Nation profile


General information
36,600 (est.)
1,200 km2
Comun General de Fascia (province of Trento)
Major cities
Vich (Vigo di Fassa), Moena, Anpë (Cortina d'Ampezzo)
State administration
Italian Republic
Territorial languages
Official languages
Italian (provinces of Trentino and Belluno), Italian, German and Ladin (province of South Tyrol)
Major religion
Christianity (Catholic)


Ladinia is the territory situated around the Dolomites, in the Alps, inhabited by the Ladin people. The most characteristic feature of the Ladin people is the use of the Dolomitic Ladin language.

The process leading to the self-awareness of the Ladin people began in the 19th century. In 1870, the first Ladin national association, the Great Ladin Nation (Gran Naziun Ladina), was founded in Brixen, followed in 1905 by the Ladin Union (Uniun Ladina) in Innsbruck. Both were established in German-speaking towns in the Tyrol, the Austrian county to which Ladinia belonged until 1918.

With Austria’s defeat in World War I, the Ladin lands became part of Italy, and were divided between three provinces: Bolzano (South Tyrol), Trento (Trentino), and Belluno. The largest and most populated portion is Bolzano, where the Ladin valleys of Badia and Val Gherdëina are located. In Trentino, the Ladin valley of Fascia is found. Belluno is home to the Ladin territories of Anpezo and Fodom, which have repeatedly demanded to be included in South Tyrol.

The Statute of Autonomy of Trentino-South Tyrol provides for the allocation of one seat in the provincial parliament of Trento (Trentino) for the Ladin area within the province’s boundaries (Fascia), and another seat in the provincial parliament of Bolzano (South Tyrol) for the Ladin linguistic group.


Ladin is a Rhaeto-Romanic branch of the Romance languages, along with Romansh and Friulian. It has an estimated 40,000 speakers, distributed as follows: 20,000 in South Tyrol (2011 census); 18,500 in Trentino (2011 census); and 2,000 in Belluno (2006 estimate). Some speakers live outside the borders of Ladiniam in cities such as Bozen (Bolzano in Italian), Meran, Brixen, or Trento. It should also be noted that around 4,000 statements of Ladin language Trentino probably refer to Nones, a dialect whose affiliation is disputed by linguists, which Ladin speakers generally do not regard as part of the Ladin language.

Each valley has traditionally used its own dialect. Since the end of the 20th century, a standardized interdialectal form, called ladin dolomitan, has been developed.

Politics and government

No government body bringing together the whole of Ladinia exists. The Ladin municipalities of Trentino have been grouped together since 2006 in a commonwealth of municipalities, the Comun General de Fascia, with some executive powers.

In 2007, the three Ladin municipalities of Belluno voted in a referendum for joining South Tyrol. The decision has not been implemented.

The statute (2016) of the South Tyrolean People’s Party (Südtiroler Volkspartei, SVP, centre-right) says that the party’s purpose is to defend the interests of the German- and Ladin-speaking populations of South Tyrol. The statute recognises the Ladins as an “ethnic group”.

Two Ladin parties exist in Trentino: Fassa Association (centre-right, with links with Forza Italia) and New Ladin Autonomist Union (centre, Neva Unione Autonomista Ladina, Neva UAL). The provincial-level Trentino Tyrolean Autonomist Party (Partito Autonomista Trentino Tirolese, PATT, centre, provincial-level party) includes in its statutes the defence of the Ladin people, which it recognises as a “minority”.

The General Union of the Ladins of the Dolomites (Union Generela di Ladins dla Dolomites) is the umbrella organisation bringing together Ladin associations from the different valleys. It aims at advancing the linguistic and cultural rights of the Ladin people.

(Last updated November 2020.)