Trentino-Alto Adige

Trentino-Alto Adige is also known by its other name Trentino-South Tyrol. That's because historically it belonged to Tyrol and hence to the Austrian Empire, but in 1918 it was annexed by Italy. Still, 35 percent of the population speak German as their mother tongue, especially in the Northern half of the region, in the Autonomous Province of Bolzano-Bozen - it enjoys autonomy for this very fact - because of its German-speaking minority. Trentino-Alto Adige has a population of just over a million, and its territory is roughly two thirds that of Sicily. Trento, which has 112 thousand inhabitants, is its capital. This remarkable city has a beautiful old town and a castle, and throughout many centuries, it has been an important regional economic center.

Due to its three official languages (the third one being Ladin, which is indeed only spoken by a tiny minority) and its ethnic composition, the region attracts tourists from Italy as well as from all German-speaking countries. For Germans, this is the only place in the world where their language is spoken by original inhabitants under palm trees in in a Mediterranean climate. (In fact, the further South you go within Trentino-Alto Adige, the lower the mountains will be and the warmer the climate gets.) So, this place is legendary within the German-speaking world, and it holds great attraction both for visiting or for living there. In fact, the German-speaking community is quite patriotic about its culture and language, and they are just happy when new German-speakers arrive, as they fear Italianization being imposed on them from the state, which in fact has been attempted several times, most notably by Mussolini, Italy's Fascist dictator.

There even was a terrorist movement to bring South Tyrol back into Austria, but it completely died away in the 70's and 80's. Now South Tyrol is very peaceful and in fact the richest Italian province. However, certain minor tensions remain between the ethnic groups.

Of course, the region is home to the famous Dolomites. That means that here the Alps are at their best - with wild, ragged shapes and astonishing heights. Trentino-Alto Adige is perfectly prepared for tourism of all sorts. In the winter, skiing is huge, and in the summer, there are all kinds of things you can do, like hiking, climbing, or paragliding. And Venice and the Mediterranean Sea are just an hour or two away. This is a combined attraction that is hard to match - for any place in the world!

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Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy

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