Essays on local and regional Italian agriculture (1880-1929): sharecropping in Siena

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ESSAY 1 The problem of the initiation of agrarian growth, which had affected by historiography in the first decade of the second half of the twentieth century, began to attract new attention within the debate between historians and economists, thus paving the way for further epistemological interpretations. This study, starting from a literature review, aims at the identification of the fundamental elements of the Italian agriculture’s taking off during the 80s of the 19th Century. ESSAY 2 This essay studies the effects of the 1880s cereal crisis at a micro level. It looks at the sharecropping system of southern Tuscany from 1858 to 1889 by observing the production trend of a large property Canonica, located in Certaldo (Tuscany), a municipality between Siena and Florence. The results obtained showed that Canonica did not suffer the effects of the cereal crisis of the 1880s, but showed an improvement in the production of wheat, oil and, especially, wine. There was also an increase in the use of fertilizers which resulted in an improvement in grain yields. The comparison with the aggregate production of the provinces of Siena and Florence and the region of Tuscany allowed to conclude that Canonica presented a production trend similar to that of the province of Siena. ESSAY 3 This chapter looks at the effects of economic shocks on agriculture in the province of Siena, a region with a large agricultural sector and a predominance of sharecropping. The study is based with original and homogeneous data at a municipal level from 1884 to 1929. Before the 1880s, wheat accounted for a large part of the cultivated area of Siena, vines were grown mainly in promiscuous cultivation, and olive trees were widespread across the province. The economic shocks that occurred during 1880-1929 resulted in a shift of production from cereals to wine, showing than landowners and sharecroppers responded to the cereal crisis. By 1929 the arrival of phylloxera to the Chianti region temporarily reversed the expansion of wine in Siena. This chapter shows that Siena was the province of Tuscany with the highest number of agricultural technicians in the region and the use fertilizer per hectare increased after the 1920s.
Agriculture, Growth, Protectionism, Wheat, Liberal State, Sharecropping, Tuscany, Micro, Siena, Shocks, Production
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