Andrea Mantegna - The Court of Mantua - detail
The Empire can be traced back to the Veronii of the Verolands along the warm sea. Rivers and bogs cover most of the Verolands, and their geography  silty deltas and peninsula's with rocky foothills at their spines. It was a difficult land, but the fertility of the soil and strategic location along the trade routes of the warm sea allowed for them to thrive. The Verolands were one of the first places conquered by the old Empire, and their position in comparison to the rest of the world was improved because of it. When the Old Empire fell, the Veronii fell into a heap of feuding city states.

The Veronii themselves are a mediterreanean sort of people, with their culture a mixture of everything from what we know of the ancient Greeks, to the ancient Romans, to renaissance Italy and Byzantium, and up through western Europe at the start of the early modern era