PRIMIS - The protection of linguistic minorities in the Veneto Region


The Veneto Region is characterized by the presence of several minority languages due to its geographical position. In addition to Italian, Ladin, Cimbrian and Friulian are officially recognized. Until 2017, the German-speaking language spoken in Sappadino was added, a territory subsequently passed to Friuli Venezia Giulia. In addition, in addition to the protection of these communities, the Veneto Region provides for the possibility of funding for the enhancement of cultural associations regularly constituted of any other ethnic and linguistic communities historically present in the Veneto.

At national level, with Framework Law 482/1999 in implementation of art. 6 of the Italian Constitution (protection of historical linguistic minorities), twelve historical linguistic communities are recognized. The minority languages recognized by the same National Law do not however enjoy the same consideration: the French minority of the Val d'Aosta, the German minority of the province of Bolzano and the Slovenian minority of Friuli Venezia Giulia, enjoy benefits deriving from the international agreements/treaties signed by the Italy with some neighbouring states pre-existing to the approval of the Law 482.

The Veneto Region, in implementation of the principles of art. 2. of its Regional Statute, recognizes the ethnic and linguistic communities historically present in the Veneto Region, adopted specific regulations in 1994 with Law 73 for the promotion of ethnic and linguistic minorities, which provides for the financing of recovery, conservation and development proposals culture and language proposed by associations and committees representing communities. These are:

  • the Federation of Cultural Ladin Unions of the Veneto Region;
  • a representative Committee of the Cimbrian cultural associations, of the Seven Municipalities of the Asiago plateau, of the thirteen Municipalities of Lessinia and of the Cansiglio area;
  • a Committee representing the Friulian cultural associations of the Portogruaro area;
  • Cultural associations, regularly established, of ethnic and linguistic communities historically present in the Veneto region, different from those indicated above and prevalent in a specific territory.

The same legislation also provided for the establishment of a Regional Institute of Ladin Culture, between the Ladin cultural associations and the local bodies concerned. In this regard, in order to protect, promote and enhance the specific linguistic, cultural and traditional peculiarities, with the support of Law 482/1999, was established the Ladin De La Dolomites Institute, based in Borca di Cadore, in favor of the Ladin-speaking communities historically established in the valleys of the Upper province of Belluno included in the 34 municipalities of Agordino, Zoldano, Cadore and Comelico, and the Cultural Ladin Institute "Cesa de Jan", based in Colle Santa Lucia, for the Northern area of the Province of Belluno, for the Municipalities of Cortina d'Ampezzo, Livinallongo del Col di Lana and Colle Santa Lucia.

The initiatives envisaged by the legislation may concern:

  • The defence, recovery, conservation and enhancement of historical evidence that binds communities to their territory;
  • Historical and linguistic research, the publication of studies, research and documents, the courses of local culture, the enhancement of the language and toponymy;
  • The creation and enhancement of local museums or cultural institutes;
  • The organization of events to raise awareness and value communities' customs, traditions and traditions.