This paper aims to bring to the fore an aspect of Italian history between the end of the sixth century and the first half of the eighth century which has been considered rarely to date: that is, the continuity of the strong economic ties between Rome and some regions of the Mezzogiorno, in particular Sicily and, to a lesser extent, Calabria. Thanks to the large papal estates in these regions, Rome continued throughout these centuries to secure for herself a considerable part of her own food supply through long distance provisioning, as she had done before the end of the Roman Empire in the West. In the context of extremely marked contractions of exchange and commerce, which were affecting all of western Europe at that time, this system appears to be an anomalous anachronism. However, it continued to function until external factors intervened (fiscal measures adopted by the Emperor of Byzantium, Leo III, between 724 and 733). The laborious reorganisation of the papal economic interests was probably one of the reasons why the popes were compelled to think of the idea of creating a regional political seigniory.