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Northern Italy

Northern Italy
Regional statistics
Largest city Milan
Regions of Italy Aosta Valley, Piedmont, Lombardy, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Emilia-Romagna, Liguria
 - Total

46,301 mi² (119,921 km²)
 - Total (2006)
 - Density

223.8 people/km²
Map showing Northern Italy in its tradional definition.

Northern Italy is a wide cultural, historical and geographical definition, without any administrative worth, used to indicate the northern part of the Italian nation. It comprises two areas belonging to Italian First level NUTS of the European Union:


By far the larger portion of Northern Italy is occupied by the basin of the Po river, which comprises the whole of the broad plain extending from the foot of the Apennines to that of the Alps, together with the valleys and slopes on both sides of it. Throughout its whole course indeed, from its source in Monte Viso to its outflow into the Adriatic Sea—a distance of more than 5 degrees of longitude, or 220 miles in a direct line—the Po receives all the waters that flow from the Apennines northwards, and all those that descend from the Alps towards the south, till one comes to the Adige, which, after pursuing a parallel course with the Po for a considerable distance, enters the Adriatic by a separate mouth.


Northern Italy, with a population of 27,324,431 (09-30-2008 est.), comprises 45.5% of the Italian population over an area of about 120,000 km² (46,000 sq mi), that corresponds to about one third of the whole national territory. These figures clearly indicate the northern part of the country as the most densely populated area in Italy, with a population density of 227.7 people per km² (594/sq mi). This area is also characterized by a high concentration of large metropolitan areas such as Milan, Turin, Genoa, Venice-Padua and the urban settlements along the Via Aemilia, most notably Bologna..


Northern Italy is the most developed and productive area of the country, and home to the first part of Italy to be industrialized in the last half of the 19th century, the so called industrial triangle formed by the manufacturing centres of Milan and Turin and the seaport of Genoa. With a 2005 GDP estimated in €778.172 billion (US$968.719), Northern Italy accounts for almost 55% of the national economy.


Northern Italy was inhabited by Celts and protoceltic tribes in the "Lombard Valley", while etrurian people settled in Tuscany, that, as the recent studies show, have to be identified with the "People of the Sea", a german wave in the mediterrean sea before the start of the classic age. After the roman invasion, the Lombardy ( as the northern regions and Tuscany have been called as a whole entity until the born of Italy ) became a strategic region of the Empire when the german incursions started in the late 2 AD. In this period important celtic cities, like Turin and Milan, were transformed in military settlements in order to provide with the best defense Rome and the regions of Italy. Lombardy, Austria, Bavaria and Hungary became the target of the oriental german people's invasions ( Ostroghots, Avars, Lombards ) and since this people used to adopt the language of the conquered people as well of the conquerors they mixed their language with that of the magyars, the western germans ( the first case ) and the latins( the second case ). The Kingdom of the Lombards lasted two centuries. After its fall caused by the French army of Carolus Magnus, the crown of the Lombards ( The Iron Crown ) was owned by the Holy Roman Emperor. In the 13 century the Lombard league and the Tuscan League opposed themselves to the power of the emperor to gain more autonomy but they didnt leave the Empire, that was useful to limit the ambitions of the Popes in Lombardy. The several wars among the lombard states among the 14 and the 16 cent. increased the distances while each duche or republique prefered in this period to come their power from the absolute one of the divine roman emperors or from the ownership of the high virtues and qualities of the ancient roman republique, in order to get the respect of the greater european sovereigns. Lawrence of Medici the Magnificent was in late to find an equilibrium of power among the major lombard states that could preserve the lombard independence and evidenty the "roman tells" shew to be ineffecetive since from 16 cent the major european nations started the race to conquer as much as possible of the Lombardy. In the 18th cent. Austria monopolized the power and a new age of intellectual and economic renaissance started. The feelings against Austria and the disdain of the ancient states rose in the 19th cent and they were caused by the emperialism and the neoclassic trends that were inspired by the british and french conquerers in the Mediterranean Sea and their discoveries of the classic wonders. The new State that born from several wars against the Austrian Empire established Rome as the new capital. The Florence rumours that followed that choise were silenced by the army. Venice, Milan and their countrysides were looted and spoiled following the same destiny that suffered Genoa 1 century before. The Iron Crown, that Napoleon had used 50 years before to legitimize his rule on Lombardy was abandoned in the Monza Cathedral and substituted by the Sardinia Crown. A new epoque of romanization and strong emigration flows from the south to populate the lombard cities was started. A new and more geographic definition (Northern Italy or Settentrione) replaced the historical and ethnic name of "Lombardy".

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