Emilia (Emilian: Emîlia) is a historical region of northern Italy, which roughly corresponds to the western and north-eastern portions of the modern Emilia-Romagna region, with the Romagna area making up the rest of the modern region.
Emilia takes its name from the Via Emilia, a Roman road built by the consul Marco Emilio Lepido in 187 BC. to connect Rimini with Piacenza. The name was transferred to the district (which formed the eighth Augustan region in Italy) already at the time of Martial, in popular use. In the second and third centuries, Amilia was often named a district under imperial (juridical) judges, generally in combination with Flaminia or Liguria and Tuscia.
The district of Ravenna was, as a rule, from the 3rd to the 5th century, not treated as part of Aemilia, whose capital was Placentia (Piacenza). In the 4th century Emilia and Liguria were united to form a consular province; after Aemilia was alone, Ravenna was sometimes temporarily added to it.
Under the Byzantine Empire Ravenna became the seat of an exarch, and after the Lombards had attempted for two centuries to subdue Pentapoli (Ravenna, Bologna, Forlì, Faenza, Rimini), Pepin took these cities from the Lombard king Aistulf and gave them , with the March of Ancona, to the papacy in 755, to which, under the name of Romagna, they continued to belong. At the beginning, however, the archbishop of Ravenna was actually supreme. The other main cities of Emilia - Ferrara, Modena, Reggio, Parma, Piacenza - were instead independent, and in the period of municipal independence of the individual Italian cities each of the main Emilian cities, regardless of whether they belonged to Romagna or not, had a history in its own right. Despite the feuds of Guelfi and Ghibellini, they prospered considerably. The study of Roman law, particularly in Bologna, acquired great importance. Imperial influence kept papal power under control.
Pope Nicholas III gained control of Romagna in 1278, but papal domination fell almost during the papacy of Avignon and was maintained only by the efforts of Cardinal Albornoz, who was sent to Italy by Pope Innocent VI in 1353. Even so, however, the papal supremacy was little more than a name, and this state of affairs ceased only when Cesare Borgia crushed most of the small princes of Romagna, with the intention of founding his own dynasty. But after the death of Pope Alexander VI, his successors in the papacy brought about and profited from what Cesare Borgia had started. Since then the cities were subject to the church and administered by tied cardinals. Ferrara and Comacchio remained under Este's house until Alfonso II's death in 1597, when they were claimed by Pope Clement VIII as vacant fiefdoms.
Modena and Reggio, which had been part of the Duchy of Ferrara, were thereafter a separate duchy under a branch of Este's house. Carpi and Mirandola were small principalities, the first of which passed to the house of Este in 1525, in which year the emperor Charles V expelled the Pio family, while the last of the Pico dynasty of Mirandola, Francesco Maria Pico, having deployed the part The French in the Spanish succession war was deprived of his duchy in 1709 by the emperor Joseph I, who sold it to the house of Este in 1710. Parma and Piacenza were initially under the Farnese family, after Pope Paul III had placed his son Pier Luigi in that role in 1545, and then, after the extinction of the family in 1731, under a secondary branch of the Bourbons of Spain.
From 1796 to 1814, Emilia was first incorporated into the Italian Napoleonic republic and then into the Italian Napoleonic kingdom; after 1815 there was a return to the status quo ante, Romagna returned to the papacy and its ecclesiastical government, the duchy of Parma was entrusted to Maria Luisa, wife of the deposed Napoleon, and Modena to archduke Francis of Austria, the heir to the last Este. In 1821 and 1831 there were unsuccessful attempts at revolt in Emilia; another attempt in 1848-1849 was crushed by Austrian troops. In 1859 the struggle for independence was finally successful, Emilia passed into the Italian kingdom almost without resistance.
The eastern border is formed by the Sillaro and Reno rivers, which divide it from Romagna. To the north, the Po river borders with Veneto and Lombardy. To the west and south, the division of the Apennine drainage separates it from Liguria and Tuscany. Administratively it includes the provinces of Piacenza, Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna (except the municipality of Imola and Dozza and the Santerno valley) and Ferrara.
The region corresponds approximately to the ancient Cispadana Gaul which, under the Augustan territorial organization of Italy c. 7 AD, became Regio VIII Emilia.
Read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emilia_%28region_of_Italy%29