Ladin literature

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Ladin literature is the literature of the Ladin-speaking minority population in northern Italy. It is mainly cultivated in South Tyrol, but also in Trentino and in the province of Belluno


The oldest monument of literary quality in Ladin are the “Dolomite Legends”, written down by Karl Felix Wolff (1879-1966). The latter, however, published them in German in a late Romantic transformation. The oldest Ladin texts date back to the 17th century. However, these are only short public announcements (first in 1631)

In 1807 Matie Ploner (1770-1844) wrote six short folk tales and two poems. Jan Batista “Tita” Alton (Johann Baptist Alton) (1845-1900) campaigned for the preservation of Ladin culture and language during the Habsburg period.[1] Angelo Trebo from Enneberg (lad. Mareo) (1862-1888) is considered the first Ladin poet. He wrote 27 poems and three plays or operetas with musical parts: Le ćiastel dles Stries (1884), Le Scioz de San Jenn (1885) and Trëi dis regina (not completed).[2] Various Schützen- und Landsturmlieder also date from this period.[3] In addition to these original texts, since the 19th century there were also various translations of religious works written by clerics of the Bressanone seminary. The Storia d’S. Genofefa by Jan Matî Declara (1879) was the first complete book in Ladin. The merchant Franz Moroder also worked as a poet and translator for the preservation of the language.

In 1905, the inter-Ladin association Uniun Lad ina was founded in Innsbruck (today Union Generela di Ladins dla Dolomites).[4] After 1920, then under Mussolini again, and once more after 1945, the resistance of the Ladins against Italianization and the extinction of the Ladin language grew stronger. Max Tosi published his own poetry. Adele Moroder collected folk tales and traditions in Ladin, which were printed sporadically in the 1960s. Since 1961 there has been a Ladin cultural programme on public radio, and only since 1988 daily Ladin television broadcasts (see Rai Ladinia). Since 1990 there has been a weekly magazine, La Usc di Ladins.[5] A milestone in the documentation of Ladin literature was the book Litteratura dals Rumauntschs e Ladins (1979) by the Zurich professor of Romance languages and literature Reto R. Bezzola.


Ladin literature has gained considerable self-confidence in the last 25 years. The most famous writers are Ivan Senoner (* 1978) and Rut Bernardi (* 1962) from Val Gardena and Iaco Rigo[6] (* 1968) from Val Badia

Senoner has won several prizes in Ladin literary competitions, including the novels La ueia de pië via, Tré l’ega, L fova n iede te Gherdëina and L testamënt dl lëuf.

Bernardi is known as a writer of Ladin and German texts. Her works include the play Ladin defin and the novel Lëtres te n fol, which she has also translated into German and standard Ladin.[7] Iaco Rigo has written the trilingual drama Iadô chël côl (“Behind the hill – Dietro la collina”) and musical texts

For the development of Ladin literature, the literary competitions organized by various institutions (e.g. by the Office for Ladin Culture of the Province of Bolzano)[8] and literary magazines are of great importance. Ladin and non-Ladin authors use the multilingual journal TRAS as a forum for the publication of poetry and prose in all five Ladin variants, of Friulian and Rhaeto-Romanic texts, and occasionally of texts in Italian and in German.

In 2013, a comprehensive work on Dolomite Ladin literature was published by Rut Bernardi and Paul Videsott, with 230 biographies of Dolomite Ladin authors.


  • Rut Bernardi, Paul Videsott: History of Ladin Literature. A bio-bibliographical compendium of authors from the beginnings of Ladin writing to the literary output of the early 21st century. 3 vols. Bolzano University Press, Bolzano 2013, ISBN 978-88-604-6060-8.

Web links

Individual references

  1. Storiés e chiánties ladines: con vocabolario ladin-talian; metúdes in Rima. dal Giovanni Alton, Innsbruck 1895
  2. Ćianties y balades ladines de Tita Alton y Angelo Trebo: motüdes en mujiga da Fonso Willeit. Dé fora da Uniun di ladins dla Val Badia, Stamparia Typak. (Texts by Alton and Trebo)
  3. Walter Deutsch, Gerlinde Haid: Beiträge zur musikalischen Volkskultur in Südtirol (with Italian summaries and translations). Böhlau Verlag, Vienna 1997.
  4. History of the Union (German)
  5. Website of the Union Generela di Ladins dla Dolomites
  6. Website of the author
  8. Accessed: 20 September 2011