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Sella Ronda resorts that speak Italian

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi,
we're thinking of a trip to Italy in 2nd week March are were looking at the Sella Ronda. I wondered just how 'Italian' the resorts are, I'm learning Italian so am really looking for a resort where I can practice. We've been to MdC so were looking for somewhere different so thought either SR area, poss Cortina or maybe Cervinia. We are one intermediate (ok on the more straightforward, groomed blacks) and one who can ski any piste.

thanks in advance,
R
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Cortina is part of the Veneto so speaks Italian.

A lot of the Sella Ronda comes under the Trentino Alto Adige an autonomous region of Italy where they either Speak German first then Ladin (another language with 3 dialects iirc) then Italian or Ladin then German then Italian.

I speak Italian and when am in Corvara/Colfosco/San Cassiano (Alta Badia is the resort i check it out its great) and i never have an issue being understood, but equally many in Tourism speak English. You can tell its not like the rest of Italy, its def more Germanic in its influence with the language building style and food. You can still practice your Italian here. Though i hear tend to hear more German spoken than Italian in general.

If you prefer to stay in an 'Italian' Italian resort, the either Cortina or on the SR Arabba which is also in the Veneto though you will still find Ladin and German speakers here!

Cervinia is a great resort but its in the Western Alps near to Mont Blanc and is part of the Valle D'Aosta the other autonomous region where French and Italian stand side by side as their langauge.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Italian is also spoken in Canazei and Val di Fassa, but German is more prevalent in Selva and Val Gardena. In most places though, you will be understood in English, German or Italian on the SR, as many people speak all three (and a few more).

Aosta Valley is a good shout if you want somewhere more Italian.
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Haven't skied in Val Gardena in many years but stayed in Selva in 2013 for 3-4 days. I used Italian and it was fine - I don't speak more than 20 words of German so I don't really see any issue. Personally I love the area so I think its worth staying in Selva.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Yes to be fair its all Italy and so in the Trentino Alto Adige they use all 3 languages i mentioned (and a couple others for good measure) across the region. Italian is spoken everywhere in Italy (generally) BUT certain areas used dialects or their preferred language first.
Canazai and Val di Fassa are part of the Trentino so are more Italian spoken than german or Ladin but many will speak those languages too.

It's a stunning region don't be put off, wherever you are you will get to speak Italian!
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"It's a stunning region don't be put off, wherever you are you will get to speak Italian!" - yes... visually stunning so no matter what it is worthwhile
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
thanks folks, that was just what I was looking for. I'd been looking at Canazei as it seems more reasonably priced than some of the other SR resorts but will look at those mentioned as well.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
OK it's time for me to tell my language confusion story...

I speak a tiny bit of Italian courtesy of a couple of years at night classes in the 1980s, so when my wife and I went to Cortina D'Ampezzo a few years back, I got a chance to try it out in the local shops and restaurants. One day we travelled north to "do" the Sella Ronda and stopped for lunch in Selva.

I went into a mountain restaurant and asked for a table for two, in Italian. Possibly thinking that I was German, the waitress answered me in German. I speak better German than Italian, but it's still not very good. I answered in German saying "Excuse me, my German is bad, I don't understand". The waitress then said "English?" and this is where it all became a bit wonky, because as a Scot, the instant anyone asks "English?" the default reply is "no, Scottish", which is what I said without thinking.

Of course the poor girl was only asking if she could speak to me in English, but was now faced with the difficulty of trying to find a common language. Luckily, I managed to cotton on fairly quickly, and as she stood open-mouthed, I managed to follow up by saying "...but we can speak English if you like". Laughing
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richb67 wrote:
thanks folks, that was just what I was looking for. I'd been looking at Canazei as it seems more reasonably priced than some of the other SR resorts but will look at those mentioned as well.


Canazei is great ...a lively place with lots going on and a good ski bus service up and down the Val di Fassa ..you'll enjoy it
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They all speak Italian.
As said, Ladino (Ladin) is usually their first language followed by Italian and German depending on areas and villages.
The Val Di Fassa valley is more Italian than the Val Gardena valley.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
I’ll be in the area in a few weeks and I’m counting on them speaking English. Smile
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
We’re in Corvara at the moment and, so far everyone is happy speaking to us in German, Italian or English. Clearly my Italian is rubbish as they revert to English pretty quickly once I don’t understand a question, but we have used a lot of German. Everyone is very friendly and is happy to converse in whichever language you prefer.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@honved, Laughing Laughing
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Ladin speakers usually always speak German and Italian very well (albeit with an accent). They are usually very happy to speak in English if they can too.

Some towns have higher percentage of Ladin Spoken especially Corvara, Badia and Selva, as these areas come under the Trentino Alto Adige (South Tyrol) they are Ladin then German then Italian and not Italian as a first or second language but third! This area is not Italian historically and many feel it should be reunited with Austria.

The Val di Fassa is Part of the Trentino/Trento region which is predominantly Italian spoken (with pockets of Ladin and other dialects too) so staying in Canazai as suggested means you are more likely to find Italian Spoken than German though Canazai is also a heavily used Ladin language area and one of the key Ladin areas in Trento.

Copied from a site i found showing the use of Languages in the Alto Adige/South Tyrol;

The native language breakdown in South Tyrol is as follows: 70% German, 25% Italian and 5% Ladin.
Ladin is a Romansh language spoken in the Dolomite valleys of Val Gardena and Alta Badia.
The school system in South Tyrol is separated into three languages. German or Italian is taught as the first foreign language. All three languages of instruction are used in Ladin-speaking valleys.
98% of Italian speakers live in cities. 72% of the German-speaking population live in the countryside. 87% of the Ladin people live in the Val Badia and Val Gardena valleys.

As said before wherever you go they will speak Italian to a degree, but not necessarily as their main language. If you really want to practice your Italian and want to hear a nice Italian accent then go to one of the areas that come under the Trentino or the Veneto where they speak Italian first. As an Italian speaker i can tell the difference when a German first speaker is speaking Italian over a native mother tongue Italian speaker. Italy has so much diversity in it's language. I love it however some places are harder to get by than others!!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
"German or Italian is taught as the first foreign language..."

How weird - teaching Italian as a second language in Italy !?! :: Better dig out my German language 'tapes' Smile
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
As @Sweedish says though the Sud Tirol, the area where most of the Sella Ronda lies is principally German speaking there has been a very strong push recently to Italianise the region. You will notice on this forum for example that people now refer to Sevla val Gardena instead of the tradditional Wolkenstein. In fact the signs to Wolkenstein appear to have been taken down recently. It makes navigating the region a bit tricky in that my, slightly older maps, use the original Austrian names rather than the Italian versions.

The region used to be entirely German and Ladin speaking but the change started in 1923 with a law making "use of the Italian language became mandatory on all levels of federal, provincial and local government". It stalled a bit in the 1990s when the post war UN degree was implemented. The process appears to have quietly continued however. I've noticed hotelliers and people in the tourist trade speak Italian initially to their guests but speak German between themselves.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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@johnE, yes thats right, though iirc all 3 languages in the Trentino Alto Adige can be used legally and administratively as a right.

Its a funny setup really, i always think Switzerland is the same with its multitude of languages (including Ladin) and how some parts feel French and others feel German!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Sweedish, it's tied up with the first world war. Until then the Sud Tyrol was part of Austria, though with a significant number of Italian speakers. Italy joined the first war world largely to gain the territory and did indeed get as far as Innsbruck and IIRC the Croatian area of Istria. The Italianisation of the area was one of the principal initial aims of the facsists. And it was very bloody, particularly around Trieste.
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@johnE, Yes thats right. Its' a really interesting history in this area and goes back to Roman times which is where Ladin comes from as it is derived from Latin. The more modern history especially the WW1 battlegrounds are particularly interesting especially areas like Lagazuoi near Cortina where you can see the WW1 lines. Its hard to believe such a stunning area saw such dark times in Italian History! These areas have always shifted boundaries and ownership. Even Napoleon had a hand at one point. The concept of a unified nation is fairly modern for Italy which was previously made up of lots of independent States The country that we know today unified in 1861. The same applies to the Valle D'Aosta which had previously beeen owned by the Savoy/French and has a bilingual system of government and administration. Most people are bi/tri lingual again though Italian is the more common language again here.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Mark Thompson's book, "The White War", provides a good in depth account of the hostilities of 1914-1919 in the region. Thought provoking as you ski in the conflict zones appreciating the amazing feats of 'war' mountaineering and engineering.
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As a fairly frequent visitor - cycling/climbing in the summer as well as skiing in winter - I have found the language and national identity questions in this region to be absorbing. In Selva the first language (local-local) is very much Ladin, with German the default otherwise although everyone seems to speak Italian and English as well. My sense is that Italian in the last choice for many though, even if they speak it well. Most of those I have asked identify themselves as Tyrolean and then European, conveniently leaving out Italian. If you look at the local cars their registration plates are far more likely to be “E” than “IT”. As pointed out earlier in the thread, there is some difficult history in the region; this shows through if you are aware of the subtle ways in which it is manifested. It’s a fascinating part of the world..!
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IanTr wrote:
As a fairly frequent visitor - cycling/climbing in the summer as well as skiing in winter - I have found the language and national identity questions in this region to be absorbing. In Selva the first language (local-local) is very much Ladin, with German the default otherwise although everyone seems to speak Italian and English as well. My sense is that Italian in the last choice for many though, even if they speak it well. Most of those I have asked identify themselves as Tyrolean and then European, conveniently leaving out Italian. If you look at the local cars their registration plates are far more likely to be “E” than “IT”. As pointed out earlier in the thread, there is some difficult history in the region; this shows through if you are aware of the subtle ways in which it is manifested. It’s a fascinating part of the world..!


Yes quite correct, many have little to no Italian Identity despite what it says on their passport.

@davidthornton, Great info thanks!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
just a quick note to say we booked Canazei and thanks for the input and genuinely interesting responses Happy we're looking forward to trying at least some of the Sella Ronda.
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@richb67, am sure you'll enjoy it!
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