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  German-speaking Italy and the legacy of fascism
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ContributorBrentinCO 
Last EditedBrentinCO  Oct 31, 2022 09:26pm
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CategoryAnalysis
News DateSaturday, May 6, 2017 03:25:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionSouth Tyrol has been part of Italy for a century, but the tensions left by Mussolini's dictatorship still coexist with the idyllic landscape. Can a row over fascist names threaten the region's hard-won multiculturalism?

"What is going on? Aren't we still in Italy?" I once heard a man ask confusedly, speaking to no one in particular, as the train announcer listed the names of the upcoming villages only in German. Indeed, many Italians, and even more people abroad, are often shocked to discover that there is a province in the north of the country where German is the mother tongue of most inhabitants, and every town, river, hill and street has a different name in both languages.

More shocking still is that South Tyrol, an idyllic stretch of land in the heart of the Alps, could be a site where the wounds of fascism can still be seen seven decades after the death of Benito Mussolini.

Part of Austria for centuries, South Tyrol and neighboring Trentino became part of Italy as part of the spoils of World War I, making German and Ladin (a Romance language spoken by several thousand people) speakers Italian citizens overnight without their consent.
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