[e-mee-lyah raw-mah-nyah]
Emilia-Romagna, region (1991 pop. 3,909,512), 8,542 sq mi (22,124 sq km), N central Italy, bordering on the Adriatic Sea in the east. Bologna is the capital of the region, which is divided into eight provinces named for their capitals. Bologna, Ferrera, Modena, Parma, Piacenza, and Reggio nell' Emilia provs. are in Emilia, and Forlì and Ravenna provs. are in Romagna. The region falls into two geographic zones, a fertile, low-lying plain in the north and east, which is watered by the Po, Secchia, Panaro, and Reno rivers, and the Apennine Mts. in the south and west. The region is economically prosperous, with agriculture as the chief occupation. Farming is particularly productive in the irrigated Po valley and in the reclaimed land along the Adriatic coast. Cereals, rice, vegetables, sugar beets, and dairy goods are the chief farm products. Emilia-Romagna also has extensive industry, aided by the production of considerable hydroelectric power and by a good transportation network. Manufactures include processed food, motor vehicles, farm machinery, electrical equipment, refined petroleum, and chemicals. There are deposits of petroleum (near Piacenza) and natural gas (near Piacenza and Ravenna). Fishing is pursued along the coast, which also has a number of popular beach resorts (including Marina di Romeo and Rimini). Emilia takes its name from the Aemilian Way, a Roman road (laid out 187 B.C.) that crossed the region from Piacenza to Rimini. After the fall of Rome, the region was conquered (5th cent. A.D.) by the Lombards. Bologna and most of present-day Romagna fell under Byzantine rule in the 6th cent. and from then to the 19th cent. had histories separate from Emilia. Divided into several duchies and counties, Emilia was conquered by the Franks in the 8th cent. However, its subsequent history is that of its individual cities, many of which became free communes in the 12th cent. By the 17th cent. the duchy of Parma and Piacenza, under the Farnese family, and the duchy of Modena, under the house of Este, together held virtually all of Emilia. Emilia was held by the French from 1797 to 1814, when Modena passed to Austria and Parma and Piacenza came under Marie Louise, the wife of deposed Napoleon I. Emilia played an important role in the Risorgimento, and there were revolts against foreign rule in 1821, 1831, and 1848-49. In 1860 all of Emilia-Romagna was joined to the kingdom of Sardinia, which in 1861 became the kingdom of Italy. In the 20th cent. Emilia (especially Bologna) has been a center of socialism and Communism. The region suffered severe flooding in 1966. There are universities at Bologna, Ferrara, Modena, and Parma.

Emilia-Romagna is one of the 20 Regions of Italy. The capital is Bologna. It has an area of 20,124 km² and about 4.2 million inhabitants.


Emilia-Romagna is an administrative region of Northern Italy comprising the two historic regions of Emilia and Romagna. It forms a rough triangle, bounded on the East by the Adriatic Sea, on the North by the Po river and on the South by the Apennine range; these two linear features, with the Via Aemilia, and the A1 highway and the railway that run close and parallel to it, give an unusually regular structure to the whole region except for the easternmost part. About a half of the region is constituted by Padan Plain, an extremely fertile alluvial plain crossed by the river Po. The rest of the territory is occupied by the hills and mountains of Tuscan-Emilian Apennines.

Emilia-Romagna is divided into nine provinces:


The name Emilia-Romagna has roots in the Ancient Rome legacy in these lands. Emilia refers to via Æmilia, an important Roman way connecting Rome 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 Etruscan world and in following was passed on to the Gauls and then the Romans, who built it 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. In the Middle Ages, the history of both Emilia and Romagna was the history of its individual cities. 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 is considered as one of the richest European regions by GDP per capita and lowest unemployment rate of 2.9% which corresponds to full occupation regime. According to the statistics of Unioncamera, Bologna and Modena are third and fourth richest Italian cities after Milano and Biella. Bologna was also classified as the city with highest living standards in Italy for 2007. According to Eurostat, Emilia Romagna is 23rd for GDP per capita and third in Italy after the province of Bolzano-Bozen and Lombardy. Agriculture is a very important economic activity: cereals, potatoes, maize, tomatoes and onions are the most important, 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.

The industry of Emilia-Romagna is also healthy, especially the food industry (e.g., Parmalat, Barilla Group), particularly concentrated in Parma and Bologna, mechanical and automotive (e.g., Ferrari, Ducati, Lamborghini, Maserati Pagani), ceramic, concentrated in Faenza and Sassuolo, and tourism especially along the Adriatic coastline. Today the tertiary sector is bearing, with a strong concentration of insurance companies and banks. The region is also characterised by a unique economic attitude: its tens of thousands of cooperatives. In Emilia-Romagna, two out of three people belong to a co-op. Bologna alone hosts 8,000, including the one-million member left-wing Legacoop and the 250,000-strong Catholic Confcooperative. The nature of the region's economy is considered responsible for the high standard of living enjoyed by the inhabitants.


Emilia-Romagna, except the province of Piacenza, was historically a stronghold of the Italian Communist Party, and now is a stronghold of the center-left coalition The Union, 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 States (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.


The population of this region is traditionally well distributed, so do not exist a real dominant metropolis but an axis of medium size cities along the Via Emilia, where is concentrated the majority of regional industrial production. In the Appennine Mountains and in the agricultural plains around Ferrara and Piacenza the population is less dense because of the lower stage of economic development.

As of 2006, the Italian national institute of statistics ISTAT estimated that 288,844 foreign-born immigrants live in Emilia-Romagna, equal to 6.8% of the total regional population.

Towns of Emilia-Romagna with a population of 50,000 or more:

Comune Population (2006 est.)
Bologna 374,425
Modena 180,638
Parma 177,069
Reggio Emilia 167,013
Ravenna 149,084
Rimini 138,060
Ferrara 131,907
Forlì 112,477
Piacenza 99,340
Cesena 93,857
Imola 66,340
Carpi 64,517
Faenza 54,749

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