Information on the Historical Documents of the Aosta Valley
Charte des franchises d’Aoste
I, Tommaso, Count of Maurienne and Marquis of Italy, having noted and recognized the calamities that have occurred, as well as the harassment and confrontations suffered, I give freedom to the city of Aosta and its suburbs; I also act in this way on the advice of Bishop Valbert and my barons, whose names are placed at the bottom, so that from now on, neither I nor my successors will demand, personally or through officers, the taxes or contributions that are not allowed; but I undertake to defend the churches, the assets of the bishop, clerics and religious from any danger to the extent of my strength.
I, the Count, hold under my special jurisdiction the portion of territory that extends from the Pont-de-Pierre on the Buthier to the Saint-Genis bridge, and from these two bridges to the Dora, following the course of the canal that starts from the Buthier and goes around the city and its suburbs. Anyone who, within these boundaries, will commit violence to someone, hurt him, or offend him in any way, will be subjected to the judgment of the magistrate appointed by the Count, in order to repair the damage and injuries caused and to give an account to the Lord.
The murderer will lose his person and his possessions. In exchange for this charter of freedom, the aforementioned present and future inhabitants promise to maintain and observe the loyalty due to the Count. Anyone who violates this oath will be handed over to the Lord and his possessions will be confiscated.
Likewise, at the request and for the benefit of the whole city and its suburbs, I establish, under penalty of sixty lire, that merchants, foreigners and all those who come from Mont-Joux through the Saint-Etienne gate, go as far as to the measure in stone of the grain in stone, and from there through the main street to the Porta Sant’Orso, and find accommodation in the city or its suburbs, without fraud or willfulness or constriction.
Likewise, I strictly order, with the same penalty, that those who come from Lombardy follow the same route. We warn, with the same penalty, the inhabitants of the city and its suburbs of violating this order.
Session of the Assembly of States of 29 February 1536
First of all, the bailiff of Aosta proposed and underlined, in front of our feared Lord [il Duca di Savoia], three main points in front of the audience, with respect to which he asks for an answer, in particular and in general, namely:
* if each is deliberate and willing to live and die in the holy Catholic faith in which we live today as our predecessors did;
* if everyone is determined to want to live and die in submission and obedience to our feared lord, the Monsignor Duke of Savoy as good and faithful vassals and subjects;
* if each is determined to want to contribute to all the expenses and burdens necessary to maintain, protect and defend public affairs and the country, in equal proportions and installments, as good subjects and good Christians must do.
To these requests, the noble lords, citizens, bourgeois and municipalities agree with the three points set out above, affirming that they want to live and die without sparing anything to defend our holy Catholic faith, to obey our prince and for the defense of its countries against those who would like to cause us harm, offering to participate equally in any expenditure and burden aimed at the good and defense of said countries, as proposed.
And having particularly deepened their opinion on this object, as a sign of mutual agreement, all the participants raised their hands and approved the above points.
Edict of the Duke Emanuele Filiberto on the French language
To all present I offer my greetings. As we have found, with the participation of the members of our Council of State, it is important and necessary, for the good and usefulness of our subjects and countries, to make common and use, in all matters of justice and other matters, the vulgar language, each province its own; and having for this reason drawn up ordinances and statutes, by means of which our subjects can better know and understand our intentions and wills and comply with them; knowing that the French language in our “Pays d’Aoste” has always been better known and more widespread than the others; and being the people, and the subjects of that country, accustomed to speaking this language more easily than the others, we have learned that despite our statutes and ordinances, some disobedient use the Latin language in their procedures of justice and other which in addition to those who do not know it perfectly, is not understandable to the people as well as the French: for this reason we have hereby wanted to affirm and declare our will and resolutely resolve that in the Country and Duchy of Aosta no one, anyone it both, uses both in procedures and in processes and acts of justice, stipulation of contracts, instruments, investigations or other similar things, a language other than French, under penalty of nullity of the same contracts and procedures, and a one hundred lire fine for both set off.
Likewise, we ask and order our beloved and faithful Counselors Prefect, Bailiff, Lawyer and Procurator of the aforementioned “Pay d’Aoste” and also to our Officers and Judges, and to each of them, according to their own competence, to be the first to observe these rules. , and make them observe them promptly to our subjects without infringing them in any way, being afraid of incurring this penalty. By giving a mandate to have all the intersections in our city of Aosta published with a trumpet sound, and in the other villages of the aforementioned country, in order that our subjects cannot provide or claim an excuse due to ignorance. This is our will.
The déclaration de Chivasso
We populations of the alpine valleys
Nothing that the twenty years of leveling and centralizing bad government summarized by the brutal and braggart motto of “Rome tames” have had the following painful and significant results for our valleys:
1. political oppression through the work of its political and administrative agents (soldiers, commissioners, prefects, federal officials, teachers), small despots who are careless and ignorant of every local tradition of which they were diligent destroyers;
2. economic ruin for the dilapidation of their forest and agricultural assets, for the prohibition of emigration with the hermetic closure of the borders, for the actual lack of technical and financial organization of agriculture, masked by the vast display of central assistance, for the inability of a modern tourist organization respectful of the places; all conditions that determined the Alpine depopulation;
3. destruction of local culture for the suppression of the local fundamental language, where it exists, the brutal and clumsy transformation of local names and inscriptions, the closure of autonomous local schools and institutes, cultural heritage which is also a wealth for the purposes of temporary emigration abroad;
1. that freedom of language as well as that of worship is an essential condition for safeguarding human personality;
2. that federalism is the most suitable framework for providing the guarantees of this individual and collective right and represents the solution to the problem of small nationalities and the definitive liquidation of the historical phenomenon of irredentism, guaranteeing the advent of peace in the future European order stable and durable;
3. that a federal republican regime with a regional and cantonal basis is the only guarantee against a return of the dictatorship, which found in the centralized Italian monarchical state the ready-made instrument for its dominance over the country; faithful to the best spirit of the Risorgimento
We declare the following
1. administrative political autonomy
1. Within the general framework of the forthcoming Italian state, which we hope to be organized economically and administratively with federalist criteria, the Alpine valleys must have the right to form autonomous political-administrative communities on the cantonal type;
2. as such they must in any case be assured, whatever their numerical entity, at least one place in the regional and cantonal legislative assemblies;
3. the exercise of local (including judicial) municipal and cantonal political and administrative functions must be entrusted to elements originating from the place or having a permanent residence there for a certain number of years to be established by local assemblies.
2. Cultural and scholastic autonomy
Due to their geographical position as intermediaries between different cultures, for the respect of their traditions and their ethnic personality, and for the advantages deriving from the knowledge of different languages, in the Alpine valleys a particular linguistic cultural autonomy must be fully respected and guaranteed, consisting in the :
1. right to use the local language, where it exists, alongside the Italian one, in all public documents and in the local press;
2. right to the teaching of the local language in schools of all levels with the necessary guarantees in competitions so that teachers are suitable for such teaching. Teaching will generally be supervised or directed by a local council;
3. Immediate restore of all local names.
3. Economic autonomies
To facilitate the development of the mountain economy and consequently combat the depopulation of the Alpine valleys, the following are necessary:
1. a comprehensive system of taxation of the industries located in the Alpine cantons (hydroelectric, mining, tourism, processing, etc.) so that part of their profits go back to the Alpine valleys, regardless of whether these industries are or not collectivized;
2. a system of fair tax reduction, which varies from area to area, depending on the richness of the land and the prevalence of agriculture, forests or pastoralism;
3. a rational and substantial agrarian reform including:
1. unification for the good performance of the company, through land exchanges and compensation and adequate legislation of agricultural family ownership that is now too fragmented;
2. the technical-agricultural assistance exercised by elements resident in the place and having, for example, teaching duties in local schools, some of which may have an agricultural character;
3. the strengthening by local authorities of economic life through free production and consumption cooperatives;
4. the strengthening of industry and crafts, entrusting to the regional cantonal administration, even in the case of a collectivist organization, the control and administration of companies of a local nature;
5. Dependence on local administration of public works of a local nature and control of all services and concessions of a public nature.
We, the representatives of the Alpine Valleys, want to see these principles affirmed by the new Italian state, just as we want them to be affirmed also towards those Italians who are and could come to find themselves under foreign political domination.
Chivasso, December 19, 1943.
Letter from Alessandro Passerin d’Entrèves to Federico Chabod
You know that all my action in the past was aimed at preventing the Valle d’Aosta question from being posed on an international level. A few days ago, in a letter to Archbishop Stévenin, I openly took a stand against the request for an international guarantee. However, I must confess to you – and only to you I can and I want to do it – that, in retrospect, the fears of the Valle d’Aosta people of seeing one day take away what they (reluctantly enough) granted by Italy, do not seem to me. totally unfounded. Returning to Italy after an absence of 5 months, I was amazed by the progress made by a mentality that I can only call neo-fascist. The mass of our compatriots do not seem to have learned anything from the misfortune. The old national-imperialist complex is more alive than ever. What will happen to autonomy the day De Gasperi and the moderates are no longer in power?
As you can see, at this point I think perhaps more from Valdostano than from Italian. I will be wrong, but feelings are not commanded (…). I am sure that you will not misinterpret the sincerity with which I have expressed my thoughts to you and you will preserve that friendship of yours which is so dear to me.