My Tirol Interest

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Thinking up podcast journeys for late October and November. One of them involves finally going to Romania to pursue the Rosia Montana gold mine story. But a new topic that occupies my mind is all about the region known as Tirol or South Tirol or the Italian Province of Bolzano-Bozen.

From a flickr personMy dearest Krizushka, herself a Tirolian from the Austrian part, has often told me of the magic and wonder of her home region. But lately as I read through the history of South Tirol and the 3 languages (Italian, German, Ladin!) and the temoltuous history of wars and partition.. I want to know more. Better yet… I want to see it with my own eyes.

Thus far, as I understand it, Tirol is a region that has belonged to many different kingdoms at different periods in history. Located in what is, on the map, northeast Italy and southern Austria, it went from being part of Austria-Hungary to being carved up with a large chunk becoming Italian. LAter on during the Mussolini days, he apparently carried out a big campaign to Italianize the place, shipping southern Italians to live and work there, and changing the names of everything from German to Italian. And somewhere in there are the Ladin speaking people, also being culturally pushed aside.

The history itself is much more complex than can be described in a blog post, but the present is something that also interests me. 3 languages, a haunting past, and the struggle to bring the region forward and be “prosperous”. I’ve read about language-quotas for government jobs. Census where you have to say what language you belong to. And brave activists fighting to unite people who’ve so often been divided.

More on this soon, and if I can swing it, a journey to south Tirol in the coming months!