Emilia-Romagna (Bologna) - Northern Regions

"Emilia-Romagna (Bologna) - Northern Regions" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Thursday 28th April 2011

Emilia-Romagna (Bologna) - Northern Regions

The name Emilia-Romagna comes from the Roman history. Emilia derives from the name of Marcus Aemilius Lepidus under who's consulate was built the road via Emilia between Piacenza and Rimini. Romagna remembers the division of the territory in VI century: to the north-east - the land of Lombards (Longobardia); to the south-east - the land of Romans (Romania). So modern Romagna is a historical region and includes provinces of Ravenna and Forli', plus the zone of Imola in the province of Bologna. The rest of the territory belongs to Emilia.

Area: 22 123 sq.km (8628 sq.miles) (7.3%), population 3 940 000 inhabitants (6.8%), density 178 inhab./sq.km.

The first settlements appeared in the Neolithic and Iron ages on the banks of the rivers. Later came Ligurians, Celts, Etruscans and Umbrians. The first systematic arrangement of the territory was conducted by Romans who made this region a fortified base between Italy and Gaul. Here was traced the road via Emilia along which were built the most important cities, except Ravenna and Ferrara. After Romans the greatest part of the territory was conquered by Lombards; only Ravenna and Forli' still belonged to eastern Roman empire, Ravenna became even a capital of it, and the territory around these cities was called Romania, later modified into Romagna. Thanks to the geographical position and rich agricultural resources this region nearly for all of its history was quite prosperous.

In the times of Renaissance here took place the great urbanistic revolution, by the order of Ercole I d'Este the architect Biagio Rossetti projected the "new" Ferrara, called "the first modern city of Europe". But the transformation of the territory touched not only the cities, but the country sides as well. Here were built numerous irrigation channels, introduced new plants and etc.

In times of pontifical government the region suffered from a long crisis till 1860, the year of annexation of Emilia-Romagna to Italy. Since then the work of improvement of the land organization continued. This time were involved not only the plain zones but also the mountain and the hill parts, where 65 % of territory was adapted to cultivation and use. Here were built the aqueducts, power lines, methane pipelines, roads and highways. At the same time took place the development of industry and tourism. Thus, the region of Emilia-Romagna is considered to be one of the best places to live in Italy.



Man and Territory Economy and Resources

Archeology and Art


In the II millenium b.C. Emilia-Romagna was already inhabited. In V-VI centuries b.C. here came the Etruscans and Gauls. The Etruscans had founded Felsina and created numerous commercial centers which had the exit to the sea in the zone called Spina, modern Comacchio. .

Roman Epoch
(from II century b.C.)

Romans defeated Gauls and settled in the region. Opened the via Emilia and founded some of the colonies (Rimini, Ravenna, Piacenza). .

Middle Ages
(V - XV centuries)

In V century Ravenna became the capital of the eastern Roman Empire; the Lombards invaded the north-western part of the region; the south-eastern part remained under Byzantines. During the XII century Bologna assumed great power. After barbaric invasions in XI century the work of territory improvement continues. Creation of passageways through the Apennines. Development of commerce and artisan activities. In XIV century Bologna is noted for its University, production of wool; Ferrara became famous for the tapestry production. Basilica of San Vitale and church of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna (VI century); the cathedral of Modena (XI century, Wiligelmo) and of Parma (XII century, Antelami).

(XV - XVI centuries)

The period of maximum splendour of the court of Este in Ferrara and Modena and of Farnese in Parma and Piacenza. Bologna and Ravenna became pontifical legations. . Urbanistic arrangement of Ferrara by the architect B.Rossetti. Palazzo Ducale in Modena.

Modern Epoch (XVII=XVIII)

In 1796 the French occupied the region which became the part of Cispadane Republic (and later of Cisalpine Republic). New progresses in communication system. .

XIX - XX centuries

After the congress of Vienne in 1815 the previous souvereigns were restored. In 1860 the region joined the new state of Italy. In the second half of the XIX century were built the new roads and railways. After the WWII began the intensive industrialization favoured by the presence of capital and continued construction of ways of communications. The start of touristic boom on the Adriatic seacoast.  

Emilia-Romagna (Bologna) Map

Emilia-Romagna (Bologna) Map


Emilia-Romagna is one of the most extended regions of Italy; it is limited by the Adriatic, the Apennines and Po. Borders on Lombardy and Veneto  (north), Liguria and Piedmont (west), Tuscany and Marche (south), the Adriatic Sea (east). Between Romagna and Marche the little independent Republic of San Marino is located.


There are three climates presented in Emilia-Romagna. In the plain zones the climate is continental (cold and foggy winters, hot and humid summers); in mountain zones the climate is of Alpine type (cold and foggy winters and cool summers); in the seaside zones  the climate is moderate with cold winds from north-east.


January: -0.4 C

July: 23 C


plain: 48%

hill: 27%

mountain: 25%


The mountain part of the region are poor of fertile lands and vegetation, while the plain zones introduce one of the most animated landscapes of the northern Italy. Here predominates little and medium private agricultural businesses, as well as big companies with a great number of employees, and cooperatives.
The region is rich of rivers (Po, Trebbia, Nure, Arda, Taro, Parma, Enza, Secchia, Panaro, Reno, Rubicone, Marecchia, Conca) most of which are born in the Apennines.


The main communication ways are via Emilia, the ancient Roman tract. Parallel to it go a railway and a highway; because of its position the region is obliged to serve as a transit between Northern and southern Italy. Ravenna is an important sea port with a notable traffic of goods thanks to developed industrial production. There are two airports, the most important one is in Bologna and the second is in Rimini used in summer period for international charter flights.


Total: 42 400 000

Italians: 75%

Foreigners: 25%


agriculture: 7%

industry: 35%


tourism: 58%

Agriculture and breeding.

The agriculture in Emilia-Romagna is one of the most progressive in Italy organized with the limited usage of working hands and with modern technical equipment. The principal cultivated growings are: corn, maize,  sugar beet, fruits (peach, strawberry, cherry, pear, apple, apricot, plum); vegetables. The breeding of cattle is on the second place in Italy after Lombardy. Here is very well developed the production of wines a big part of which is exported to the United States. The fishing is also notable (1/5 of national fish product).


Emilia-Romagna is the only Italian region which projected its development according to the very precise model concentrated on little and medium private business and cooperatives. Here was denied to build big industrial complexes with the exception of two chemical plants in Ferrara (Montedison) and in Ravenna (Anic). The basic productions apart from those traditional (transformation of agricultural and breeding products) are: metal-mechanics (production of Ferrari in Maranello), textile, clothing, chemical, glass, pharmaceutical, furniture and construction materials; high technological mechanics and electronics.



44 000 000 kWh


1 100 000 kWh



128 000 000 kWh


8 200 000 kWh

Births (per 1000)

Italy: 9.9

Emilia-Romagna: 6.8

Deaths (per 1000)

Italy: 9.3

Emilia-Romagna: 11.1


Italy: 0.6

Emilia-Romagna: -4.3


The distribution of the population in the region is very balanced, none of the urbanistic centers has got predominating demographic or other functions. The important commercial and industrial center as Bologna has only 1/9 of the population of Emilia-Romagna.
The second aspect is a tendency to increase of the population, but it is not due to the birth-rate which is even lower than mortality, but to the fact of greater number of immigrants than of emigrants.


Emilia-Romagna is a rich region, it is on the 3rd place after Lombady and Valle d'Aosta by the product per inhabitant. In the rate of the richest cities of Italy Bologna is the 1st, Parma is the 5th, Ravenna is the 8th, Modena is the 9th, Reggio Emilia is the 11th. Emilia-Romagna is on the 4th place by the consumption of goods and services per inhabitant. Women and men here live longer lives than an average Italian. The percent of people with University degree in this region is the highest in northern Italy; and it is the 3rd in Italy by the number of school graduates. The quality of life is high (see the tables below). Here the number of crimes is inferior to the average Italian rate and the lowest in central-northern Italy.

Inhabitants per car

Italy: 2.0

Emilia-Romagna: 1.7

Expenses for sport/recreation

(liras per inhabitant)

Italy: 48 500

Emilia-Romagna: 95 700

Monthly income

per inhabitant

1 632 000 It.Liras 

(816 US Dollars)

Provinces and communes.

The region is divided in eight provinces: Bologna, Ferrara, Forli', Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Ravenna, Reggio nell'Emilia, and Rimini with 341 communes.
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Ravenna (RA) (Emilia-Romagna)

Region of Emilia-Romagna (Bologna) in Northern Italy. The smallest province of the region. Surface 1860 sq.km.; 18 communes; agriculture, breeding, tourism.

Ferrara (FE) (Emilia-Romagna)

Region of Emilia-Romagna (Bologna) in Northern Italy . Surface 2631 sq.km.; 26 communes; plain territory which in past centuries suffered from floods;

Forli' (FO) / Rimini (RN) (Emilia-Romagna)

Region of Emilia-Romagna (Bologna) in Northern Italy . Surface 2910 sq.km.; 50 communes; 2/3 of territory is covered by mountains and hills (Poggio Scali 1520m

Bologna (BO) (Emilia-Romagna)

Emilia-Romagna (Bologna) region in Northern Italy . Surface 3702 sq.km.; 60 communes; agriculture, breeding, industries. Main centers: Imola, Casalecchio di

Modena (MO) (Emilia-Romagna)

Region of Emilia-Romagna (Bologna) in Northern Italy. Surface 2690 sq.km.; 47 communes; agriculture, breeding, industries. Main centers: Carpi, Sassuolo,