Emilia Romagna

       
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Emilia–Romagna is an administrative Region of Northern Italy, comprising the former 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 richest, most developed regions in Europe, and it has the third highest GDP per capita in Italy. Bologna, its capital, has one of Italy's highest quality of life indices and advanced social services. Emilia–Romagna is also a cultural and tourist centre, being the home of Bologna university, one of the first universities in the world, 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, De Tomaso and Ducati) and having lively coastal resorts such as Rimini and Riccione.
 
The name Emilia–Romagna is a legacy of Ancient Rome. Emilia derives from via Æmilia, the Roman road connecting Rome to northern Italy, completed in 187 BC and named after the consul Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. 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 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 empress 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.
 
Emilia–Romagna today is considered as one of the richest European regions and the third Italian region by GDP per capita. These results were achieved developing a very well balanced economy based on the biggest agricultural sector in Italy, and on a secular tradition in automobile, motor and mechanic productions.
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 regional agricultural 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, Romagna's Sangiovese, Bologna's Pignoletto and the 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).
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 well as the mechanical and automotive (e.g., Ferrari, Ducati, Lamborghini, De Tomaso, Maserati, Pagani, Sacmi: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%).
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.
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