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Emilia-Romagna ( ) is an administrative region of Northern Italy comprising the two historic regions of Emiliamarker and Romagnamarker. The capital is Bolognamarker; it has an area of 20,124 km² and about 4.3 million inhabitants.

Emilia Romagna today is considered as one of the richest and most developed regions in Europe and has the third highest by GDP per capita in Italy. Bolognamarker, the region's capital, has one of Italy's highest quality of life, and has highly advanced and modern social services. Emilia-Romagna is also a major cultural and touristic centre, being the home of the oldest university in the Western World, containing numerous Renaissance cities (such as Modenamarker, Parmamarker and Ferraramarker), being a major centre for food and automobile production (Emilia-Romagna is home of numerous iconic gastronomical and automotive industries, such as Ferrarimarker, Lamborghini, Maseratimarker and Barilla) and having a lively and colourful coastline, with numerous tourist resorts, such as Cattolicamarker and Riminimarker.


The region of Emilia-Romagna consists of nine provinces and covers an area of 22,124 km². Nearly half of the region (50%) consists of plains while 25% is hilly and 25% mountainous. The Emilia-Romagna section of the Apennine Mountainsmarker is marked by areas of flisch, badland erosion (calanques) and caves. The mountains stretch for more than 300 km from the north to the south-east, with only three peaks above 2,000 m - Monte Cimonemarker (2,165 m), Monte Cusnamarker (2,121 m) and Alpe di Succisomarker (2,017 m).

About a half of the region consists of the Padan Plain, an extremely fertile alluvial plain crossed by the river Pomarker. The plain was formed by the gradual retreat of the sea from the Po basin and by the detritus deposited by the rivers. Almost entirely marshland in ancient times, its history is characterised by the hard work of its people to reclaim and reshape the land in order to achieve a better standard of living. The geology varies, with lagoons and saline areas in the north and many thermal springs throughout the rest of the region as a result of groundwater rising towards the surface at different periods of history. All the rivers rise locally in the Apennines except for the Po, which has its source in the Alps in Piedmont and follows the northern border of Emilia-Romagna for 263 km.

Vegetation in the region may be divided into belts: the common oak belt which is now covered (apart from the mesóla forest) with fruit orchards and fields of wheat and sugar beet, the pubescent belt and Adriatic oak belt on the lower slopes up to 900 m, the beech belt between 1,000 and 1,500 m, and the final mountain heath belt.


The name Emilia-Romagna has roots in the Ancient Rome legacy in these lands. Emilia refers to via Æmilia, an important Roman way connecting Romemarker to the northern part of Italy. Romagna is a corruption of Romània; when Ravenna was the capital of the Italian portion of the Byzantine Empire, the Lombards extended the official name of the Empire to the lands around Ravenna. Emilia-Romagna was part of the Etruscanmarker world and in following was passed on to the Gauls and then the Romans. The romans built the Aemilian Way, for which the region was named. The coastal area of Emilia, which was ruled under the Byzantines from 540 to 751, became known as the separate region of Romagna.

During the Middle Ages trading activities, culture and religion flourished thanks to the region's monasteries and the University of Bolognamarker - the oldest university in Europe - its bustling towns, and its politics - embodied in the historic figure of Matilda of Canossa. In the Renaissance, it became the seat for refined seigniories such as the House of Este of Ferrara and the Malatesta of Rimini. In the centuries that followed, the region was divided between the rule of the Papal Statemarker, the Farnese Duchy of Parma and Piacenza, and the Duchy of Modena and Reggio. In the 16th century, most of these were included into the Papal States, but the territory of Parma, Piacenza, and Modena remained independent until Emilia-Romagna was included into the Italian kingdom in 1859–1861.


Emilia Romagna today is considered as one of the richest European regions and the third Italian region by GDP per capita . These results were achieved developing a very well balanced economy based on the biggest agricultural sector in Italy, and on a secular tradition in automobile, motor and mechanic productions.

In spite of the depth and variety of industrial activities in the region, agriculture has not been eclipsed. Emilia-Romagna is among the leading regions in the country, with farming contributing 5.8% of the regional agricultural product. The agricultural sector has aimed for increased competitiveness by means of structural reorganisation and high-quality products, and this has led to the success of marketed brands. Cereals, potatoes, maize, tomatoes and onions are the most important products, along with fruit and grapes for the production of wine (of which the most famous are perhaps Lambrusco, Sangiovese, Pignoletto and Albana). Cattle and hog breeding are also highly developed. Farm cooperatives have been working along these lines in recent years. With their long tradition in the region there are now about 8,100 cooperatives, generally in the agricultural sector and mainly located in the provinces of Bolognamarker (2,160) and Forli (1,300).

Industry in the region presents a varied and complex picture and is located along the Via Emilia. The food industry (e.g. Barilla Group) is particularly concentrated in Parmamarker, Modenamarker and Bolognamarker as well as the mechanical and automotive (e.g., Ferrarimarker, Ducati, Lamborghini, Maseratimarker, Pagani ). The ceramic sector is concentrated in Faenzamarker and Sassuolomarker). Tourism is increasingly important, especially along the Adriatic coastline and the cities of art. The regional economy is more geared to export markets than other regions in the country: the main exports are from mechanical engineering (53%), the extraction of non-metallic minerals (13%) and the clothing industry (10%).

The region of Emilia-Romagna has a very good system of transport, with 574 km of motorways, 1053 km of railways and airports in Bologna, Forli and Rimini. The main motorway crosses the region from north-west (Piacenza) to the south-east (Adriatic coast), connecting the main cities of Parma, Modena, Bologna, and from here further to Ravenna and to Rimini .


The population density, which was equal to 195 inhabitants per km2 in 2008 is just below the national average. The population of this region is traditionally well distributed, so there is not a dominant metropolis but an axis chicken medium size cities along the Via Emilia, where the majority of regional industrial production is concentrated. Also the coast of Romagnamarker is densely populated thanks to the huge boom of the seaside tourism in the last decades. In the peripherical areas of the Apennine Mountains and the agricultural plains around Ferrara and Piacenza the population is less dense.

Emilia-Romagna has thirteen cities above 50,000 (based on 2006 estimates): Bolognamarker (pop. 374,425), Modenamarker (pop. 180,638), Parmamarker (pop. 177,069), Reggio Emiliamarker (pop. 167,013), Ravennamarker (pop. 149,084), Riminimarker (pop. 138,060), Ferraramarker (pop. 131,907), Forlìmarker (pop. 112,477), Piacenzamarker (pop. 99,340), Cesenamarker (pop. 93,857), Imolamarker (pop. 66,340), Carpi (pop. 64,517) and Faenzamarker (pop. 54,749).

As of 2008, the Italian national institute of statistics (ISTAT) estimated that 365,687 foreign-born immigrants lived in Emilia-Romagna, equal to 8.5% of the total regional population.

Government and politics

The Regional Government (Giunta Regionale) is presided by the President of the Region (Presidente della Regione), who is elected for a five-year term, and is composed by the President, the Ministers (Assessori), who are currently 12, including a Vice President and one Under-Secretary for in President's office.

Emilia-Romagna, except the province of Piacenza, was historically a stronghold of the Italian Communist Party, and now is a stronghold of center-left coalitions, forming with Tuscany, Umbria and Marche the famous Italian political "Red Quadrilateral". Probably this is because of a strong tradition of anti-clericalism dating from the 19th century, when part of Emilia-Romagna belonged of the Papal Statesmarker (mostly Romagna and Bologna, in Emilia there were two independent states). At the April 2006 elections, Emilia-Romagna gave about 60% of its votes to Romano Prodi.

Administrative divisions

Emilia-Romagna is divided into nine provinces:

Province Area (km²) Population Density (inh./km²)
Province of Bologna 3,702 973,295 262.9
Province of Ferrara 2,632 357,471 135.8
Province of Forlì-Cesena 2,377 387,200 162.9
Province of Modena 2,689 686,104 255.1
Province of Parma 3,449 431,419 125.1
Province of Piacenza 2,589 284,885 110.0
Province of Ravenna 1,858 383,945 206.6
Province of Reggio Emilia 2,293 517,374 225.6
Province of Rimini 534 302,137 565.8


Emilia-Romagna is the main setting for Bernardo Bertolucci's epic 1900.

See also



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