Under the terms of the 1948 constitution, Italy is divided into 20 regions. Five of these regions (Sicily, Sardinia, Trentino–Alto Adige, Friuli–Venezia Giulia, and the Valle d'Aosta) have been granted semiautonomous status, although the powers of self-government delegated from Rome have not been sufficient to satisfy the militant separatists, especially in Alto Adige. Legislation passed in 1968 granted the remaining 15 regions an even more limited degree of autonomy. All the regions elect regional councils, which have so far been dominated by the Christian Democrats and the Communists, although various regional movements have been gaining ground. The councils, which are elected by universal franchise under a proportional system analogous to that of the parliament at Rome, are empowered to choose regional presidents and regional governing boards. A commissioner in each region represents the federal government.
The regions are subdivided into provinces, which are, in turn, subdivided into communes—townships, cities, and towns—that constitute the basic units of local administration. Communes are governed by councils elected by universal suffrage for a four-year term. The council elects a mayor and a board of aldermen to administer the commune.