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The name of a country which does not, yet, exist. Roughly — though there’s no agreement on this — it’s the area of Italy from Umbria and Tuscany northwards, including Florence, Genoa, Bologna, Turin, Milan and Venice. It is an area larger than England and Wales, with some 31 million inhabitants, the industrial and economic powerhouse of Italy. A local political party, the Northern League, led by Umberto Bossi, would like to see Padania become an independent country within the European Union. Despite significant votes being cast for the League in some areas in the general election in April 1996, support for it was insufficient for it to be able to press its demands through parliamentary channels. However, in September 1996, Mr Bossi unilaterally proclaimed independence in Venice, his proposed capital, though he deferred this for one year. The name derives from an Italian term for the Po valley, pianura padana. The adjective is Padanian.

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Copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
Page created 14 Sep. 1996

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The English language is forever changing. New words appear; old ones fall out of use or alter their meanings. World Wide Words tries to record at least a part of this shifting wordscape by featuring new words, word histories, words in the news, and the curiosities of native English speech.

World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
This page URL: http://www.worldwidewords.org/turnsofphrase/tp-pad1.htm
Last modified: 14 September 1996.