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Flag of the Arpitan minority.
Flag of Arpitania Movement.
Flag of the diffusion area Arpitania, created by the Aliance Culturèla Arpitanna.

Arpitania (Arpitan and Italian: Arpitania, French: Arpitanie) consists of the lands where the Arpitan language is spoken or used to be the prevalent idiom.[1] Arpes in Arpitan means Alps. Thus, the territory name would be translated as "Land of the Alps".

Arpitania and Arpitan language are retronyms. They were neologisms from the 20th century. It was initially used for the Alpine regions where Arpitan was spoken. The name was popularised by Mouvement Harpitanya, a left-wing political grouping in Aosta Valley led by Joseph Henriet in the 1970s.[2] In the 1990s, the term lost its particular political context.[3] However, the use of the word "Arpitania" indicates a common cultural heritage and a regional identity beyond linguistic limitations.[4]

Inhabitants of the region, whether they are actual speakers of the language or not, are called Arpitans.[5][6]


Map of Arpitania, showing place names in Arpitan form. The inset illustrates two isolated towns in the Celle di San Vito in Foggia, Apulia region of southern Italy, where Arpitan is also spoken.

Arpitania is defined by the historical borders of County of Savoy and its successor state Duchy of Savoy; it was largely autonomous up until the 18th and 19th century when its territory was divided by the French First Republic and Kingdom of Sardinia, the predecessor to Kingdom of Italy. Today, the area is administratively divide between:

The northwestern salient (roughly a strip between Mâcon and Roanne) is seen linguistically transitional between Arpitan, Occitan, and other Oïl languages.


  • Jozé Harrieta, La lingua arpitana, 1976.
  • Mikael Bodlore-Penlaez, «Savoy and Aosta, heart of the Arpitan people» in Atlas of Stateless Nations in Europe: Minority People in Search of Recognition, Y Lolfa, 2011. ISBN 978-1-84771-379-7


  1. ^ "did you say arpitan?" on Archived July 20, 2011, at the Wayback Machine..
  2. ^ * Gianpaolo Charrere, Ayas, un film sul sogno dell'Harpitanya, Aoste: La Stampa, 15 february 2012 and "La nation arpitane"
  3. ^ Nos ancêtres les Arpitans Archived 2011-07-15 at the Wayback Machine., 24 Heures, Lausanne, 2 May 2009
  4. ^ Aliance Cultutèla Arpitana, Fribourg (Switzerland) and Rochetaillée (France),
  5. ^ Les Alpes et leurs noms de lieux, 6000 ans d'histoire ? : Les appellations d'origine pré-indo-européenne., Paul-Louis Rousset, 1988, ISBN 2-901193-02-1
  6. ^ Les mots de la montagne autour du Mont-Blanc, Hubert Bessat et Claudette Germi, Ed. Ellug, Programme Rhône-Alpes, Recherches en Sciences Humaines, 1991, ISBN 2-902709-68-4.

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Coordinates: 46°9′N 5°52′E / 46.150°N 5.867°E / 46.150; 5.867