Italian commonly introduces motion-to and state-in with two different adpositions, respectively a (at, to) and in (in) that can convey different locative flavours. Locative PPs introduced by a can be used in Italian together with DPs referring to cities, villages and small islands, while in is required with DPs referring to countries, continents or big islands, as described by Renzi & Salvi (1988). We propose an account for which the different referentiality of the name of places selected by a or in and their mapping into syntax (N to D chain, or not respectively) as individuals or properties interact with the selectional restriction of the locative preposition (a and in, respectively): while a instantiates a terminal coincidence relation and preferentially selects individuals/definite, in instantiates a central coincidence relation within a group of individuals (i.e. a state may be conceived as a group of individual cities) or an indefinite entity defined by a property.
(Joint work with Ludovico Franco, Universidade Nova de Lisboa)