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A northeast Italian region bordering Austria
The name Friuli-Venezia Giulia has Roman origins. Friuli is deformation of Forum Julii, the Latin name of ancient city of Cividale; Giulia comes from gens Julia to which belonged Julius Caesar. The name Venezia Giulia was born in 1863 to include in one region eastern Friuli or Goriziano, Trieste and Istria. Its surface is 7 846 sq.km (3030 sq.miles) (1%), population 1 200 000 inhabitants (0,2%), density 154 inhab./sq.km.
Being a region of frontier between central Europe (north) and Slav world (east) Friuli-Venezia Giulia has quite particular history. It was inhabited since 20 000 years ago, in circa 1000 b.C. here went the Illyrian peoples who provided the first works of space organization, founded fortified villages. But only with the Roman colonization the territory was seriously rearranged for needs of human settlements on it. They founded cities (Aquileia), built roads, introduced new plants, divided land into pieces and gave it to local inhabitants to cultivate.
With the decline of Roman empire and barbaric invasions economical and civil development went much slower. The territories were depopulated and people were searching more safe places to live in lagoon islands and other regions.
In XV century were adjoined the other negative factors: raids of Turks and terrible pestilences accompanied by famines. Only in XVIII appeared the possibility for peaceful life and control of the territory development. This was the time when Charles I Hapsburg established "free ports" in Trieste and Fiume promoted more and more as the exits of Austrian empire to the sea. Thus, as the time was passing by the difference between Friuli and Carnia (which remained agricultural and poor) and Trieste (which became a prosperous central European city with its port and navy) grew more and more. During last 70 year the situation changed a lot. Trieste lost its importance not being anymore an important port of Hapsburg's empire, while Friuli's plain managed to integrate its traditional agricultural economy with quickly growing industry. Economical crisis of 70's and 80's reduced the places of work in big industries and gave impulse to little private businesses specialized in commerce and tourism especially in zones of Udine and Trieste.
Friuli-Venezia Giulia borders on Austria (north), Slovenia (east), Veneto (west) and the Adriatic Sea (south). Before the WWII the region was called Venezia Giulia and included quite vast territories divided into five provinces: Trieste, Gorizia, Pola, Fiume, Zara. After the treaty of peace in 1945 big part of these territories was assigned to Jugoslavia and the provinces of Trieste and Gorizia were joined to western part of Friuli to form the new region. Because of some ethnical problems caused by the fact of co-existence of Italians, Slavs and Germans the region the autonomous regime with the special status.
The landscape of the region is characterized by mountian zones (depopulated and poor) and plain zones (quite rich and idustrialized). To the north of region are located Alps of Carnia and the western part is occupied by Alps of Giulia; in the center the system of Prealps of Carnia and Giulia; to the south of region is a hill zone covered by vineyards and and fruit-yards. Further to the south is the high plain of the river Tagliamento (dry and not cultivated) and low plain rich of water and fertile. In particular to the south-east are the lagoons of Marano and Grado. The principal rivers are Tagliamento, Isonzo and Timavo.
The communication network is based on two main parallel highways crossing the region from the west to the east.
Agriculture in Friuli-Venezia Giulia is quite modest and doesn't give big income because of lack of fertile lands and excessive division of the property. The main products here are maize, tabacco and fruit; wine production in the hill zones. The breeding is important in the mountain zones rich with pasture land. Fishing had lost its value in this region because of the conditions of the Adriatic sea.
The most important industries of the region are ship construction, textile and chemical productions concentrated mostly in Trieste, Muggia, Monfalcone and Udine. During past decades industrial activities had grown considerably: little productions in the sectors of metallurgy, mechanics, food, wood and furniture. The tourism is mostly developed in seaside zones of Lignano and Grado.
The population is distributed not equally on the territory of the region: tends to be concentrated in the plain and cost zones, and leaves the mountains of Carnia. The Friulian language is a neo-Latin or could also be called Celtic-Italian. Slav national minority speaks Slovenian and live on the valleys of Natisone and Val Resia; while the German minority are settled along the northern frontiers: Tarvisio, Sauris and Timau. To these groups could be adjoined the other communities belonging to various ethnic and religions: Jewish, Evangelists and Greek-Orthodox all living in Trieste.
Among all the other northern regions of Italy it is the poorest one, but the gross income per inhabitant is higher than the average Italian one. The positive factors of life in Trieste are: the lowest prices of the goods in comparison with the other northern regions, very well functioning public services; liveliness of civil and cultural climate; tranquil, warm and orderly way of living. Here the level of illiteracy is one of the lowest in the country, as well as the level of reported crimes; the number of artisan companies and little industrial productions is growing. People living in Friuli-Venezia Giulia are simple, serious, diligent, preferring to do than to speak, law-abiding and cultured.
The region is divided in four provinces of which two are Giulian (Trieste and Gorizia) and two are Friulian (Udine and Pordenone) with 219 communes.