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02/03/2021

LE IMPRESE DI COSTRUZIONI ITALIANE: UNA STORIA TUTTA DA SCRIVERE ITALIAN CONSTRUCTION COMPANIES: A STORY YET TO BE WRITTEN

L Industria delle costruzioni - Tullia Iori Ordinario di Architettura tecnica Dipartimento di I

nel 1962), diretta dal 1957 da Pellegrino Gallo, avvia proprio in uno dei lotti dell'Autosole le sue pionieristiche sperimentazioni sulla prefabbricazione. La Sogene, la cui attività nel settore comincia nel 1945 e che nel 1961 ha già 1 miliardo di lire di capitale versato, vince nel 1957 l'appalto-concorso per il viadotto sul Sambro, con il progetto di Morandi, che poi la condurrà, nel 1959, a vincere la licitazione privata per la costruzione del gigantesco arco della Fiumarella, a Catanzaro. Nel frattempo, la Società Italiana per Condotte d'Acqua, nata nel 1880 con scopi dichiarati nella denominazione e con il già enorme capitale sociale di 20 milioni di lire, in previsione della nazionalizzazione dell'energia elettrica amplia il campo di attività: nel 1961 vince con Morandi l'appalto-concorso per il viadotto sul Polcevera a Genova. Nel 1965 il suo capitale sociale ammonta già a 7 miliardi di lire. Anche le ditte Girola e Lodigiani si sono concentrate, fino al 1963, soprattutto sul ben più impegnativo settore idroelettrico, rendendosi protagoniste della costruzione delle dighe progettate da Claudio Marcello (cfr. l'industria delle costruzioni n. 476/2020 p. 108). Quante imprese, quanti ingegneri: i più bravi del mondo, ci dicono. È un momento d'oro. Lo chiameremo "miracolo". E poi che succede? Cambia tutto, già a partire dal 1963. La crisi economica riduce gli investimenti nelle opere pubbliche, che sono ormai appaltati da enti come l'Anas che non hanno i soldi in cassa per pagare i lavori. Le rivendicazioni sindacali edili fanno raddoppiare, alla fine degli anni '60, la paga oraria; poi introducono la settimana "corta", le ferie e la cassa malattia facendo lievitare i costi della manodopera. Le ditte che puntano sulla forza lavoro e non riescono ad adeguarsi velocemente al nuovo corso, non resistono agli aumenti degli stipendi e ai ritardi nei pagamenti degli stati di avanzamento. E falliscono. Una dopo l'altra. Solo per citare qualche esempio: nel 1963 viene liquidata la Bajocchini, Cinti & Rinversi e nel 1970 cessa l'attività la Fratelli Giovannetti. Negli stessi anni, la Nervi & Bartoli smette di operare. Anche la Ferrobeton, che ha raggiunto un capitale sociale di 3 miliardi di lire, nel 1970 va in amministrazione controllata e viene liquidata (ma in questo caso perché travolta da uno scandalo). La politica delle opere pubbliche cambia. L'autostrada Salerno-Reggio Calabria è il simbolo della trasformazione: ormai è tutto diverso dai tempi dell'Autosole. I 450 km di percorso sono divisi in 7 tronchi, da 10 lotti ciascuno, la cui costruzione è appaltata a poche ditte, le più grandi in quel momento, tra cui Astaldi, Condotte, Edilstrade, Farsura, Ferrocemento, Lodigiani, Vianini. Cambiano le procedure, i prezzi aumentano, si accumulano i ritardi, sebbene in fase esecutiva si ricorra a una crescente meccanizzazione dei procedimenti costruttivi. I viadotti più impegnativi del tracciato sono risolti sorprendentemente con impalcati metallici, per obbedire all'invito di Stato a consumare l'acciaio prodotto in eccesso nei nuovi impianti siderurgici, come lo stabilimento di Taranto. L'appalto per la costruzione del viadotto Italia sul Lao è vinto nel 1966 dalla Lodigiani, che affida alla Badoni la travata d'acciaio; il monumentale viadotto sulla fiumara dello Sfalassà, progettato da Zorzi, è costruito dalla Impresit, con Montecatini e Torno, affidando alla storica Savigliano la produzione delle componenti metalliche. Il mercato interno però non riparte e la crisi peggiora: le imprese, per sopravvivere, devono partire alla conquista del mondo. Lo hanno già fatto i costruttori di dighe, dopo la contrazione degli investimenti a seguito anche della tragedia del Vajont. Adesso ci provano le imprese che realizzano strade e ponti. Ma non è facile: principalmente a causa del "nanismo" delle società. La politica di frazionamento degli appalti, che aveva funzionato così bene per l'Autosole, garantendo il rapido completamento dell'intera opera con progetti di qualità, non ha favorito il rafforzamento delle imprese più grandi, che all'estero non possono vantare curricula con lavori rilevanti, competitivi con le omologhe europee e nord americane. Le società di ingegneria che potrebbero, con le loro capacità progettuali, agevolare il successo delle imprese, in patria sono costrette a operare in regime di semiclandestinità per una legge anacronistica del 1939 e non riescono a raggiungere una dimensione concorrenziale. Italconsult, fondata nel 1957 e definita il "club del golf" dell'ingegneria italiana, dimostra quanto valga un biglietto da visita che illustri all'estero il nostro lavoro. La sua attività "diplomatica" è dietro molte opere italiane realizzate oltre confine, per esempio il ponte sul Wadi Kuf in Libia, progettato da Morandi e costruito dalla Cogefar di Angelo Farsura (1965-1971) o i ponti sul Paranà, in Argentina (19651973), tra Chaco e Corrientes e tra Zarate e Brazo Largo, appaltati a consorzi di ditte nazionali. Per vincere le gare internazionali, infatti, bisogna necessariamente associarsi: Ferrocemento, Impresit, Lodigiani, Recchi, Girola all'estero si muovono in gruppo, ma l'identità del prodotto italiano si perde con la lontananza dei cantieri. In Patria i capolavori "postumi" di questa fase restano rare eccezioni: alcuni sono frutto della passione per la sperimentazione di imprenditori fuori dal comune, come Farsura, che asseconda il tentativo di Zorzi di non rinunciare al getto in opera e al raffinato "design strutturale"; altri a ditte che non leggono bene i disegni quando si azzardano a fare l'offerta per la costruzione di ponti come quello dalla "forma senza nome" di Sergio Musmeci a Potenza. Negli anni '80 tutto è ormai diverso, è cambiato proprio il modo di costruire. Il cantiere artigianale ha lasciato il posto alla prefabbricazione in officina: le parole d'ordine sono semplificare e standardizzare; anche sovradimensionare, perché impiegare al meglio il materiale non è più il segreto del successo. Le imprese di costruzioni hanno perso il nome del proprietario, hanno liquidato anche i tanti figli e nipoti a ruoli marginali e guadagnato consigli di amministrazione e amministratori delegati. Il sistema ne favorisce la trasformazione in società finanziarie, capaci di destreggiarsi nelle paludi della burocrazia e nella pletora di leggi in continuo aggiornamento. La stagione dell'appalto-concorso tramonta e, in nome dell'accelerazione delle procedure, per le grandi opere si prevedono affidamenti a trattativa privata mediante concessione senza onere di gestione. E il progetto di qualità, indispensabile solo qualche anno prima, non è più così necessario: in un mercato con meno competitori, meglio potenziare l'ufficio gare che l'ufficio tecnico; e provare a venire a capo di revisioni dei prezzi, varianti e penali. Nel 1992 scoppia lo scandalo Tangentopoli: quello che viene fuori dall'inchiesta Mani Pulite racconta per filo e per segno il cambiamento avvenuto nei decenni precedenti nel mondo delle costruzioni. Scrive Fedele Cova, protagonista della fase eroica dell'ingegneria italiana del miracolo: "Con la fine dell'Autosole, cominciarono gli appetiti, le interferenze [...] i politici non desideravano più discutere, ma solo comandare [...] i tecnici non contavano più niente". Tra processi e allontanamento dalle gare, gli uomini che hanno costruito e ricostruito il patrimonio della Scuola italiana di ingegneria del Novecento spariscono definitivamente, talvolta nell'umiliazione: le ditte più operative all'estero resistono, inglobano le altre, cambiano nome e cancellano la storia. Qualcuno si chiederà: a che serve ricostruire questa storia? Meglio guardare al futuro. Ma il futuro si scrive da ciò che siamo oggi: e conoscere come siamo arrivati qui, aiuta a scegliere la direzione per domani. Le scelte politiche, sociali, economiche prese in alcuni momenti hanno condizionato il percorso in modo irreversibile: si potevano tracciare altre strade, si sarebbero raggiunti altri mondi. Il tessuto imprenditoriale italiano è stato determinato da decisioni politiche, che in qualche momento sono sembrate le più sagge: conoscerle può aiutare non certo a non commettere errori oggi, ma almeno a prendere le prossime con maggiore consapevolezza. The story of Italian construction companies during the twentieth century is difficult to write. This is demonstrated by the fact it has yet to be done: no general history or critical monographs on individual companies. It is different than writing the story of an industry: this is relatively simple. Instead, while a construction company has both a headquarters and an archive, its real actions take place on the construction site, in thousands of different places, with many different people, with various projects and different clients; it works by adapting to situations that often become the reason for its progress. When a construction is complete, its important aspects are not collected in a diary. The built work may perhaps be recorded briefly in a year-end summary, though without any juicy details. Construction companies have a peculiarity: they sell a product they haven't yet produced. Unlike those who sell an automobile, a clothing collection or a fine wine, there is no test-drive, runway presentation or tasting of their wares. A contractor must capture a client's trust based on its track record, which backs the credibility of the price offered for a new work. This catalogue of built works, of problems confronted and resolved, should be calling card for any builder: however, these companies often limit themselves to a few coffee table books for "advertising". They are written by the communications department, and not by the technical office or a historian. This story is even more difficult to reconstruct in Italy, owing to the gradual disappearance of large construction companies. We tried for many years to write this story with the SIXXI research into the history of structural engineering in Italy. Large Italian construction companies first appeared after unification. For decades the peninsula was dominated by foreign companies: they built the first railway lines, ports, railway stations and much more. With unification the political context took form, and the future became more stable. And so Italian investors began taking risks in this sector. Despite a foreign majority, in this case Belgian, there was also Italian business capital in the Impresa Industriale Italiana di Costruzioni Metalliche; founded in 1873 and based in Naples it built some 4,000 bridges across Italy in only a few decades. Most importantly, production was concentrated in the factory in Castellammare di Stabia, where the labourers were Italian, the technical director and head designer the half Neapolitan and half Alsatian Alfredo Cottrau. The Savigliano company was founded in 1880 in Turin in an analogous manner. The company's works include the magnificent San Michele bridge across the Adda River at Paderno: while the majority of shares were in Belgian hands, the facility was located in Savigliano and directed by Ottavio Moreno (though the technical office was headed by the Swiss designer Jules Röthlisberger). It comes as little surprise that steel construction, so foreign to our world, devoid of know-how in this field, interested foreign more than national investors. Then, in 1892, reinforced concrete made its appearance: at least until the First World War this material remained under a patent. To use it required a licence or the acquisition of rights from reliable, and always foreign, monopolies. The few companies who learned to work with this new material soon found themselves building bridges across the peninsula. The "Porcheddu ing. G.A." company from Turin, concessionaire for Northern Italy of the French Hennebique patent, depended on the main company in Paris, but hired graduates from the nearby Polytechnical school. Most importantly, it worked autonomously on site, from the bridge across the Bormida River near Millesimo, from 1902, to the Ponte del Risorgimento spanning the Tiber in Rome, from 1911: a record span of 100 metres. Its business capital was 4 million Italian lire in 1909. The same can be said of the Odorico company from Milan, which held the rights to the Matrai and Melan patents, also foreign: its projects, including the beautiful bridge across the Tagliamento at Pinzano from 1906, were designed by the Italian Giuseppe Vacchelli. "The Società anonima italiana Ferrobeton, sistema Wayss & Freytag" was founded in 1908. Using the "Monier system" reimagined in Germany, its ambition was to work across Italy, though its business capital was only 1 million lira, 800 of which were paid in by the German company. It would become one of the leading figures of the twentieth century in Italy. When these patents expired during the interwar period, reinforced concrete became available to anyone, and the number of companies in Italy multiplied: they were small companies, even those that built bridges, as Luigi Santarella and Eugenio Miozzi tell us in their reconnaissance of projects in reinforced concrete. Only Ferrobeton, however, which increased its busines capital to 10 million lira at the end of the 1920s and freed itself of German control, before further increasing this value to 24 million at the dawn of the Second World War, managed to keep the large projects initiated by the Fascist regime up and running: they include, among others, the bridges along the heavy traffic artery between Genoa and the Po Valley, the bridge across the Venice Lagoon and, from the same period, in the South, the bridge across the Lao River in Cosenza. All works of notable quality, thanks also to the skills of their designer and director of the technical office, Giulio Krall, a Neapolitan engineer and university professor of Mathematics. However, a large all-purpose contractor, able to work anywhere in the country, remained an exception in Italy. This was the period that gave us the Nervi & Bartoli company, founded in 1932 by Pier Luigi Nervi together with his cousin Giovanni Bartoli: 1 million lira of busines capital, invested 50/50 by its two partners. The company initially operated in Lazio and its neighbouring regions (its first commission was the municipal stadium in Florence, one of its masterpieces), and only occasionally participated in tenders organised by State Monopolies that took it farther afield. Later, after the invasion of Ethiopia and the application of sanctions by the United Nations, Italy adopted a policy of autarky, and then war broke out. When public works were interrupted, many companies faced difficulties in weathering the crisis. After the war, the world of engineering was committed to rebuilding infrastructures devastated by Allied bombs and the mines of German saboteurs: the companies entrusted with the reconstruction were minuscule. There was a need for many, distributed in a capillary manner across the country. Often, to acquire a commission the drive and guile of a company's partners was enough. We can mention the companies that worked with Riccardo Morandi on the construction of his early bridges. The Giovanetti brothers, whose business capital in 1945 was 500,000 lira, silently aided Morandi during the war with his pioneering experiments in pretensioning. The Grassetto company, founded in 1951 in Padua with 1 million lira of capital, received its first important commission in 1954: 7 kilometres of the Pompei-Salerno motorway financed by the Cassa del Mezzogiorno 1 . The company built the beautiful sequence of thin-arch bridges with structural decks designed by Antonio Benini (and immediately raised its business capital to 5 million lira). These tiny companies were awarded very competitive tenders-competitions, against such bidders as Ferrobeton. After increasing its business capital in 1946 to 60 million lira, in comparison, it was a giant: but this didn't matter. What counted was the quality of design, and the true competition was between Krall, Morandi, Benini, Cobianchi and the other engineers "in uniform" who designed with quality and care, respected the budget and highlighted the potentialities of the companies they worked with: tenders were awarded to the best project, in each specific case. To preserve the relationship of trust with a designer, builders committed themselves to perfection. Then came the economic boom; it was felt above all in relations with boards of directors. In 1954, in the wake of Morandi's successes and his pretensioning system, the capital of the Giovannetti company leapt to 30 million lira, with new partners among the family's members: in 1957 the Venezuelan arm of the company, with a design by Morandi, was awarded the tender-competition for the bridge spanning Lake Maracaibo. Pier Luigi Nervi's company, the holder of his many patents, was still very small when it built the Salone B at the Torino Esposizioni in 1949, and the Palazzetto dello Sport in Rome's Flaminio district in 1957. The following year it increased its business capital to 30 million lira, as the engineer's sons joined the company: it was commissioned to build other masterpieces for the 1960 Rome Olympics and the Italia '61 celebrations in Turin. In the meantime, works began on the most important post-war adventure in construction: the Autostrada del Sole 2 . It would have been possible to divide its 800 km into a few lots and assign them to robust companies. But no: the choice was made to respect the local fabric of business and provide work for everyone - and this meant everyone - by assigning very small lots of only a few kilometres, and one bridge. This explains the sequence of infrastructural works, each different from the next, spanning the length of the motorway: the companies invited to bid, always different and the majority selected from the territory being crossed, sought help from the most famous designers and did the best job they could. So the Rizzani company built the bridge across the Po River, designed by Silvano Zorzi, the Romagnoli company built the bridge over the Aglio by Guido Oberti, Garbarino, Sciaccaluga & Mezzacane the Poggettone and Pecora Vecchia viaducts by Arrigo Carè and Giorgio Giannelli, and the De Lieto company completed the San Giuliano viaduct by Carlo Cestelli Guidi. Only one lot was awarded to Ferrobeton, which hired Krall to design the Merizzano and Gambellato viaducts. This occasion also witnessed the arrival of new larger contractors, destined to dominate the years to come. Astaldi, founded in 1926 by Sante Astaldi with a capital investment of 300,000 lira (increased to 3 million lira in 1946 and 500 million in 1960) built the bridges across the Arno River at Levane and Incisa for the Autosole , both designed by Zorzi. The Ferrocemento company, founded in Genoa in 1932 with a business capital of 120,000 lira (raised to 300 million in 1962), directed from 1957 by Pellegrino Gallo, began its pioneering experiments with prefabrication in one the lots assigned for the Autosole . Sogene, whose activities began in 1945 and by 1961 already boasted a fully paid up business capital of 1 billion lira, was awarded the tender-competition for the Sambro viaduct in 1957, based on the design by Morandi. This led, in 1959, to the private commission for the construction of the gigantic arched bridge spanning the Fiumarella River in Catanzaro. In the meantime, the Società Italiana per Condotte d'Acqua was founded in 1880 for the purposes declared in its name (Italian Company for Water Pipes). Already with an enormous capital of 20 million lira, in view of the nationalisation of electrical energy, it expanded its field of activity: in 1961, together with Morandi, the company was awarded the tender-competition for the viaduct across the Polcevera in Genoa. So many contractors, so many engineers: the best in the world, they tell us. It was a golden era. We call it the "miracle". Then what happened? Everything changed, as early as 1963. The economic crisis reduced investments in public works, now tendered by entities such as ANAS ( Azienda Nazionale Autonoma delle Strade , National Autonomous Roads Corporation) without any money in the bank to pay for finished works. Claims advanced by labour unions doubled hourly wages at the end of the 1960s; then came the "short" week, holidays and sick leave, which further raised labour costs. Companies dependent on their labour force and unable to rapidly adapt to these changes were unable to weather increased wages and delayed progress of work payments. They collapsed. One after the other. The politics of public works changed. The Salerno-Reggio Calabria motorway is the symbol of this transformation: everything was different from the era of the Autosole . Its 450 km were divided into 7 sections, each comprised of 10 lots, whose construction was tendered to a limited number of companies, the largest in operation at the time and including Astaldi, Condotte, Edilstrade, Farsura, Ferrocemento, Lodigiani and Vianini. Procedures changed, prices rose, delays mounted, despite the growing use of mechanised construction practices. The internal market failed to restart and the crisis worsened: to survive, contractors were forced to conquer the rest of the world. This had already been achieved by builders of dams, in the wake of the contraction in investments that followed the Vajont tragedy. Now it was the turn of builders of motorways and bridges. This was no easy feat: owing principally to the "stunted" size of these companies. The policy of fragmenting tenders, which had worked so well for the Autosole , guaranteeing the rapid completion of the entire project and its quality, had not favoured the reinforcement of larger companies. Thus they were unable in foreign markets to boast curricula listing relevant projects, competitive with their European and North American counterparts. Those engineering companies that, for their technical capacities, could guarantee the success of contractors, were forced in Italy to work in a sort of semi-clandestine regime owing to an anachronistic law from 1939 and never managed to achieve a competitive dimension. In fact, to win international tenders they were forced to form associations: Ferrocemento, Impresit, Lodigiani, Recchi, Girola moved as one abroad, however the identity of their Italian production was lost as job sites grew further away. Back home, the "posthumous" masterpieces of this phase remained rare exceptions: some were the result of the passion for experimentation by unusual entrepreneurs, such as Farsura, whose shared Zorzi's desire not to renounce in situ casting and sophisticated "structural design"; others were the work of companies who failed to study drawings when hazarding a price for the construction of bridges like that with a "nameless form" designed by Sergio Musmeci in Potenza. During the 1980s everything was different; the way of building changed. The artisanal job site was replaced by offsite prefabrication: the watchwords became simplification and standardisation; even over-dimensioning, because the best possible use of each material was no longer the secret for success. Contractors shed the names' of their owners, the system favoured their transformation into financial companies, capable of wending their way through the bureaucratic mire and plethora of constantly changing laws. The season of the tender-competition came to an end and, in the name of accelerated procedures, large projects were awarded through private negotiation that included the concession of management costs. In 1992 the Tangentopoli 3 scandal broke. Court cases and bans on participating in tenders definitively drove away, in some cases in humiliation, those who had built and rebuilt the legacy of twentieth century Italian engineering: those companies with the highest number of operations abroad resisted, absorbed others, and changed their name. Some will ask: what use is there in reconstructing this story? Wouldn't it be better to look to the future? However, the future is written based on who we are today: understanding how we arrived here helps us choose the direction for tomorrow. Political, social and economic choices made at particular moments have irreversibly conditioned what came next: other paths were possible, we could have reached other worlds. The Italian business community was formed by political decisions that appeared the wisest at some point in time: while being familiar with them may not necessarily guarantee we don't make the same mistakes today, it might assist us in making the next ones with greater awareness. Ferrobeton, ponte sul Gambellato per l'Autostrada del Sole, G. Krall, 1959 Ferrobeton, bridge across Gambellato river along Autostrada del Sole, G. Krall, 1959 (@SIXXIdata) Lodigiani con Badoni, ponte sul Lao per l'autostrada Salerno-Reggio Calabria, 1965-1970 Lodigiani with Badoni, bridge across Lao river along Salerno-Reggio Calabria highway, 1965-1970 (@SIXXIdata) Impresa Girola, viadotto Fichera per l'autostrada Palermo-Catania, S. Zorzi, 1968-1972 Impresa Girola, Fichera viaduct along Palermo-Catania highway, S. Zorzi, 1968-1972
di Tullia Iori Ordinario di Architettura tecnica Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile e Informatica - Università di Roma Tor Vergata; responsabile del Progetto SIXXI - Storia dell'Ingegneria strutturale in Italia Gianluca Capurso Ricercatore del progetto SIXXI Carolina Di Pietro Phd del progetto SIXXI
Il progetto di ricerca SIXXI, finanziato da un ERC Advanced Grant, mira a ricostruire la storia dell'ingegneria strutturale italiana del XX secolo. La ricerca, avviata da Sergio Poretti e da Tullia Iori, è condotta all'Università di Roma Tor Vergata. Si rimanda per tutti i dettagli ai volumi da 1 a 5 della serie: T. Iori, S. Poretti (a cura di), SIXXI. Storia dell'ingegneria strutturale in Italia , Gangemi 2014-2020. In particolare, si veda: G. Capurso, F. Martire, La crisi (in)visibile 19642001. Cronache italiane , in SIXXI 3 , Gangemi 2015; T. Iori, S. Poretti (a cura di), Fotoromanzo SIXXI. 9. Capolavori postumi, 10. Alla ricerca di una nuova identità , in SIXXI 5 , Gangemi 2020.
Sopra, Impresa Industriale Italiana di Costruzioni Metalliche, ponte sul Pescara per la ferrovia Pescara-Popoli, 1873. A fianco, Società Porcheddu Ing. G.A., ponte sulla Bormida a Millesimo, 1902 Above, Impresa Industriale Italiana di Costruzioni Metalliche, bridge across Pescara river along Pescara-Popoli railway, 1873. Beside, Società Porcheddu Ing. G.A., bridge across Bormida in Millesimo, 1902 (@SIXXIdata)Società italiana per condotte d'acqua, ponte sul Polcevera a Genova, R. Morandi, 1960-1967 Società italiana per condotte d'acqua, bridge across Polcevera in Genova, R. Morandi, 1960-1967 (@SIXXIdata)
Astaldi, ponte sull'Arno a Incisa per l'Autostrada del Sole, S. Zorzi, 1960-1964 Astaldi, bridge across Arno river along Autostrada del Sole, S. Zorzi, 1960-1964 (@SIXXIdata) Sogene, ponte sulla Fiumarella a Catanzaro, R. Morandi, 1958-1964 Sogene, bridge across Fiumarella river in Catanzaro, R. Morandi, 1958-1964 (@SIXXIdata)
The Cassa del Mezzogiorno , "Fund for the South", was a public effort by the government of Italy to stimulate economic growth and development in the less developed Southern Italy (also known as the Mezzogiorno ). It was established in 1950 primarily to encourage the development of public works and infrastructure (roads, bridges, hydroelectric and irrigation) projects, and to provide credit subsidies and tax advantages to promote investments. It was dissolved in 1984, although its mandate was maintained by successive, less centralised institutions. The Autostrada A1, nicknamed the Autostrada del Sole , "Sun Motorway", is the most important and longest in Italy (754 km). The 2 Autosole links the largest cities of Italy: Milan, Bologna, Florence, Rome and Naples. The name given to the investigation of the system of widespread corruption in Italy uncovered in the early 1990 3 s . The term derives from Italian tangente, which means "kickback" and the Greek polis meaning "city". The term is translatable in English as "Bribesville" or "Kickback City".