Italian units of measurement

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A variety of units of measurement were used in the various independent Italian states and Italian dependencies of foreign empires up to the unification of Italy in the 19th century. The units to measure length, volume, mass, etc., could differ widely between countries or between towns in a country (e.g. Rome and Ancona), but usually not between a country and its capital.

The Kingdom of Sardinia included the island of Sardinia and the continental areas of Piedmont (with the capital Turin) and Liguria (with Genoa). The Kingdom of Naples included the island of Sicily (with Palermo). The Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia was part of the Austrian Empire, which also shared ruling family with Modena, Parma and Tuscany (capital Florence). The Papal States included the areas of Latium (with the capital Rome), Umbria, Romagna (with Bologna) and the Marches (with Ancona).

An example of a Tavole di ragguaglio (Conversion Table) in 1860 when Tuscany became part of modern Italy.

Milan adopted the metric system in 1803, during the Napoleonic wars, albeit reusing names of older units.[1][2] After the Congress of Vienna, the various Italian states reverted to their original systems of measurements.

In 1845 Sardinia passed legislation to introduce the metric system within five years. In 1859 Lombardy (but not Venetia) was annexed. In 1860 Parma, Modena, Tuscany, Umbria, Romagna and the Marches, and the Two Sicilies (Naples) were assimilated into Sardinia and under the Law 132 of 28 July 28, 1861 the metric system became the official system of measurement throughout the (this year) Italian kingdom.[3] The last to be incorporated were Venetia (1866), and the rest of the Papal States (1870).

For historical Roman measurements see Ancient Roman units of measurement. The following is a list of units before the adoption of the metric system as well as local names for metric-based units.

Length[edit]

Units varied from one province or city to another.[2]

1 piede liprando = 0.51377 m [1][2]

1 punto (point) = ​1144 piede liprando [1][2]

1 oncia (inch) = 12 punti [1][2]

1 piede liprando (foot) = 12 oncie [1][2]

1 canna = 4 piedi liprando [1][2]

1 trabucco = ​1 12 canna [1][2]

1 miglio (mile) = ​4333 13 piedi liprando [1][2]

Lombardy–Venetia[edit]

1 punto = 12 atomi [4]

1 oncia = 12 punti [4]

1 braccio = 12 once [4]

1 braccio = 2 piedi [4]

1 miglio = 1 km [4]

Milan[edit]

1 braccio = 12 once = 0.595 m [5]

1 trabucco = 6 piedi [5]

1 piè = 15.61 in [4]

1 metro* = 1 m [1]

1 palmo* = 1 dm [1]

1 dito* = 1 cm [1]

1 atomo* = 1 mm [1]

  * renamed metric unit

Venice[edit]

1 cavezzo = 6 piedi = 2.08641 m [6]

1 braccio = 0.683 m [5]

1 piede = 0.348 m [5]

1 piè = 13.69 in [4]

Modena[edit]

1 cavezzo = 6 piedi [7]

1 piè = 20.593 in [7]

1 braccio = 22.741 in [7]

Naples[edit]

1 canna = 10 palmi = 2.646 m [5][6]

1 canna = 8 palmi [8]

1 oncia = 5 minuti [8]

1 palmo = 12 once = 10.381 in [8]

1 pertica (a.k.a. passo) = ​7 12 palmi [8]

1 miglio = 7000 palmi = 1.147 miles [8]

Sicily[edit]

1 canna = 2.06480 m [6]

1 canna = 8 palmi [6][9]

1 palmo = 9.5297 in [9]

Palermo[edit]

1 canna = 10 palmi = 2.065 m [5]

Parma[edit]

1 punto = 12 atomi [10]

1 oncia = 12 punti [10]

1 braccio di legno = 12 once [10]

1 braccio = 21.344 in [10]

1 pertica = 6 braccia [10]

1 piè = 22.428 in [10]

Papal States[edit]

1 pié = 11.592 in [11]

1 canna = 78.4 in [11]

1 palmo* = 12 once = 8.79 in [11]

1 once* = 10 decimi [11]

1 canna* = 10 palmi [11]

1 canna* = 7 1/2 piedi = 2.23190 m [6]

1 catena* = 10 stajoli = ​25 12 palmi [11]

1 pie* (foot) = 16 once = 11.72 in [11]

1 palmo = 8.796 in [11]

1 palmo = 8.347 in [11]

  * architect's   † commercial   ‡ mercer's

Rome[edit]

1 canna = 10 palmi = 2.234 m [5]

1 braccio = 30.732 in [11]

Ancona[edit]

1 pié = 15.384 in [11]

1 braccio = ​35 13 in [11]

Bologna[edit]

1 braccio = 0.64 m [5]

1 piede = 0.38 m [5]

Sardinia[edit]

1 punto = 12 atomi [12]

1 oncia = 12 punti [12]

1 piè liprando = 12 once = 20.228 in [12]

1 miglio = ​4333 13 piedi liprando = 1.3835 mile[12]

Piedmont[edit]

1 trabucco = 6 piedi liprandi = 3.096 m [5]

1 trabucco = 6 piedi liprandi [12]

1 raso = 14 oncie [12]

1 pertica = 2 trabucci [12]

1 pertica = 12 piedi liprandi = 6.16519 m [6]

Turin[edit]

1 piede = 0.293 m [5]

1 trabucco = 6 piedi liprandi [12]

1 raso = 14 oncie [12]

1 raso = 0.6 m [5]

1 pertica = 2 trabucci [12]

Genoa[edit]

1 piè manuale = ​23 piè liprando [12]

1 palmo = ​5 13 once [12]

1 palmo = 0.248 m [5]

1 braccio = ​2 13 palmi [12]

1 canna = about 9 palmi [12]

1 canna grossa = 12 palmi = 2.98914 m [6]

Tuscany[edit]

1 soldo = 12 denari [13]

1 palmo = 10 soldi = 11.49 in [13]

1 braccio = 2 palmi [13]

1 canna = 4 braccia [13]

1 canna = 5 braccii = 2.91825 m [6]

1 canna* = 5 braccia [13]

1 miglio = ​2833 13 braccia = 1.0277 mile [13]

  * architect's

Florence[edit]

1 braccio = 2 palmi = 0.583 m [5]

Mass[edit]

One libbra (pound) differed between 307[2] and 398 g.[1] Several countries used both a light and a heavy pound.

1 grano (grain) = ​16912 libbra [1][2]
1 denaro (scruple) = 24 grani [1][2]
1 ottavo (drachm) = 3 denari [1][2]
1 oncia (ounce) = 8 ottavi [1][2]
1 libbra (pound) = 12 oncie [1][2]
1 rubbo = 25 libbre [1][2]
1 cantaro = 6 rubbi [1][2]

Lombardy–Venetia[edit]

1 denaro = 10 grani [14]

1 grosso = 10 denari [14]
1 oncia = 10 grossi [14]
1 libbra metrica = 10 once = 1 kg [14]
1 rubbio = 10 libbre [14]
1 denaro* = 24 grani [14]
1 oncia* = 24 denari [14]
1 marco* = 8 once = 7.5562 troy ounce [14]

  * gold and silver   † renamed metric unit

Milan[edit]

1 libbra grossa = 28 once = 0.763 kg [5]
1 libbra nuova* = 1 kg [1]
1 oncia* = 1 hg [1]
1 grosso* = 1 dag [1]
1 denar* = 1 g [1]
1 grano* = 1 dg [1]

  * renamed metric unit

Venice[edit]

1 libbra sottile = 0.301 kg [5]
1 libbra grossa = 12 once = 0.477 kg [5]
1 centinaio sottile = 100 libbre = 30.123 kg [6]

Modena[edit]

1 oncia = 16 ferlini [7]
1 libbra (a.k.a. lira) = 12 once = 0.7044 lb [7]

Naples[edit]

1 cantaro = 100 rotoli = 89.100 kg [6]
1 rotolo = 0.861 kg [5]
1 rotolo = ​2 79 libbre [8]
1 libbra = 12 once = 0.321 kg [5]
1 libbra = 12 once = 0.70722 lb [8]
1 trapeso* = 20 accini [8]
1 dramma* = 3 trapesi (a.k.a. scrupoli)[8]
1 oncia* = 10 dramme [8]
1 libbra* = 12 once [8]
1 scrupolo = 20 accini [8]
1 drachma = 3 scrupoli [8]
1 oncia = 10 drachme [8]
1 libbra = 12 once [8]

  * gold, silver, silk, spices, drugs and pigments
  † apothecaries'

Sicily[edit]

1 libbra = 12 oncie = 0.70723 lb [9]
1 rottolo sottile = 30 oncie = 1.76 lb [9]
1 rottolo grosso = 38 oncie = 1.925 lb [9]
1 cantaro = 100 rotoli = 79.342 kg [6]

Palermo[edit]

1 cantaro = 100 rotoli = 79.34 kg [5]
1 libbra = 12 once = 0.317 kg [5]

Papal States[edit]

1 denaro = 24 grani [15]

1 oncia = 24 denari [15]
1 libbra = 12 once [15]

1 centinaio = 100 libbre = 33.907 kg [6]

Rome[edit]

1 libbra = 12 once = 0.339 kg [5]
1 libbra = 0.7477 lb [15]

Ancona[edit]

1 libbra = 0.7277 [15]

Bologna[edit]

1 libbra mercantile = 12 once = 0.362 kg [5]
1 libbra = 0.7984 [15]
1 carato = 4 grani [15]
1 ferlino = 10 carati [15]
1 ottavo = 2 ferlini [15]
1 oncia = 8 ottavi [15]
1 libbra = 12 once [15]

Parma[edit]

1 denaro = 24 grani [10]
1 oncia = 24 denari [10]
1 libbra = 12 once = 0.7197 lb [10]
1 rubbio = 25 libbre [10]

Sardinia[edit]

Piedmont[edit]

1 grano = 24 granotini [12]
1 denaro = 24 grani [12]
1 ottavo = 3 denari [12]
1 oncia = 8 ottavi [12]
1 libbra = 12 once = 0.81332 lb [12]
1 libbra* = ​1 14 marco [12]
1 marco = ​23 libbra [12]
1 rubbo = 25 libbre = 9.222 kg [6]

  * apothecaries'   † gold and silver

Turin[edit]

1 grano = 24 granotini [12]
1 denaro = 24 grani [12]
1 ottavo = 3 denari [12]
1 oncia = 8 ottavi [12]
1 libbra = 12 once = 0.81332 lb [12]
1 libbra = 12 once = 0.369 kg [5]
1 libbra* = ​1 14 marco [12]
1 marco = ​23 libbra [12]

  * apothecaries'   † gold and silver

Genoa[edit]

1 denaro = 24 grani [12]
1 oncia = 24 denari [12]
1 libbra = 12 once = 0.317 kg [5]
1 libbra = 12 once = 0.70021 lb [12]
1 libbra (peso grosso) = 12 once = 0.77023 lb [12]
1 rottolo = ​1 12 libbre [12]
1 cantaro grosso = 100 rotoli =47.650 kg [6]

Tuscany[edit]

1 denaro = 24 grani [13]
1 dramma = 3 denari [13]
1 oncia = 8 dramme [13]
1 libbra = 12 once = 0.7486 lb [13]
1 cantaro comune = 150 libbre = 50.931 kg [6]

Florence[edit]

1 libbra = 12 once = 0.3395 kg [5]

Area[edit]

1 giornata (a.k.a. quadrao) = 38 are [1]
1 tavola = ​1100 giornata [1]

Lombardy–Venetia[edit]

1 tornatura = 100 palmi2 = 1 are [4]
1 campo = 0.6881 acre [4]

Modena[edit]

1 cavezzo2 = 36 piedi2 [7]
1 tavola = 4 cavezzi2 [7]
1 biolca = 72 tavole = 0.7009 acres [7]

Naples[edit]

1 moggio = 50,626 palmi2 = 0.8684 acre [8]

Papal States[edit]

1 rubbio = 370300 palmi2* = 4.5658 acres [11]

  * architect's

Parma[edit]

1 staro = 12 tavola [10]
1 biolca = 6 stari = 0.7528 acre [10]
1 biolca = 288 pertica2 [10]

Sardinia[edit]

Piedmont[edit]

1 giornata = 100 pertica2 = 0.9393 acre [12]

Tuscany[edit]

1 saccato = 16500 braccia2 = 1.389 acre [13]


Volume (dry)[edit]

Dry and wet capacity (volume) were usually two separate systems, but a few units were universally handled, mostly in countries that had had experience with the metric system. (One of the sources do not state what subsystem they are handling).[6]

One mina varied from 12 to 120 litres.[1]

Lombardy–Venetia[edit]

1 pinta* = 10 coppi = 1 litre [4]
1 mina* = 10 pinte [4]
1 soma* = 10 mine [4]

  * renamed metric unit

Venice[edit]

1 moggio = 8 mezzeni = 333.3 litres [5]

Milan[edit]

1 moggio = 8 stala = 146.2 litres [5]
1 soma* = 1 hl [1]
1 mina* = 1 dal [1]
1 pinta* = 1 l [1]
1 coppo* = 1 dl [1]

  * renamed metric unit

Modena[edit]

1 sacco = 2 staja [7]
1 stajo = 1.9978 bushels [7]

Naples[edit]

1 tomolo = 55.54 litres [5]
1 tomolo = 24 misure = 1.5646 bushels [16]
1 carro = 36 tomoli [16]

Sicily[edit]

1 salma generale = 7.8 bushels [9]
1 salma grosso = 10 bushels [9]

Palermo[edit]

1 salma = 4 bisace = 275 litres [5]
1 salma = 16 tomoli [5]

Parma[edit]

1 mina = 8 quarteroli [10]
1 stajo (a.k.a. staro) = 2 mine = 1.334 bushels [10]

Papal States[edit]

1 scorzo = 4 quartucci [11]
1 starello = ​1 38 scorzi [11]
1 quarta = 4 starelli [11]
1 rubbio = 4 quarte [11]

Rome[edit]

1 rubbio = 8.355 bushels [15]
1 rubbio = 22 scorzi = 294.5 litres [5]

Ancona[edit]

1 rubbio = 7.974 bushels [15]

Bologna[edit]

1 quarterone = 4 quarticini [15]
1 stajo = 4 quarteroni [15]
1 corba (dry and liquid) = 2 staja [15]
1 corba (dry and liquid) = 2.232 bushels
(20.7617 gallons, liquid) [15]
1 corba = 2 staia = 60 boccali = 78.6 litres [5]

Sardinia[edit]

Turin[edit]

1 copello = 20 cucchiari [12]
1 quartière = 4 copelli [12]
1 mina = 2 quartière [12]
1 stajo = 2 mine [12]
1 sacco = 3 staje = 3.2635 bushels [12]
1 sacco = 5 mine = 115.3 litres [5]

Genoa[edit]

1 quarto = 12 gombette [12]
1 mina = 8 quarti = 2.4804 gallons [12]
1 mina = 116.5 litres [5]

Tuscany[edit]

1 quartuccio = 2 bussoli [13]
1 mezzetta = 2 quartucci [13]
1 metadella = 2 mezzette [13]
1 quarto = 4 metadelle [13]
1 mina = 2 quarti [13]
1 stajo = 2 mine [13]
1 sacco = 3 staja [13]
1 moggio = 8 sacci = 16.5904 bushels [13]

Florence[edit]

1 moggio = 8 sacca = 584.7 litres [5]

Volume (liquids)[edit]

1 barile da vino* = 45.6 l [1]
1 barile da olio = 33.4 l [1]

  * wine   † oil

Lombardy–Venetia[edit]

1 pinta* = 10 coppi = 1 litre [4]
1 mina* = 10 pinte [4]
1 soma* = 10 mine [4]

  * renamed metric unit

Venice[edit]

1 quartuccio = 4 gotti = 0.6707 l [6]

Milan[edit]

1 brenta = 96 boccali = 75.6 litres [5]
1 soma* = 1 hl [1]
1 mina* = 1 dal [1]
1 pinta* = 1 l [1]
1 coppo* = 1 dl [1]

  * renamed metric unit

Modena[edit]

1 fiasco = 2 boccali = 0.55028 gallon [7]
1 barile = 20 fiasci [7]

Naples[edit]

1 barile* = 60 caraffi [8]
1 botta* = 12 barile [8]
1 botte* = 12 barili = 523.5 litres [5]
1 carro* = 2 botti [8]
1 caraffa = 3 bicchieri = 0.7271 l [6]
1 caraffa* = 0.1929 gallons [8]
1 quarto = 6 misurelle [16]
1 stajo = 16 quarti = 2.61633 gallons [16]
1 stajo = 20 pignate [16]
1 salma = 16 staja [16]

  * wine and spirits   † oil

Sicily[edit]

1 quartuccio = 4 bicchieri = 0.8597 l [6]

1 salma = 22 gallons [9]

Papal States[edit]

1 foglietta = 4 quartucci [11]
1 boccale = 1.8232 l [6]
1 boccale = 4 fogliette [6][11]
1 barile = 32 boccale [11]
1 barile* = 15.412 gallon [11]
1 barile = 15.185 gallon [11]
1 botte = 16 barile [11]

  * wine   † oil

Rome[edit]

1 soma = 43.386 gallons [11]
1 barile = 32 boccali = 75.5 litres [5]

Ancona[edit]

1 soma = 18.49 gallons [11]

Bologna[edit]

1 boccale = 4 fogliette [11]
1 quarterone = 15 boccale [11]
1 corba = 4 quarterone [11]
1 corba = 2 staia = 60 boccali = 78.6 litres [5]
1 boccale = 0.346 gallon [11]

Parma[edit]

See Milan and Lombardy–Venetia.[10]

Sardinia[edit]

Piedmont[edit]

1 boccale = 2 quartini [12]
1 pinta = 2 boccali [12]
1 pinta = 4 quartini = 1.3696 l [6]
1 rubbio = 6 pinte = 2.4804 gallons [12]
1 brenta = 6 rubbi [12]
1 carro = 10 brente [12]

Turin[edit]

1 boccale = 2 quartini [12]
1 pinta = 2 boccali [12]
1 rubbio = 6 pinte = 2.4804 gallons [12]
1 brenta = 6 rubbi [12]
1 carro = 10 brente [12]
1 carro = 10 brente = 493.11 litres [5]

Genoa[edit]

1 amola = 4 quarti = 0.8833 l [6]
1 barile = 90 amole [12]
1 barile = 50 pinte = 17.084 gallons [12]
1 barile = 70 litres [5]
1 mezzaruòla = 2 barilli [12]

Tuscany[edit]

1 mezzetta* = 2 quartucci [13]
1 boccale* = 2 mezzette [13]
1 boccale = 4 quartucci = 1.1396 l [6]
1 fiasco* = 2 boccale [13]
1 barile* = 20 fiasci = 12.0444 gallons = ​133 13 libbre (weight)[13]
1 barile = 20 fiasci = 12.0444 gallons = 120 libbre (weight)[13]
1 barile = 16 fiasci = 120 libbre (weight)[13]
1 soma = 2 barile [13]

  * wine   † spirits   ‡ oil

Florence[edit]

1 barile* = 20 fiaschi = 45.6 litres [5]
1 barile = 16 fiaschi = 33.43 litres [5]

  * wine   † oil

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al Washburn 1926, p. 8.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Cardarelli 2003, p. 87.
  3. ^ Borgato 2006.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Clarke 1891, p. 80.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar Cardarelli 2003, p. 88.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Meyers Konversations-Lexikon 1897, p. 1024c.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Clarke 1891, p. 52.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Clarke 1891, p. 53.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h Clarke 1891, p. 69.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Clarke 1891, p. 58.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac Clarke 1891, p. 63.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb Clarke 1891, p. 67.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z Clarke 1891, p. 76.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h Clarke 1891, p. 81.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Clarke 1891, p. 64.
  16. ^ a b c d e f Clarke 1891, p. 54.

References[edit]

Borgato, Maria Teresa (6–9 September 2006). "The first applications of the metric system in Italy" (PDF). The Global and the Local:The History of Science and the Cultural Integration of Europe. Proceedings of the 2nd ICESHS. Cracow, Poland: The Press of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 17 March 2011.

Cardarelli, F. (2003). Encyclopaedia of Scientific Units, Weights and Measures. Their SI Equivalences and Origins. London: Springer. ISBN 978-1-4471-1122-1.

Clarke, F.W. (1891). Weights Measures and Money of All Nations. New York: D. Appleton & Company.

"Maß". Meyers Konversations-Lexikon (in German). 11 (5th ed.). Leipzig and Vienna: Bibliographisches Institut. 1897. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |encyclopedia= (help)

Washburn, E.W. (1926). International Critical Tables of Numerical Data, Physics, Chemistry and Technology. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc.