From Mount Wiki
France is subdivided into a number of different layers. Regions -> Departements -> Arrondissements -> Cantons -> Municipalities.
Italy has three layers of subdivisioning. Region -> Provinces -> Municipalities.
Switzerland is a federal state with 26 autonomous cantons. In contrast to centrally organised states, in the federally constituted Switzerland each canton is completely free to decide its own internal organisation. Therefore there exists a variety of structures and terminology for the subnational entities between canton and municipality, loosely termed districts (i.e. Urban Administration Districts).
Most cantons are divided into Bezirke (German for districts). They are also termed Ämter (Luzern), Amtsbezirke (Bern), District (in French) or Distretto (Ticino and part of Graubünden). The bezirke generally provide only administration and court organization.
A number cantons have dispensed with the district level recently, Appenzell Ausserrhoden in 1995, Schaffhausen in 1999, Sankt Gallen in 2003 and Luzern in 2007. A number of further cantons are considering (or have already decided) an abolition of the district level in the future.
The 26 cantons use the following terminology as of 2010:
- Aargau: Divided into 11 Bezirke with the districts having the same name as the district capitals.
- Appenzell Ausserrhoden: No district-level government.
- Appenzell Innerrhoden: Divided into 6 Bezirke. In Appenzell Innerrhoden districts are the lowest administrative division.
- Basel-Landschaft: Divided into 5 Bezirke with the districts having the same name as the capitals.
- Basel-Stadt: No district-level government.
- Berne: On 1 January 2010, the 26 Amtsbezirke were combined into 10 new Verwaltungskreise.
- Fribourg: Divided into 7 Bezirke.
- Genève: No district-level government.
- Glarus: No district-level government.
- Graubünden: Divided into 11 Bezirke, districts or distretti
- Jura: Divided into 3 districts
- Luzern: Divided into 5 Ämter.
- Neuchâtel: Divided into 6 districts
- Nidwalden: No district-level government.
- Obwalden: No district-level government.
- Sankt Gallen: In 2003, the 8 Bezirke were replaced by 8 Wahlkreise (constituencies).
- Schaffhausen: No district-level government.
- Schwyz: Divided into 6 Bezirke.
- Solothurn: In 2005, the 10 Bezirke were combined into 5 Amtei. However, the Bezirke subdivisioning is still being used today.
- Thurgau: Divided into 8 Bezirke with the districts having the same name as the district capitals.
- Ticino: Divided into 8 distretti.
- Uri: No district-level government
- Valais: Divided into 13 Bezirke or districts.
- Vaud: Divided into 10 districts.
- Zug (canton): No district-level government
- Zürich: Divided into 12 Bezirke with the districts having the same name as the district capitals.