Emilia-Romagna is one of the wealthiest and most developed regions in Europe, with the third highest gross domestic product
per capita in Italy.
Bologna, its capital, has one of Italy's highest quality of life
and advanced social services. Emilia-Romagna is also a cultural, economic and tourist center: being the home of the University of Bologna
, the oldest university in the world;
containing Romanesque and Renaissance
cities (such as Modena
) and the former Roman Empire
capital of Ravenna
; encompassing eleven UNESCO
being a center for food
production (home of automotive companies such as Ferrari
, De Tomaso
, and Ducati
); and having popular coastal resorts such as Cervia
. In 2018, the Lonely Planet
guide named Emilia-Romagna as the best place to see in Europe.
Prehistory and antiquity
Before the Romans took control of present-day Emilia-Romagna, it had been part of the Etruscan
world and subsequently that of the Gauls
. During the first thousand years of Christianity, trade flourished, as did culture and religion, thanks to the region's numerous monasteries
The history of Emilia-Romagna dates back to Roman times, when the region of Emilia was ruled by imperial judges linked to the nearby regions of either Liguria
. After the fall of the Roman Empire in the 6th century, the Lombards, a Germanic tribe, founded the kingdom of Lombardy
in northern and central Italy. This kingdom, which included the region known as Emilia, flourished until the Lombard dynasty was overthrown by the Frankish king Charlemagne in 774. From the 6th to 8th centuries the region of Romagna was under Byzantine rule and Ravenna was the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. In the 8th century this region became a province of the Papal States
when Pepin, the son of Charlemagne, donated the land as a favor to the Pope in 754.
During the 10th century, the entire area of northern Italy became a part of the Holy Roman Empire under the control of the Germanic leader Otto I. The Holy Roman emperors had varying degrees of control over northern Italy until the close of the Middle Ages. In the 12th century, the papacy gained increased its political influence and city states began to form in opposition to the Holy Roman emperors.
The northern cities, supported by the Pope, formed the Lombard League
and reduced the influence of the ruling Hohenstaufen dynasty over their lands, however, division between imperial partisans and their opponents created factions called the Guelphs and the Ghibelines which would divide the city populations for centuries. For the next few centuries both Emilia and Romagna were ruled by papal legates, representatives of the Pope sent to manage the government of the people.
The House of Este
had a preeminent in the region's history for its political and military might as well as the propensity of its members to become generous patrons of the arts, that during the centuries left behind a vast heritage of splendid Renaissance palaces, precious paintings and literary masterpieces, such as the works of Ludovico Ariosto
, Torquato Tasso
and Matteo Maria Boiardo
Under Austrian and French Control
Many regions in northern Italy, that were under Austrian control or influence, including Emilia, came under French control during the Napoleonic era. After the Congress Of Vienna in 1815, there was a growing movement for Italian national unity and independence. In 1848 a revolution in Vienna initiated uprisings against Austrian rule. The following decades saw uprisings in several regions and in 1861, the Kingdom of Italy was established. During this Italian Unification
, the territories of Emilia and Romagna would be incorporated into the new nation.
Late modern and contemporary
In the 16th century, most of what would become Emilia-Romagna has been seized by the Papal States, but the territories of Parma, Piacenza, and Modena remained independent until Emilia-Romagna became part of the Italian kingdom
between 1859 and 1861.
After the First world war, Emilia-Romagna was at the centre of the so-called Biennio Rosso
, a period of left-wing agitations that paved the way for Benito Mussolini
's coup d'état in 1922 and the birth of the Fascist regime in Italy. Mussolini, a native of Emilia-Romagna, sponsored the rise of many hierarchs coming from his same region, such as Italo Balbo
, Dino Grandi
and Edmondo Rossoni
During the Cold war era
, Bologna, traditionally a left-wing city, was particularly hit by political street violence and terrorism; in 1980 a far-right terrorist group detonated a bomb
at the city's main railway station, killing 80 people and wounding more than 200.
On 20 and 29 May, 2012 two powerful earthquakes
struck the central area of the region, killing 27 people and causing substantial damages to the region's artistic heritage as well as to numerous manufacturing facilities. The 5.8 magnitude earthquake left 14,000 people temporarily homeless.
Relief map of Emilia-Romagna
Lagoons along the Po
The region of Emilia-Romagna consists of nine provinces and covers an area of 22,446 km2
(8,666 sq. mi.), ranking sixth in Italy. Nearly half of the region (48%) consists of plains while 27% is hilly and 25% mountainous. The region's section of the Apennines
is marked by areas of flysch
) and caves
. The mountains stretch for more than 300 km (186.41 mi) from the north to the south-east, with only three peaks above 2,000 m – Monte Cimone
(2,165 m), Monte Cusna
(2,121 m) and Alpe di Succiso
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.
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
. The northern border of Emilia-Romagna follows the path of the river for 263 km (163.42 mi).
Emilia-Romagna has been a highly populated area since ancient times. Inhabitants over the centuries have radically altered the landscape
, building cities, reclaiming wetlands, and establishing large agricultural areas. All these transformations in past centuries changed the aspect of the region, converting large natural areas to cultivation, up until the 1960s. The trend then changed, and agricultural lands began giving way to residential and industrial areas. The increase of urban-industrial areas continued at very high rates until the end of the 2010s. In the same period, hilly and mountainous areas saw an increase in the registration of semi-natural areas, because of the abandonment of agricultural lands.
changes can have strong effects on ecological functions. Human interactions such as agriculture, forestation and deforestation affect soil function
, e.g. food and other biomass production, storing, filtering and transformation, habitat and gene pool.
In the Emilia-Romagna plain, which represents half of the region and where three quarters of the population of the region live, the agricultural land area has been reduced by 157 km2
while urban and industrial areas have increased to over 130 km2
between 2003 and 2008. The impact of land use
and particularly of the urbanisation of the Emilia-Romagna plain during this period has had some strong consequences in the economical and ecological assessment of the region. The loss of arable land is equivalent to a permanent loss of the capacity to feed 440,000 persons per year from resources grown within the region. The increased water runoff
due to soil sealing
requires adaptation measures for river and irrigation canals such as the building of retention basins, at a total cost estimated in the order of billions of euros.
In 2000 there were 103,700 farm holdings and in 2010 there were 73,470, or a -29.2% loss in holdings for the region. The total utilised agricultural area (UAA) was 1,114,590 hectares (2,754,200 acres) in 2000 and 1,064,210 hectares (2,629,700 acres) in 2014 for a loss of 4.5%, indicating a downturn of smaller farm ownership. During this same timeframe there was a 14.5% decrease in the farm labor workforce.
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. The Regional Government is composed of the President and the Ministers (Assessori
), of which there are currently twelve including the Vice President and the Under-Secretary for the President's office.
Apart from the province of Piacenza
, Emilia-Romagna was historically a stronghold of the Italian Communist Party
, forming the Italian "Red Quadrilateral"
or sometimes "Red Belt
" called with Tuscany
. This is probably due to the strength of the anti-fascist resistance around the time of World War II as well as a strong tradition of anti-clericalism
dating from the 19th century, when part of the region belonged to the Papal States
. The strength of the anti-fascist resistance is one of the main factors, along with the effectiveness of trade-unionism, that led to the dominance of the PCI in the region.
Emilia-Romagna has since World War II been a left-wing stronghold, nowadays led by the Democratic Party
, since its creation in 2007.
Emilia-Romagna is divided into nine provinces. Apart from the creation of the Metropolitan City of Bologna
, plans to reduce the number of provinces from nine to four have been dropped.
Istat estimates the population of Emilia-Romagna was 4,459,577 on January 1, 2019.
The population density, which was equal to 200 inhabitants per km2
in 2019, is close to the national average. The population of this region is traditionally evenly distributed, with no dominant metropolis but rather a line of medium-sized cities along the Via Emilia
, where two thirds of the population and the majority of the industrial production are concentrated. The coast of Romagna
is also densely populated due to the booming seaside tourism in recent decades. In the peripheral areas of the Apennine Mountains and the agricultural plains around Ferrara and Piacenza, the population is less dense.
Cities, towns and metropolitan areas
The region has nine cities with populations exceeding one hundred thousand: Bologna, Parma, Modena, Reggio Emilia, Ravenna, Rimini, Ferrara, Forlì and Piacenza. These cities rank among the 50 most populous in Italy. The regional capital, Bologna, has about 400,000 inhabitants and lies at the heart of a metropolitan area
of about one million residents.
Immigration and ethnicity
Between 1876 and 1976, about 1.2 million people emigrated from Emilia-Romagna to other countries. As of 2008, there were 119,369 people from this region living outside Italy, particularly in Argentina
, the United Kingdom
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.
Apart from standard Italian
, two closely related languages that are part of the Emiliano-Romagnolo language family
, are the local languages of Emilia-Romagna. They are Romance languages
spoken in the region, in Northern Marche and other nearby areas such as parts of Massa-Carrara
provinces and in San Marino
. The Sillaro
in Emilian), near the town of Castel San Pietro Terme
, is the border between Emilia and Romagna. They belong to the Northern Italian
group within Romance languages (like Piedmontese
), which is included in the wider group of western Romance languages (including French
). They are considered minority languages, structurally separated from Italian by the Ethnologue
and by the Red Book of Endangered Languages
Emilia-Romagna today is considered one of the richest European regions and the third Italian region by gross domestic product (GDP) per capita.
These results have been achieved by developing a very well balanced economy that comprises Italy's biggest agricultural sector as well as a long-standing tradition in automobile, motor and mechanics manufacturing and a strong banking and insurance industry.
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 gross regional 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
are the most important products, along with fruit
for the production of wine
(of which the best known are Emilia's Lambrusco
, Bologna's Pignoletto
, Romagna's Sangiovese
and white Albana
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 Bologna
(2,160) and Forlì-Cesena
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 Parma
as is the mechanical and automotive industry (e.g. Ferrari
, De Tomaso
sector is concentrated in Faenza
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
The region of Emilia-Romagna has a very good system of transport, with 574 km of motorways, 1,053 km of railways and airports in Bologna, Forlì, Parma and Rimini. The main motorway crosses the region from north-west (Piacenza) to the south-east (Adriatic coast), connecting the main cities of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna, and from here further to Ravenna, Rimini and the Adriatic coast.
The unemployment rate stood at 5.7%
in 2020 and was lower than the national average of 9.2%.
Emilia-Romagna has given birth to a number of important filmmakers and actors and was the main setting for numerous important movies. Bernardo Bertolucci
was a native from Parma and his 1976 masterpiece, 1900
, was partially set in Emilia-Romagna. Federico Fellini
, a native of Rimini, shot many movies in the region, among them Amarcord
. Pier Paolo Pasolini
, a native from Bologna, in addition to being a film director, was a poet, writer, and intellectual, who also distinguished himself as an actor, journalist, novelist, playwright, and political figure. Michelangelo Antonioni
, a native of Ferrara, shot his 1964 movie Red Desert
in Ravenna. Florestano Vancini
, also from Ferrara, shot there his 1960 film Long Night in 1943
. Pupi Avati
, a native of Bologna, shot numerous movies in the region, including the 1976 horror-trhiller The House with Laughing Windows
. Marco Bellocchio
, a native of Bobbio, near Piacenza, directed many award-winning movies, such as his 2009 biopic Vincere
. Liliana Cavani, a native of Carpi, near Modena, became internationally known after the success of her 1974 feature film The Night Porter
. In addition, actor and filmmaker Vittorio De Sica shot in Ferrara his 1970 movie The Garden of the Finzi-Continis
. Other actors from Emilia-Romagna include Gino Cervi
, who played Peppone
in the Don Camillo
1950s-1960s movie series; Rossano Brazzi
, who acted in numerous English-language films, including the 1954 drama film The Barefoot Contessa
; and the 1980s comedy duo Gigi e Andrea
Cuisine and gastronomy
Emilia-Romagna is considered one of the richest regions of Italy with regard to its gastronomic and wine-making tradition. The region is known for its egg and filled pasta made with soft wheat flour. Bologna
is notable for pasta dishes like tortellini
which are found also in many other parts of the region in different declinations. The Romagna
subregion is known as well for pasta dishes like garganelli
, sfoglia lorda
and tortelli alla lastra
. In the Emilia
subregion, except Piacenza
which is heavily influenced by the cuisines of Lombardy
, rice is eaten to a lesser extent. Polenta
, a maize-based dish, is common both in Emilia and Romagna. The celebrated balsamic vinegar
is made only in the Emilian cities of Modena
and Reggio Emilia
, following legally binding traditional procedures. Parmigiano Reggiano
(Parmesan Cheese) is produced in Reggio Emilia, Parma, Modena and Bologna and is much used in cooking, while Grana Padano
variety is produced in the rest of the region.
Wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano
Although the Adriatic coast is a major fishing area which produces eels and clams, the region produces more meat products, especially pork-based, including Parma's prosciutto
and Felino salami
, Piacenza's pancetta
and salami, Bologna's mortadella
and salame rosa
, Modena's zampone
and cappello del prete
's salama da sugo
. Reggio Emilia
is the origin of the fresh egg-made pasta cappelletti
(similar to Bologna's tortellini but differing in size), the typical erbazzone
a spinach and Parmigiano Reggiano
salted cake, and Gnocco Fritto
, mixed flour stripes fried in boiling oil, eaten in combination with ham or salami. Crescentina
is a thin round bread that originates in the Apennines around Modena, and is usually filled with cunza
(a spread made from pork lard and flavoured with garlic and rosemary) or with cold cuts, cheese and salty dressings or sweet spreads. Piacenza and Ferrara are also known for some dishes prepared with horse and donkey meat. Regional desserts include zuppa inglese
(custard-based dessert made with sponge cake and Alchermes
liqueur) and panpepato
(Christmas cake made with pepper, chocolate, spices, and almonds). An exhaustive list of the most important regional wines should include Sangiovese
from Romagna, Lambrusco
from Reggio Emilia
, Cagnina di Romagna
is the motorsports division of Ducati
's motorcycle company, being the predominant Italian constructor in MotoGP
and the Superbike World Championship
. Ducati has won one MotoGP title with Australian Casey Stoner
. Stoner is also the most successful rider for the team in MotoGP, having won 23 Grands Prix in his four seasons. Ducati have had multiple World Champions Valentino Rossi
and Jorge Lorenzo
race for the team. In 2017
, Emilia-Romagna native Andrea Dovizioso
finished second in the MotoGP championship for Ducati. The team has frequently had at least one Italian rider in its factory team since its entry into the premier class in 2003
at the beginning of the four-stroke engine era. Its first Grand Prix winner was Emilia-Romagna native Loris Capirossi
in the team's inaugural season. Ducati have also won multiple Superbike titles with riders such as Carl Fogarty
and Troy Bayliss
being among title winners.
Aside from Dovizioso and Capirossi, high-profile road racers Marco Melandri
and Marco Simoncelli
also have come out of Emilia-Romagna. Simoncelli died in an accident when he was run over after a crash on track in Malaysia
in 2011 at the age of 24, and was honoured by having the race circuit in Misano
named after him.
The region has hosted 32 of Italy
's 331 home games. With 11 professional clubs in 2020, the region is only bettered in terms of number of professional clubs by Lombardy
. It also has 747 amateur clubs, 1,522 football pitches and 75,328 registered players.
Included in the table below are all sides in the top three tiers of Italian football (Serie A
, Serie B
and Serie C
), as well as any sides that have won major honours.
The region has a very strong tradition in volleyball
as well, with three clubs that are among the oldest, most winning and prestigious teams in Italy and Europe: Parma
and Porto Ravenna
. These three clubs have won a combined 9 CEV Champions Leagues
, 4 won by Modena, 3 by Ravenna and 2 by Parma. There is not another comparable region in Europe with such a big presence of successful volleyball clubs.
Another important volleyball club which has achieved important results both in Italy and in Europe during the last 15 years is Copra Volley
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