Region of Italy


Country Italy
Capital Bologna
  President Stefano Bonaccini (PD)
  Total 22,446 km2 (8,666 sq mi)
Population (2010-11-30)
  Total 6,429,766
  Density 290/km2 (740/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
GDP/ Nominal €144.140[1] billion (2008)
GDP per capita €31,900[2] (2008)
Website http://www.regione.emilia-romagna.it

Emilia-Romagna (pronounced [eˈmiːlja roˈmaɲɲa], Emilian: Emélia-Rumâgna, Romagnol: Emélia-Rumâgna) is an administrative Region of Northern Italy, comprising the historical regions of Emilia and Romagna. Its capital is Bologna. It has an area of 22,446 km2 (8,666 sq mi), and about 4.4 million inhabitants.

Emilia-Romagna is one of the wealthiest and most developed regions in Europe, with the third highest GDP per capita in Italy.[3] Bologna, its capital, has one of Italy's highest quality of life indices[4] and advanced social services. Emilia-Romagna is also a cultural and tourist centre, being the home of the University of Bologna, the oldest university in the world,[5] containing Romanesque and Renaissance cities (such as Modena, Parma and Ferrara), being a centre for food and automobile production (home of automotive companies such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Pagani, De Tomaso and Ducati) and having popular coastal resorts such as Cervia, Cesenatico, Rimini and Riccione.


The name Emilia-Romagna is a legacy of Ancient Rome. Emilia derives from the via Aemilia, the Roman road connecting Rome to northern Italy, completed in 187 B.C. and named after the consul Marcus Aemilius Lepidus.[6] Romagna derives from Romània, the name of the Eastern Roman Empire applied to Ravenna by the Lombards when the western Empire had ceased to exist and Ravenna was an outpost of the east (ca. 540 – 751).


Before the Romans took control of present-day Emilia-Romagna, it had been part of the Etruscan world and then that of the Gauls. During the first thousand years of Christianity trade flourished, as did culture and religion, thanks to the region's monasteries. Afterwards the University of Bologna—arguably the oldest university in Europe—and its bustling towns kept trade and intellectual life alive. Its unstable political history is exemplified in such figures as Matilda of Canossa and struggling seigniories such as the Este of Ferrara, the Malatesta of Rimini, the Popes of Rome, the Farnese of Parma and Piacenza, and the Duchy of Modena and Reggio. In the 16th century, most of these were 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 referendum of 2006, seven municipalities of Montefeltro were detached from the Province of Pesaro and Urbino (Marche) to join that of Rimini on 15 August 2009.[7][8] The municipalities are Casteldelci, Maiolo, Novafeltria, Pennabilli, San Leo, Sant'Agata Feltria and Talamello.

On 20 and 29 May 2012 two powerful earthquakes hit the area. They killed at least 27 people and caused churches and factories to collapse. Also 200 were injured. The 5.8 magnitude quake left 14,000 people homeless.[9]


Lagoons along the Po delta

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 flisch, badland erosion (calanques) 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 (2,017 m).

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. The northern border of Emilia-Romagna follows the path of the river for 263 km (163.42 mi).

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 and Adriatic oak belts on the lower slopes up to 900 m, the beech belt between 1,000 and 1,500 m and the final mountain heath belt.

Land use

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.

Land use 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.[10]

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.[11]

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.[12]

Apart from the province of Piacenza, Emilia-Romagna was historically a stronghold of the Italian Communist Party, forming the famous Italian "Red Quadrilateral" with Tuscany, Umbria and Marche. 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. At the April 2006 elections, 60% of voters in Emilia-Romagna voted for Romano Prodi, while 40% did in 2013 (29% at national level).

Administrative divisions

View of Bologna
Arch of Augustus in Rimini

Emilia-Romagna is divided into nine provinces. Plans to reduce the number provinces from nine to four and create a metropolitan area from January 2014 have been dropped.

Province Area (km²) Population Density (inh./km²)
Province of Bologna 3,702 973,255 262.9
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 863 325,219 377.0


Historical population
1861 2,083,000    
1871 2,228,000+7.0%
1881 2,289,000+2.7%
1901 2,547,000+11.3%
1911 2,813,000+10.4%
1921 3,077,000+9.4%
1931 3,267,000+6.2%
1936 3,339,000+2.2%
1951 3,544,000+6.1%
1961 3,667,000+3.5%
1971 3,847,000+4.9%
1981 3,958,000+2.9%
1991 3,910,000−1.2%
2001 3,983,000+1.9%
2011 4,342,135+9.0%
2015 (Est.) 4,447,920+2.4%
Source: ISTAT 2011

The population density, which was equal to 197 inhabitants per km² in 2010, is just below 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 the majority of regional industrial production is 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.

Emilia-Romagna has thirteen cities above 50,000 (based on 2006 estimates): Bologna (pop. 387 554, metropolitan area est. 1,005,000), Modena (pop. 185,228), Parma (pop. 187,159), Reggio Emilia (pop. 170,355), Ravenna (pop. 149,084), Rimini (pop. 138,060), Ferrara (pop. 131,907), Forlì (pop. 112,477), Piacenza (pop. 99,340), Cesena (pop. 93,857), Imola (pop. 66,340), Carpi (pop. 64,517) and Faenza (pop. 58,813).

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, Switzerland, France, the United Kingdom and Brazil.[13] 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, Emilian and Romagnolo, 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 almost exclusively in the region and in San Marino. They belong to the Northern Italian group within Romance languages (like Piedmontese, Lombard, Ligurian and Venetian), which is included in the wider group of western Romance languages (including French, Occitan, Catalan, and Spanish). They are considered minority languages, structurally separated from Italian by the Ethnologue and by the Red Book of Endangered Languages of UNESCO.


Unipol Tower in Bologna

Emilia-Romagna today is considered one of the richest European regions and the third Italian region by GDP per capita.[3] 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, potatoes, maize, tomatoes and onions are the most important products, along with fruit and grapes for the production of wine (of which the best known are Emilia's Lambrusco, Bologna's Pignoletto, Romagna's Sangiovese and white 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 Bologna (2,160) and Forlì-Cesena (1,300).[14]

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, Modena and Bologna as is the mechanical and automotive industry (e.g. Ferrari, Ducati, Lamborghini, De Tomaso, Maserati, Pagani, Sacmi[15]:66). The ceramic sector is concentrated in Faenza and Sassuolo. 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%).[14]

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.[14]



Emilia-Romagna is the main setting for Bernardo Bertolucci's epic 1900. Rimini is the birthplace of Federico Fellini and Ferrara of Michelangelo Antonioni.

Cuisine and gastronomy

Emilia-Romagna is considered one of the richest regions of Italy with regards 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, lasagne, gramigna and tagliatelle 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, strozzapreti, 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.[16] 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 (well known for its eels and clams), the region is more famous for its meat products, especially pork-based, that include: Parma's prosciutto, culatello and Felino salami, Piacenza's pancetta, coppa and salami, Bologna's mortadella and salame rosa, Modena's zampone, cotechino and cappello del prete and Ferrara's salama da sugo. Reggio Emilia is famous for its 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 its Gnocco Fritto some kind of mixed flour stripes fried in boiling oil, enjoyed in combination with ham or salami. Crescentina best known as tigella is the typical thin round bread that originates in the Apennines around Modena and it is usually filled in with the typical 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 or Modena, Cagnina di Romagna, Gutturnio and Trebbiano from Piacenza.


Emilia-Romagna gave birth to one of the most important composers in the history of music, Giuseppe Verdi, as well as Arturo Toscanini, one of the most acclaimed conductors of the 20th century, and the world-famous operatic tenor Luciano Pavarotti.

The region is well-known in Italy for its popular rock and folk musicians, such as Samuele Bersani, Luciano Ligabue, Vasco Rossi and Zucchero. "Romagna mia", a song written in 1954 by Secondo Casadei, is considered by many as the unofficial anthem of Romagna.



The most popular sport in Emilia-Romagna is by far football. Several famous clubs from Emilia-Romagna compete at a high level on the national stage. Bologna, Carpi and Sassuolo compete in the top-flight of Italian football – in Serie A. The region's two biggest clubs are the only two to win major honours: Bologna, which has won seven scudetti and two Coppa Italia trophies, and current Serie D side Parma, winners of four European cups (two Europa Leagues, one Cup Winners' Cups and one Super Cup) and three Coppe Italia. Cesena and Modena both compete in Serie B.

The region has hosted 32 of Italy's 331 home games. With 13 professional clubs in 2013, 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.[17]

Included in the table below are all sides in the top three tiers of Italian football (Serie A, Serie B and Lega Pro), as well as any sides that have won major honours.

Club Town Current division Serie A seasons Major trophies
BolognaBolognaSerie A699
CarpiCarpi (currently Modena)Serie A10
CesenaCesenaSerie B130
ModenaModenaLega Pro130
ParmaParmaSerie D248
Pro PiacenzaPiacenzaLega Pro00
ReggianaReggio EmiliaLega Pro30
RiminiRiminiLega Pro00
SantarcangeloSantarcangelo di RomagnaLega Pro00
SassuoloSassuolo (currently Modena)Serie A30
S.P.A.L.FerraraSerie B160

Other sports

Another sport which is very popular in this region is basketball; by now tow teams from Emilia-Romagna compete in the Lega Basket Serie A. Virtus Bologna, which with 15 scudetti, 2 Euroleague and 8 Coppa Italia is one of the most important teams in Europe, and the Pallacanestro Reggiana from Reggio Emilia. Fortitudo Pallacanestro Bologna have also won two scudetti, but currently compete in Serie A2 Basket.

The region has a very strong tradition in volleyball as well, with three clubs that are among the most ancient, winning and prestigious teams in Italy and in Europe: Pallavolo Parma, Pallavolo Modena and Porto Ravenna Volley. Through the sum of the most important victories of these three clubs, it results 9 CEV Champions League, 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 have achieved important results both in Italy and in Europe during the last 15 years is Copra Volley from Piacenza.

Panthers Parma are one of four American football teams that have participated in every edition of the Italian Football League.

Zebre compete professionally in the Guinness Pro12, the combined Irish, Italian, Scottish and Welsh rugby union league. The club's home ground, the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, is located in Parma.[18] Included in the table below are all sides in the top two tiers of Italian rugby.

Club Town Current division
Accademia FIRParmaSerie A
ColornoColornoSerie A
ReggioReggio EmiliaEccellenza
Lyons Piacenza Eccellenza

See also


  1. "Eurostat – Tables, Graphs and Maps Interface (TGM) table". Epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu. 2013-08-11. Retrieved 2016-12-01.
  2. "EUROPA – Press Releases – Regional GDP per inhabitant in 2008 GDP per inhabitant ranged from 28% of the EU27 average in Severozapaden in Bulgaria to 343% in Inner London". Europa.eu. Retrieved 2013-11-28.
  3. 1 2 Regional GDP per inhabitant in the EU27: GDP per inhabitant in 2005 ranged from 24% of the EU27 average in Nord-Est Romania to 303% in Inner London. European Commission, Eurostat. 12 February 2008.
  4. "Qualita' della vita: il dossier". Il Sole 24 ORE. Retrieved 2013-11-28.
  5. "Università di Bologna (oldest university in the world)". 44.49658200;11.35316800: Virtual Globetrotting. 2006-10-21. Retrieved 2013-11-28.
  6. Livy Ab Urbe Condita XXXIX 1; Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum 617
  7. (Italian) Article about the legislation Archived July 22, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. (Italian) Article Archived April 19, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. on "il Resto del Carlino"
  9. "Dailystar, 17 dead and 200 injured in latest killer quake in northern Italy,, May 30, 2012 12:40 AM, By Colleen Barry". Dailystar.com.lb. 2012-05-30. Retrieved 2013-11-28.
  10. European Commission (2002). "Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, Towards a Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection. Thematic strategy for soil protection COM(2002)179". European Commission, Brussels.
  11. Malucelli, F.; Certini,G.; Scalenghe, R. (2014). "Soil is brown gold in the Emilia-Romagna Region". Land Use Policy. 39: 350–357. doi:10.1016/j.landusepol.2014.01.019.
  12. "Giunta – E-R Il Portale della Regione Emilia-Romagna". Regione.emilia-romagna.it. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
  13. "Museo Nazionale Emigrazione Italiana". Museonazionaleemigrazione.it. Retrieved 2013-11-28.
  14. 1 2 3 "Eurostat". Circa.europa.eu. Retrieved 2009-03-13.
  15. Fiorenza Belussi; G. Gottardi; Enzo Rullani (30 September 2003). The Technological Evolution of Industrial Districts. Springer. p. 348. ISBN 978-1-4020-7555-1. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  16. Piras, 187.
  17. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2014-04-19. Retrieved 2014-04-18.
  18. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-10-23. Retrieved 2014-10-25.
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Coordinates: 44°30′38″N 10°57′25″E / 44.51056°N 10.95694°E / 44.51056; 10.95694

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