A. Sujold×ić: Molise Croatian Idiom, Coll. Antropol. 28 Suppl. 1 (2004) 263-274


lack of institutional support, the language shows a remarkable vitality as the majority of natives of these villages still speak it on a daily basis and transmit it to their children.

The settlements in question are located in the mountainous interior 40-50 km west of the Adriatic coast (at the port of Termoli) with about 5-10 km of mutual distance between them. The main and largest village is Äiva Voda Kruč (Acquaviva Collecroce), the second is Mundimitar (Montemitro) and the third is Filič (San Felice Slavo). The major economic activity of the population has always been agriculture and, until recently, cattle raising. Until forty years ago, these villages were almost inaccessible and even today they are linked only by narrow curving roads.

The ancestors of the present inhabitants came to this part of Italy during the 16th century.

At that time, the Turks were advancing through the Balkan Peninsula to the Adriatic and much of the population from the continental interior fled toward the Adriatic coast, resettling in the coastal area, on the Dalmatian islands and, crossing the Adriatic, in southern regions of Italy (Figure 1). At the same time large groups of Albanians also came and formed a number of compact settlements in Molise (Montecilfone, Portocannone, Ururi etc.). According to historic sources1.2 there were fifteen Slavic communities in the beginning, with a total of seven to eight thousand inhabitants. With population growth, their number increased to over 15 thousand and later gradually decreased partly due to assimilation with the Italian population and partially due to emigration to overseas countries. Although today their descendents live in nine councils of Molise: Kruč (Acquaviva




Fig. 1. Historic migrations from the Dalmatian hinterland in 15th and 16th century






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