Veneto

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Veneto (pronounced [ˈvɛːneto], Latin Venetia, Venetian Vèneto), is one of the 20 regions of Italy. Its population is about 4.8 million. Having been for a long period in history a land of mass emigration, Veneto is today one of the greatest immigrant-receiving regions in the country, with 454,453 foreigners (9.30% of the regional population) in 2008, the most recent of which are Romanian and Moroccan.[2]

The Veneto had been for a millennium an independent state, known as the Venetian Republic, and the region was annexed to Italy in 1866 after brief Austrian and French rule. Its capital was, and still is Venice, which for a long period ruled one of the vastest and richest maritime republics and trade empires in the world. Due to this recent annexation to the rest of Italy, a significant number of Venetians consider themselves to have a unique identity which they refuse to subsume within the notion of "Italian", and the regional government has gone so far as to officially define its inhabitants as "a people".[3] This opened the way to a notable nationalist movement and to the election of a "Venetian nationalist", Luca Zaia (Liga VenetaLega Nord), as president of the Region.

Once the heartland of the Venetian Republic, Veneto is today among the wealthiest, most developed and industrialised regions of Italy. Having one of the country's richest historical, natural, artistic, cultural, musical and culinary heritages, it is also the most visited region of Italy, with about 60 million tourists every year (2007).[4] Besides Italian, most inhabitants also speak Venetian.

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