Widowhood and Remarriage in Sardinia, Alghero, 1866-1925

By Stanislao Mazzoni, Marco Breschi, Massimo Esposito, Lucia Pozzi

This paper focuses on remarriage in Sardinia from the years following national unification (1861) until the first decades of the twentieth century. The marriage pattern on the island was different from the one that predominated in Italy. As early as the High Middle Ages, marriage was celebrated within the context of a distinctive property and inheritance regime, and Sardinian women played an important role in the management of the family and its economic resources. They were often included in the inheritance system. In the light of Sardinian peculiarities, the region represents an interesting setting for the study of nuptial dynamics and in particular of remarriage in a historical context. Our research is based on a micro analytic approach, using individual data, and focuses on the community of Alghero, a north-western coastal Sardinian town. The analysis is longitudinal, based on a complex individual dataset resulting from the integration of civil and religious sources.
Our principal aim is to identify the socio-demographic characteristics of widow(er)s and to observe closely which individual and contextual characteristics led them to rebuild their families. The study of second marriages in Alghero provides an opportunity for detailed analysis of family recomposition dynamics in a Mediterranean community.


  • remarriage
  • widowhood
  • longitudinal analysis
  • historical demography
  • southern Europe
  • Sardinia
  • Alghero
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