Thirteen Communities

Map of northern Italy showing the location of the Thirteen Communities

The Thirteen Communities (Cimbrian: Dreizehn Komoin, German: Dreizehn Gemeinden, Italian: Tredici Comuni) were a group of municipalities in the Veneto region that spoke the Cimbrian language, a dialect of Upper German, as their native tongue.

The municipalities are located on a high plateau northeast of Verona. They consist of:

  1. Vellje (German: Feld, Italian: Velo Veronese)
  2. (Rovereid, Roverè Veronese)
  3. (gen Wiesen, Erbezzo)
  4. Brunghe (Prugne, Selva di Progno), Ljetzan (Gletzen or Gliesen, Giazza) is a part of it
  5. Nuagankirchen (Neuenkirchen, Bosco Chiesanuova)
  6. Kalfàain, Màbado or Kam'Abato (Kalwein or Kalfein, Badia Calavena)
  7. Tschirre' or Sèr (Silva Hermanorum, Cerro Veronese),
  8. (Sankt Moritz, San Mauro di Saline)
  9. Asarin (Asarin, Azzarino), today a part of the municipality of Vellje
  10. Bòrtolom (San Bortolo or in the past San Bartolomeo tedesco), a part of Brunghe
  11. (Porrental, Val di Porro), a part of Nuagankirchen
  12. (Tavernole), today a part of San Mauro di Saline
  13. (Kampsilvan, Camposilvano), a part of Vellje


The thirteen communities formed together into a loose commonwealth around 1280. They were historically under the suzerainty of the Milanese House of Visconti and then under the Republic of Venice. Under both they enjoyed wide cultural and political autonomy in exchange for their loyalty. The autonomous status came to an end with the Napoleonic Wars and the demise of the Serenìsima in 1797.

Due to the high pressure from the Italianization from fascists such as Ettore Tolomei and the government of Benito Mussolini did the Cimbrian language eventually almost completely disappear and become extinct. Only in Ljetzan has Cimbrian partly survived.

Ljetzan has the cultural institute "Tautsche Püachar Haus" and ethnological museum which is a repository of the Cimbrian culture and cooperates with other linguistic enclaves in Luserna and the Seven Communities. Vestiges of the once dominant language can be found in some place names.


The Cimbrian that was spoken in the Thirteen Communities was a slightly different dialect from Cimbrian spoken elsewhere.

Cimbrian German English

Vatar usar
ta Do pist ime Himmel,
gaholagat sait Dai name.
Kime Daine Raich.[1]

Vater unser
der Du bist im Himmel,
geheiligt werde Dein Name.
Dein Reich komme.

Our Father
in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,


  1. "Das Vaterunser auf Zimbrisch (13 Gemeinden)" (in Cimbrian). Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. 2006. Retrieved 2011-05-13.

External links

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