The name Emilia-Romagna comes from Roman history. Emilia is derived from the name of Marcus Aemilius Lepidus under who's consulate was built the road via Emilia between Piacenza and Rimini. Romagna represents the division of the territory in the sixth century. To the Northeast is the land of Lombards (Longobardia), and to the Southeast is the land of the Romans (Romania). Modern Romagna is a historical region that includes provinces of Ravenna and Forl, plus the zone of Imola in the province of Bologna. The rest of the territory belongs to Emilia.
The first settlements appeared in the Neolithic and Iron ages along the river banks. Thse settlements were later joined by the Ligurians, Celts, Etruscans and Umbrians. The first systematic arrangement of the territory was conducted by the Romans who made this region a fortified base between Italy and Gaul. Here, the road via Emilia was traced, and the most important cities, except Ravenna and Ferrara, were built along its path.
After the Romans, the greatest part of the territory was conquered by Lombards; only Ravenna and Forl still belonged to the Eastern Roman empire. Ravenna became the capital and the territory around these cities was called Romania, later modified to Romagna.
Due to the geographical position and rich agricultural resources of this region, it has historically been quite prosperous. During the Renaissance, a great urban revolution took place. By the order of Ercole l d'Este, the architect Biaggio Rossetti projected the "new" Ferrara, called "the first modern city of Europe". However, the transformation of the territory touched not only the cities, but the country sides as well. Here, numerous irrigation channels were built and new plants were introduced into the region.
Under the influence of a pontifical government, the region suffered in crisis until 1860, which was the annexation of Emilia-Romagna to Italy. At this time, improvements to the organization of the land continued. This involved not only the plane zones, but also the mountains and hills where 65% of the territory was adapted to cultivation and other uses. The aqueducts were built along with power lines, methane pipelines, roads and highways. At the same time, the development of industry and tourism was taking place, and the region of Emilia-Romagna was considered to be one of the best places to live in Italy.
Emilia-Romagna is the sixth largest region in Italy and has a total population of about four million people and ten major cities. The capital city of the region is Bologna, with which it's porticate streets, is one of the most beautiful cities in Northern Italy. It is also home to the oldest University in the Western world. Bologna is also know for its rich cuisine and wonderful restaurants.
Other famous cities in the region, to name a few, are Modena, Reggio Emilia, Parma and Ravenna. Modena is the birth place of many famous opera singers including Pavarotti. It is also known for it's Lambrusco and delicacies such as the Aceto Balsamico. Reggio Emilia is renowned for its Parmigiano Reggiano as well as the Lambrusco Reggiano. Parma is the birthplace of the famous composer Giuseppe Verdi and also known for its Prosciutto and Parmigano.
Viticulture is spread throughout the provinces. There is only one DOCG, Albana di Romangna, and 19 different DOC in the region. Aside from Lambrusco, other grape varieties found in the area include Sangiovese, Trebbiano, Pignoletto, Malvasia, Riesling Italico, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Barbera, and Gutturnio.