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Po Valley or Pianura padana

Padania is an alternative name for the Po Valley, a major plain in the north of Italy. The term was sparingly used until the early 1990s, when Lega Nord, a federalist and, at times, separatist political party in Italy, proposed "Padania" as a possible name for an independent state in Northern Italy. Since then, it has carried strong political connotations.[1]


  • In geography 1
  • In political science 2
  • In politics 3
    • Lega Nord's Padania 3.1
    • Flag of Padania 3.2
    • Opinion polling 3.3
  • In popular culture 4
  • References 5
  • Further reading 6
  • External links 7

In geography

The adjective padano, derived from Padus, the Latin name of the Po river, was first used in the 19th century. In its true geographical sense, Padania refers to the valley of the Po river. In fact, the French client republics in the Po Valley during the Napoleonic era included the Cispadane Republic and the Transpadane Republic, according to the custom (emerged with the French Revolution) of naming territories on the basis of watercourses. The ancient Regio XI (the region of the Roman Empire on the current territory of the Aosta Valley, Piedmont and Lombardy) has been thus referred to as Regio XI Transpadana in academic literature only in recent centuries.

The term Padania has been used mainly as a socio-economic denomination as the terms Pianura Padana or Val Padana are the standard denominations in geography textbooks and atlases. The first use of the concept in socio-economic terms dates from 1975, when Guido Fanti, the Communist President of Emilia-Romagna, proposed a union composed of Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, Lombardy, Piedmont and Liguria.[2][3] The term was seldom used in these terms until the Giovanni Agnelli Foundation re-launched it in 1992 through the volume La Padania, una regione italiana in Europa (English: Padania, an Italian region in Europe), written by various academics.[4]

Even if Padania is often used as a synonym for Northern Italy, in a strict geographic sense it does not include Aosta Valley, Trentino, South Tyrol, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, a large portion of Veneto, Romagna, and, of course, Tuscany, Marche and Umbria, none of which are part of Northern Italy.

Since the 1960s, journalist Gianni Brera had used the term Padania to indicate the area that at the time of Cato the Elder corresponded to Cisalpine Gaul.[5][6] In the same years and later, the term Padania was considered a geographic synonym of Po Valley and as such was included in the Enciclopedia Universo in 1965[7] and in the Devoto–Oli dictionary of the Italian language in 1971. A further use of the term Padania was limited to some linguistic research, in relation to Gallo-Italic languages, and sometimes even extended to all regional languages distinguishing Northern from Central Italy along the La Spezia–Rimini Line.[8]

Lega Nord, a political party created in 1991 by the union of several northern regional parties (including Lega Lombarda and Liga Veneta), later used the term for a larger geographical range than Fanti's and Brera's Padania, but with stronger political and socio-economic connotations.

In political science

In 1990 Gianfranco Miglio, a political scientist who would be elected senator for Lega Nord in 1992 and 1994, wrote a book in which he described a draft constitutional reform. According to Miglio, Padania (consisting of five regions: Veneto, Lombardy, Piedmont, Liguria and Emilia-Romagna) would become one of the three hypothetical macroregions of a future Italy, along with Etruria (Central Italy) and Mediterranea (Southern Italy), while the autonomous regions (Aosta Valley, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Sicily and Sardinia) would be left with their current autonomy.[9]

In 1993 Robert D. Putnam, a political scientist at Harvard University, wrote a book titled Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy, in which he spoke of a "civic North", defined according to the inhabitants' civic traditions and attitudes, and explained its social peculiarities to the historical emergence of the free medieval communes since the 10th century.[10] Stefano Galli, a political scientist close to the Northern League and columnist for Il Giornale and La Padania, has called Putnam's theory a source for defining Padania.[11] Northern League's definition of Padania's boundaries is similar to Robert D. Putnam's "civic North", which also includes the central Italian regions of Tuscany, Marche and Umbria. According to the author, these regions share similar patterns of civil society, citizenship, and government with the North.[12]

  • Flags of the World – Padania
  • Ethnologue Report – Italy
  • Short Atlas of Gallican, Romance and Cisalpine Peoples

External links

  • Diamanti, Ilvo (1996). Il male del Nord. Lega, localismo, secessione.  
  • Gomez-Reino Cachafeiro, Margarita (2002). Ethnicity and Nationalism in Italian Politics. Inventing the Padania: Lega Nord and the Northern Question.  
  • Huysseune, Michel (2006). Modernity and secession. The social sciences and the political discourse of the Lega Nord in Italy.  
  • Mainardi, Roberto (1998). L'Italia delle regioni. Il Nord e la Padania.  

Further reading

  1. ^ Squires, Nick (2011-08-23). "'"Silvio Berlusconi ally says Italy 'condemned to death. The Telegraph. Retrieved 2011-11-16. 
  2. ^ a b Santini, Francesco (1975-11-06). """Fanti spiega la sua proposta per una grande "lega del Po.  
  3. ^ """Addio a Guido Fanti, inventore della "Lega del Po.  
  4. ^ Bracalini, Paolo (25 June 2010). "La Padania? L'ha inventata la Fondazione Agnelli".  
  5. ^  
  6. ^  
  7. ^ "Italia". Enciclopedia Universo – vol. VII.  
  8. ^  
  9. ^ a b  
  10. ^ Guiso, Luigi; Sapienza, Paola; Zingales, Luigi (2007). "Long Term Persistence" (PDF). Chicago GSB Research Paper ( 
  11. ^ Galli, Stefano (2011-03-28). "Il commento Fini si rassegni, la Padania esiste davvero".  
  12. ^  
  13. ^ Oneto, Gilberto (1994). Bandiere di libertà: Simboli e vessilli dei Popoli dell'Italia settentrionale.  
  14. ^ Oneto, Gilberto (1997). L'invenzione della Padania.  
  15. ^ Oneto, Gilberto (2010). Il sole delle Alpi. Mito, storia e realtà di un simbolo antico.  
  16. ^ Oneto, Gilberto (2012). Polentoni o padani? Apologia di un popolo di egoisti xenofobi ignoranti ed evasori.  
  17. ^ La Libera Compagnia Padana
  18. ^ Viva La Grande Nazione Catalana E Anche Quella Padana | L'Indipendenza
  19. ^ Rapporto annuale 2010
  20. ^ [2] Archived November 27, 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ La questione non e’ padana - Corriere della Sera
  22. ^ Oneto, Gilberto (1997). L'invenzione della Padania.  
  23. ^ Francesco Jori, Dalla Łiga alla Lega. Storia, movimenti, protagonisti, Marsilio, Venice 2009, p. 103
  24. ^ Jori, Francesco (2009). Dalla Łiga alla Lega. Storia, movimenti, protagonisti.  
  25. ^  
  26. ^ "Archeologia: Toscana" (in Italiano). 
  27. ^ a b Araldica e Bandiere della Federazione Padana, Angelo Veronesi.
  28. ^  
  29. ^ Diamanti, Ilvo (1 January 1996). "Il Nord senza Italia?".  
  30. ^ L'Indipendente, 23 August 2000.
  31. ^ GPG (2009-02-12). "I sondaggi di GPG: Simulazione Referendum - Nord Italia". Il-liberale.blogspot. 
  32. ^ SWG (2010-06-25). "Federalismo e secessione" (PDF).  
  33. ^ SWG (2010-06-28). "Gli italiani non credono nella Padania. Ma al Nord prevale il sì alla secessione".  
  34. ^ GPG (2011-05-25). "Sondaggi GPG: Quesiti/2 - Maggio 2011". 


The Padania national football team has won the Viva World Cup in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Padania is the title of the tenth studio album by the Afterhours, an Italian rock band from Milan.

Padania is mentioned in the song Facendo La Storia/Making The History from the album Cerco tiempo by 99 Posse, an Italian rap group from Naples.

Padania is mentioned in the William Gibson novel Virtual Light, in which the world political map is implied to be heavily fractured.

Padania is featured the anime/manga Gunslinger Girl, which features a pro-Padania terrorist group named the Five Republics Faction and the Italian counterintelligence and counter-terrorist agency called the Social Welfare Agency which tries to stop them.

In popular culture

According to a poll conducted in February 2010 by GPG, 45% of Northerners support the independence of Padania.[31] A poll conducted by SWG in June 2010 puts that figure at 61% of Northerners (with 80% of them supporting at least federal reform), while noting that 55% of Italians consider Padania as only a political invention, against 42% believing in its real existence (45% of the sample being composed of Northerners, 19% of Central Italians and 36% of Southerners). As for federal reform, according to the poll, 58% of Italians support it.[32][33] A more recent poll by SWG puts the support for fiscal federalism and secession respectively at 68% and 37% in Piedmont and Liguria, 77% and 46% in Lombardy, 81% and 55% in Triveneto (comprising Veneto), 63% and 31% in Emilia-Romagna, 51% and 19% in Central Italy (not including Lazio).[34]

While support for a federal system, as opposed to a centrally administered state, receives widespread consensus within Padania, support for independence is less favoured. One poll in 1996 estimated that 52.4% of interviewees from Northern Italy considered secession advantageous (vantaggiosa) and 23.2% both advantageous and desirable (auspicabile).[29] Another poll in 2000 estimated that about 20% of "Padanians" (18.3% in North-West Italy and 27.4% in North-East Italy) supported secession in case Italy was not reformed into a federal state.[30]

Opinion polling

[27] In its previous version, the flag included a red

The "Sun of the Alps" is the unofficial flag of Padania and the symbol of the Padanian nationalism. The flag has a green stylized sun on a white background. It resembles ancient ornaments which are found in the art and culture of the area, like one example of Etruscan art from the 7th century BC found at Civitella Paganico.[26] The flag was created in the 1990s and was adopted by Lega Nord upon their declaration of Padanian independence.[27][28]

Flag of Padania proposed by Lega Nord

Flag of Padania

Region Population Area (km²)
Lombardy 10,002,615 23,865
Veneto 4,927,596 18,391
Emilia-Romagna 4,450,508 22,451
Piedmont 4,424,467 25,399
Liguria 1,583,263 5,422
Friuli-Venezia Giulia 1,227,522 7,845
Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol 1,055,934 13,607
Aosta Valley 128,298 3,263
Northern Italy 27,800,203 120,243
Tuscany 3,752,654 22,993
Marche 1,550,796 9,366
Umbria 894,762 8,456
Padania (total) 33,998,415 161,076

According to Lega Nord's Declaration of Independence and Sovereignty of Padania,[25] Padania is composed of 14 "nations" (Lombardy, Veneto, Piedmont, Tuscany, Emilia, Liguria, Marche, Romagna, Umbria, Friuli, Trentino, South Tyrol, Venezia Giulia, Aosta Valley), slightly differing from the corresponding 11 Italian regions and from Gianfranco Miglio's project.[9] The 11 regions forming Padania, according to the party, are listed below:

Nations of Padania as claimed by Lega Nord
Map of Europe, showing Padania (as claimed by Lega Nord) in dark green

Lega Nord's Padania

The term Padania has been also used in politics by other nationalist/separatist parties and groups, including Lega Padana, Lega Padana Lombardia, the Padanian Union, the Alpine Padanian Union, Veneto Padanian Federal Republic and the Padanian Independentist Movement.[24]

Since 1991, Lega Nord has promoted either elections for it. Lega Nord also chose a national anthem: the Va, pensiero chorus from Giuseppe Verdi's Nabucco, in which the exiled Hebrew slaves lament their lost homeland.

The first politician to consistently use the term Padania was Guido Fanti, a leading member of the Italian Communist Party who was President of Emilia-Romagna from 1970 to 1976 (see above). In an interview with La Stampa in 1975, Fanti proposed the creation of Padania in order to go over centralism (see above).[2]

In politics

[21], a political scientist, once explained that, even though a "Padanian nation" does not exist yet, it might well emerge as all nations are ultimately human inventions.Angelo Panebianco [20] instead.Venetian nationalism, who is a supporter of Paolo Bernardini to historian [19]

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