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Bozen-Bolzano

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CoA_civ_ITA_bolzano.png
Coat of Arms
Key Facts
Municipality: Bozen (German)
Bolzano (Italian)
District: Bozen-Bolzano
Province: Bolzano (South Tyrol/Alto Adige)
Region: Trentino-Sdtirol/Alto Adige
Country: Italy
Population (2005),
Language groups according to
census of 2001
98.213
73.0% Italian
26.3% German
0.7% Ladin
Coordinates: Template:Coor dm
Sea level: 265 m
Area: 52.3 km
City districts: * Zentrum-Bozner Boden-Rentsch / Centro-Piani-Rencio
* Oberau-Haslach / Oltrisarco-Aslago
* Europa-Neustift / Europa-Novacella
* Don Bosco
* Gries-Quirein / Gries-San Quirino
Neighbouring communities: Eppan-Appiano, Kardaun-Cornedo, Leifers-Laives,
Deutschnofen-Nova Ponente, Ritten-Renon,
Jenesien-San Genesio, Terlan-Terlano,
Pfatten-Vadena
City partnerships: Sopron (Hungary)
Postal Code: 39100
Area Code: 0471
ISTAT-Number: 021008
Politics
Mayor (2005): Giovanni Ivan Benussi

Bolzano (Italian) or Bozen (German) is a city in the Trentino-South Tyrol (It. Trentino-Sdtirol) region of Italy; its 2001 population was 94,989, and the area of the municipality is 52.34 sq. km. Geographical location is Template:Coor dm. It is the capital of the mainly German speaking autonomous province of Bolzano-Alto Adige (Italian) / South Tyrol (German Sdtirol) province. The province is officially trilingual (Ladin being the third spoken language). The province covers an area of 7,400 sq. km, with 116 communes and 462,999 inhabitants (2001 census). The province recorded a population gain of 5,1% from 1991 to 2001.

The province is almost completely mountainous, and is extended on the Adige (Etsch in German) valley north of the town of Salurn; other important rivers are Eisack, forming Eisack valley, and Rienz, that flows in Puster valley. The easternmost part of the province belongs to the Drave basin, tributary of the Danube.

Other important towns are Brixen, Bruneck and Meran. Bozen is internationally famous for the ice-mummy "tzi".

Highway A22-E45 to Trento and Verona and to Innsbruck and Munich. Railway (main connection between Italy and Germany).

Contents

History

Initially inhabited by the Rhaetians, the area was settled by the Romans in 15 B.C., by general Druso, who gave the orginal town its Roman name, Pons Drusi. Bolzano or Bozen has been a trade city since its foundation and elevation to a city over 800 years ago, thanks to its location between the two major cities of Venice and Augsburg. Four times a year a market was held and traders came from the south and the north. The mercantile magistrate was therefore founded in 1635. Every market season two German and Italian officers (appointed from the traders who operated there) worked in this office. The city was a cultural crosspoint at that time.

In 1918, after World War I South Tyrol and Bozen were occupied by Italians and thereafter annexed. During fascism many Italians were moved to the city from southern Italy and, after a pact between Hitler and Mussolini, the majority of habitants of Bozen who spoke German had to choose between moving to Germany or assimilation (the so-called 'Opzione' or 'Option'). This period was very traumatic for the German-speaking population, and rivalries and tensions emerged between those who chose to emigrate to Germany and those who stayed. The people who remained preserved their cultural identity by organizing secret German schools, and by resisting to the imposition of the Italian culture in public life.

Society and Economy

After World War II ethnic tensions resurfaced, culminating in a wave of terrorist acts during the 1960's. After the implementation of a UN-brokered treaty between Italy and Austria, the province of Bolzano was given wide autonomy from the central Italian government and ethnic clashes have subsided. This, and the determined defense of their culture and language, has allowed the Germans to avoid assimilation.

Today 3/4 of the city inhabitants are Italians whose first language is Italian. The remainder speak German. Outside of the city Bozen the majority of inhabitants speak German as first language (in all, there are approx. 290,000 German-speaking South Tyroleans). There are many bilingual people. A small minority of people speak Ladin.

Bozen is also the home of the Italian Army's Alpini High Command- COMALP and some of its combat and support units.

Bozen is one of the richest cities in Italy and enjoyes a very high quality of life, ranking consistently among the top cities nationwide. The city thrives on high-quality intensive agriculture (including wine, fruit and dairy products) and advanced services. The manufacturing industry (mechanics, steel, chemicals) installed during the fascist times by the Italian government has all but disappeared from the city.

Its germanic character, enhanced by the narrow cobblestone streets, Austrian-style churches and pervasive bilingual signage give it the unique flavor of a city at crossroads between Italian and Germanic cultures. This, and its natural and cultural attractions make it a renowned tourist destination.

For more (historical & geographical) information, see South Tyrol.

See also

Images

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Cathedral
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Lauben.JPG
Lauben: Bozen's main street
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