- For criticism see Criticism of Padania
Padania is an alternative name for the Po Valley in Italy. The term was sparingly used until the early 1990s, when Lega Nord, a political party in Italy, proposed Padania as a possible denomination for an autonomous Northern Italy. Since then, it has carried strong political connotations.
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, started 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 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. A first socio-economic use of Padania is to be found in the volume La Padania, una regione italiana in Europa (English: Padania, an Italian region in Europe), written by various academics in 1992 on behalf of the Giovanni Agnelli Foundation.
Even if Padania is often used as synonymous of Northern Italy, in a strict geographic sense it does not include Aosta Valley, Trentino, South Tyrol, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, large chunks of Veneto, Romagna, and, of course, Tuscany, Marche and Umbria, which are neither part of Northern Italy.
Beginning in the 1960s, journalist Gianni Brera used the term Padania to indicate the area that at the time of Cato the Elder corresponded to Cisalpine Gaul. At the time of Brera and later, the term Padania was considered a geographic synonym of Po Valley and as such was included in the Enciclopedia Universo in 1965 and in the Il Devotoâ€“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, sometimes even extended to all regional languages which divide Northern from Central Italy along the La Spezia-Rimini Line.
Lega Nord, a political party born in 1991 by the union of several Northern regional parties, later used the term for a similar geographical range, but with political and socio-economic connotations. Lega Nord's definition of Padania's boundaries is incidentally similar to Robert D. Putnam's "civic North". Putnam, a political scientist at Harvard University, wrote a book titled Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy, in which Italy's "civic North" is defined according to the inhabitants' civic traditions and attitudes, related to the historical emergence of the free medieval communes since the 10th century. Putnam's theory has been acknowledged by Stefano B. Galli, a Padanist political scientist close to the League and columnist for Il Giornale and La Padania, as a source for defining Padania.
Since 1991 Lega Nord, a federation of Northern regionalist parties (notably including Lega Lombarda and Liga Veneta), has promoted either secession or larger autonomy for Padania, proposing also a flag and a national anthem. In 1997, Lega Nord also created an unofficial Padanian Parliament in Mantua and held elections for that Parliament. As national anthem, Lega Nord chose the Va, pensiero chorus from Giuseppe Verdi's Nabucco, in which the exiled Hebrew slaves lament for their lost homeland. Since 1998 Lega Nord has organised a Padania national football team, winner of the VIVA World Cup in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Lega Nord's Padania
According to Lega Nord's Declaration of Independence and Sovereignty of Padania, 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, listed below:
However, in the mind of Gianfranco Miglio, leading Padanist, political scientist and ideologist of Lega Nord until 1994, Central Italy (Tuscany, Marche, Umbria) and the autonomous regions (Aosta Valley, Trentino-Alto Adige/SÃ¼dtirol and Friuli-Venezia Giulia) should have been excluded from Padania. In a draft constitutional reform by Miglio, Padania was one of the three macroregions composing Italy, along with Etruria (Central Italy), Mediterranea (Southern Italy) and the five autonomous regions, and corresponded only to five regions: Veneto, Lombardy, Piedmont, Liguria and Emilia-Romagna.
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 auspicable (auspicabile). 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.
More recent polls show different results. According to a poll conducted in February 2010 by GPG, 45% of Northeners support the independence of Padania. A poll conducted by SWG in June 2010 puts that figure at 61% of Northeners (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 Northeners, 19% of Central Italians and 36% of Southerners). As for federal reform, according to the poll, 58% of Italians support it.
- Bracalini, Paolo (25 June 2010). "La Padania? L'ha inventata la Fondazione Agnelli". il Giornale. http://www.ilgiornale.it/interni/la_padania_lha_inventata_fondazione_agnelli/25-06-2010/articolo-id=455968-page=0-comments=1.
- Brera, Gianni (1993). Storie dei Lombardi. Milan: Baldini & Castoldi. p. 421. ISBN 8885989276. http://books.google.it/books?id=GcCqsiwLt3UC.
- Brera, Gianni. "Invectiva ad Patrem Padum". Guerin Sportivo (Milan). http://www.brera.net/gianni/articoli/po.html.
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- Hull, Geoffrey (1982). The linguistic unity of Northern Italy and Rhaetia. Sydney: McArthur. OCLC 215986434.
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- SWG (25 June 2010). "Federalismo e secessione". Affari Italiani. http://affaritaliani.libero.it/static/upl/aff/affari-italiani-rel-14.pdf.
- SWG (28 June 2010). "Gli italiani non credono nella Padania. Ma al Nord prevale il sÃ¬ alla secessione". Affari Italiani. http://www.affaritaliani.it/politica/padania_sondaggio_swg_secessione250610.html.
- Diamanti, Ilvo (1996). Il male del Nord. Lega, localismo, secessione. Rome: Donzelli Editore. ISBN 8879892681.
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- Flags of the World â€“ Padania
- Ethnologue Report â€“ Italy
- Short Atlas of Gallican, Romance and Cisalpine Peoples
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