Lederhosen: Country Trends--Italy

Figure 1.--Lederhosen is a typical garment worn innsouthern Germany and Austria. They are also worn by German-speaking people in South Tyrol (Italian: Alto Adige) in Northern Italy. This photo was taken, probably in 1970s, in a South Tyrol village. It shows two boys wearing lederhosen as everyday clothing.

I do not believe that lederhosen were commonly worn in Italy. Some boys in northern Italy, however, may have worn them. Italy has the only region outside Austria and Germany were lederhosen are an old-established tradition. South-Tyrol/Südtirol (Alto Adige in Italian) was Austrian until the end of the World War I. (Italy in World War I fought with the Allies against the Cental Powers (Austri-Hungary and Germany). Lederhosen are still very much a part of everyday life, being worn by brass bands and Schützen (historic rifle associations) alike. Youngsters increasingly wear jeans as they do in Austrian Tyrol to the North, but many school boys reprtedly still wear lederhosen to stress their Germanic identity as opposed to the Italian immigrants.


The German-speaking population of Alto Adige, or the South Tyrol as it is preferably known, keeps wearing Tyrolean costumes and dresses, especially in the Dolomite mountains. Although they are Italian citizens since 1920, these people keep speaking German, have their own schools and newspapers, choirs and brass bands, but this happened not without a struggle. Especially when the Fascists under Mussolini were in power everything was done to make the region Italian. Italians from the south were settled in the cities where there was some industry, German schools were closed and only the Italian language was allowed in public places. A HBC reader comments, "It is actually amazing that Hitler did not do anything about it. He invaded the Sudetenland and later Poland on account of the bad treatment the ethnic Germans there were receiving according to the NAZIs, but in South Tyrol where they really were treated badly, he didn't bother, perhaps because he needed his friend Mussolini as an ally." [HBC note: Precisely. This shows graphically that Hitler was less moved by the condition of the German minorities outside the Reich than the opportunities they provided to justify the expansion of the Reich's boundaries.]


Anyway, wearing lederhosen is an old tradition in this area of Italy and since it has become autonomous (all street signs and official publications are bilingual), the Tyroleans are wearing their lederhosen again with pride. A HBC reader reports, "I am certain that many boys are wearing them to school."


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Created: March 4, 2002
Last updated: 5:05 PM 8/31/2007