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Northern Italy (sometimes referred to as Padania) is a wide cultural, historical and geographical definition, without any administrative worth, used to indicate the northern part of the Italian nationmarker. It comprises two areas belonging to Italian First level NUTS of the European Union:


By far the larger portion of Northern Italy is occupied by the basin of the Po rivermarker, which comprises the whole of the broad plain extending from the foot of the Apenninesmarker to that of the Alps, together with the valleys and slopes on both sides of it. Throughout its whole course indeed, from its source in Monte Visomarker to its outflow into the Adriatic Seamarker—a distance of more than 5 degrees of longitude, or 220 miles in a direct line—the Po receives all the waters that flow from the Apennines northwards, and all those that descend from the Alps towards the south, till one comes to the Adigemarker, which, after pursuing a parallel course with the Po for a considerable distance, enters the Adriatic by a separate mouth.


Northern Italy, with a population of 27,324,431 (09-30-2008 est.), comprises 45.5% of the Italian population over an area of about 120,000 km² (46,000 sq mi), that corresponds to about one third of the whole national territory. These figures indicate the northern part of the country as the most densely populated area in Italy, with a population density of 227.7 people per km² (594/sq mi). This area is also characterized by a high concentration of large metropolitan areas such as Milan, Turin, Genoa, Venice-Paduamarker and the urban settlements along the Via Aemilia, most notably Bologna.


Northern Italy is the most developed and productive area of the country, and home to the first part of Italy to be industrialized in the last half of the 19th century, the so called industrial triangle formed by the manufacturing centres of Milan and Turin and the seaport of Genoa. With a 2007 nominal GDP estimated in €834.7 billion, Northern Italy accounts for almost 54% of the national economy.

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Larousse's definition of Padania

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