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Copyright, Jerry Finzi, Grand Voyage Italy, All rights reserved
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The dialects spoken in Italy can be divided into four main groups:
The Northern are distinguished as follows:
Gallo-Italic, spoken in Piedmont, Liguria, Lombardy and Emilia, and so called because in these regions lived the Gauls; and Veneto.
The Tuscan dialects are distinguished:
Central, spoken in Florence,
Western, spoken in Lucca, Pisa, Livorno;
Southern, spoken in Siena and Arezzo.
The Central dialects are:
Northern Lazio; parts of Umbria; Marche
The Southern dialects are as follows:
Neapolitan, spoken in southern Lazio, Abruzzo, Campania, Basilicata and northern part of Puglia; and Sicilian, spoken in Salento, Calabria and Sicily.
In addition, there are several other dialects:
Sardinian dialects (Sardinia)
The Istrian dialects (Istrian coast)
Ladin dialects in Friuli, Dolomites.
Each of these sub-classes of dialects can be broken down further into hundreds or thousands of local dialects. Still today, it is possible for hilltop villages within sight of each other to speak different dialects.
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VERY high resolution map of the City of Pompeii
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Volo dell'Angelo translates as Flight of the Angel, but some may argue that the devil himself dreamed up this 70 mph zip-line adventure, the highest of its type in the world. You can find this taste of extreme Italy in the Lucane mountains of Basilicata, in southern Italy. The pinnacles towering over the twin villages of Pietrapertosa and Castelmezzano are called the Dolomiti Lucane. The villages and pinnacles are a reason to visit, even if there were no zip-line. The beauty of the rustic homes stacked among themselves, some carved out of the mountain and the amazing geology are something you won't want to miss. The villages are worth a 2-3 day stay, with rental apartments available to hikers and Angel flyers alike.
These towns are a bit hard to reach, via extremely switch-backed mountain roads, often undercut (by floods and earthquakes). Just to drive to and from these villages is an adventure in and of itself. Personally, I loved the challenges and views offered on these precarious roads.
The Volo dell'Angelo is created by tough steel wires crossing the valley--actually two lines, one going, one returning. There is a short but rugged hike up to the starting point from Castelmezzano, and a similar hike down to Pietrapertosa (in case you don't want a return flight). A ride is available to take you back to your starting point. Single or tandem flyers are "launched"--often with somewhat of a rushed, disorganized manner--with gravity sending across the gorge from one village to the other. At the time of writing, the Flight of the Angel is apparently the highest zip-wire in the world, and one of the fastest and longest. The top speed is around 120km/h / 70mph. While there, don't forget to climb the pinnacles in the towns... the views are amazing.