|A reversal of trend in the Italian health transition largely ignored|
|The Italian statistical sources document for 1911 an increase of mortality especially at the extreme ages in most of the Italian regions, in particular in the South of the country. This mortality “crisis” has been largely ignored in the demographic literature and climate has not been evocated, as far as we know, as the main responsible of this reversal of trend in the Italian mortality decline. Even so the summer of 1911 was particularly hot and with violent downpours, as shown in the weather re-ports of the time
The first aim of this paper is to measure this mortality increase and to analyse the seasonality of deaths, their age and sex structure, the role of the various causes of death, as well as the territorial differences which characterised the Italian experience. A preliminary analysis of the data shows a major incidence of specific causes of death, such as gastroenteritis, typhus, malaria, and tuberculosis. For some Southern regions, there are also evidences of deaths caused by cholera and smallpox.
We intend also to explore the contemporary medical and demographic literature, as well as the na-tional and local press, and to verify if there where political reactions to this mortality emergence.
In the last part of the paper we will focus our attention to the Sardinian experience, using archival documents and records. These sources are of particular interest because they provide evidence of the political reactions, the health policies and the sanitary interventions carried out by the local au-thorities. It will be of particular interest to verify in which measure the local authorities were able to take advantage of the lessons derived from the past mortality emergences.