Padania Conflict


Padania is an alternative name for the Po Valley, a major plain in the north of Italy.  The term was sparingly used until the early 1990s, when Lega Nord, a political party in Italy, proposed Padania as a possible denomination for an autonomous Northern Italy. Since then, it has carried strong political connotations. In 1990 Gianfranco Miglio, renowned political scientist who would be elected senator for Lega Nord in 1992 and 1994 wrote a book in which he expounded a draft constitutional reform. According to Miglio, Padania (consisting of five regions: Veneto, Lombardy, Piedmont, Liguria and Emilia-Romagna) would have been one of the three macroregions composing Italy, along with Etruria (Central Italy) and Mediterranea (Southern Italy), while the autonomous regions (Aosta Valley, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Sicily and Sardinia) would have been left alone with their current autonomy. In 1993 Robert D. Putnam, a political scientist at Harvard University, wrote a book titled Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy, in which Italy’s “civic North” is defined according to the inhabitants’ civic traditions and attitudes, related to the historical emergence of the free medieval communes since the 10th century.Putnam’s theory has been acknowledged by Stefano B. Galli, a Padanist political scientist close to the League and columnist for Il Giornale and La Padania, as a source for defining Padania.Lega Nord’s definition of Padania’s boundaries is incidentally similar to Robert D. Putnam’s “civic North”, which notably includes also the central regions of Tuscany, Marche and Umbria. According to the author, these share with the North similar patterns of civil society, citizenship and government. Gilberto Oneto, a disciple of Miglio, has made extensive research on northern traditions and culture as an evidence of the existence of Padania. Historian and linguist Sergio Salvi has similarly defended the concept of Padania. The very existence of a “Padanian nation” has been criticized by many, notably including the Italian Geographical Society and historian Paolo Bernardini, who is a keen supporter of Venetian nationalism instead.[20] Angelo Panebianco, a political scientist, has explained that, even though a “Padanian nation” does not exist yet, it might well emerge as all nations are invented.