Dalla Zuanna, Giampiero - Rossi, Fiorenzo - Di Tullio, Matteo - Leverotti, Franca (2011) La demografia del Centro e Nord Italia all'alba dell'etÃ Â moderna. Un confronto fra dati di stato di tre aree: Legnago (VR), Contado di Lucca e Varesotto. The population of North and Central Italy at the beginning of Modern Age. A comparison of the state of population of three sites: Legnago, country of Lucca, Varesotto. [Working Paper] WORKING PAPER SERIES, 3/2011 . , PADOVA (Inedito)
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Introduced centuries before the appearance of parish registries and the Stati Animarum, fiscal cadastres provide precious information concerning demographic differences within Italy during the Late Middle Ages and early Modern Age. Despite the laborious process of gathering data and some limitations due to incompleteness, cadastres beg consideration in investigations of population trends. In fact, careful analysis reveals a plethora of information concerning both individuals and families. In this article, we compare the demography of three different areas in central-northern Italy: the contado of Lucca in 1411 (Tuscany, 5,792 individuals), the countryside surrounding Varese in 1530 (Lombardy, 2,703), and the city of Legnago in 1430 (Veneto, 2,101). Certainly it is difficult to understand to what extent profound differences in age and sex structure among Lucca, Varese and Legnago were due to diverse demographic dynamics (epidemics, mortality and fertility, selective migrations by sex and age), or instead to disparities in the underreporting of both children (especially female) and unmarried women. Of better quality are the data on age at marriage, family structures, and the cycle of family life, especially for men. In the countryside surrounding Varese and Lucca, men married around the age of 23. The former, however, built a separate nuclear family, while the latter trought their wives to live in the parental home, and thus would wait in some cases more than a decade to become the head of the household. Data from Legnago reveal yet another pattern. Men tended to marry later, followed by a 5-year period of cohabitation in the parental home. Such results are in line with differences by types of family distribution. The great territorial diversity of family structures and nuptial norms characteristic of 18th and 19th century Italy were already present three to four centuries earlier.
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