Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer and colonist who completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain. He led the first European expeditions to the Caribbean, Central America, South America, initiating the permanent European colonization of the Americas. Columbus discovered the viable sailing route to the Americas, a continent, not known to the Old World. While what he thought he had discovered was a route to the Far East, he is credited with the opening of the Americas for conquest and settlement by Europeans. Columbus's early life is somewhat obscure, but scholars agree that he was born in the Republic of Genoa and spoke a dialect of Ligurian as his first language, he went to sea at a young age and travelled as far north as the British Isles and as far south as what is now Ghana. He married Portuguese noblewoman Filipa Moniz Perestrelo and was based in Lisbon for several years, but took a Spanish mistress. Though self-educated, Columbus was read in geography and history.
He formulated a plan to seek a western sea passage to the East Indies, hoping to profit from the lucrative spice trade. After years of lobbying, the Catholic Monarchs of Spain agreed to sponsor a journey west, in the name of the Crown of Castile. Columbus left Spain in August 1492 with three ships, after a stopover in the Canary Islands made landfall in the Americas on 12 October, his landing place was an island in the Bahamas, known by its native inhabitants as Guanahani. Columbus subsequently visited Cuba and Hispaniola, establishing a colony in what is now Haiti—the first European settlement in the Americas since the Norse colonies 500 years earlier, he arrived back in Spain in early 1493. Word of his discoveries soon spread throughout Europe. Columbus would make three further voyages to the New World, exploring the Lesser Antilles in 1493, Trinidad and the northern coast of South America in 1498, the eastern coast of Central America in 1502. Many of the names he gave to geographical features—particularly islands—are still in use.
He continued to seek a passage to the East Indies, the extent to which he was aware that the Americas were a wholly separate landmass is uncertain. Columbus's strained relationship with the Spanish crown and its appointed colonial administrators in America led to his arrest and removal from Hispaniola in 1500, to protracted litigation over the benefits that he and his heirs claimed were owed to them by the crown. Columbus's expeditions inaugurated a period of exploration and colonization that lasted for centuries, helping create the modern Western world; the transfers between the Old World and New World that followed his first voyage are known as the Columbian exchange, the period of human habitation in the Americas prior to his arrival is known as the Pre-Columbian era. Columbus's legacy continues to be debated, he was venerated in the centuries after his death, but public perceptions have changed as recent scholars have given attention to negative aspects of his life, such as his role in the extinction of the Taíno people, his promotion of slavery, allegations of tyranny towards Spanish colonists.
Many landmarks and institutions in the Western Hemisphere bear his name, including the country of Colombia. The name Christopher Columbus is the Anglicisation of the Latin Christophorus Columbus, his name in Ligurian is Cristoffa Corombo, in Italian Cristoforo Colombo, in Spanish is Cristóbal Colón, in Portuguese is Cristóvão Colombo. He was born before 31 October 1451 in the territory of the Republic of Genoa, though the exact location remains disputed, his father was Domenico Colombo, a middle-class wool weaver who worked both in Genoa and Savona and who owned a cheese stand at which young Christopher worked as a helper. His mother was Susanna Fontanarossa. Bartolomeo, Giovanni Pellegrino, Giacomo were his brothers. Bartolomeo worked in a cartography workshop in Lisbon for at least part of his adulthood, he had a sister named Bianchinetta. Columbus never wrote in his native language, presumed to have been a Genoese variety of Ligurian: his name in the 16th-century Genoese language would have been Cristoffa Corombo.
In one of his writings, he says he went to sea at the age of 10. In 1470, the Columbus family moved to Savona. In the same year, Christopher was on a Genoese ship hired in the service of René of Anjou to support his attempt to conquer the Kingdom of Naples; some modern historians have argued that he was not from Genoa but, from the Aragon region of Spain or from Portugal. These competing hypotheses have been discounted by mainstream scholars. In 1473, Columbus began his apprenticeship as business agent for the important Centurione, Di Negro and Spinola families of Genoa, he made a trip to Chios, an Aegean island ruled by Genoa. In May 1476, he took part in an armed convoy sent by Genoa to carry valuable cargo to northern Europe, he docked in Bristol and Galway, Ireland. In 1477, he was in Iceland. In the autumn of 1477, he sailed on a Portuguese ship from Galway to Lisbon, where he found his brother Bartolomeo, they continued trading for the Centurione family. Columbus based himself in Lisbon from 1477 to 1485.
He married Filipa Moniz Perestrelo, daughter of the Porto Santo governor and Portuguese nobleman of
Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the 18 regions of France. It is located southeast of the French mainland and west of the Italian Peninsula, with the nearest land mass being the Italian island of Sardinia to the immediate south. A single chain of mountains makes up two-thirds of the island. While being part of Metropolitan France, Corsica is designated as a territorial collectivity by law; as a territorial collectivity, Corsica enjoys a greater degree of autonomy than other French regions. The island formed a single department until it was split in 1975 into two historical departments: Haute-Corse and Corse-du-Sud, with its regional capital in Ajaccio, the prefecture city of Corse-du-Sud. Bastia, the prefecture city of Haute-Corse, is the second largest settlement in Corsica; the two departments, the region of Corsica, merged again into a single territorial collectivity in 2018. After being ruled by the Republic of Genoa since 1284, Corsica was an Italian-speaking independent republic from 1755, until it was ceded by the Republic of Genoa to Louis XV as part of a pledge for debts and conquered in 1769.
Napoleon Bonaparte was born the same year in Ajaccio, his ancestral home, Maison Bonaparte, is today a significant visitor attraction and museum. Due to Corsica's historical ties with the Italian peninsula, the island retains to this day many Italian cultural elements: the native tongue is recognized as a regional language by the French government; the origin of the name Corsica remains a mystery. To the Ancient Greeks it was known as Kalliste, Cyrnos, Cernealis, or Cirné. Of these Cyrnos, Cernealis, or Cirné derive from the most ancient Greek name of the island, "Σειρηνούσσαι", the same Sirens mentioned in Homer's Odyssey. Corsica has been occupied continuously since the Mesolithic era, it acquired an indigenous population, influential in the Mediterranean during its long prehistory. After a brief occupation by the Carthaginians, colonization by the ancient Greeks, an only longer occupation by the Etruscans, it was incorporated by the Roman Republic at the end of the First Punic War and, with Sardinia, in 238 BC became a province of the Roman Republic.
The Romans, who built a colony in Aléria, considered Corsica as one of the most backward regions of the Roman world. The island produced sheep, honey and wax, exported many slaves, not well considered because of their fierce and rebellious character. Moreover, it was known for its cheap wines, exported to Rome, was used as a place of relegation, one of the most famous exiles being the Roman philosopher Seneca. Administratively, the island was divided in pagi, which in the Middle Ages became the pievi, the basic administrative units of the island until 1768. During the diffusion of Christianity, which arrived quite early from Rome and the Tuscan harbors, Corsica was home to many martyrs and saints: among them, the most important are Saint Devota and Saint Julia, both patrons of the island. Corsica was integrated into Roman Italy by Emperor Diocletian. In the 5th century, the western half of the Roman Empire collapsed, the island was invaded by the Vandals and the Ostrogoths. Recovered by the Byzantines, it soon became part of the Kingdom of the Lombards.
This made it a dependency of the March of Tuscany. Pepin the Short, king of the Franks and Charlemagne's father, expelled the Lombards and nominally granted Corsica to Pope Stephen II. In the first quarter of the 11th century and Genoa together freed the island from the threat of Arab invasion. After that, the island came under the influence of the republic of Pisa. To this period belong the many polychrome churches which adorn the island, Corsica experienced a massive immigration from Tuscany, which gave to the island its present toponymy and rendered the language spoken in the northern two-thirds of the island close to the Tuscan dialect. Due to that began the traditional division of Corsica in two parts, along the main chain of mountains going from Calvi to Porto-Vecchio: the eastern Banda di dentro, or Cismonte, more populated and open to the commerce with Italy, the western Banda di fuori, or Pomonte deserted and remote; the crushing defeat experienced by Pisa in 1284 in the Battle of Meloria against Genoa had among its consequences the end of the Pisan rule and the beginning of the Genoese influence in Corsica: this was contested by the King of Aragon, who in 1296 had received from the Pope the investiture over Sardinia and Corsica.
A popular revolution against this and the feudal lords, led by Sambucuccio d'Alando, got the aid of Genoa. After that, the Cismonte was ruled after the Italian experience; the following 150 years were a period of conflict, when the Genoese rule was contested by Aragon, the local lords, the comuni and the Pope: in 1450 Genoa ceded the administration of the island to its main bank, the Bank of Saint George, which brought peace. In the 16th century, the island entered into the fight between Spain and France for the supremacy in Italy. In 1553, a Franco-Ottoman fleet occupied Corsica, but the reaction of Spain and Genoa, led by Andrea Doria, reestablished the Genoese supremacy on the island, confirmed by the Peace of Cateau-Cambresis; the unlucky protagonist of this episode was Sampiero di Bastelica, who would come to be considered a hero of t
Eugenio Montale was an Italian poet, prose writer and translator, recipient of the 1975 Nobel Prize in Literature. He is considered the greatest Italian lyric poet since Giacomo Leopardi. Montale was born in Genoa, his family were chemical products traders. The poet's niece, Bianca Montale, in her Cronaca famigliare of 1986 portrays the family's common characteristics as "nervous fragility, concision in speaking, a tendency to see the worst in every event, a certain sense of humour". Montale was the youngest of six sons, he recalled: We were a large family. My brothers went to the scagno. My only sister had a university education. In many families the unspoken arrangement existed that the youngest was released from the task of keeping up the family name. In 1915 Montale worked as an accountant, but was left free to follow his literary passion, frequenting the city's libraries and attending his sister Marianna's private philosophy lessons, he studied opera singing with the baritone Ernesto Sivori.
Montale was self-taught. Growing up, his imagination was caught by several writers, including Dante Alighieri, by the study of foreign languages, as well as the landscapes of the Levante Liguria, where he spent holidays with his family. During World War I, as a member of the Military Academy of Parma, Montale asked to be sent to the front. After brief war experience as an infantry officer in Vallarsa and the Puster Valley, he returned home in 1920. Montale wrote more than ten anthologies of short lyrics, a journal of poetry translation, plus several books of prose translations, two books of literary criticism, one of fantasy prose. Alongside his imaginative work he was a constant contributor to Italy's most important newspaper, the Corriere della Sera, for which he wrote a huge number of articles on literature and art, he wrote a foreword to Dante's "The Divine Comedy", in which he mentions the credibility of Dante, his insight and unbiased imagination. In 1925 he was a signatory to the Manifesto of the Anti-Fascist Intellectuals.
Montale's own politics inclined toward the liberalism of Benedetto Croce. Montale's work his first poetry collection Ossi di seppia, which appeared in 1925, shows him as an antifascist who felt detached from contemporary life and found solace and refuge in the solitude of nature. A famous poem of Ossi di seppia ends with these two verses: Codesto solo oggi possiamo dirti, ciò che non siamo, ciò che non vogliamo. Translated to: Only this is what we can tell you today, that which we are not, that which we do not want; the Mediterranean landscape of Montale's native Liguria was a strong presence in these early poems: they gave him a sort of "personal seclusion" in the face of the depressing events around him. These poems emphasise his personal solitude and empathy with "little" and "insignificant" things, or with the horizon, the sea. According to Montale, nature is "rough, dazzling". In a world filled with defeat and despair, nature alone seemed to possess dignity - the same as the reader experiences in reading his poems.
Montale moved to Florence in 1927 to work as editor for the publisher Bemporad. Florence was the cradle of Italian poetry of that age, with works like the Canti orfici by Dino Campana and the first lyrics by Ungaretti for the review Lacerba. Other poets like Umberto Saba and Vincenzo Cardarelli had been praised. In 1929 Montale was asked to be chairman of the Gabinetto Vieusseux Library, a post from which he was expelled in 1938 by the fascist government. By this time Montale's poetry was a reaction against the literary style of the fascist regime, he collaborated with the magazine Solaria, frequented the literary café Le Giubbe Rosse on the Piazza Vittoria. Visiting the café several times a day, he became a central figure among a group of writers there, including Carlo Emilio Gadda, Arturo Loria and Elio Vittorini, he wrote for all the important literary magazines of the time. Though hindered by financial problems and the literary and social conformism imposed by the authorities, in Florence Montale published his finest anthology, Le occasioni.
From 1933 to 1938 he had a love relationship with Irma Brandeis, a Jewish-American scholar of Dante who visited Italy for short periods. After falling in love with Brandeis, Montale represented her as a mediatrix figure like Dante's Beatrice. Le occasioni contains numerous allusions to Brandeis, here called Clizia. Franco Fortini judged Montale's Ossi di seppia and Le occasioni the high-water mark of 20th century Italian poetry. T. S. Eliot, who shared Montale's admiration for Dante, was an important influence on his poetry at this time; the concept of the objective correlative used by Montale in his poetry, was influenced by T. S. Eliot. In 1948, for Eliot's sixtieth birthday, Montale contributed a celebratory essay entitled "Eliot and Ourselves" to a collection published to mark the occasion. From 1948 to his death, Montale lived in Milan. After the war, he was a member of the liberal Partito d'Azione; as a contributor to the Corriere della Sera he was music editor and reported from abroad, including Israel, where he went as a reporter to follow Pope Paul VI's visit there.
His works as a journalist are collected in Fuori di casa. La bufera e altro ("The Storm and Othe
Genoa is the capital of the Italian region of Liguria and the sixth-largest city in Italy. In 2015, 594,733 people lived within the city's administrative limits; as of the 2011 Italian census, the Province of Genoa, which in 2015 became the Metropolitan City of Genoa, counted 855,834 resident persons. Over 1.5 million people live in the wider metropolitan area stretching along the Italian Riviera. Located on the Gulf of Genoa in the Ligurian Sea, Genoa has been one of the most important ports on the Mediterranean: it is the busiest in Italy and in the Mediterranean Sea and twelfth-busiest in the European Union. Genoa has been nicknamed la Superba due to its glorious impressive landmarks. Part of the old town of Genoa was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2006 as Genoa: Le Strade Nuove and the system of the Palazzi dei Rolli; the city's rich cultural history in art and cuisine allowed it to become the 2004 European Capital of Culture. It is the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, Andrea Doria, Niccolò Paganini, Giuseppe Mazzini, Renzo Piano and Grimaldo Canella, founder of the House of Grimaldi, among others.
Genoa, which forms the southern corner of the Milan-Turin-Genoa industrial triangle of Northwest Italy, is one of the country's major economic centers. The city has hosted massive shipyards and steelworks since the 19th century, its solid financial sector dates back to the Middle Ages; the Bank of Saint George, founded in 1407, is among the oldest in the world and has played an important role in the city's prosperity since the middle of the 15th century. Today a number of leading Italian companies are based in the city, including Fincantieri, Selex ES, Ansaldo Energia, Ansaldo STS, Edoardo Raffinerie Garrone, Piaggio Aerospace, Mediterranean Shipping Company and Costa Cruises; the flag of Genoa is a red cross on a white field. The English Monarch paid an annual tribute to the Doge of Genoa for this privilege." The patron saint of Genoa was Saint Lawrence until at least 958, but the Genoese transferred their allegiance to Saint George at some point during the 11th or 12th century, most with the rising popularity of the military saint during the Crusades.
Genoa had a banner displaying a cross since at latest 1218 as early as 1113. But the cross banner was not associated with the saint. A depiction of this flag is shown in the Genoese annals under the year 1227; the Genoese flag with the red cross was used alongside this "Saint George's flag", from at least 1218, known as the insignia cruxata comunis Janue. The saint's flag was the city's main war flag, but the cross flag was used alongside it in the 1240s; the Saint George's flag remained the main flag of Genoa at least until the 1280s. The flag now known as the "St. George's Cross" seems to have replaced it as Genoa's main flag at some point during the 14th century; the Book of Knowledge of All Kingdoms shows it, inscribed with the word iustiçia, described as: And the lord of this place has as his ensign a white pennant with a red cross. At the top it is inscribed in this manner; the city of Genoa covers an area of 243 square kilometres between the Ligurian Sea and the Apennine Mountains. The city stretches along the coast for about 30 kilometres from the neighbourhood of Voltri to Nervi, for 10 kilometres from the coast to the north along the valleys Polcevera and Bisagno.
The territory of Genoa is popularly divided into 5 main zones: the centre, the west, the east, the Polcevera and the Bisagno Valley. Genoa is adjacent to two popular Ligurian vacation spots: Portofino. In the metropolitan area of Genoa lies Aveto Natural Regional Park. Genoa has a humid subtropical climate in the Köppen climate classification, since only one summer month has less than 40 millimetres of rainfall, preventing it from being classified as oceanic or Mediterranean; the average yearly temperature is around 19 °C during 13 °C at night. In the coldest months: December and February, the average temperature is 12 °C during the day and 6 °C at night. In the warmest months – July and August – the average temperature is 27.5 °C during the day and 21 °C at night. The daily temperature range is limited, with an average range of about 6 °C between high and low temperatures. Genoa sees significant moderation from the sea, in stark contrast to areas behind the Ligurian mountains such as Parma, where summers are hotter and winters are quite cold.
Annually, the average 2.9 of nights recorded temperatures of ≤0 °C. The coldest temperature recorded was −8 °C on the night of February 2012. Average annual number of days with temperatures of ≥30 °C is about 8, average four days in July and August. Average annual temperature of the sea is 17.5 °C, from 13 °C in the period January–March to 25 °C in August. In the period from June to October, the average sea temperature exceeds
Niccolò Paganini was an Italian violinist, violist and composer. He was the most celebrated violin virtuoso of his time, left his mark as one of the pillars of modern violin technique, his 24 Caprices for Solo Violin Op. 1 are among the best known of his compositions, have served as an inspiration for many prominent composers. Niccolò Paganini was born in Genoa capital of the Republic of Genoa, the third of the six children of Antonio and Teresa Paganini. Paganini's father was an unsuccessful trader, but he managed to supplement his income through playing music on the mandolin. At the age of five, Paganini started learning the mandolin from his father, moved to the violin by the age of seven, his musical talents were recognized, earning him numerous scholarships for violin lessons. The young Paganini studied under various local violinists, including Giovanni Servetto and Giacomo Costa, but his progress outpaced their abilities. Paganini and his father traveled to Parma to seek further guidance from Alessandro Rolla.
But upon listening to Paganini's playing, Rolla referred him to his own teacher, Ferdinando Paer and Paer's own teacher, Gasparo Ghiretti. Though Paganini did not stay long with Paer or Ghiretti, the two had considerable influence on his composition style; the French invaded northern Italy in March 1796, Genoa was not spared. The Paganinis sought refuge in their country property near Bolzaneto, it was in this period. He mastered the guitar, but preferred to play it in intimate, rather than public concerts, he described the guitar as his "constant companion" on his concert tours. By 1800, Paganini and his father traveled to Livorno, where Paganini played in concerts and his father resumed his maritime work. In 1801, the 18-year-old Paganini was appointed first violin of the Republic of Lucca, but a substantial portion of his income came from freelancing, his fame as a violinist was matched only by his reputation as a womanizer. In 1805, Lucca was annexed by Napoleonic France, the region was ceded to Napoleon's sister, Elisa Baciocchi.
Paganini became a violinist for the Baciocchi court, while giving private lessons to Elisa's husband, Felice. In 1807, Baciocchi became the Grand Duchess of Tuscany and her court was transferred to Florence. Paganini was part of the entourage, towards the end of 1809, he left Baciocchi to resume his freelance career. For the next few years, Paganini returned to touring in the areas surrounding Genoa. Though he was popular with the local audience, he was still not well known in the rest of Europe, his first break came from an 1813 concert at La Scala in Milan. The concert was a great success; as a result, Paganini began to attract the attention of other prominent, though more conservative, musicians across Europe. His early encounters with Charles Philippe Lafont and Louis Spohr created intense rivalry, his concert activities, were still limited to Italy for the next few years. In 1827, Pope Leo XII honoured Paganini with the Order of the Golden Spur, his fame spread across Europe with a concert tour that started in Vienna in August 1828, stopping in every major European city in Germany and Bohemia until February 1831 in Strasbourg.
This was followed by tours in Britain. His technical ability and his willingness to display it received much critical acclaim. In addition to his own compositions and variations being the most popular, Paganini performed modified versions of works written by his early contemporaries, such as Rodolphe Kreutzer and Giovanni Battista Viotti. Paganini's travels brought him into contact with eminent guitar virtuosi of the day, including Ferdinando Carulli in Paris and Mauro Giuliani in Vienna, but this experience did not inspire him to play public concerts with guitar, performances of his own guitar trios and quartets were private to the point of being behind closed doors. Throughout his life, Paganini was no stranger to chronic illnesses. Although no definite medical proof exists, he was reputed to have been affected by Marfan syndrome or Ehlers–Danlos syndrome. In addition, his frequent concert schedule, as well as his extravagant lifestyle, took their toll on his health, he was diagnosed with syphilis as early as 1822, his remedy, which included mercury and opium, came with serious physical and psychological side effects.
In 1834, while still in Paris, he was treated for tuberculosis. Though his recovery was reasonably quick, after the illness his career was marred by frequent cancellations due to various health problems, from the common cold to depression, which lasted from days to months. In September 1834, Paganini returned to Genoa. Contrary to popular beliefs involving his wishing to keep his music and techniques secret, Paganini devoted his time to the publication of his compositions and violin methods, he accepted students, of whom two enjoyed moderate success: violinist Camillo Sivori and cellist Gaetano Ciandelli. Neither, considered Paganini helpful or inspirational. In 1835, Paganini returned to Parma, this time under the employ of Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria, Napoleon's second wife, he was in charge of reorganizing her court orchestra. However, he conflicted with the players and court, so his visions never saw completion. In Paris, he befriended the 11-year-old Polish virtuoso Apollinaire de Kontski, giving him some lessons and a signed testimonial.
It was put about, that Paganini was so impressed with de Kontski's skills that he
Province of Piacenza
The province of Piacenza is a province in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. Its provincial capital is the city Piacenza; as of 2016, it has a total population of 286,572 inhabitants over an area of 2,585.86 square kilometres, giving it a population density of 111.38 inhabitants per square kilometre. The city Piacenza has a population of 102,269, as of 2015; the provincial president is Patrizia Barbieri and it contains 48 comuni. The province dates back to its founding by the Romans in 218 BCE. Piacenza was founded by the Romans for military purposes in 218 BCE, it was conquered by Carthaginian Hasdrubal II in 207 BCE and the city was sacked in 200 BCE by the Gauls. A key city in the region, it was destroyed by barbarians but the town was rebuilt under the rule of bishops in the 10th century. By the 12th century, the city was a free comune and it fought against Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor as part of the Lombard League. In the Renaissance period it passed from French, to papal, to Sforzas rule.
Pope Paul III formed the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza and Piacenza became part of this duchy. It voted for a union between it and Piedmont in May 1848. In October 2012, it was confirmed that the Province of Piacenza would be merged with the Province of Parma in 2014 to become the Province of Piacenza and Parma, despite controversy over the chosen name. However, after the dismissal of premier Mario Monti, the provincial union was cancelled; the province of Piacenza is the westernmost of the nine provinces in the region of Emilia-Romagna in northwestern Italy. It is bounded on the east by the Province of Parma, to the north by the Province of Cremona, the Province of Lodi, the Province of Pavia in the region of Lombardy; the Province of Alessandria lies to the west in the region of Piedmont, to the south lies the Province of Genoa in the region of Liguria. The northernmost part of the province is flat but the southernmost two thirds is hilly and extends to the Ligurian Apennine Mountains; the alluvial Po Plain is agricultural land and there are many vineyards growing grapes from which the eighteen wines of the region are made.
There is some light industry in the mechanical sector, some of this is linked to the agriculture sector. Media related to Province of Piacenza at Wikimedia Commons Official website Provincia di Piacenza homepage Piacenzainternet.it - Portale di Piacenza
Northern Italy is a geographical region in the northern part of Italy. Non-administrative, it consists of eight administrative Regions in northern Italy: Aosta Valley, Liguria, Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol; as of 2014, its population was 27,801,460. Rhaeto-Romance and Gallo-Italic languages are spoken in the region, as opposed to the Italo-Dalmatian languages spoken in the rest of Italy. For statistic purposes, the Istituto Nazionale di Statistica uses the terms Northwest Italy and Northeast Italy for two of Italy's five statistical regions in its reporting; these same subdivisions are used to demarcate first-level Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics regions within the European Union, the Italian constituencies for the European Parliament. Northern Italy was called by different terms in different periods of History. During ancient times the terms Cisalpine Gaul, Gallia Citerior or Gallia Togata were used to define that part of Italy inhabited by Celts during the 4th and 3rd centuries BC.
Conquered by the Roman Republic in the 220s BC, it was a Roman province from c. 81 BC until 42 BC, when it was merged into Roman Italy. Until that time, it was considered part of Gaul that part of Gaul on the "hither side of the Alps", as opposed to Transalpine Gaul. After the fall of the Roman Empire and the settlement of the Lombards the name Langobardia Maior was used, in the Early Middle Ages, to define the domains of the Lombard Kingdom in Northern Italy; the Lombard territories beyond were called Langobardia Minor, consisting of the Duchies of Spoleto and Benevento. During the Late Middle Ages, after the fall of the northern part of the Lombard Kingdom to Charlemagne, the term Longobardia was used to mean Northern Italy within the medieval Kingdom of Italy; as the area became partitioned in regional states the term Lombardy subsequentially shifted to indicate only the area of the Duchies of Milan, Mantua and Modena and only to the area around Milan. In late modern period the term High Italy was used, for example by the Comitato di Liberazione Nazionale Alta Italia during the second World War.
Starting from the 1960s the term Padania was sometimes used as geographical synonym of Po Valley. The term appeared sparingly 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 it has carried strong political connotations. In pre-Roman centuries it was inhabited by different peoples among whom the Ligures, the ancient Veneti, who prospered through their trade in amber and breeding of horses, the Etruscans, who colonized Northern Italy from Tuscany, founded the city of Bologna and spread the use of writing; these people founded several cities like Turin and Milan and extended their rule from the Alps to the Adriatic Sea. Their development was halted by the Roman expansion in the Po Valley from the 3rd century BC onwards. After centuries of struggle, in 194 BC the entire area of what is now Northern Italy became a Roman province with the name of Gallia Cisalpina.
The Roman culture and language overwhelmed the former civilization in the following years, Northern Italy became one of the most developed and rich areas of the western half of the empire with the construction of a wide array of roads and the development of agriculture and trade. In late antiquity the strategic role of Northern Italy was emphasized by the moving of the capital of the Western Empire from Rome to Mediolanum in 286 and to Ravenna from 402 until the empire collapsed in 476. After the fall of the Western Empire, Northern Italy suffered from destruction brought about by migration from Germanic peoples and from the Gothic War. In the 570s the Germanic Lombards, or Longobardi, entered Northern Italy from Friuli and founded a long-lasting reign that gave the medieval name to the whole Northern Italy and the current name to the Lombardy region. After the initial struggles, relationships between the Lombard people and the Latin-speaking people improved. In the end, the Lombard language and culture assimilated with the Latin culture, leaving evidence in many names, the legal code and laws, other things.
The end of Lombard rule came in 774, when the Frankish king Charlemagne conquered Pavia, deposed Desiderius, the last Lombard king, annexed the Lombard Kingdom to his empire changing the name in Kingdom of Italy. The former Lombard dukes were replaced by Frankish counts, prince-bishops or marquises. In the 10th century Northern Italy was formally under the rule of the Holy Roman Empire but was in fact divided in a multiplicity of small, autonomous city-states, the medieval communes and maritime republic; the 11th century marked a significant boom in Northern Italy's economy, due to improved trading and agricultural innovations, culture flourished as well with many universities founded, among them the University of Bologna, the oldest university in Europe. The increasing richness of the city-states made them able to defy the traditional feudal supreme power, represented by the German emperors and their local vassals; this process led to the creation of different Lombard Leagues formed by allied cities of Lombardy that defeated the Hohenstaufen Emperor Frederick I, at Legnano, his grandson Frederick II, at Parma, becoming independent from the German emperors.
The Leagues failed to develop from an