The Cimbri population


The Cimbri are an ethnic and linguistic minority that has settled in the mountains between Vicenza, Verona, and Trento. For many years this population has claimed to be the direct descendants of the Cimbri, a Germanic tribe who fought the Roman Republic in the late 2nd century BC. According to the most reliable historical hypothesis, however, the cimbri arrived from Bavaria and settled on the Lessinian Mountains around 1287, when the Bishop of Verona, Bartolomeo della Scala, allowed them to move there. The cimbri first settled in the town of Roverè Veronese. Thirteen more comunities were then added, such as Erbezzo, Bosco con Frizzolana, Valdiporro, Cerro, Roveré, Velo, Azzarino, Camposilvano, Velo, San Mauro di Saline, Tavernole, Badia Calavena, San Bartolomeo delle Montagne, Selva di Progno. The Cimbri arrived in Lessinia as zimmer-man, lumberjacks and later became farmers. They maintained simple traditions, linked to the weather cycle and seasonal activities.

Their homes, combined into groups called “contrade” are all located down wind and facing south or south west, to maximize heat and light.

The Cimbri speak cimbrian, and have their own customs and traditions influenced by their Germanic origin. It is estimated that there are approximately only one thousand people left who can speak and understand cimbrian. Most of these people are located in Trentino, in Luserna, a few dozens are located in Roana in the province of Vicenza, and the rest are in Selva di Progno, in the province of Verona. In these territories there are many museums and cultural institutions such as Kulturinstitut Bernstol-Lusèen in Luserna, The Museum of Cimbric Tradition in Roana (VI), or the Curatorium Cimbricum Veronense in Giazza (VR), that try to develop and preserve the cimbric identity and tradition.