During the 2nd century a Roman road was built that connected Rimini to Piacenza. Built in honor of the Roman consul Mark Emilio Facetious, it was called Aemilia. The region is named after this road and defined by it: all the important cities, with the exception of Ferrara and Ravenna, are actually on the Via Emilia. In the 6th century the Romans lost this territory, which was divided between the Longobards and the Byzantines Eastern Roman Empire, and the territories were named Longobardia and Romania respectively. With the unity of Italy, the Region acquired the original Roman name of Emilia, and it was only in 1947 that the name of Emilia-Romagna was assigned.
Emilia-Romagna is a region of gentle hills between the River Po and the Appennines, sloping gently down to the Adriatic in the east. As elsewhere in the Po Basin, intensive agriculture is pursued alongside small and medium industry.
During the summer months the miles and miles of sandy beaches on the Adriatic coast are a mecca for Italian tourists, and are also particularly popular with Northern and Eastern Europeans.
The are many local dialects and each town has its own distinctive accent and vocabulary. Bolognese is very different from Forlivese which is different from the Romagnolo of the coast, which is different again from the Romagnolo of the Appenine mountains. In Emilia, Parma and Modena may be close together but the dialects spoken are far from identical.