Nation profile

South Tyrol
Südtirol

General information
Population
532.250 inhabitants (Istat, 2020)
Area
7.400 km2
Institutions
Autonomous Province of Bozen-South Tyrol, with autonomous Parliament and Government
Major cities
Bozen (Bolzano), Meran (Merano), Brixen (Bressanone), Brünick (Brunico)
State administration
Italian Republic
Territorial languages
German and Ladin
Official languages
German and Italian (throughout the territory), Ladin (in Ladin valleys)
Major religion
Christianity (Catholicism)

Presentation

South Tyrol is an autonomous province of the Italian Republic, one of the two —the other one being Trento— that make up the Autonomous Region of Trentino-South Tyrol. The territory has a German-speaking majority, and is historically and culturally linked to the rest of Tyrol, which is currently one of the states, or Länder, of Austria.

South Tyrol, along with Trentino, was part of the County of Tyrol from the 12th century until 1919, when both territories were transferred to Italy after Austria’s defeat in World War I.

Trentino-South Tyrol received autonomy within Italy in 1947. The South Tyrolean movement —made up of both peaceful and armed organisations— insisted on South Tyrolean self-government during the 1960s. In 1972, much of the autonomous region’s powers were devolved to each of the two provinces that make up the region.

Part of the territory of Ladinia lies within the borders of South Tyrol.

Politics and government

The South Tyrolean autonomy is guaranteed by a bilateral Italian-Austrian deal (Gruber-De Gasperi Agreement of 1946 and Treaty of Paris of 1947), is anchored in Article 6 of the Italian Constitution, and is shaped by the second Statute of Autonomy of South Tyrol, approved in 1972. According to the Statute, the Province of Bolzano/Bozen (South Tyrol) exercises legislative and executive powers in a number of areas including education, social affairs, roads, housing, public transport, tourism, agriculture, trade, health, sports, and natural parks.

These powers are exercised by the Council or Landtag, which is the legislative chamber of South Tyrol, and the Government or Landesregierung, which is the province’s executive branch.

South Tyrol has its own party system, dominated since the end of World War II by autonomist South Tyrolean People’s Party (Südtiroler Volkspartei, SVP), which places itself at the centre-right of the political spectrum, and claims to represent the interests of the German- and Ladin-speaking South Tyroleans. Several pro-sovereignty or pro-independence parties exist, most notably The Libertarians (Die Freiheitlichen, DF, right to far-right) and South Tyrolean Freedom (Süd-Tiroler Freiheit, SF, right). More recently an autonomist centrist party, Team K (TK), has been established, which claims to seek to overcome parties’ dynamics linked to the furthering of specific language groups.


Governor (president) of the Province: Arno Kompatscher, South Tyrolean People's Party (since 2014)
Political system: autonomous province with its own government and parliament
Distribution of seats in the Provincial Council or Landtag (2018 election). 35 members: 
  • South Tyrolean People's Party (SVP, Südtiroler Volkspartei, centre-right autonomist, German- and Ladin-speakers' interests): 15
  • Team Köllensperger (center autonomist): 6
  • League (Lega, right to far-right regionalist): 4
  • Greens (Grüne-Verdi-Vërc, centre-left regionalist): 3
  • The Liberals (Die Freiheitlichen, right to far-right pro-independence): 2
  • South Tyrolean Freedom (Süd-Tiroler Freiheit, right-wing pro-independence): 2
  • Democratic Party (PD, Italian centre-left): 1
  • 5 Star Movement (Movimento 5 Stelle, Italian big-tent): 1
  • Bürger Union: 1
  • L'Alto Adige nel Cuore-Fratelli d'Italia (right to far-right, Italian nationalism): 1
Electoral system: proportional
Government: Coalition SVP-Lega


Links

Language and Culture
European Academy Bozen EURAC (in Glemany, Italian, Ladin and English) www.eurac.edu

Media
Dolomiten dolomiten.it
Neue Südtiroler Tageszeitung tageszeitung.it
SDF sdf.bz.it
RAS ras.bz.it

(Last updated December 2020.)