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Alto - Adige

During French control of the region, South Tyrol was officially named Haute Adige to get rid of relation to the historic "County of Tyrol" of Austria.


"Department Haut-Adige" (1810)

The District of Alto Adige was initially created by Napoleon as part of the Dipartamento del Benaco in his Cisalpine Republic, and was near Verona.This Benaco department, created in 1797, was gotten rid of in 1798 as a result of administrative changes to the Cisalpine Republic.

Some years later, Napoleon additionally created the "Department Alto Adige further north; this department was a part of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy from 1810 to 1814.

So, it was created this Department of Alto Adige with the division of the Austrian Tyrol between French Bavaria and the Kingdom of Italy, and included the southern part of the "Germanized" Tyrol with the city of Bolzano with surroundings, along with the Trentino.

The boundaries were made by Austrian and German commissioners, saying that a territory would belong to the Kingdom of Italy if it is inhabited by Italians, according to the principle: "belonging to the Kingdom of Italy because inhabited by Italians" (da appartenersi al Regno d'Italia perché paese Italiano).

This shows that Bolzano was a mostly Italian town in Napoleonic times, and that in the following century was "Germanized" (as in the 1911 Austrian census, Bolzano was mostly German-speaking, at almost 91%).

Indeed, between the Renaissance and the 19th century, the whole area, originally populated by Latins from the time of Roman Empire, experienced a lot of Germanization. In the centuries before Napoleon, only the Dolomite's area of the western part of the present province of Bolzano, especially the Val Venosta near Merano, remained neolatin.

Furthermore, just after WWII about sixty five percent of the population spoke German as their mother tongue, while about a third spoke Italian and about five percent spoke Ladin (but in the 2011 census the percentages were: 63%, 23% and 4%, with another 10% who are immigrants from outside Italy).

Viticulture in Alto Adige has a long tradition: the first evidence dates back to early Roman times.

The Alto Adige wine area is strongly influenced by the Mediterranean climate, which reaches the Adige valley (Bassa Atesina, Oltradige, Bolzano, Terlano, Burgraviato) up to Merano. It makes possible in this area a versatile viticulture, which includes almost all varieties of red wines and numerous varieties of white wines.

Val Venosta and Valle Isarco have a slightly harsher climate and for this reason they are areas specialized in white wines. In Alto Adige there are three native vines: Schiava, Traminer and Lagrein.

The red grapes cover about 42% of the Alto Adige area of 5300 has, used to produce wine. In 2015 were produced 350,000 hl of wine, nearly all of top quality.

Actually there it is a tourism linked to the famous "Strada del vino" (a Wine Route called in German: "Südtiroler Weinstraße") that stretches for 70 km from north of Bolzano to Salorno.

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