Ethnic Italy
[Regions of Italy]

If you've ever been to Italy, you've seen evidence of the many different people - from primitive tribes to eminent societies - who have swept through the peninsula over the last 5000 years, leaving traces faint or strong. Their presence is still felt everywhere, in the monuments, the foods, the traditional festivals, even the names of the most prominent Italian cities.

But Italy also has pockets of living ethnic culture. This special issue focuses on some of them, starting with three of the most diversified. Because much of the history of these cultures is disputed, we welcome your contributions in order to give foreign visitors the broadest spectrum of information about Italy's ethnic "minorities."

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Other areas that are heavily ethnicized are Val D'Aosta (where the dialect is just a smidge removed from French), parts of Sardinia (where you could swear they're speaking pure Castilian), and Friuli-Venezia Giulia, whose culture and dialect bear strong signs of Slovenian influence. In 1999, the Italian Parliament approved a decree declaring that the local dialect, called Frulan, is an official language. The immediate result was that all public signs, as well as official documents, are now printed in Italian and Frulan.

[Regions of Italy]