Northern Italy

Map showing Northern Italy as defined by the Istituto Nazionale di Statistica (Istat).

Northern Italy is a cultural and geographical region, without any administrative purpose, used to indicate the northern part of the Italian state, also informally referred as Il Nord, Settentrione or Alta Italia.[1] It consists of 8 regions in northern Italy: Aosta Valley, Piedmont, Liguria, Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol.[2] According to the 2011 census, its population was 27,213,372.[3] For statistic purposes, the Istituto Nazionale di Statistica (ISTAT) uses the term Northwest Italy and Northeast Italy for identifying two of the five statistical regions in its reporting. These same subdivisions are used to demarcate first level Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS) regions ("NUTS 1 regions") within the European Union, and the Italian constituencies for the European Parliament.


Northern Italy is occupied by the basin of the River Po, which comprises the whole of the broad plain extending from the foot of the Apennines to that of the Alps, together with the valleys and slopes on both sides of it. Throughout its whole course indeed, from its source in Monte Viso to its outflow into the Adriatic Sea—a distance of more than 5 degrees of longitude, or 350 in a direct line—the Po receives all the waters that flow from the Apennines northwards, and all those that descend from the Alps towards the south, till one comes to the Adige, which, after pursuing a parallel course with the Po for a considerable distance, enters the Adriatic by a separate mouth. In 2005, a team of researchers at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute reported that Northern Italy was one of Europe's most polluted areas in terms of smog and air pollution due to its climatic and geographic conditions, which cause the stagnation of pollutants.[4]


Northern Italy is the most developed and productive area of the country, with one of the highest GDPs per capita in Europe. It was the first part of Italy to industrialise in the last half of the 19th century, the so-called industrial triangle formed by the manufacturing centres of Milan and Turin, as well as the seaport of Genoa. Since then, the industrial core of the area has shifted eastward; the current industrial triangle consists of Lombardy, Veneto, and Emilia-Romagna. A similar shift happened for GDP per capita, and the eastern regions (including Lombardy) have since become wealthier than Piedmont and Liguria. With a 2008 nominal GDP estimated at €772,676 million, Northern Italy accounts for 54.8% of the Italian economy, despite having just 45.8% of the population.[2]

See also


  1. Castagnoli, Adriana (2004). Culture politiche e territorio in Italia : 1945-2000. Milano: Angeli. p. 34. ISBN 978-8846452337.
  2. 1 2 Mangiameli, Stelio (2012). Il regionalismo italiano tra tradizioni unitarie e processi di federalismo. Milano: Giuffrè. ISBN 978-8814174131.
  3. "15th Census of Italy" (PDF). Istituto Nazionale di Statistica. Retrieved 8 January 2014.
  4. Natural Hazards
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