Autonomous region (pop., 2001 prelim.: 3,960,549), northern Italy. It covers an area of 8,542 sq mi (22,123 sq km); its chief city and capital is Bologna. Located on the Adriatic Sea, Emilia-Romagna includes the Po River to the north and the Apennines to the west and south. It takes its name from the Roman Aemilian Way, built circa 187 BC. The region formerly comprised the duchies of Parma and Modena and papal Romagna. Emilia-Romagna became part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861; the present political region was created in 1948. The fertile Emilian Plain in the north makes Emilia-Romagna one of the leading agricultural regions of Italy. It has a large food-processing industry, and livestock and dairy farming are extensive.
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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.
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.
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:
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