Trentino is a land historically endowed with a great variety of cultures, traditions and languages.
Among them, the one commonly known as the Ladin community (in turn recognized as Ladinia Dolomitica), one of the main Italian linguistic and cultural minorities, assumes a prominent role.
The Ladin community has about 30,000 local members in 5 valleys distributed in the eastern Alps, and more precisely in the area of the Sella group; these valleys are Val Gardena and Val Badia, located in the province of Bolzano, the upper valley of Cordevole and part of Cortina d’Ampezzo, belonging to the province of Belluno, as well as the Val di Fassa, whose over 9000 Ladin-speaking inhabitants are included in the administration of the Province of Trento.
Additional Ladin minorities in the Trentino area can be found both in the city of Trento and, more widely, in the Val di Non (an area where Ladin is not officially recognized). At the 2011 census, 18,550 people from Trentino declared that they belonged to the Ladin lineage.
In order to defend and protect the linguistic and cultural wealth of the Ladin population, art. 102 of the Statute of Autonomy of Trentino-Alto Adige guarantees protection to this community within the Autonomous Province of Trento; to this is added the recognition of a compulsory political representation, for which a seat on the provincial council is reserved for the Ladins.
Among the main towns falling within Ladinia, there are important centers such as Cortina d’Ampezzo (province of Belluno), Ortisei, Badia, Marebbe (province of Bolzano) as well as the Trentino Moena, Pozza di Fassa and Canazei. Despite the geographical fragmentation and the great influence exerted by Romance cultures on the Ladin population, the community continues to possess a strong sense of identity and its own traditions, beyond the existing local differences.
Through the term Ladinia, in fact, one does not refer so much to an entity in its own right as to a concept of ideal unity of a population which, although the strong temptations of incorporation by neighboring cultures, continue to have an existence and the awareness of one’s own identity.