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Resia Valley

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Title: Resia Valley  
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Subject: Slovene language, History of the Alps, Vigesimal, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Resian dialect, Resia, Slavia Friulana
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Resia Valley

Comune di Resia

The village of Stolvizza (Solbica)
Location of Resia in Italy

Coordinates: 46°23′N 13°18′E / 46.383°N 13.300°E / 46.383; 13.300Coordinates: 46°23′N 13°18′E / 46.383°N 13.300°E / 46.383; 13.300

Country Italy
Region Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Province Province of Udine (UD)
 • Total 119.0 km2 (45.9 sq mi)
Population (Dec. 2004)
 • Total 1,244
 • Density 10/km2 (27/sq mi)
Demonym Resiani
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 33010
Dialing code 0433
This article is about Resia in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. For the pass between Italy and Austria, see Reschen Pass.

Resia (Slovene: Rezija, Resian: Rèsije) is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Udine in the Italian region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. It is located in the Alpine valley with the same name, about 90 km northwest of Trieste and about 35 km north of Udine, on the border with Slovenia and around 20 km from the border with Austria. As of 31 December 2004, it had a population of 1,244 and an area of 119.0 km².[1] It is home to an indigenous South Slav people who speak an archaic dialect of the Slovene language, known as Resian, and are officially considered part of the Slovene minority in Italy.[2]

Resia borders the municipalities of Kobarid (Slovenia), Chiusaforte, Lusevera, Bovec (Slovenia), Resiutta, and Venzone.

Geographical location

The municipality comprises the Resia valley, a typical Alpine glacial valley, surrounded by high mountains, with a narrow opening towards the west. The valley is located on the western edge of the Julian Alps. To the east, it is closed by the Kanin mountain range, which separates it from the Soča valley in the Slovenian Littoral. To the west, the valley opens towards the Fella valley, which leads to the upper Friulian plain. This is the most usual way to access this isolated valley.

To the south-east of the Resia Valley, there is a narrow mountain pass, called Carnizza (Slovene: Karnica), leading from Resia valley to the upper Torre Valley (Slovene: Terska dolina). The same mountain pass also leads to the Učja Canyon (Uccea), which ends in the Soča valley near the Slovenian village of Žaga. For centuries, this narrow pass was the only way connecting the Resia Valley with Venetian Slovenia and the Slovene Lands.

Language and traditions

See also: Slavic settlement of the Eastern Alps, Venetian Slovenia

The inhabitants of Resia speak a unique form of the Slovene language, known as the Resian dialect. According to most linguists, Resian is a transitory dialect between the Carinthian and Littoral dialects of Slovene. Resian maintains several archaic features that have been lost in most other Slovene dialects. Due to its isolation, the dialect has also developed a specific phonetic system, unlike any other in the South Slavic language group.

The people of Resia usually do not consider themselves as Slovenes, although they maintain close cultural, economic and family connections with the people of the historical region known as Venetian Slovenia, where Slovene linguistic and cultural identity is much more rooted. Resian is the only Slovene dialect, in which the native name for the vernacular is not 'Slovene' (slovenski or slovenji). The Resians call their language rozajanski, while they frequently refer to the Slovene language as tabuški, meaning 'the one from Bovec', which is the first large Slovene settlement on the other side of the Kanin mountain range.

Since 2007, the Resia has been included in those municipalities where the Law on the Protection of the Slovene Linguistic Community is to be applied.[2] Many bilingual signs have been erected in the valley since the early 2000s. Most of the Slovene inscriptions are, however, rendered in the local orthography, which takes into consideration the specific phonetic features of the Resian dialect, and differs significantly from the standard Slovene alphabet.

The Resian people are known for their rich folkloric traditions, especially their music and dances. Many Slovenian folk and folk rock groups, such as Katalena and Terrafolk, have drawn their inspiration from the Resian folk tradition. Resian folklore is also renowned for its fables, which have been extensively collected, translated into standard Slovene and published in various Slovenian publications since the late 19th century.

Similarly to some areas in Venetian Slovenia, the people of Resia have either Italian or Italianized surnames, although they maintain their own traditional system of family names, which are of Slavic origin.

Cultural associations

Since the 1990s, several cultural institutions have been set up to promote the historical and cultural heritage of the valley. The most important is the Cultural Association 'Resian Home' (Te kultürski čirkolo "Rozajanski Dum", Italian: Circolo culturale resiano "Rozajanski dum", standard Slovene: Kulturno društvo "Rezijanski dom"), founded in 1983 to foster and protect the local culture.[3] In the 1990s, the 'Resian Cultural Centre' (Ta Rozajanska Kultürska Hïša, Italian: Centro Culturale Resiano, standard Slovene: Rezijanski kulturni dom) was established as the central cultural venue in the valley. Both associations are fully included in the network of cultural associations of the Slovene minority in Italy.[4]

Since 2005, a bilingual cultural journal is published in Resia, called Naš Glas – La nostra voce (Our Voice). Articles are in Italian, Resian and standard Slovene.

Identity disputes and minority rights

The political and public sphere in the valley is highly divided between those who understand the Resian identity in the frame of the Slovene minority in Italy, and those who oppose this identification and refuse to be considered part of the Slovene people.[5] While the majority of the Resian cultural associations are integrated in the network of the Slovene minority in Italy,[3][4] there are also political movements rejecting the identification of Resians with Slovenes.[6]

In January 2009, the mayor of the Resia municipality filed an official demand that Resia be included among the municipalities, in which the Italian-Slovene bilingualism is applied.[7]

In February 2010, the new municipal administration of Resia replaced the bilingual Italian-Resian road signs with new ones, in which the Resian place names were written in the Italian orthography instead of the scholarly accepted New Resian orthography.[8] The Slovenian Foreign Ministry denounced the incident and brought it to the attention of the international community as an evidence of the institutional subversion of minority rights in Italy.[8]

In March 2010, the Italian Ministry of Interior confirmed that Resia is to be considered part of the bilingual Italian-Slovene territory and that linguistic rights guaranteed by the Italian Act for the Protection of the Slovene Minority are to be fully applied in Resia.[9] In August 2010, the municipal assembly of Resia asked for the removal of Resia from the list of municipalities, in which the Law for the Protection of the Slovene Linguistic Community is enforced.[7] However, such removal is not possible according to the law.

Demographic evolution


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 bar:1871 at:3275 fontsize:XS text: 3275 shift:(-8,5)
 bar:1881 at:3703 fontsize:XS text: 3703 shift:(-8,5)
 bar:1901 at:3952 fontsize:XS text: 3952 shift:(-8,5)
 bar:1911 at:4671 fontsize:XS text: 4671 shift:(-8,5)
 bar:1921 at:3695 fontsize:XS text: 3695 shift:(-8,5)
 bar:1931 at:3114 fontsize:XS text: 3114 shift:(-8,5)
 bar:1936 at:2994 fontsize:XS text: 2994 shift:(-8,5)
 bar:1951 at:3350 fontsize:XS text: 3350 shift:(-8,5)
 bar:1961 at:2830 fontsize:XS text: 2830 shift:(-8,5)
 bar:1971 at:1805 fontsize:XS text: 1805 shift:(-8,5)
 bar:1981 at:1547 fontsize:XS text: 1547 shift:(-8,5)
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 bar:2001 at:1285 fontsize:XS text: 1285 shift:(-8,5)


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Notable natives and residents

  • Jan Niecisław Baudouin de Courtenay, Polish linguist, who lived in Resia studying the Resian dialect
  • Luigia Negro, minority rights activist, columnist and public figure
  • Silvana Paletti, poet in the Resian dialect
  • Renato Quaglia, poet in the Resian dialect, recipient of the 1986 Prešeren Foundation Award for his 1985 book Baside[10]


External links

  • Municipality website (in Italian and Resian)
  • The song 'Lipa ma Mariza', one of the main cultural symbols of the valley
  • Folk music from Resia
  • Resian folk song
  • Resian folk song

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