5 March 2013: "Write a Descriptive and Informative Piece About A Place You Have Been To."

Essays, responses, and introductions that I have written in GCSE class. As in any exam setting, I had a set amount of time to do it in, and none of it is edited.

The Trentino-Alto-Adige region of Italy s one that has been Italian for ninety-odd years. Before that, it was under the rule of neighbouring Austria for centuries. It is a remarkable place, a section between the Alps and the Dolomites, the transition period between Italy and Austria. The signs here are in two languages. The Trentino-Alto-Adige, or the South Tyrol, as it used to be called, has never grown out of its Austrian roots.

It was first given to Italy by the Allies at the end of the First World War. During the reign of Benito Mussolini, numerous efforts were made to "italianize" the region, by moving Italians from more southern parts to live there, and installing Italian instead of the old German as the official language. Has that worked? The area still puts German on their signs, English, Italian, and German are put on the leaflets at the tourist outlets, and the region has a healthy mix of the two's cuisines. My answer would be, no.

But it is not quite as simple as that. The mountains are headily beautiful divisions between the valleys and in the secluded glades blue beard lichen (which only grows where teh air is purest) and edelweiss grow. The edelweiss, a stereotypically Austrian flower*, a geltle creation of paper-thin white petals, is protected by nature conservation programmes in the area. It is illegal to pick. Even Mussolini could not wrench it wholly from the ground.

In each valley, the isolation between [...] villages have given rise to obscure and ancient dialects, the likes of which can not be found in the rest of Italy. Some of the words have French, German, and even Greek roots, and echo many travellers who may have crossed through the narrow mountain paths.

Indeed, [...] a lot of tourism has been based around the mountains: from hiking clubs to assault courses two thousand metres above sea level, sometimes the locals throw parties up in the mountains too. The food is, of course, wonderful: the South Tyrol** is the richest [region] in Italy.

The natural beauty of the mountains is not to be reckoned with. But beware: brown bears have been [re-] introduced to the area, and other animals like the elusive wolf*** and the majestic eagle can be sighted - if one is very careful, and has the patience of a hunter.

* I was thinking of The Sound of Music.

** I apologise for any political misunderstanding. I was strapped for time and "South Tyrol" was shorter to write than "Trentino-Alto-Adige".

*** There are no wolves in the area. My mistake.

The End

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