wetlands (Municipality of Comacchio) was based, respectively, on Italian key-cities and regions (‘Roma’, ‘Milano’, ‘Bologna’, ‘Veneto’, ‘Romagna’, etc.), on Italian key-rivers (‘Tevere’, ‘Po’, ‘Rubicone’: in Fascist propaganda, rivers related to the destiny of Rome) and Alpine passes located on the ‘sacred border’ of the country (‘Sempione’, ‘Brennero’). During the Italian Land Reform, now developed under a democratic regime, the Christian Party, which led the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic for decades, adopted here the perspective of a virtual recomposition, through the placenames, of the territories which Italy had gained after WWI and had lost after WWII (Istria, Dalmatia): ‘Capodistria’, ‘Buiedistria’, ‘Portorose’, ‘Pola’, ‘Dalmazia’, etc. After the end of the Land Reform and after the institution of the ordinary statute Regions as Emilia-Romagna Region (1970), some small villages founded in the drained areas (e.g. Anita, Municipality of Argenta), now ruled by the Communist Party at the regional and local levels, decided to officialize a new urban toponymy: as a reaction to the placenames instituted by the Christian Party in the previous years, this toponymic new deal showed a leftist connotation, referring to Socialism (‘Fossa dei Socialisti’) or to Communist partisans of the WWII.
2021
Permanence, transformation, substitution and oblivion of geographical names. Abstracts
13
14
Invented Toponymy for Invented Lands. Placenames and Reclamation in the Emilia-Romagna Sector of the Po River Delta (Northern Italy), 1920s-1960s / Stefano Piastra. - ELETTRONICO. - (2021), pp. 13-14. (Intervento presentato al convegno Permanence, transformation, substitution and oblivion of geographical names tenutosi a Napoli nel 22-24 settembre 2021).
Stefano Piastra
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/831976
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