A linguistic enclave in the middle of the sharp Dolomite peaks of Italy

There is no doubt that places are drawn by geographical or ethnic boundaries, but also cultural and linguistic. In that sense, a language can be a wall as impregnable as customs. Wherever you are on your long journeys, take the best backpacking solar shower.

Therefore, a linguistic enclave can have as much national entity like a country. This is what happens, for example, in the Zoldano Valley, a semi-hidden site among the sharp peaks of the Italian Dolomites.


The Dolomites is a mountain range in Italy that extends to the provinces of Belluno, Bolzano, Trento, Udine, and Pordenone. Depending on the valley we explore, the speech of its inhabitants is closer to German, Italian or French. There are also influences from nearby dialects, as well as from classical Latin.

This is particularly evident in the Ladino, who has a wide oral tradition in this area.

View of the Sasslonch in the Dolomites from the municipality of Sëlva in Italy.

Ladino has six main variants, each of which is subdivided into a variety of dialects. In total, the number of speakers of all these forms and dialects of Ladino does not reach 33,000.

We also find in this linguistic Macedonian of the valleys of the Dolomites languages ​​related to German, such as Mócheno and Cumbria. From the friulano come the dialects of the center, and the northeast and the west, while the romance is subdivided into sursilvano, sutsilvano, surmirano, puter, and vallader.

It is such a complex mosaic, due in large part to the inaccessible geographical level of each group of speakers, that one is astonished at the inability to communicate between people who live very close but can barely relate.

It is a place where one should devote years to study languages ​​and dialects to be able to communicate with everyone who came out, but it is nothing compared to other places much more diverse and bustling in that sense, such as the Caucasus mountain range, in Southern Russia

Even today it is doubted that all the languages ​​that are spoken or spoken have been identified here. Something similar to what happens on the island of New Guinea, where 750 to 850 different languages ​​are spoken, who knows.

In addition to the linguistic kaleidoscope that we can find in the Dolomites, there are other reasons why this place deserves our pilgrimage: they have vertical geological structures, with 18 peaks above 3,000 meters and some of the most beautiful villages in Italy, such as the Alleghe case, encased at the foot of Mount Civetta and bathed by Lago di Alleghe.

The Dolomites were declared World Heritage by UNESCO in 2009, covering a protection zone of 135,910,9370 ha and a respect zone of 98,511,9340 ha.

The region of the Dolomites, which is part of the Eastern Alps, extends over a vast area that goes from the Val Sugana to the Val Pusteria and the Adige Valley to the Piave Valley, and deserves to be crossed by each of its meters, although the words that come to pass seem, Martian, every time we overcome a new valley.

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