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Friuli-Venezia Giulia ( , , , ) is one of the twenty regions of Italy, and one of five autonomous regions with special statute. The capital is Triestemarker. It has an area of 7,856 km² and about 1.2 million inhabitants. A natural opening to the sea for many Central European countries, the region is traversed by the major transport routes between the east and west of southern Europe. It encompasses the historical region of Friulimarker and the geographical region of Venezia Giulia, each with its own distinct history, traditions and identity.

Geography

Friuli-Venezia Giulia is Italy's most North-eastern region. It covers an area of 7,856 km2 and is the fifth smallest region of the country. It borders Austriamarker to the North and Sloveniamarker to the East; to the South it faces the Adriatic Seamarker.

Despite its relatively small dimension, the region boasts a wide variety of climates and landscapes (as well as cultures and traditions). 42.5% of its surface is made up by mountains, 19.3% by hills and the remaining 38.2% by the plains situated in the central areas and along the coast.



Morphologically the region can be divided into four main areas:

  • the mountainous area in the north: this part of the region includes Carnia and the ending section of the Alps (Carnic Alpsmarker and Julian Alpsmarker), of which the highest peaks exceed 2,700 m above sea level (Jôf di Montasiomarker 2,754 m.). Its landscapes are characterised by vast pine forests and pastures, mountain lakes (e.g. Saurismarker and Barcismarker) and numerous streams and small rivers descending from the mountains. The area is also known for its tourist destinations, especially during the winter season;
  • the hilly area, situated to the south of the mountains and along the central section of the border with Sloveniamarker. The main product of agriculture in this area is wine, whose quality, especially the white, is known worldwide. The easternmost part of the hilly area is also known as Slavia Friulana, and it's inhabited by a Slovene-speaking minority;
  • the central and upper plains are characterised by poor, arid and permeable soil which, however, has been made fertile with an extensive irrigation system and through the adoption of new intensive farming techniques. In this part of the region most of the agricultural activities are concentrated;
  • the coastal area can be divided in two sections, separated by the mouth of the river Isonzomarker. To the west, the low, sandy coast, with numerous tourist resorts and the lagoons of Gradomarker and Marano Lagunaremarker; to the east, the coastline becomes high and rocky all the way to Trieste and Muggia. Along this part of the coast the Carso plateau is situated. It extends over the provinces of Trieste and Gorizia, at an average altitude of 400 to 600 metres above sea level and is characterised by very specific geological features and phenomena.


The rivers of the region flow from the North and from Slovenia into the Adriaticmarker. The two main rivers are the Tagliamentomarker, which divides the Alps from the less high Alpine foothills, and the Isonzomarker. Another river of interest is the Timavo, which flows underground for 38 km from Sloveniamarker and resurfaces near its mouth north-west of Duinomarker.

The region Friuli-Venezia Giulia has a temperate climate. However, due to the diversity of its territory, it varies considerably from one area to another. Protected by the Alps on the northern side, the region is exposed to air masses from the East and the West. The region is also open to the winds from the sea (scirocco), bringing with them heavy rainfalls. Along the coast the climate is mild and pleasant (Triestmarker records the smallest temperature differences between winter and summer and between day and night), but becomes more continental in the mountain area, where, in some locations, the coldest winter temperatures in Italy can often be found. The Kras plateau has its own weather and climate, influenced, mostly during autumn and winter, by masses of cold air coming from the North-East. These generate a very special feature of the local climate: the north-easterly wind Bora, which blows over the Gulf of Triestemarker with gusts occasionally exceeding speeds of 150 km/h.

History



The traces of a common Roman origin are quite visible over all the territory, and the unifying element of the two parts is the X Regio Venetia et Histria, with its capital at Aquileiamarker in the Augustan period. Starting from the Longobard settlements (6th century), the historical paths diverge and become particularized: Cividale del Friulimarker – the Roman Forum Iulii (from which the name Friuli comes) – became the capital of the first Lombard Dukedom in Italy; the Franks, arriving a couple of centuries later, favoured the growth of the church of Aquileiamarker; the patriarchate of Aquileia, created in 1077, held both religious and temporal power and this was extended temporarily even to the east, but already in the 12th century Goriziamarker had actually become independent and Triestemarker, along with other coastal towns, organized itself as a free city-state.



Friuli became Venetianmarker territory in 1420, while Trieste and Gorizia remained under the Austrian Empiremarker. Pordenone was a "corpus separatum", under Austrian influence until 1515, when it also fell under the Venetian rule. With the peace treaty of Campoformido in 1797, Venetian domination came to an end and Friuli was ceded to Austria. After the period of domination by Napoleon, which affected also Trieste and Gorizia, it again became part of the Austrian Empire and was included in the Lombard-Veneto Kingdom, while Gorizia was merged with the Illyrian Kingdom and Trieste, together with Istria, became part of the Austrian Coastal Region. The enlightened policy of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire in the 18th and 19th centuries encouraged an extraordinary economic flourishing, making Trieste the empire’s port. The fortunate outcome of the war of independence brought Friuli alone into the unified Kingdom of Italy.

After the First World War, in which this region was a main theatre of operations and suffered serious damage and loss of lives, the fates of these border lands were again united, although Venezia Giulia, in particular, was the subject of the explosion of contradictions regarding the borders.

The Second World War led to the Anglo-American Administration in Trieste until the border was fixed with the Memorandum of London in 1954. When Trieste was reunited with Italy, the Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia could finally be established. The Italian Constitution assigns it the status of Region with a Special Statute, together with four other Italian regions. However, Friuli Venezia Giulia obtained administrative autonomy and the special statute only in 1963. The reasons for this "constitutional delay" are interwoven with the international problems of the second postwar period and with those deriving from the region’s "diversity" – the different historical, ethnic, and linguistic components that go to make up this area. In 1975 the Treaty of Osimo was signed in Osimomarker, definitively dividing the former Free Territory of Trieste between Italymarker and Yugoslavia.

Economy



The economy of Friuli-Venezia Giulia is one of the most developed in the country. Its core is based on small- and middle-size enterprises (the so-called 'North-East model'), on specialized farming and on high-quality tourism with a significant inclination towards exports .

Agriculture and farming maintain an essential role in the economy of the region and employed in 2001 around 95,000 persons. Its high quality products are exported not only within the country and Europe (fruit and vegetable, cheese) but have become known worldwide for their quality (cured ham and wines, especially white ones). Noteworthy is also the production of soy (third producer in Italy with more than 37,000 hectares cultivated in 2000) and timber production in Carnia.

As mentioned above, the economy of the region is based on a widespread mosaic of small and medium-size enterprises; of particular importance are the four industrial districts where a multitude of such highly specialised enterprises are concentrated. These districts are centred around the towns of Manzano (accounting for the production of 30% of chairs in the world), San Daniele del Friulimarker (cured ham), Maniagomarker (knives) and Brugneramarker (furniture). A number of large enterprises are also present in the region in both the industry and services sector. Some of these companies are world-leaders in their relevant sectors; such are Fincantieri (based in Triestemarker and in Monfalconemarker) for the construction of the world's largest cruise ships, Zanussi-Electrolux (Pordenonemarker) in the production of electrical appliances and Assicurazioni Generali in Triestemarker, one of the leading insurance companies in the world.

Again, in the services sector the city of Triestemarker plays a leading role (with knock-on effects on the other provincial capitals); it is in fact here that activities such as the regional government, large banking and insurance companies are concentrated. With its commercial Free Port, Trieste also plays an essential role in the trade sector: special custom regulations ensure exclusive financial conditions to operators. The Port of Trieste is today the most important centre worldwide for the trade of coffee and plays a strategic key role in trade with northern and eastern Europe.



Although small in size, Friuli-Venezia Giulia has always been 'in the centre of Europe' and has played an important role in connecting Italy (and the Mediterranean) to Central and Eastern Europe. Its role will become even more strategic as a logistical platform with the imminent enlargement of the European Union. Hence the importance of the infrastructure network of the region, which can today be considered first rate in quality and diversity. The motorway network consists of more than 200 km that run from North to South and from West to East, perfectly connecting the region to Austriamarker and Sloveniamarker. The railway network consists of around 500 km of track, with the two twin-line 'backbones' Venice-Trieste and Trieste-Udine-Tarvisio-Austria. The motorway and railway networks are linked to the ports of Trieste, Monfalcone and Porto Nogaro, the three most northerly ports of the Mediterranean. Trieste, in particular, has a free port for goods since 1719. It is the Italian port with the greatest capacity for covered storage, with a surface area of more than 2 million square meters and 70 km of rail tracks. Intermodality is guaranteed by the [Cervignano] terminal, in operation since 1988, to serve the increasing commercial traffic between Italy and Eastern European countries. Lastly, the regional airport of Ronchi dei Legionarimarker is situated 30 km from Trieste and 40 km from Udine and is closely connected to the motorway and railway networks. The airport offers regular national and international flights including destinations in Eastern Europe. The region is now placing much of its hopes for future economic development in the construction of a high speed European Transport Corridor n° V connecting Lion, Turin, Venice, Trieste, Ljubljiana, Budapest and Kiev, so as to improve the traffic of goods and services with new EU partners.

Demographics

Population density is lower than the national average; in 2008 it was in fact equal to 157.5 inhabitants per km2 (compared to 198.8 for Italy as a whole). However, density varies from a minimum of 106 inhabitants per km2 in the province of Udine to a maximum of 1,144 inhabitants per km2 in the province of Trieste.The negative natural balance in the region is partly made up by the positive net migration. To some extent the migratory surplus has in fact offset the downward trend in the population since 1975. In 2008, the resident population with foreign nationality registered in the region accounted to 83,306 persons (6.7% of the total population).

Language

Apart from Italian, the Friulian language is spoken in most of the region — with a few exceptions, most notably Trieste; there is also a sizeable Slovene and a small German minority.

The Slovene language is spoken throughout the province of Trieste, as well as in the eastern parts of the provinces of Gorizia. In these two provinces, Slovene has a co-official status in several municipalities, and public education in Slovene language has been functioning since the end of World War Two. In the Province of Udine, Slovene dialects are spoken in the area known as Venetian Slovenia, which comprises the Resia Valley and in the upper valleys of the rivers Torre and Natisone, with many villages having both Italian and Slovene names. A small Carinthian Slovene community also exists in the Val Canale on the border with Austria, especially in the municipalities of Malborghetto Valbrunamarker and Tarvisiomarker. In the Province of Udine, Slovene has only been officially recognized as a minority language since 2001, and there are few bilingual public schools, mostly located in the southern area, close to the Province of Gorizia. The overall number of Slovenes in the region is estimated to 61,000.

The number of native German speakers in Friuli-Venezia Giulia is estimated to be around 2,000. They live in the Val Canale (municipalities of Tarvisiomarker, Malborghetto Valbrunamarker and Pontebbamarker), which is adjacent to Austria, and in the municipality of Saurismarker and the frazione of Timau (Tischlbong in the local Germanic language) (municipality of Paluzzamarker), which each form a language exclave.

Government and politics

PdL gained 53.8% of Friuli-Venezia Giulia's votes at the Italian general election in 2008. The region's local government, led by President Renzo Tondo, is center-right.

Administrative divisions

Friuli-Venezia Giulia is divided into four provinces:



Province Area (km²) Population Density (inh./km²)
Province of Goriziamarker 466 142,392 305.5
Province of Pordenone 2,273 311,931 137.2
Province of Trieste 212 236,445 1,115.3
Province of Udine 4,905 539,224 109.9


Notable residents or natives



References



External links




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