Status: 03.12.2023, 21:46 PM
By: Richard Strobl
In the famous ski resort of Cervinia in Italy, there is again name trouble. The name had only just been changed. But this has dire consequences.
Le Breuil – The ski season has started! But some Alpine fans could be in for a surprise at the moment. Because a famous ski resort suddenly no longer means the same as usual. It's about the mountain village of Breuil-Cervinia in Italy.
According to schneehöhen.de, the ski resort on the Italian side of the Matterhorn is one of the largest and snowiest ski resorts in the Alps, together with the Swiss ski resort of Zermatt. 360 kilometres of slopes, 19 gondola lifts and several drag lifts and chairlifts attract numerous ski fans every winter. But for some time now, there has been a lot of excitement in Italy about the name of the place.
Ski resort in Italy changes name: storm of indignation among residents
A ski resort is struggling to get its name: Cervinio is to be called Le Breuil - but the turning point follows. (Archive image) © IMAGO / Design Pics
The place, which previously bore the double name Breuil-Cervinia, is best known under the Italian name Cervinia. This is derived from the Italian word Cervino, the name for the Matterhorn. But now this name has been officially dropped and the place is only called Le Breuil, as Rainews reports.
The background: The Aosta Valley, in which the town is located, has been under the rule of the Savoy since the 11th century and was French-speaking. Here the place was always called Le Breuil – which means marshy plateau. It was not until 1861 that the valley became part of the new Kingdom of Italy. The fascists under Benito Mussolini – as in South Tyrol – exerted a wave of Italianization. And so the village of Le Breuil was given the new name Cervinia. After the end of the Second World War, many names forced by the fascists were deleted. Not so with Breuil-Cervinia. The name stuck, and over time the place became a popular ski resort.
This year, however, the politicians of the 700-strong community wanted to return to the historical name and get rid of the "fascist" name. The municipal council of the commune of Valtournenche, to which the place belongs, already voted in April to delete the double name and change the place name to Le Breuil. But the decision sparked an outcry in Italy.
Anger after name change of ski resort: Now politicians are rowing back
"Cervinia is changing its name and I don't understand why. Such a drastic change can only harm tourism and the image of the entire Aosta Valley. Think about it again," said Italy's Tourism Minister Daniela Santanche, according to südtirolnews.it. Alessandro Urzi, the leader of the Fratelli d'Italia group in the Constitutional Committee of the Chamber of Deputies, spoke of "ideological anger".
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For a long time, however, nothing was heard and the residents apparently did not know anything about the decision. It was only when it became known that all street signs would be changed and that residents would have to have new ID cards issued, that a storm of indignation broke out, according to the South Tyrolean portal. Several petitions have been launched on internet platforms – with thousands of votes – many of them probably also tourists who return to the place again and again and feel connected.
Ski resort rows back: New mayor wants another name change
Apparently with success. The new mayor of the town apparently wants to reverse the decision again. She was previously a community officer, "but now she doesn't quite support the idea," writes Rainews. Her deputy is even pushing for the double name to remain. The economically powerful local lift company, which has the word Cervinia in its name, is also apparently exerting pressure.
And the about-face is apparently actually being made: the mayor of Valtournenche, Elisa Cicco, told the Ansa news agency: "Procedures have been initiated to restore the name Breuil-Cervinia". They will "send the request to the Region to change the name (again, ed.)," she said after a meeting with the president of the Aosta Valley Region, Renzo Testolin.
This would probably also save you a lot of money. After all, it's not just street signs and ID cards that need to be renewed: an image campaign would also be necessary – after all, the ski resort is known as Cervinia. A marketing expert told the newspaper Il Sole 24 ore that Cervinia would have to invest at least five million euros per year over five years in the Italian market alone to make the new name nearly as well known as Cervinia.
In Italy, new, very strict ski rules are currently causing a stir.