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Lombardy Panorama Lombardy is one of the 20 Regions of Italy. The capital is Milan. One-sixth of Italy's population lives in Lombardy and about one fourth of Italy's GDP is produced in this Region. The local languages are Insubric and Orobic.

Lombardy is one of the engines of the global economy with a GDP calculated by ISTAT at $400 billion and a per capita GDP of $49,216. The Lombard GDP is higher than those of Saudi Arabia, Switzerland or Sweden. The region is one of the three richest in Europe, with a per capita gross domestic product that is 50 percent higher than the rest of Italy. In fact, the latest Eurostat figures shows that Lombardy in 2003 had the highest GDP for a region in the whole of the EU. Many foreign and national companies have their headquarters in Milan. Manufactures include iron and steel, cars, mechanics components, chemical products, textiles, furnitures, leather, shoes and many others. The province of Brescia is well-known for the production of weapons and the province of Como for silk and lace. The productivity of agriculture is enhanced by a well-developed use of fertilizers and the traditional abundance of water, boosted since the Middle Ages by the construction (partly projected by Leonardo Da Vinci) of a wide net of irrigation systems. Lower plains are characterized by fodder crops, which are mowed up to eight times a years, cereals (rice, wheat and maize) and sugarbeet. Productions of the higher plains include cereals, vegetables, fruit trees and mulberries. The higher areas, up to the Prealps and Alps sectors of the north, produce fruit, vines, olives. Cattle (with the highest density in Italy), pigs and sheep are raised.

Lombardy ViewThe area of current Lombardy was settled at least since the 2nd millennium BCE, as shown by the archaeological findings of ceramics, arrows, axes and carved stones. In the following centuries it was inhabited first by some Etruscan tribes, who founded the city of Mantua and spread the use of writing; later, starting from the 5th century BCE, the area was invaded by the Celt (Gaul) tribes. This people founded several cities (including Milan) and extended their rule to the Adriatic Sea. Their development was halted by the Roman expansion in the Padan Plain from the 3rd century BCE onwards: after centuries of struggle, in 194 BCE the entire area of what is now Lombardy became a Roman province with the name of Gallia Cisalpina ("Gaul on the nearer side of the Alps"). The Roman culture and language overwhelmed the former civilization in the following years, and Lombardy became one of the most developed and rich areas of Italy with the construction of a wide array of roads and the development of agriculture and trade. Important figures like Pliny the Elder (in Como) and Virgil (in Mantua) were born here. In late antiquity the strategic role of Lombardy was emphasized by the temporary moving of the capital of the Western Empire to Milan. Here, in 313 AD, emperor Constantine issued the famous edict that gave freedom of confession to all religions within the Empire.

During and after the fall of the Western Empire, Lombardy suffered heavily from destruction brought about by a series of barbaric invasions. The last and most effective was that of the Lombards, or Longobardi, who came around 570s.[1] and whose long-lasting reign (whose capital was set in Pavia) gave the current name to the region. There was a close relationship between the Frankish, Bavarian and Lombard nobility for many centuries.

After the initial struggles, relationships between the Lombard minority and the Latin-speaking majority improved. In the end, the Lombard language and culture assimilated with the Latin culture, leaving evidence in many names, the legal code and laws among other things. The end of Lombard rule came in 774, when the Frankish king Charlemagne conquered Pavia and annexed the "Kingdom of Italy" (mostly northern and central Italy) to his empire. The formed Lombard dukes and nobles were replaced by other German vassals, prince-bishops or marquises. However, to this day the population is still in part the descendents of Lombards.

Part of the information regarding the history, the art, the traditions and the events about the city of Lombardy on this page is drawn from www.wikipedia.org respecting the GNU Free Documentation License.