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Friuli Venezia Giulia - Population and Economy

The population is unevenly distributed over the territory. Mountainous areas with a very low population density contrast with the hilly areas and high plains with a population often higher than the national average.

Examples of this are the strip at the foot of the mountains between Udine and Gemona and the lower Pordenone area. The two provinces of Venetia-Giulia - Trieste and Gorizia - have a population density decidedly higher than those of Friuli (Udine and Pordenone).

This derives from the fact that post-war treaties reduced the size of the country (in favour of Yugoslavia), thus determining the concentration of population in smaller territories.

The precarious economic and social conditions of the mountain areas have led to progressive depopulation, benefiting the richer parts of the plain, though internal movement is clearly a minor phenomenon, compared to the considerable migration abroad or towards the more industrialized Italian regions, which took place particularly at the beginning of this century.

Except for the coastline (Grado, Monfalcone) where the dialect is that of Venetia, and for Trieste which has its own, belonging to the same group, this region uses the Friuli dialect, regarded virtually as a language and similar to Dolomitic Rhaetia-Romanic.

There are also some Germanic linguistic minorities (the upper valley of the But torrent, Val Lumiei and upper Val Canale) as well as Slovenian (upper Natisone and some of the Province of Gorizia border areas).

The standard of living is above the national average though with remarkable zonal variations.

Generally speaking, Venetia Giulia is the richest part of the Region, though characterized by a somewhat stagnant economy.

Friuli, on the contrary, even with some depressed areas, is characterized by a certain amount of productive activity linked to the establishment and development of the industrial sector.

As far as production is concerned, agriculture does not play an important role within the regional economy. This is especially due to the fragmentation of land ownership and to the existence of military priorities which prevent rational administration of the territory; the land itself is also not very fertile.

Agricultural products typical of the lower Friuli plain are particularly maize and barley. More modest is the production of fruit (apples and pears), sugar beet and vegetables.

Quality vine-growing is very significant; vines are cultivated both on the hills and in the plain, providing an excellent range of white wines (Tocai, Picolit, Vini del Collio), and red (Terrano, Cabernet, Merlot) as well as the famous Friuli Grappas.

Still fairly relevant, though declining, is cattle and pig breeding (the famous San Daniele hams). Fishing is of some importance.

Though heavily damaged by the tragic and disastrous earthquake in 1976, industry has returned to the rate of development which had already characterized it in the previous years.

Light engineering is very important, particularly household appliances (Pordenone), and shipyards (Monfalcone, Trieste). Also important are the furniture, footwear, chemical (Torviscosa, Monfalcone, Trieste), petrochemical (Trieste), textile, paper and food (distilleries, breweries) sectors.

Underground resources (lead mines at Cave di Predil) are insignificant but thermoelectrical power output is high. As far as the service industries are concerned, these are concentrated in the chief centres.

The most important are linked with the Port of Trieste (transport, insurance, shipping, banking and finance). The tourist traffic is attracted to a few well-known beach resorts. The most important are linked with the Port of Trieste (transport, insurance, shipping, banking and finance).

The communications network is well developed as a result of the railway link connecting Udine with the Italo-Austrian Tarvisio Pass and the final stretch of the Turin-Trieste motorway, from which the very modern Tarvisio extension branches off at Palmanova. The region is served by the Ronchi dei Legionari airport near Monfalcone.

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