Saturday, June 23, 2018

Famous Italians From Eastern Friuli

Some notable Italians of Eastern Friuli (from left to right): Antonio Abetti, Max Fabiani,
Francesco Cergoli, Francesco Macedonio, Mario Mori & Franco Giraldi

(Full biographies: Italian Biographies: Eastern Friuli)

Brief biographies of some famous Italians from Eastern Friuli. The autochthonous Italians of Eastern Friuli were historically called Friulians or Ladins, but today are often called Giulians or Julians.

Eastern Friuli is a historical territory of Italy and one of the three traditional areas that make up the historical Italian region of Julian Venetia (the other two being Istria and the Quarnaro). Anciently the region of Friuli was known as Venetia, but in the Middle Ages the eastern part of Venetia became known as Friuli. Geographically, Eastern Friuli forms a single region with the rest of Friuli and Veneto. Feudal divisions later caused Eastern Friuli to become politically detached from the rest of Friuli, despite being geographically, ethnically and culturally linked. Most of Eastern Friuli later became part of Gorizia-Gradisca. In the 19th century it became part of the Littoral. During that same century the name Julian Venetia (Venezia Giulia) was popularly adopted throughout the region, and the term Eastern Friuli was gradually replaced.

Eastern Friuli is comprised of the Goriziano with the Isonzo Valley in the northwest; in the south it includes the Carso with Trieste and its hinterland; in the east its boundaries are historically formed by the westernmost parts of Upper-Inner Carniola, which are separated from the rest of Carniola by the Julian Alps, which constitute the natural frontier of Italy. The boundaries of Eastern Friuli therefore roughly correspond to the former Italian provinces of Gorizia, Trieste and Carnaro (minus Fiume).

During the Early Middle Ages, Friuli was the easternmost territory of the Kingdom of Italy and marked the boundary between the Italian and Slavic worlds. Beginning in the 10th century, Slavic peoples were invited to settle in the rural districts of Eastern Friuli by the Patriarch of Aquileia. Originally all the small towns of Eastern Friuli (including Caporetto, Tolmino, Postumia, Vipacco, Idria, Circhina, Canale) spoke an Italian dialect known as Ladin or Eastern Friulian as their native language, but after the 16th century these towns slowly became populated by Slavic migrants from the countryside and the Italians were gradually subsumed into the growing Slav population.

By the 20th century, nearly half of Eastern Friuli had become Slavicized; the Friulian dialects had mostly disappeared and the Italians had become a minority in the easternmost towns. Only the westernmost towns of Eastern Friuli remained majority Italian: Gorizia, Gradisca, Grado, Aquileia, Monfalcone, Ronchi, Cormons, Trieste. The Italians of Eastern Friuli faced persecution and discrimination under the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In the decades before World War I, the Habsburg government and Pan-Slavists pursued a systematic policy of Slavicization and de-Italianization of Eastern Friuli, especially in Gorizia and Trieste.

Eastern Friuli with the rest of Julian Venetia was reunited with Italy after World War I. Towards the end of World War II the Italians of Eastern Friuli were subjected to ethnic cleansing and genocide by the Yugoslavs, who occupied the land and annexed it to Communist Yugoslavia in 1947. About 350,000 Italians from Dalmatia, Istria and the surrounding region of Julian Venetia were forced into exile after the war. Their homes and property were confiscated by the Yugoslavs.

After the war Eastern Friuli was artificially divided between Italy and Yugoslavia, with a border wall running through the city of Gorizia. The “Gorizia Wall” was finally dismantled in 2004, but today Slovenia continues to occupy most of Eastern Friuli and the old eastern half of the city. The Friulian or Julian Italians and their exiled descendants patiently await the return of their homeland to Italy.

(Note: These biographies only include people born in that portion of Eastern Friuli which is today part of Slovenia.)

  Antonio Abetti - Italian astronomer
  Carlo Antoni - Italian philosopher, historian and journalist
  Silvano Baresi - Italian architect and engineer
  Francesco Cergoli - Italian footballer and coach
  Coronini Family - Italian noble family
  Dragogna Family - Italian noble family
  Max Fabiani - Italian architect, urbanist and politician
  Lucio Fois - Italian soldier; killed in the Foibe Massacres
  Franco Giraldi - Italian director, screenwriter and film critic
  Lantieri Family - Italian noble family
  Franco Liberini - Italian politician, historical researcher and author
  Francesco Macedonio - Italian theater director
  Mario Mori - Italian general and prefect
  Mucci Pinuccio - Italian soldier; killed in the Foibe Massacres
  Ennio Vitanza - Italian sports commentator and television presenter

See also:
Famous Italians From Dalmatia
Famous Italians From Istria
Famous Italians From Fiume and the Quarnaro