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Italy - Minorities

Last modified: 2002-12-20 by dov gutterman
Keywords: italy | cymbr | furlans | roma | cimbri | catalonia | alghero | sardinia | arberesh | tzimber | croatia | campobasso | walser |
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Minorities in North Italy are:
- Occitani
- Franco-Provenzali (in Piedmont, Valle d'Aosta) - I suppose they are using the flags of Movimento Harpytania and the red-black flags of Aosta
- Walser (a germanic people, in Valle d'Aosta, Piedmont and C.Tessin-CH) - Has an own (very elaborated) flag
- Sudtiroler (AltoAdige/Su:dTirol)
- Tzimber/Cimbri (Veneto, Trentino)
- Ladins/Ladini (Veneto, Trentino, Friuli)
- Furlans/Friulani (Friuli)
- Slavi (or Sloveni) (Friuli)
Matteo Colaone, 11 November 2000

Albanians (Arberesh)

Also called "Arbe Risht". They fly the Albanian flag, I guess.
Antonio Martins, 1 August 1999

Arberesh (Italy) - These are ethnical Albanians in Puglia and Basilicata. They most certainly use the Albanian flag, undefaced, if anything.
Antonio Martins, 14 September 2000


Local "Catalanists" in Alghero (Sardinia) may use the "qutre barres", but As far as I know this town is not claimed as a part of "Greater Catalonia", just a place where catalonian happend to live.
Antonio Martins, 14 September 2000

Alghero was populated by people from Catalan region named CAMP (Reus, my city, is the main city) as a position to assure the control over Sardinia where four Judges (Lords) sometime revolted against Catalan domination. Ethnic pure catalan was maintened until XX century. Currently Sardinian and Italian population are the majory in the city. The concept of Greater Catalonia is out of the Catalonian views. Some months ago I watched a report in catalan TV from Algher. Catalan flag is hoisted in the port, in the fishing ships and in some building from cultural associations, but catalans in Algher don't have special rights (school, radio, TV, books...) and in few generations the catalan will be merged and will cease to exist as seperate community.
Jaume Ollé, 15 September 2000


I wanted to add information about the centuries old Croatian community that lives in Molise. The live in the province of Campobasso.
They live in three villages and arrived in Italy at the beginning of the Ottoman conquest of the region. Today they number some 2000. The villages are: Aquaviva Collecroce (Cr. Ziva Voda-Kruc), Montemitro (Cr. Mundimitar) and San Felice del Molise (Cr. Filic). The Molise Croatians are recognized as one of Italy's minority groups and have the right to teach their language see for more details.
The arms for these villages can be found at the sites of cquaviva Aquaviva Collecroce (Ziva Voda-Kruc), Montemitro (Mundimitar) and San Felice del Molise (Filic)
As for using the Croatian flag, I do not know. Both the Republic of Croatia flag and the Italian flag are shown during a presentation of the Molise Croatian dictionary. The flag may be there because the Croatian Embassy was there...see <>.
Marko Puljic, 4 Febuary 2001

I e-mailed the webmaster of the Molise Croatian website, and she confirmed that the Croatians in Italy do not have their own flag.
Marko Puljic, 6 December 2002


I guess all these are Gypsies (rroma), using the usual gypsy flag - if any at all
Antonio Martins , 1 August 1999

Italian "Cimbri" have nothing to do with Rom (Gypsies). This is the self-denomination of little minorities scattered throughout Northern Italy and coming from Austria or Southern Bavaria (XII-XIV centuries): the major Cimbre communities are the ones of the 13 Communes ("13 Comuni") on the mounts over Verona, the 7 Communes ("7 Comuni") in the mpuntains N of Vicenza, and a few villages in the Provinces of Trento (Luserna), Belluno (Sappada/Ploden), Udine (Sauris and Timau). Their peculiar dialects - directly deriving from Middle German are still preserved in some of the villages.
 Though there are general conventions of all the Cimbri, I don't know of any flag common to all of them. They use the flags of their single villages or confederations of communes (Verona and Vicenza). The name "Cimbri" has nothing to do with the Cimbri and Theutones defeated by Marius in North Germany in the first Century BC. It is, on the contrary, to be tied with modern German Zimmer (room < hut made of wood) or with English Timber (wood for construction). These Germanic peoples were called to Italy because they were good wood-cutters and carpenters and especially because they knew how to obtain coal from wood and therefore how to get the high temperatures that were needed for smelting metals. As a consequence when a North Italian Lord wanted to open a mine almost always called Cimbri settlers.
Alberto M. Mioni, 13 April 2000

They call themselves Tzimbar, and they speak a Germanic language called "Tauch". The modern version of the origin of this mysterious people could be this: in 1287 Bartolomeo della Scala, bishop of Verona asked some families of woodcutter, "tzimberer" in german, to work in a wide forest,  Lessinia. So They settled in this area, the so-called "die Dreizehn Gemeinden/Tredici Comuni". The names of the "thirteen communes" are (tauch and italian names):
1- Kalwein (it: Badia Calavena)
2- Nuagankirchen (it: Bosco Chiesanuova)
3- Silva Hermanorum (it: Cerro Veronese)
4- ? (it: Erbezzo)
5- ? (it: Rover?)
6- San Moritz (it: San Mauro delle Saline)
7- Prugne and Ljetzan (it: Selva di Progno)
8- Vellje-Feld (it: Velo Veronese).
The last 5 are no more indipendent communes, but the italian administration included them in the previous ones. They are:
9- Kampsilvan
10- San Bortolo
11- Tavernole
12- Porrental
13- Azzarino.
All in Verona province, Veneto region.

Tzimbar also live in the area of "Die Sieben Gemeinden/Sette Comuni" in Vicenza province, Veneto region. The seven communes should be:
1- Schlage (it: Asiago) - now a beautiful touristic village -
2- ? (it: Gallio)
3- Robaan (it: Roana)
4- Canove (?)
5- Vallorch (?)
6- Pich (?)
7- Pian Osteria (?)

Other little Tzimber "islands" in North italy in the previous comment.

Tzimber don't use any national flag; but Selva di Progno (VR) has an interesting CoA: every star stand for one of the 13 communes. In Asiago CoA 7 human heads stand for the 7 communes; the cross is the so-called "Schio cross". It seems that yellow and red are the colours of Asiago; I saw a flag Y-R (divided vertically?) in that city in december 1999.
Tzimber have really nothing to do with Gypsies or Rom peoples!
Matteo Colaone, 11 November 2000

I recieved information that there is a Flag of the Seven Cimbri Comunes, and flag of the historical territorial milizia of the Seven Comunes.
Jaume Ollé, 25 November 2001


See: Friuli - Venezia Giulia Region


Occitani (in Piedmont) use the Occitania flag (with yellow Toulose cross on red) and white flag with a red Sun of the Alps (the same used by Padanian autonomist).
Matteo Colaone, 11 November 2000


Matteo Colaone, 6 October 2002

Matteo Colaone, 6 October 2002

Walser people is an important  german-speaking minority (Walser Gemeinschaft) in Piemonte and Valle d'Aosta regions. Nowadays they live in these towns In Verbania-Cusio-Ossola province: Pomatt/Formazza, Z'Makána/Macugnaga. In Vercelli province: Im Land/Alagna, Fubely/Fobello, Rémmalyu/Rimella, Rimŕsk/Rimasco.  In Aosta province: Greschňney Oberteil/Gressoney-la-Trinité; Greschňney Onderteil ňn Méttelteil/Gressoney-Saint-Jean, Eischeme/Issime; Walser also live in Canton Ticino (CH) in Bosco Gurin village.  
Above - flag of Walser communities, adopted in 1815, it reminds Canton Vallese (CH) flag, as Walser people comes from that land. White and red stand for "Legione Tebana"'s martyrs that died in Martigny in 287 d.C.; the ten stars stand for the number of communities in the valley (nine in Piemonte and Valle d'Aosta and one in Canton Ticino).
Below - flag used by Aosta province Walser communities. The hearth-shaped emblem represents the flag of Walser communities; the other symbol is called Winkelkreutz ("cornercross"), used by Gressoney's merchants in '600, and it reminds Odin-Wotan's rune (Odin was the protector of merchants). Palm leaves simbolize the Legione Tebana. Black and red in the borders are the well-known Valle d'Aosta colours.
Matteo Colaone, 6 October 2002