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Padania (Italy)

Last modified: 2006-03-04 by dov gutterman
Keywords: italy | politics | padania | po | savoy | lega nord | northern league | lega piemontese | lega liguria | lega lombarda | insubria |
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image by Matteo Colaone, 3 October 2001

Alternate Flag
image by Matteo Colaone, 3 October 2001

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Description of Flags

The green "Sun of the Alps" is the symbol of Padania, according to its proponents. The most used flag is just a white banner of these arms, but sometimes the "Sun" is put on the canton of the red-cross-on-white flag of Milan.
Alessio Bragadini

Silver charged with green Sun of the Alps in center. Ratio 1:2. Six petals in a circle, four arranged as St. Andrew's cross, two vertically. the "Federal Republic of Padania" has been announced on Sunday, September 15th 1996 in Venice, by Umberto Bossi, founder and leader of 'Northern League for (seeking) the Independence of Padania', during a 3-days pro-independence manifestation. The 'Sun of the Alps' or 'Independence Flag' had been presented by Parlamentarian Roberto Maroni on Sept 11th, officialized by padan "institutions" afterwards.
From: "Official Padan Gazette", sunday 15th september 1996.
Matteo Colaone, 3 October 2001 (translated by Manuel Giorgini)

The flag of Padania is only a mere invention of the "Lega Lombarda" party in the late '90s, and it has no historical precedents or roots: the flag represents a green centered sun in a white field. The name "Padania" has always been used with geographical meanings, until the Leghisti (belongers to the Lega Lombarda party) used it to intend a sort of "Northern Italian nation" (which, of course, does not and never existed).
Fabio Facoetti, 26 October 2003

Someone says it was created taking inspiration from the flag of an association about Brigasque culture. See <>. However, I don't know what's the origin of that Brigasque flag.
Paolo Montanelli, 4 July 2003

The Alternate Flag

image by Matteo Colaone, 3 October 2001

The Alternate Flag represent the so-called "Bandiera Storica della Nazione Padana" (The Historical Flag of Padania Nation). It derives from the graphic fusion of St.George flag, the flag of "Resurrection", that has a very important use in Padan heraldry, and "Sole delle Alpi" (Sun of the Alps), the symbol of the Celtic heritage of this land.The flag is now used by the associations that support the idea of cultural, ethnic, socio-political and linguistical independence of Padania (La Libera Compagnia Padana, Cult.Terra Insubre, etc.) and by Lega Nord.
Matteo Colaone, 25 September 2000

Silver background with red cross, charged with a red Sun of The Alps in canton (first quadrant).Proportions 2:3 (more or less), but in most cases 95 cm x 130 cm . The Cross of St. George is a first order partition, [though some heraldical authors argue that the cross [throughout] is not a partition but a charge], formed by a combination of the pale (vertical stripe) and the fess (horizontal stripe), using two of the noblest heraldric colours: Silver, white 'metal', memory of the old platemails of noble knights (the other heraldric metal is 'gold', kept for high-ranked knights and for the Rulers) [Argent and Or, heraldically. Both heraldic metals indeed, as opposed to colours, both of them tinctures], and the red colour, considered as the first colour for Arms, representing the shed blood [Please note that all these colour symbolisms are a bit of a concoction...]. The Historical Flag of Padania comes as a join between the St. George's Cross and the Sun of the Alps, both red in colour. The St. George's Cross relates to the Crusades. It has always been used as their own symbol by the Lumbard Crusaders in the Holy Land; then adopted by the English and French (for a short time), and more generally by anyone not having their own symbol. Legend says that the cross has been used by the Roman Emperor Constantinus I The Great (...) as well. During a battle against Massentius, near the Roman Milvio Bridge in 312 d.C., he saw a flaming cross in the sky with a circular saying, 'in hoc signo vinces' (in this mark you will win), which he adopted on a white field as a vexillum for his Militia and himself. The following year the Emperors Constantinus and Licionius (?), in Mediolanum (Milan), will grant freedom of religious choice in the Empire. During another Crusade hundreds of years later, another legend says, a Divine Event happens again in 1098, during the Antiochia Siege. St. George appears to the crusaders; around him stand angels carrying the flag in question. Since then, the red cross on a white field has always been related to St. George the Winner, who might be a Christianized version of the old gods Wotan (germanic), or Taranis (celtic), or even Mithra (hindo-european). According to Harold Barleym, its name might come from GE=earth and URGE=rule, so as in 'he who rules the earth', the power to control the telluric(?) forces (earthquakes), symbolized by the Dragon. Somebody even proposed St. George as Patron of Padania along with the Madonna of Urupa. Identified as 'Vexillum Sancti Petri' (St. Peter's Flag), the flag is also called 'Resurrection Flag'; bonded to Christ's Resurrection, who will vanquish the anti-christ while standing before the Church of St. George in Lyddha, according to the tradition. The Crossed symbol has always been a common sign for all padan peoples and specifically lumbards. It flew over the taken walls of Jerusalem in 1096, when the Lumbard crusaders, first among all, entered the holy city leaded by John of Rho; it had been chosen as symbol of Cremonese League (Pontida, April 7th 1176) and of Societas Lombardiae (the first glorious Lumbard League, born in Pontida on May 29th 1176 on a treaty between the Cremonese and Veronese leagues). It also appeared on the Republic of Genoa's flags and CoA's used by the Republic of Venice; part of the People's Gonfalone of the Republic of Florence (kept after it became part of the Great Duchy of Tuscany); used by the Duchy of Massa, in Emilia, in Romagna and counts 125 appearances in signs of Communes from Padania to Istria, from Tirol to Tuscany (among which Milan-Milano, Ivreya-Ivrea, 'Alba-Alba, Varséi-Vercelli, Portu Murisiu, Arbénga-Albenga, Lek-Lecco, Mantua-Mantova, Chignoo-Chignolo Po, Padova-Padova, Bulagna-Bologna, Rez-Reggio nell'Emilia, Rémin-Rimini....). The proposed federal constitution, called 'Constitution of federal padan union', determines in its 18th article: UFP's seal is the Sun of the Alps, made by six petals arranged within a circle; its land flag is the Sun of the Alps, veneto-celtic green in colour, on a white field; its sea flag is a join between St. George's and St. Mark's standards. Its historical flag is St. George's cross, (loaded) with a red Sun of the Alps in the canton. (first quadrant).
Information partly provided by:
Gilberto Oneto, Bandiere di Liberta, Effedieffe, 1992;
Gilberto Oneto, L'invenzione della Padania, Foedus Ed., 1997;
Matteo Colaone, 3 October 2001 (translated by Manuel Giorgini) and Santiago Dotor, 13 November 2001

How about an "honorable ordinary?"  English blazon distinguishes between ordinaries, subordinaries, and other charges, so ordinary would maybe correspond to "piece of the first order."  Just a guess.
Joe McMillan, 13 November 2001

Other Flags in Use

from <>

About two years ago in an article by Massimo Bonini in Flag Report, there were published a lot of Padanian flags. Three of them I found now in the web in <>.Even if the three flags seems to be same, there are some differences between them that is hard to see in the images at the Internet.
At <> there is a padanian flag in the background bearing the map of North and central Italia in light green. The flags of North League and Padania are hoisted below.
Jaume Olle', 1 September 2002

image contributed by Marco Lambruschi, 21 October 2005

I've found at <> this rather unusual "Padania flag" - a Japanese war ensign with the Alps Sun instead the red disc.
Marco Lambruschi, 21 October 2005

At the mentioned website there are other strange flags (beside some well-known and well-documented ones), for instance the well-known Padanian flag, but with added inscription "Padania libera" or the collage of "Padanian" flags. Although the Lega Nord has been by far the most vexilliferous political organization in Italy in the 90ies, I have never actually seen evidence for several of these flags. These seem to me computer graphics, but never actually flown as flags. Especially the "Japanese war ensign" type is certainly to strange to miss.
Marcus Schmöger, 1 November 2005

WRONG Reported Alternate Flag

image by Alessio Bragadini


Padania is a geographic name of the valley formed by river Po (Padus in Latin IIRC), that is the most part of Northern Italy. Italy is divided into Regions: Padania is more or less composed of Lombardia (the Region where I live), Piemonte, Liguria, Veneto, Emilia (half of Region Emilia-Romagna).
Giuseppe Bottasini, 13 May 1996

Origin of Padania

Is there any historical precedent for Padania? I mean, have these areas ever been united in the past? Is this, for instance, the traditional boundary of Savoy, or am I thinking of some completely different part of Italy? I realize that Italy was a series of smaller independent or semi-independent states as recently as the middle of last century. Where did the name Padania come from?
James Dignan, 19 September 1996

What about the Cisalpine Republic (which, as I recall, was formed by merging the Cispadane and Transpadane Republics... before Napoleon changed it to "the Italian Republic" ?
Will Linden, 19 September 1996

Much earlier, the old Lombard Kingdom of Italy in the early middle ages centered on Pavia occupied the Italian peninsula north of the old Papal States. It didn't include Venice or Ravenna, though.
Josh Fruhlinger, 19 September 1996

Traditionnally, the Duchy of Savoy was located on the Western part of the Alps. It is now a part of France. Napoleon III helped the Italians fighting for their unity against the Austrians. As a thank you, the Italian leader Cavour proposed to give to France Savoy and the county of Nice (which had joined the Savoie Duchy in 1388). Elections were organized and people massively voted for becoming French, in 1860 IIRC. Savoy was split into two departements : Haute-Savoie (capital: Annecy) and Savoie (in the South, capital Chambery, the historical capital of Savoy). Of course, this is the history as we learn it in France. May'be our Italian friends will have an other view on that question ! IIRC my classical studies, Padanius (?) was the Latin name for the Po river, which is considered by Bossi as the emblem of the 'new' country'. For the moment, Bossi does not revendicate the French Savoie...
Ivan Sache, 20 September 1996

'Padus' is the Latin name of the Po river. Geographically the northern part of Italy is called 'Val Padana' (Padana Valley) and 'padano' is the adjective related to it, e.g. 'grana padano' is a kind of cheese producted in Val Padana. 'Padania' is derived from 'padano' and should mean 'the country of Padans'. The secessionist movement claims that Padania also includes many regions (Toscana, Romagna, Liguria and Süd Tirol) which are not parts of Val Padana; they call 'Padania' all the northern and northern-centre regions, i.e. the "richest" part of Italy. The real cause of the secessionists is not cultural or ethnic but economic: to separate the richer North from the poorer South.
Giuseppe Bottasini, 20 September 1996

The word "Padania" has been common in geography and social studies from the 60's to describe the area around the Po river. Note that it usually did not comprehend the Veneto region and all Northern-Eastern Part of Italy, whereas Leghisti usually think Veneto belongs to Padania (and they referred sometimes to Venice as "Padania Capital city").
From a linguistic point of view, the regions of Northern Italy (from Piedmont to Romagna, excluding Trentino, Veneto and Friuli) belong to the Gallo-Italic dialect group, which could be considered for some aspects more similar to French than to Tuscan or other Southern-Central Italian dialects. This, of course, does not imply that a "Gallo-Italic" or "Padanian" nation undoubtedly exists: some linguists think that every region dialect should be considered a different "language" (due to mutual unitelligibility and phonetic and lexical peculiarities) so there should be at least five "Gallo-Italic languages" (or probably seven) and so maybe five" (or seven) "potential nations"...
Paolo Montanelli, 4 July 2003


I do not want to say about Padania the same thing that Metternich told about the whole Italy many years ago ("Italy is only a geographic name") but there are people who are excessively stressing the concept of Padania as a "nation" different from the Italian nation. Because of its history, Italy was really a collection of peoples with different cultures and even idioms but after the two World Wars Italian peoples became one nation, thanks to State schools and radio-television. This is our last 50 years history. Now a political party called "Lega Nord" is trying to separate Northern Italy from the rest. They talk about a "Northern nation" with its own culture and (first of all) economy. The northern part of Italy is much more rich than the southern one; maybe it is more "European" in the sense of efficency. The leaders of Lega Nord alternately use the words "secession" and "federalism": while "federalism" is a concept accepted by almost all the other parties (Italy is today a heavily centralized State), "secession" is of course illegal. IMHO most Northern Italian people do not want secession, but they want to control how our money is spent by the State, that is a federalistic taxation system.
Giuseppe Bottasini, 13 May 1996

The Northern League almost never claims ethnic reasons for the indipendence of Padania, but the indigenous speeches of Emilia-Romagna, Liguria, Lombardy, Piedmont, Veneto, Trentino, northern Marches, of parts of Friuli-Venezia Giulia (on the southern coast, in the west and the east of the region), of the Aosta Valley (at least two non-franco-provençal speaking communes: Verrès and Pont-Saint-Martin) and of northern Tuscany (Lunigiana, Garfagnana other areas bordering with Emilia-Romagna, and the enclave of the commune of Camaiore), plus those, spoken outside the Italian State, of the Principality of Monaco, San Marino, Canton Ticino, southern Grisons, Istria and in the politically French territory from the Italian border to Monaco are -according to scholars like H. Lausberg, whose classification of Romance languages is the most widely accepted- dialects of one language. He called it, obviously without meaning that it's a part of the Italian linguistic system, "Northern Italian", using a word easy to be misunderstood, but in 1982, before that the Northern League was born, the linguist G. Hull named it "Padanian" and the land where it's spoken "Padania" in "The Linguistic Unity of Northern Italy and Rhaetia"(unpublished thesis presented at the University of Sidney).
However most Northern League supporters don't know this and this party puts Italian (and other languages) speaking areas into its state project, like central and southern Tuscany, where standard Italian originated. Moreover, here is the URL of a site (in Italian and Padanian) where the meaning of the word "Padania" is explained: <>
Davide Sivero, 3 December 1999

In Znamierowski's book [zna99] there is a mistake at p.  241: Padania's "independence" was proclaimed in 1996, not in 1986
Marcus Schmoger, 16 July 2000

Young Padanian Movement

image by Matteo Colaone and Marcus Schmoger, 23 July 2002

image by Matteo Colaone and Marcus Schmoger, 23 July 2002

The official flag of "MOVIMENTO GIOVANI PADANI" (Young Padanian Movement), the movement of young supporters of Lega Nord-Padania. Official site at <>.
Matteo Colaone, 6 October 2000

Flag of the "Movimento Giovani Padani" (Movement of Young Padanians), the Youth Organization of the Lega Nord. It obviously comes in two different ratios (4:3 and 5:4). The flag shows on a white background a medieval warrior and the Padanian symbol, the  green "sun of the Alps", as well as the green inscription "Giovani Padani". Fotos of this flag in use (and of course other Lega Nord flags as well) can be found at <> especially <00066.jpg>, <00111.jpg> and <00050.jpg>. The latter one shows the flag of the Muggió local branch of the MGP (called "I Sgurbat Vert").
Marcus Schmoger, 23 July 2002