The Rhaeto-Romanic population and their culture.
Before the Romans conquered the Trentino, a big part of the region was populated by the Rhaeti. They founded their ancient empire here and brought the region a “modern” language as well as culture for the first time. Most of the population settled in the wide valleys and hilly landscapes where already that time wine was cultivated. When the Romans arrived the Rhaeti adopted numerous customs and an important part of the Latin language and culture. At the time when Germanic peoples took over the country, the Rhaeti were forced to withdraw from the valleys to the mountains. Until today the Rhaeto-Romanic culture survived in the sheltered valleys of the Dolomites – a culture which once dominated the whole Alpine area.
At the Trentino part of the Dolomites Ladin is still spoken in the Val di Fassa with its communities Canazei (Cianacei), Pozza (Poza), Mazzin (Mazin), Campitello (Ciampidel), Vigo (Vich), Sogara and Moena. Those who want to discover more about the Ladin culture should visit the “Ladin Cultural Institute” at San Giovanni near Vigo di Fassa.
Also in the Val di Sole and in some parts of the Val di Non important fragments of the Rhaeto-Romanic language could be preserved. The dialect which is spoken in these two valleys is seen as the so called “Missing Link” between the Ladin language in the Dolomites and the Rhaeto-Romanic Romansh which is spoken in the eastern Switzerland.