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The Po Valley, Po Plain, Plain of the Po, or Padan Plain ( it, Pianura Padana , or ''Val Padana'') is a major geographical feature of
Northern Italy Northern Italy ( it, Italia settentrionale, it, Nord Italia, label=none, it, Alta Italia, label=none or just it, Nord, label=none) is a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical cha ...
. It extends approximately in an east-west direction, with an area of including its
Venetic Venetic is an extinct Indo-European languages, Indo-European language, usually classified into the Italic languages, Italic subgroup, that was spoken by the Adriatic Veneti, Veneti people in ancient times in northeast Italy (Veneto and Friuli) ...
extension not actually related to the Po river basin; it runs from the Western
Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest and most extensive mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt ...

Alps
to the
Adriatic Sea The Adriatic Sea () is a body of water separating the from the . The Adriatic is the northernmost arm of the , extending from the (where it connects to the ) to the northwest and the . The countries with coasts on the Adriatic are , , , , and ...

Adriatic Sea
. The flatlands of
Veneto it, Veneto (man) it, Veneta (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = , demographics1_footnotes = , demographics1_title1 = , demographics1_info1 = ...

Veneto
and
Friuli Friuli ( fur, Friûl) is an area of with its own particular cultural and historical identity containing 1,000,000 . It comprises the major part of the autonomous region , i.e. the administrative of , , and , excluding . Names The multiethnic ...
are often considered apart since they do not drain into the Po, but they effectively combine into an unbroken plain, making it the largest in
Southern Europe Southern Europe is the southern region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth a ...

Southern Europe
. The plain is the surface of an in-filled system of ancient canyons (the "Apennine Foredeep") extending from the
Apennines The Apennines or Apennine Mountains (; grc-gre, links=no, Ἀπέννινα ὄρη or Ἀπέννινον ὄρος; la, Appenninus or  – a singular with plural meaning;''Apenninus'' (Greek or ) has the form of an adjective, which woul ...
in the south to the Alps in the north, including the northern Adriatic. In addition to the Po and its affluents, the contemporary surface may be considered to include the Savio, Lamone and
Reno Reno ( ) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It ...
to the south, and the
Adige The Adige (; german: Etsch ; vec, Àdexe ; rm, ; lld, Adesc; la, Athesis; grc, Ἄθεσις, Áthesis, or , ''Átagis'') is the second-longest river in , after the , rises in the in the province of , near the Italian border with and , and ...

Adige
, Brenta, Piave and
Tagliamento Natural-colour satellite image of north-eastern Italy showing parts of the Cellina, Meduna, and Tagliamento rivers. The Tagliamento () is a braided river in north-east Italy, flowing from the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm ...
of the
Venetian Plain The Venetian Plain, or Venetian-Friulan Plain ( it, Pianura Veneta or ) is a major geographical feature of Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a Norther ...
to the north, among the many streams that empty into the north Adriatic from the west and north. Geo-political definitions of the valley depend on the defining authority. The Po Basin Water Board ('), authorized in 1989 by Law no. 183/89 to oversee "protection of lands, water rehabilitation, the use and management of hydro resources for the national economic and social development, and protection of related environment" within the Po basin, has authority in several administrative regions of north Italy, including the plain north of the Adriatic and the territory south of the lower Po, as shown in the regional depiction included with this article. The law defines the Po basin as "the territory from which rainwater or snow and glacier melt flows on the surface, gathers in streams of water either directly or via tributaries...". The United Nations Environment Program includes the Alps and Apennines as far as the sources of the tributaries of the Po but excludes Veneto and that portion of Emilia-Romagna south of the lower Po; that is, it includes the region drained by the Po but only the Po and its tributaries. The altitude of the valley through which the Po flows, exclusive of its tributaries, varies from approximately below sea level in the
Polesine Polesine (; vec, label=unified Venetian script, Połéxine ) is a geographic Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledg ...

Polesine
subregion (the
delta Delta commonly refers to: * Delta (letter) (Δ or δ), a letter of the Greek alphabet * River delta, a landform at the mouth of a river * D (NATO phonetic alphabet: "Delta"), the fourth letter of the modern English alphabet * Delta Air Lines, an Ame ...

delta
around
Ferrara Ferrara (, ; egl, Fràra ) is a city and ''comune The (; plural: ) is a of , roughly equivalent to a or . Importance and function The provides essential public services: of births and deaths, , and maintenance of local roads and ...

Ferrara
) to about at the river's origin in the southern
Piedmont Piedmont ( ; it, Piemonte, ; Piedmontese language, Piedmontese, Lombard language, Lombard, Occitan language, Occitan and frp, Piemont, , , french: Piémont) is a region in northwest Italy, one of the regions of Italy, 20 regions of the country. ...

Piedmont
ese
province of Cuneo Cuneo (), or Coni (), is a province in the southwest of the region of . To the west it borders on the of ( of , and ). To the north it borders with the . To the east it borders with the . To the south it borders with the n provinces of and . ...
, also known as the ''Provincia granda''. The valley is crossed by a number of affluents running down from the Alps in the north and from the Apennines in the south. The Po's major affluents include the
Tanaro The Tanaro (; pms, Tane ; ; la, Tanarus), is a long river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes d ...

Tanaro
,
Scrivia The Scrivia, long, is a right tributary A tributary or affluent is a stream or river that flows into a larger stream or main stem (or parent) river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean. Tributaries and the main stem ...
,
Trebbia The Trebbia (stressed ''Trèbbia''; la, Trebia) is a river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the ...

Trebbia
, Panaro and
Secchia The Secchia (; egl, Sècia; called by Pliny Pliny may refer to: People from antiquity * Pliny the Elder (AD 23–79), ancient Roman nobleman, scientist, historian, and author of ''Naturalis Historia'' (''Pliny's Natural History'') * Pliny the ...

Secchia
in the south,
Dora Riparia The Dora Riparia (; pms, Dòira Rivaira; french: Doire Ripaire or ''Doire''; la, Duria minor) is an alpine river, a left-hand tributary of the Po. It is long (of which 5 km in France), with a drainage basin. It originates in the Cottian ...
,
Dora Baltea Dora Baltea () or Doire Baltée () is a river in northwestern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a Northern Italy, continental part, delimited by th ...
,
Sesia The Sesia (Latin ''Sesites'' or ''Sessites'') is a river in Piedmont it, Piemontese , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = , demographics1_footnotes = , demograph ...

Sesia
,
Ticino Ticino (), sometimes Tessin (), officially the Republic and Canton of Ticino or less formally the Canton of Ticino,, informally ''Canton Ticino'' ; lmo, Canton Tesin ; german: Kanton Tessin ; french: canton du Tessin ; rm, chantun dal Tessin . ...
(draining
Lake Maggiore Lake Maggiore (, ; it, Lago Maggiore ; lmo, label=Western Lombard Western Lombard is a group of dialects of Lombard The term Lombard refers to members of or things related to Lombardy (man) it, Lombarda (woman) lmo, Lombard (man) lmo, L ...

Lake Maggiore
),
Lambro The Lambro ( lmo, Lamber or ''Lambar'' ) is a river of Lombardy (man), (woman) lmo, lombard, links=no (man), (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demogr ...

Lambro
,
Adda Adda or ADDA may refer to: People Given name * Adda Husted Andersen (1898–1990), Danish-born American Modernist jeweler, silversmith, metalsmith, and educator * Adda Angel, Cambodian songwriter and music producer * Adda bar Ahavah, two Jewi ...
(draining
Lake Como Lake Como ( it, Lago di Como , ; lmo, label=Western Lombard, Lagh de Còmm , ''Cómm'' or ''Cùmm'' ), also known as Lario (; after the la, Larius Lacus), is a Glacial lake, lake of glacial origin in Lombardy, Italy. It has an area of , making ...

Lake Como
),
Oglio The Oglio (; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman R ...

Oglio
(draining
Lake Iseo Lake Iseo or Iseo lake ( ; it, Lago d'Iseo ; lmo, Lach d'Izé, label=Eastern Lombard Eastern Lombard is a group of closely related dialects of Lombard language, Lombard, a Gallo-Italic languages, Gallo-Italic language spoken in Lombardy, mainly ...

Lake Iseo
) and
Mincio The Mincio (; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in rel ...

Mincio
(draining
Lake Garda Lake Garda ( it, Lago di Garda or ; lmo, label=Eastern Lombard Eastern Lombard is a group of closely related dialects of Lombard language, Lombard, a Gallo-Italic languages, Gallo-Italic language spoken in Lombardy, mainly in the province ...

Lake Garda
and called
Sarca The Sarca is a river springing from the Adamello-Presanella mountains in the Italian Alps and flowing into Lake Garda at Nago-Torbole. As an emissary of the lake it becomes known as the Mincio. The river is shallow and fast flowing, passing ...
in its upper reaches) in the north.


Geology

The Po Valley and the Adriatic overlay a
foreland basin A foreland basin is a structural basin A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system, or the object or system so organized. Material structures include man-made objects such as buildings ...
and a system of deeply buried ancient canyons surviving from the
tectonic Tectonics (; ) are the processes that control the structure and properties of the Earth's crust and its evolution through time. These include the processes of mountain building A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, gen ...
collision of an offshore land mass, Tyrrhenis, with the mainland, an incident within the collision of the African and Eurasian plates. Since the
Messinian The Messinian is in the geologic timescale The geologic time scale (GTS) is a system of chronological datingChronological dating, or simply dating, is the process of attributing to an object or event a date in the past, allowing such object or ...
(7–5 mya) the system has been filling with sediment mainly from the older
Apennines The Apennines or Apennine Mountains (; grc-gre, links=no, Ἀπέννινα ὄρη or Ἀπέννινον ὄρος; la, Appenninus or  – a singular with plural meaning;''Apenninus'' (Greek or ) has the form of an adjective, which woul ...

Apennines
but also from the Alps. The shoreline of the Adriatic depends on a balance between the sedimentation rate and
isostatic
isostatic
factors. Until about 1950, the Po delta was prograding into the Adriatic. After that time due to human alteration of geologic factors, such as the sedimentation rate, the delta has been degrading and the coastline subsiding, resulting in ongoing contemporaneous crises in the city of
Venice Venice ( ; it, Venezia ; vec, Venesia or ) is a city in northeastern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of delimited by the and surrounding ...

Venice
, where much irreplaceable art and architecture is likely to be lost due to soaring sea level in the next centuries. Where the land surface now dips below sea level the river must run at a relative elevation between dikes. The Malossa
gas condensate Natural-gas condensate, also called natural gas liquids, is a low-density mixture of hydrocarbon In organic chemistry, a hydrocarbon is an organic compound , CH4; is among the simplest organic compounds. In chemistry, organic compounds are gen ...
field was discovered in 1973 and produces at depths of from the Upper
Triassic The Triassic ( ) is a geologic period The geologic time scale (GTS) is a system of chronological dating that classifies Geology, geological strata (stratigraphy) in time. It is used by geologists, paleontology, paleontologists, and other earth ...

Triassic
Dolomia Principale
dolomiteDolomite may refer to: *Dolomite (mineral) Dolomite () is an anhydrous A substance is anhydrous if it contains no water. Many processes in chemistry can be impeded by the presence of water; therefore, it is important that water-free reagents and ...
and the Lower
Jurassic The Jurassic ( ) is a geologic period The geologic time scale (GTS) is a system of chronological dating that classifies Geology, geological strata (stratigraphy) in time. It is used by geologists, paleontology, paleontologists, and other earth ...
Zandobbio dolomite, capped by the Lower
Cretaceous The Cretaceous ( ) is a geological period A geological period is one of the several subdivisions of geologic time enabling cross-referencing of rocks and geologic events from place to place. These periods form elements of a hierarchy of division ...

Cretaceous
Marne di Bruntino
marl __NOTOC__ Marl or marlstone is a carbonate In chemistry, a carbonate is a salt Salt is a mineral composed primarily of sodium chloride (NaCl), a chemical compound belonging to the larger class of Salt (chemistry), salts; salt in its ...

marl
.


Geography

The Po Valley is often regarded as a
syncline In structural geology Structural geology is the study of the three-dimensional distribution of Rock (geology), rock units with respect to their Deformation (geology), deformational histories. The primary goal of structural geology is to use meas ...

syncline
, or dip in the crust due to compression at the edges. Regardless of whether this concept accurately describes its geology, the valley is manifestly a sediment-filled trough, or virtual syncline, continuous with the deeps of the
Adriatic Sea The Adriatic Sea () is a body of water separating the from the . The Adriatic is the northernmost arm of the , extending from the (where it connects to the ) to the northwest and the . The countries with coasts on the Adriatic are , , , , and ...

Adriatic Sea
. The surface terrain is therefore divided into two overall types of
landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body A planet is an astronomical body Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the science that studies the laws ...

landform
: the plain, or flat surface of the fill, and the
anticline In structural geology, an anticline is a type of Fold (geology), fold that is an arch-like shape and has its oldest Bed (geology), beds at its core, whereas a syncline is the inverse of a anticline. A typical anticline is convex curve, conv ...

anticline
at the edges, taking the form of hilly country in which the
outcrop An outcrop or rocky outcrop is a visible exposure of bedrock Bedrock in geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth science concerned with the soli ...

outcrop
s of the original rock are visible along with
alluvial fan Pyrenees An alluvial fan is an accumulation of sediments shaped like a section of a shallow cone, with its apex at a point source of sediments, such as a narrow canyon emerging from an escarpment. They are characteristic of mountainous terrain in ...

alluvial fan
s formed from the outwash of the more severe anticlinal terrain; that is, the Apennines and the Alps. The valley is broadly divided into an upper, drier part, often not particularly suited for agriculture, and a lower, very fertile, and well-irrigated section, known in
Lombardy Lombardy ( ; it, Lombardia ; lmo, Lombardia, , ) is one of the twenty administrative regions of Italy, in the Northwest Italy, northwest of the country, with an area of . About 10 million people live in Lombardy, forming more than one-sixth of It ...
and western Emilia as ''la Bassa'', "the low (plain)". The upper areas of the Po valley take local names which reflect in their meanings their being modestly suited for farming. So we have the Piedmontese ''vaude'' and ''baragge'', the Lombard ''brughiere'' and ''Groane'', or, exiting from the Po valley proper, the
Friuli Friuli ( fur, Friûl) is an area of with its own particular cultural and historical identity containing 1,000,000 . It comprises the major part of the autonomous region , i.e. the administrative of , , and , excluding . Names The multiethnic ...
an ''magredi'', areas remote from easily reachable water tables and covered with dense woods or dry soils. This specific meaning for "lower plain" derive from a geologic feature called the ''fontanili'' ("spring") line or zone, a band of springs around the Val Po, heaviest on the north, on the lowermost slopes of the anticline. It varies from a few kilometres to as much as wide. The fontanili line is the outcrop, or intersection, of the anticline's
water table The water table is the upper surface of the Phreatic zone, zone of saturation. The zone of saturation is where the pores and fractures of the ground are saturated with water. It can also be simply explained as the depth below which the ground is ...

water table
with the surface at the edge of the ''bassa''. The rock above the line is porous. Surface water in the
intermittent stream Intermittent, temporary, or seasonal rivers and streams cease to flow every year or at least twice every five years.(Tzoraki et al., 2007) Such rivers drain large arid and semi-arid areas, covering approximately a third of the earth’s surface. ...
s of the mountains tends to disappear below ground only to spring out again in the spring zone. The spring zone is often called "the middle valley." Surface runoff water (the Po and its affluents) is not of much value to the valley's dense population for drinking and other immediate uses, being unreliable, often destructive, and heavily polluted by sewage and fertilizers. Its main anthropic value is for hydro-electric power, irrigation, and industrial transport. The cost of purifying it for human consumption makes that process less feasible. The fresh drinking water comes from hundreds of thousands of wells concentrated especially in the fontanili zone. The major settlements, therefore, are also in that zone, which has become the centre of economic development and
industry Industry may refer to: Economics * Industry (economics) In macroeconomics, an industry is a branch of an economy that produces a closely related set of raw materials, goods, or services. For example, one might refer to the wood industry ...
in Italy, and now is an almost continuous
megalopolis A megalopolis (), sometimes called a megapolis; also megaregion, city cluster or supercity, is a group of two or more roughly adjacent metropolitan area A metropolitan area or metro is a region consisting of a densely populated core city, ur ...
stretching from
Turin Turin ( , Piedmontese Piedmontese (autonym: or , in it, piemontese) is a language spoken by some 700,000 people mostly in Piedmont it, Piemontese , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = ...

Turin
to
Trieste Trieste ( , ; sl, Trst ; german: Triest ) is a city and seaport The Porticciolo del Cedas port in Barcola The thumb is the first digit of the hand, next to the index finger. When a person is standing in the medical anatomical position (wher ...

Trieste
. The ''bassa Padana'' was settled and farmed earliest, in Etruscan and Roman times. After the collapse of the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
(5th century AD), lack of maintenance of the irrigation systems associated with a cooling climate phase (i.e. the so-called Migration Period or The Dark Age Cold Period) led to the progressive waterlogging of the Po Valley and the natural depressions on the right side of the
Po River The Po ( , ; la, Padus or ; grc, Πάδος, Pádos, or , ; Ancient Ligurian: or ) is the longest river in Italy. It is a river that flows eastward across northern Italy starting from the Cottian Alps; it, Alpi Cozie , photo=Monviso_Cottian_ ...
turned in vast swamp basins. The waterlogging process of the area continued until the 10th century influencing the human sustenance and settling practices. According to historical-archaeological data, indeed, the
wetland A wetland is a distinct ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient cycles ...

wetland
s were exploited for fishing as well as for transport by boat while the
early medieval The Early Middle Ages or Early Medieval Period, sometimes referred to as the Dark Ages, is typically regarded by historians as lasting from the late 5th or early 6th century to the 10th century. They marked the start of the Middle Ages ...
sites settled on the fluvial ridges, in topographically higher and strategic position in the surrounding swampy meadows. The Po Valley has been completely turned to agriculture since the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
, when efforts from monastic orders, feudal lords and free
communes A commune is an intentional community of people sharing living spaces, interests, values, beliefs, and often property, possessions, and resources in common. In some communes, the people also share common Employment, work, income, or assets. ...
converged. The older and smaller cities deriving from ancient times are still located there. According to historical maps and documents the land reclamation of the Po Valley reached its peak during the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
(15th–16th centuries) and continued in the
Modern Age Human history, or world history, is the narrative of humanity Humanity most commonly refers to: * Human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, ...
(17th–18th centuries), with the last marsh areas only being reclaimed in the 20th century: channels and drainage system are still active and allow the Po Valley to be drained and be cultivatable.


Climate and vegetation

The Po Valley has a range from
humid continental climate A humid continental climate is a climatic Climate is the long-term average of weather, typically averaged over a period of 30 years. More rigorously, it is the mean and variability of meteorological variables over a time spanning from months t ...
to
humid subtropical A humid subtropical climate is a zone of climate characterized by hot and humid summers, and cold to mild winters. These climates normally lie on the southeast side of all continents, generally between latitudes 25° and 40° (sometimes 45°) a ...
(Köppen: ''Cfa''), or ''continental temperate'' (cool-humid with fog in winter and warm-moist in summer) climate in other classification. The conformation of the plain, surrounded by the
Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest and most extensive mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt ...

Alps
and the
Apennines The Apennines or Apennine Mountains (; grc-gre, links=no, Ἀπέννινα ὄρη or Ἀπέννινον ὄρος; la, Appenninus or  – a singular with plural meaning;''Apenninus'' (Greek or ) has the form of an adjective, which woul ...

Apennines
, and the influence of the
Adriatic Sea The Adriatic Sea () is a body of water separating the from the . The Adriatic is the northernmost arm of the , extending from the (where it connects to the ) to the northwest and the . The countries with coasts on the Adriatic are , , , , and ...

Adriatic Sea
cause high levels of
relative humidity Humidity is the concentration of water vapour (99.9839 °C) , - , Boiling point , , - , specific gas constant , 461.5 J/( kg·K) , - , Heat of vaporization , 2.27 MJ/kg , - , Heat capacity , 1.864 kJ/(kg·K) Water vap ...

relative humidity
throughout the year. The climate of the Po Valley becomes increasingly warmer and more humid farther south and east. Winters are cool and damp, with January mean temperatures ranging between (1981–2010 averages).
Fog Fog is a visible aerosol consisting of tiny water drop (liquid), droplets or ice crystals suspended in the air at or near the Earth's surface. Reprint from Fog can be considered a type of low-lying cloud usually resembling stratus cloud, s ...

Fog
and
mist Mist is a phenomenon caused by small droplets of water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main constituent of Earth's hydrosphere and ...

mist
are frequent, although the
urban heat effect
urban heat effect
has made winters less foggy and cold than before in some areas. Snow can occasionally occur and prolonged winter
droughts A drought is an event of prolonged shortages in the water supply, whether atmospheric (below-average precipitation In meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the atmospheric sciences which includes atmospheric chemistry and atmospheric ...
increasingly deny sufficient moisture to the soil. Summers are hot and humid, with July mean temperatures ranging between (1971–2000 averages). Frequent
thunderstorms A thunderstorm, (also known as an electrical storm or a lightning storm) is a storm characterized by the presence of lightning and its acoustic effect on the Earth's atmosphere, known as thunder. (There are relativitly weak thunderstorms, ...

thunderstorms
and sudden
hail Hail is a form of solid precipitation In meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the atmospheric sciences Atmospheric science is the study of the Earth's atmosphere File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmo ...

hail
storms have the potential to produce large hail, dump large quantities of rain, and be highly destructive to crops. The largest hail is produced by intense
supercell A supercell is a thunderstorm A thunderstorm, also known as an electrical storm or a lightning storm, is a storm characterized by the presence of lightning and its acoustics, acoustic effect on the Earth's atmosphere, known as thunder. ...

supercell
thunderstorms, with significant agricultural costs.
Tornado A tornado is a violently rotating column of air File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lower pie represents trace gases that together compose about 0.043391% of the atmos ...

Tornado
es are also not uncommon in the plains of the valley. For these climatological considerations the
Friuli Venezia Giulia Friuli Venezia Giulia () is one of the 20 regions of Italy and one of five autonomous regions with special statute. The regional capital is Trieste on the Gulf of Venice, Adriatic Sea. The name used to be hyphenated as ''Friuli-Venezia Giulia'' u ...

Friuli Venezia Giulia
is an important extension beyond the Po River plain itself, as these are situated downwind of the mountains and upwind of moisture sources from nearby seas. Spring and autumn are well-marked and pleasant. Both winter and summer are less mild in the lower parts along the Po, while the
Adriatic Sea The Adriatic Sea () is a body of water separating the from the . The Adriatic is the northernmost arm of the , extending from the (where it connects to the ) to the northwest and the . The countries with coasts on the Adriatic are , , , , and ...

Adriatic Sea
and the great lakes moderate the local climate in their proximity.
Rainfall Rain is liquid water in the form of droplet Rain water flux from a canopy. Among the forces that govern drop formation: cohesion, Van der Waals force">Cohesion_(chemistry).html" ;"title="surface tension, Cohesion (chemistry)">cohesion, ...

Rainfall
varies between and is equally distributed during the year, with maximums during autumn and spring. Winds are usually weak, although sudden bursts of
foehn A föhn, also spelled foehn (, ), is a type of dry, warm, down-slope wind that occurs in the lee Lee may refer to: People Given name * Lee (given name) Lee is a given name derived from the Lee (English surname), English surname Lee (which ...

foehn
or thunderstorms can sweep the air clean. The almost enclosed nature of the Padan basin, indeed, added to the crushing weight of road traffic, makes it prone to a high level of pollution in winter, when cold air clings to the soil. The natural potential vegetation of the Po basin is a mixed broadleaf forest of
pedunculate oak ''Quercus robur'', commonly known as common oak, pedunculate oak, European oak or English oak, is a species of flowering plant in the beech and oak family, Fagaceae. It is native plant, native to most of Europe west of the Caucasus. The tree is w ...

pedunculate oak
,
poplars ''Populus'' is a genus of 25–30 species of deciduous flowering plants in the family Salicaceae, native to most of the Northern Hemisphere. English names variously applied to different species include poplar , aspen, and cottonwood. The weste ...

poplars
,
European hornbeam ''Carpinus betulus'', the European or common hornbeam, is a species of tree in the birch family (botany), family Betulaceae, native species, native to Western Asia and central, eastern, and southern Europe, including southern England. It requires ...

European hornbeam
, alders,
elderberry ''Sambucus'' is a genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also refer to a ...

elderberry
,
elms Elms are deciduous and semi-deciduous trees comprising the flowering plant genus ''Ulmus'' in the plant family Ulmaceae. The genus first appeared in the Miocene, Miocene geological period about 20 million years ago, originating in what is now ...
,
willows Willows, also called sallows and osiers, from the genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining ( ...

willows
, maples,
ash Ash or ashes are the solid remnants of fire BBQ. Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the exothermic chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction Product (chemistry), products. Fire is hot because th ...
, and other central-European trees. The largest remaining fragments of forest are located around the Ticino River and are protected by a Biosphere Reserve.


History


Prehistory and antiquity

The Po Valley has had traces of inhabitation since at least 780,000 years ago, when the first big glaciation of pleistocene took place. Sites like Monte Poggiolo may have served as refuges of human populations fleeing the terribly cold conditions of northern Europe during the subsequent glaciations along pleistocene The valley was covered by sea level in warm times, but glaciations could cause a lower sea level that allowed big mammals and humans to migrate from Africa and the Middle East to central and western Europe through an empty and open Po valley, avoiding the barrier of the Alps, reaching the Loire Valley, and Iberian Peninsula, and then, when glaciation retreated, the rest of continental Europe. Urban development began in the Po Valley much later than in southern Italy or Greece. The first known ancient inhabitants of the thick forests and swamps were the
Ligurians The Ligures (singular Ligus or Ligur; English language, English: Ligurians; Ancient Greek, Greek: ) were an ancient population that gave the name to Liguria, a region of Northern Italy, north-western Italy. File:Meyers b9 s0067b.jpg, Roman Liguri ...
, an
Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation ...
race of people. After the progressive immigration in the 7th century BC of
Celtic The words Celt and Celtic (also Keltic) may refer to: Ethno-linguistics *Celts The Celts (, see pronunciation of ''Celt'' for different usages) are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time period: Second millennium B.C.E. to present ancestry: ...

Celtic
peoples known as the
Insubres The Insubres or Insubri were an ancient Celtic The words Celt and Celtic (also Keltic) may refer to: Ethno-linguistics *Celts The Celts (, see pronunciation of ''Celt'' for different usages) are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time perio ...
(hence the name of
Insubria Insubria is a historical-geographical region which corresponds to the area inhabited in Classical antiquity by the Insubres; the name can also refer to the Duchy of Milan The Duchy of Milan was an Italian state located in northern Italy Northe ...
sometimes being given to northwestern
Lombardy Lombardy ( ; it, Lombardia ; lmo, Lombardia, , ) is one of the twenty administrative regions of Italy, in the Northwest Italy, northwest of the country, with an area of . About 10 million people live in Lombardy, forming more than one-sixth of It ...
), the southern and central regions were conquered and colonised here and there by a pre-Indo-European people, the
Etruscans The Etruscan civilization () of ancient Italy The history of Italy covers the Ancient Period, the Middle Ages and the modern era. Since classical times, ancient Phoenicians, Magna Graecia, Greeks, Etruscan civilization, Etruscans, and Celts ha ...

Etruscans
, who left names such as
Parma Parma (; egl, Pärma, ) is a city in the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna famous for its architecture, Giuseppe Verdi, music, art, prosciutto (ham), Parmigiano-Reggiano, cheese and surrounding countryside. With a population of 198,292 ...

Parma
,
Ravenna Ravenna ( , , also ; rgn, Ravèna) is the capital city of the Province of Ravenna The province of Ravenna ( it, provincia di Ravenna; ) is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, admin ...

Ravenna
and Felsina, the ancient name of
Bologna Bologna (, , ; egl, label=Bolognese Bologna (, , ; egl, label=Bolognese dialect, Bolognese, Bulåggna ; lat, Bonōnia) is the capital and largest city of the Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy. It is the seventh most populous ...

Bologna
. The Etruscan domination left significant marks and introduced urban civilisation, but was short-lived. Its inhabitants, the Venetics, likely being a distinct group who, being skillful merchants, were, in time, also culturally influenced by both
Etruscans The Etruscan civilization () of ancient Italy The history of Italy covers the Ancient Period, the Middle Ages and the modern era. Since classical times, ancient Phoenicians, Magna Graecia, Greeks, Etruscan civilization, Etruscans, and Celts ha ...

Etruscans
and
Greeks The Greeks or Hellenes (; el, Έλληνες, ''Éllines'' ) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has cer ...

Greeks
. By 196 BC, Rome was master of the woody plains and soon displaced the Etruscans, dotting the region with bustling colonies, clearing the land, fighting the last rebel tribes and gradually imposing its own civilisation.


Middle Ages

The
Gothic WarGothic War may refer to: *Gothic War (367–369), a war of Thervingi against the Eastern Roman Empire in which the Goths retreated to Montes Serrorum *Gothic War (376–382), Thervingi and Greuthungi against the Roman Empire *Gothic War (401–403), ...
and
Justinian's plague The Plague of Justinian or Justinianic Plague (541–549 AD) was the beginning of the first plague pandemic, the first Old World pandemic of Plague (disease), plague, the contagious disease caused by the Bacteria, bacterium ''Yersinia pestis''. T ...
devastated the Padan population. In this scenario of desolation, from which many people had fled to the mountains for safety (making them fairly populated till the 20th century) came the
Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languages ** List of ancient Germanic peoples and tribes * Germanic languages :* Proto-Germanic language, a reconstructed proto-language of ...

Germanic
Lombards The Lombards () or Langobards ( la, Langobardi) were a Germanic people The Germanic peoples were a historical group of people living in Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe between Western Europe and Eastern Europe, based on ...
, a warrior people who gave their name to almost the whole of the Po valley:
Lombardy Lombardy ( ; it, Lombardia ; lmo, Lombardia, , ) is one of the twenty administrative regions of Italy, in the Northwest Italy, northwest of the country, with an area of . About 10 million people live in Lombardy, forming more than one-sixth of It ...
. In the Middle Ages the term was used to indicate all of northern Italy. The Lombards divided their domain in
duchies A duchy is a medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe s ...
, often contending for the throne;
Turin Turin ( , Piedmontese Piedmontese (autonym: or , in it, piemontese) is a language spoken by some 700,000 people mostly in Piedmont it, Piemontese , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = ...

Turin
and Friuli, in the extreme west and east end respectively, seem to have been the most powerful, whereas the capital soon shifted from
Verona Verona ( , ; vec, Verona or ''Veròna'') is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia' ...

Verona
to
Pavia Pavia (, , , ; la, Ticinum; Medieval Latin: ) is a town and comune of south-western Lombardy in northern Italy, south of Milan on the lower Ticino river near its confluence with the Po River, Po. It has a population of c. 73,086. The city was ...

Pavia
.
Monza Monza (, ; lmo, label=Lombard language, Lombard, Monça, locally ; lat, Modoetia) is a city and ''comune'' on the River Lambro, a tributary of the Po River, Po in the Lombardy region of Italy, about north-northeast of Milan. It is the capit ...

Monza
also was an important town in that time, more so than ruined
Milan Milan (, , Milanese: ; it, Milano ) is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the List of cities in Italy, second-most populous city proper in Italy after Rome. The city proper has a population of about 1.4 million, while its ...

Milan
. The Lombards' harsh,
caste Caste is a form of social stratification Social stratification refers to a society's categorization Categorization is the ability and activity to recognize shared features or similarities between the elements of the experience of the ...
-like rule over the natives softened somewhat with their conversion from
Arianism Arianism is a Christology, Christological doctrine first attributed to Arius (), a Christian presbyter in Alexandria, Alexandria, Egypt. Arian theology holds that the Son of God is not co-eternal with God the Father and is distinct from th ...
to
Catholicism The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian r ...
. The
Lombard kingdom The term Lombard refers to people or things related to Lombardy Lombardy ( ; it, Lombardia ; lmo, Lombardia, , ) is one of the twenty administrative , in the of the country, with an area of . About 10 million people live in Lombardy, forming mo ...
was overthrown in 774 by
Charlemagne Charlemagne ( , ) or Charles the Great ( la, Carolus Magnus; 2 April 748 – 28 January 814) was King of the Franks The Franks—Germanic-speaking peoples that invaded the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century—were first led by i ...

Charlemagne
and his
Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Germani) are a category of ancient northern European tribes, first mentioned by Graeco-Roman author ...

Frankish
armies, becoming a prized part of the
Carolingian Empire The Carolingian Empire (800–888) was a large Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Germani) are a category of ancient nort ...
. The affirmation of large landownership from the eighth/ninth centuries accelerated the process of land reclamation and intensified land use, transforming the landscape of the Po Valley. After the chaotic feudal dissolution of the empire and much fighting among pretenders to the imperial crown,
Otto I Otto I (23 November 912 – 7 May 973), traditionally known as Otto the Great (german: Otto der Große, it, Ottone il Grande), was East Francian king from 936 and Holy Roman Emperor from 962 until his death in 973. He was the oldest son of Henr ...

Otto I
of
Saxony Saxony (german: Sachsen ; Upper Saxon Upper Saxon (german: Obersächsisch, ; ) is an East Central German East Central German (german: Ostmitteldeutsch) is the eastern, non-Franconian languages, Franconian Central German language, part o ...

Saxony
set the stage for the following phase of the region's history by adding the Po Valley to the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
of the Germanic nation in 962. In
Veneto it, Veneto (man) it, Veneta (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = , demographics1_footnotes = , demographics1_title1 = , demographics1_info1 = ...

Veneto
, the lagoon capital of
Venice Venice ( ; it, Venezia ; vec, Venesia or ) is a city in northeastern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of delimited by the and surrounding ...

Venice
, emerged a great sea power in alliance with its old master, the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Byzantine Empire
. In time the
Comuni The (; plural: ) is a Administrative division, local administrative division of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. Importance and function The provides essential public services: Civil registry, registry of births a ...
emerged, as towns thrived in commerce. Soon
Milan Milan (, , Milanese: ; it, Milano ) is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the List of cities in Italy, second-most populous city proper in Italy after Rome. The city proper has a population of about 1.4 million, while its ...

Milan
became the most powerful city of the central plain of Lombardy proper, and despite being razed in 1162, it was a Milan-driven
Lombard League The Lombard League (''Lega Lombarda'' in Italian language, Italian, ''Liga Lombarda'' in Lombard language, Lombard) was a medieval alliance formed in 1167, supported by the Pope, to counter the attempts by the Hohenstaufen Holy Roman Emperors to ...
with
Papal The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, "father"), also known as the supreme pontiff () or the Roman pontiff (), is the bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Chr ...
benediction that defeated emperor
Frederick Barbarossa Frederick Barbarossa (1122 – 10 June 1190), also known as Frederick I (german: Friedrich I, it, Federico I), was the Holy Roman Emperor The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and officially the Emperor of the Romans ( la, Imperator The La ...
at the
Battle of Legnano The Battle of Legnano was a battle between the imperial army of Frederick Barbarossa and the troops of the Lombard League on May 29, 1176, near the town of Legnano in present-day Lombardy, in Italy. Although the presence of the enemy nearby was ...

Battle of Legnano
in 1176. Between the 10th and 13th centuries, concurrent with the
Medieval Warm Period The Medieval Warm Period (MWP), also known as the Medieval Climate Optimum or the Medieval Climatic Anomaly, was a time of warm climate Climate is the long-term pattern of weather Weather is the state of the atmosphere An atmos ...
climate phase, the European population grew substantially, almost tripling (in Northern and Central Italy, the urban population doubled), and increasing the demand for cultivated lands. Cereals became a more significant constituent in the average diet and in the agrarian regime compared to the centuries before, leading populations to reconfigure the medieval natural landscape for agricultural purposes. In creating new land for cultivation and settlement, the European communities triggered a massive landscape transformation through woodland clearance, arable intensification, the development of irrigation systems and the drainage of wetlands. Land reclamations works profoundly modified many European regions. In Central Po Plain the earliest evidence of attempts to clear the forests and drain the wetlands is mentioned in historical documents from the late 8th century, but only from the 10th to 13th centuries were land and water management activities actually carried out widely. Further civil wars escalated in the Guelph-Ghibelline reciprocate bloodbath of the 13th and 14th centuries. The Signorie came from spent out Communal institutions. With
Venice Venice ( ; it, Venezia ; vec, Venesia or ) is a city in northeastern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of delimited by the and surrounding ...

Venice
's expansion on the eastern mainland in the first half of the 15th century and
Milan Milan (, , Milanese: ; it, Milano ) is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the List of cities in Italy, second-most populous city proper in Italy after Rome. The city proper has a population of about 1.4 million, while its ...

Milan
's supremacy in the center and west the region (not significantly diminished by the
Black Death The Black Death (also known as the Pestilence, the Great Mortality or the Plague) was a bubonic plague Bubonic plague is one of three types of plague caused by the plague bacterium Bacteria (; common noun bacteria, singular bact ...

Black Death
of 1348) reached unprecedented peaks of prosperity. Vast areas were irrigated and cultivated with the most modern techniques available. The population averaged some 50 people per square kilometer, a very high standard for those times.


Early modern

In 1494, the ruinous
Italian Wars The Italian Wars, often referred to as the Great Wars of Italy and sometimes as the Habsburg–Valois Wars, were a long series of wars fought between 1494 and 1559 in Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Rep ...
began between
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
and
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
, which lasted for decades. Land changed hands frequently. Even
Switzerland , french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democracy under an assembly-independent Directorial system, directorial republic , leader_title1 = Fe ...

Switzerland
received some Italian-speaking lands in the north (
Canton Ticino Canton may refer to: Administrative division terminology * Canton (administrative division), territorial/administrative division in some countries, notably Switzerland * Township (Canada), known as ''canton'' in Canadian French Arts and entert ...
, not technically a part of the Padan region), and the Venetian domain was invaded, forcing
Venice Venice ( ; it, Venezia ; vec, Venesia or ) is a city in northeastern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of delimited by the and surrounding ...

Venice
into neutrality as an independent power. In the end, Spain prevailed with
Charles VCharles V may refer to: * Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, german: Karl V, it, Carlo V, nl, Karel V, la, Carolus V (24 February 1500 – 21 September 1558) was Holy Roman Emperor The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and offici ...

Charles V
's victory over
Francis I of France Francis I (french: François Ier; frm, Francoys; 12 September 1494 – 31 March 1547) was King of France from 1515 until his death in 1547. He was the son of Charles, Count of Angoulême, and Louise of Savoy. He succeeded his first cousin once ...
at the
Battle of Pavia The Battle of Pavia, fought on the morning of 24 February 1525, was the decisive engagement of the Italian War of 1521–1526 between the Kingdom of France and the Habsburg empire of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, Holy Roman Empero ...

Battle of Pavia
in 1525. The
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
domination was oppressive, adding its burden to the
Counterreformation The Counter-Reformation (), also called the Catholic Reformation () or the Catholic Revival, was the period of Catholic The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number ...
imposed by the archbishopric of Milan;
Protestantism Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an , based on the and of . It is the , with about 2.5 billion followers. Its adherents, known as , make up a majority of the population in , and believe that is the , whose comin ...
was prevented from making inroads in the area.
Burning at the stake Death by burning (also known as immolation) is an execution method involving combustion Combustion, or burning, is a high-temperature exothermic redox chemical reaction between a fuel (the reductant) and an oxidant, usually atmospheric oxyg ...
became common practice during witchhunts, especially in the neighboring Alpine lands . During this bleak period, however, Lombard
industry Industry may refer to: Economics * Industry (economics) In macroeconomics, an industry is a branch of an economy that produces a closely related set of raw materials, goods, or services. For example, one might refer to the wood industry ...
recovered, especially the
textile A textile is a flexible material made by creating an interlocking bundle of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crocheting, knitting, weaving, embroidery, ...

textile
branch, its pillar. When the
War of Spanish Succession The War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714) was an early-18th-century European war, triggered by the death in November 1700 of the childless Charles II of Spain. It established the principle that dynastic rights were secondary to maintain ...
traded
Milan Milan (, , Milanese: ; it, Milano ) is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the List of cities in Italy, second-most populous city proper in Italy after Rome. The city proper has a population of about 1.4 million, while its ...

Milan
to
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked Eastern Alps, East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe. It is composed of nine States o ...

Austria
, government and administration improved significantly. Though the peasantry began a century-long plunge into misery, cities prospered and grew. When
Napoleon I Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader. He rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led Napoleon Bonaparte's battle record, several successful campaigns during the French Rev ...

Napoleon I
entered the Po Valley during some of his brightest campaigns (1796 and 1800, culminating in the historical
Battle of Marengo The Battle of Marengo was fought on 14 June 1800 between French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République fran ...

Battle of Marengo
), he found an advanced country and made it into his
Kingdom of Italy The Kingdom of Italy ( it, Regno d'Italia) was a state that existed from 1861—when King Victor Emmanuel II en, Victor Emmanuel Mario Albert Eugene Ferdinand Thomas , house = House of Savoy, Savoy , father = Charles Albert o ...

Kingdom of Italy
. With Napoleon's final defeat the Austrians came back, but they were no longer welcome. In the west, in
Piedmont Piedmont ( ; it, Piemonte, ; Piedmontese language, Piedmontese, Lombard language, Lombard, Occitan language, Occitan and frp, Piemont, , , french: Piémont) is a region in northwest Italy, one of the regions of Italy, 20 regions of the country. ...

Piedmont
, the Savoy dynasty would emerge to serve as a springboard for Italian unification.


Late modern and contemporary

The
Risorgimento Italian unification ( it, Unità d'Italia ), also known as the Risorgimento (, ; meaning "Resurgence"), was the 19th-century political and social movement that resulted in the Merger (politics), consolidation of List of historic states of Ital ...

Risorgimento
, after an unsuccessful start in 1848 and 1849, triumphed ten years later in
Lombardy Lombardy ( ; it, Lombardia ; lmo, Lombardia, , ) is one of the twenty administrative regions of Italy, in the Northwest Italy, northwest of the country, with an area of . About 10 million people live in Lombardy, forming more than one-sixth of It ...
, which was conquered by a Franco-Piedmontese army. In 1866
Veneto it, Veneto (man) it, Veneta (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = , demographics1_footnotes = , demographics1_title1 = , demographics1_info1 = ...

Veneto
joined young Italy, thanks to
Prussia Prussia, , Old Prussian Distribution of the Baltic tribes, circa 1200 CE (boundaries are approximate). Old Prussian was a Western Baltic language belonging to the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages The Indo-Europ ...

Prussia
's defeat of
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked Eastern Alps, East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe. It is composed of nine States o ...

Austria
. Poverty in the countryside increased emigration to the
Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North America, North and South America. The Americas make up most of the land in Earth's Western Hemisphere and comprise the New World. Along with th ...

Americas
, a phenomenon which subsided in the central region towards the end of the 19th century, but persisted in
Veneto it, Veneto (man) it, Veneta (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = , demographics1_footnotes = , demographics1_title1 = , demographics1_info1 = ...

Veneto
well into the 20th century. Industry grew rapidly, thanks to an abundance of water and literate manpower. The
World Wars A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newsp ...
did not significantly damage the area, despite the destruction caused by
Allied An alliance is a relationship among people, groups, or sovereign state, states that have joined together for mutual benefit or to achieve some common purpose, whether or not explicit agreement has been worked out among them. Members of an alli ...
aerial bombing An airstrike, air strike or air raid is an offensive operation carried out by aircraft. Air strikes are delivered from aircraft such as blimps, balloons, Fighter aircraft, fighters, bombers, ground attack aircraft, attack helicopters and Unmanne ...
of many cities and heavy frontline fighting in
Romagna Romagna ( rgn, Rumâgna) is an Italy, Italian historical region that approximately corresponds to the south-eastern portion of present-day Emilia-Romagna, North Italy. Traditionally, it is limited by the Apennine Mountains, Apennines to the south- ...

Romagna
. The
Resistance Resistance may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Comics * Either of two similarly named but otherwise unrelated comic book series, both published by Wildstorm: ** ''Resistance'' (comics), based on the video game of the same title ** ''Th ...
protected the main industries, which the
Third Reich Nazi Germany, (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich from 1943 to 1945, was ...
was using for war production, preventing their destruction: on 25 April 1945 a general insurrection in the wake of the German defeat was a huge success. Most cities and towns, notably Milan and Turin, were freed by the partisans days before the Allies arrived. After the war, the Padan area took the lead in the economic miracle of the 1950s and 60s. Since 1989,
Lega Nord Lega Nord ( en, Northern League, link=yes; complete name: ''Lega Nord per l'Indipendenza della Padania'', Northern League for the Independence of Padania; abbr.: LN) is a right-wing Right-wing politics embraces the view that certain social ...
, a federation of Northern regionalist parties, has promoted either
secession Secession is the withdrawal of a group from a larger entity, especially a political entity A polity is an identifiable political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Soc ...

secession
or larger
autonomy In developmental psychology Developmental psychology is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions ...
for the Padan area which they call ''
Padania Padania (, also , ) is an alternative name and proposed independent state encompassing Northern Italy Northern Italy ( it, Italia settentrionale, it, Nord Italia, label=none or just it, Nord, label=none) is a geographical and cultural region in ...

Padania
''.


Economy

The Po Valley is one of the most important industrial and agricultural areas in Europe. Hydroelectricity is produced by the flow of the Po. The river is extensively used for irrigation for the region's agriculture.


Pollution

Po valley is considered the worst area in Europe for air quality. In March 2019, the
European Space Agency , owner = , headquarters = Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents , in an area ...

European Space Agency
(ESA) published images of
nitrogen dioxide Nitrogen dioxide is a chemical compound A chemical compound is a chemical substance A chemical substance is a form of matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by hav ...

nitrogen dioxide
concentrations taken from the Sentinel-5P satellite. These images show a big red area, made of nitrogen dioxide and fine particles, situated above the Po Valley area, which incorporates the city of
Milan Milan (, , Milanese: ; it, Milano ) is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the List of cities in Italy, second-most populous city proper in Italy after Rome. The city proper has a population of about 1.4 million, while its ...

Milan
,
Turin Turin ( , Piedmontese Piedmontese (autonym: or , in it, piemontese) is a language spoken by some 700,000 people mostly in Piedmont it, Piemontese , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = ...

Turin
, and
Bologna Bologna (, , ; egl, label=Bolognese Bologna (, , ; egl, label=Bolognese dialect, Bolognese, Bulåggna ; lat, Bonōnia) is the capital and largest city of the Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy. It is the seventh most populous ...

Bologna
. Milan and Turin share high levels of ozone and nitrogen oxides, which are mainly produced by cars' diesel and petrol engines. To shed light on the danger for humans living polluted environments, Chicago Energy Policy Institute has developed the Air Quality Life Index (AQLI), a system capable of analyzing air pollution worldwide. According to AQLI findings, Po valley air pollution affects inhabitants so hard that it cuts off about half a year of their life expectancy. The main reasons for the high amount of air pollution over the Po valley are strictly connected to livestock and factories. The so-called "NPK fertilizers", made of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, along with manure emissions from intensive breeding and high levels of nitrogen dioxide released by diesel and petrol engines are all accountable for this disastrous air condition in Northern Italy. The region of
Lombardy Lombardy ( ; it, Lombardia ; lmo, Lombardia, , ) is one of the twenty administrative regions of Italy, in the Northwest Italy, northwest of the country, with an area of . About 10 million people live in Lombardy, forming more than one-sixth of It ...
produces also vast amounts of animal waste, a big contributor to pollution. It delivers more than 40 percent of Italy's milk production, for example, while over half of the Italian pig production is located in the Po Valley. According to research published in The Lancet Planetary Health in January 2021, which estimates the death rate associated with fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution in 1000 European cities, Brescia and Bergamo in
Lombardy Lombardy ( ; it, Lombardia ; lmo, Lombardia, , ) is one of the twenty administrative regions of Italy, in the Northwest Italy, northwest of the country, with an area of . About 10 million people live in Lombardy, forming more than one-sixth of It ...
have the highest death rate from fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in Europe. Vicenza (
Veneto it, Veneto (man) it, Veneta (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = , demographics1_footnotes = , demographics1_title1 = , demographics1_info1 = ...

Veneto
) and Saronno (Lombardy) are in fourth and eighth place, respectively, in a top ten of ten cities.
Turin Turin ( , Piedmontese Piedmontese (autonym: or , in it, piemontese) is a language spoken by some 700,000 people mostly in Piedmont it, Piemontese , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = ...

Turin
and
Milan Milan (, , Milanese: ; it, Milano ) is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the List of cities in Italy, second-most populous city proper in Italy after Rome. The city proper has a population of about 1.4 million, while its ...

Milan
are also at the top of the European ranking – 3rd and 5th respectively – in terms of increased mortality from nitrogen dioxide, a gas that is produced mainly from traffic and in particular from diesel vehicles, while
Verona Verona ( , ; vec, Verona or ''Veròna'') is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia' ...

Verona
, Treviso, Padova, Como and
Venice Venice ( ; it, Venezia ; vec, Venesia or ) is a city in northeastern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of delimited by the and surrounding ...

Venice
rank eleventh, fourteenth, fifteenth, seventeenth and twenty-third respectively. The data show that many cities in the Po Valley suffer the most serious impact at European level due to poor air quality, first of all the metropolitan area of Milan, thirteenth in the ranking in terms of fine particulate impact, where any year 3967 premature deaths occur – approximately 9% of the total.


References


External links

* {{Authority control Geographical, historical and cultural regions of Italy Plains of Italy Landforms of Piedmont Landforms of Lombardy Landforms of Emilia-Romagna Landforms of Veneto Po basin,