Due to its long history of strongly independent regional identities, until its relatively recent unification in 1861, Italy has kept a wide variety of regional languages, some of which have gained official recognition (like Sardinian).
The largest group of non-Italian speakers (some 1.6 million people) are the ones who speak Sardinian (Sardo, Sardu) - romance language. Four dialects of Sardinian can be distinguished: Gallurese Sardinian, Logudorese Sardinian, Campidanese Sardinian, and Sassarese Sardinian.
Another quite large community of some 600,000 people in Friuli speak Friulian, a Rhaeto-romance language, spoken in the Udine Province, extending to Gorizia and the Venezia provinces. It is sometimes called Eastern Ladin, since it shares the same roots as Ladin, although over the centuries it has diverged under the influence of surrounding languages, including German, Italian, Venetian, and Slovene. Despite its large number of speakers Friulian has no official status nationally or regionally. Pier Paolo Pasolini's first book of poetry was in Friulian.
Further regional languages include:
Cimbrian (Tzimbro, Zimbrisch) : a language of west-germanic origin spoken in the towns of Giazza (Glietzen, Ljetzen), Roana (Rabam), and Lusern in Sette and Tredici Communi (Sieben and Dreizehn Gemeinde) south of Trent Province, possibly extending to adjacent Venetia Province
Italkian (judeo-italian) spoken mainly in urban areas in Rome and in central and northern Italy
Piedmontese, a language with considerable French influence distinct enough from Standard Italian to be considered a separate language spoken in Piedmont (Nord-west italy), (except for the Provençal- and Franco-Provençal-speaking Alpine valleys). It is also spoken in Australia and the USA.
Ladin (ladino), a Rhaeto-romance language, is spoken by 35,000 italians living in the Dolomite mountains, in the Trentino-South Tyrol region and in the Veneto region. See: Ladin.
Ligurian, a language closer to Piemontese, Lombard, and French than to Standard Italian.
Lombard, a language very different from Standard Italian. A group of dialects (Milanese, Bergamaso, etc.), some of which may be separate languages. Western Lombard dialects (of Ticino and Graubnnden) are inherently intelligible to each other's speakers. Speakers in more conservative valleys may have to use some kind of 'standard' dialect to communicate with speakers of other dialects of Lombard.
Neapolitan-Calabrese (Napoletano-Calabrese), spoken in the Campania and Calabria provinces, in southern Italy. Alternate names: . Dialects include Napoletano (Neapolitan, Tirrenic), and Northern Calabrese-Lucano (Lucanian, Basilicatan). Southern Calabrian is considered to be a dialect of Sicilian. Neapolitan and Calabrese are reported to be very different from each other.
Emiliano-Romagnolo: A structurally separate language from Italian, related to Lombard, spoken in Northwest Italy, in parts of the territories of Emilia and Romagna, southern Pianura Padana (all provinces), southern Lombardia (Provinces Mantova and Pavia), northern Toscana (Lunigiana), northern Marche (Province Pesaro). Also spoken in San Marino. Dialects: Western Emiliano, Central Emiliano, Eastern Emiliano, Northern Romagnolo, Southern Romagnolo, Mantovano, Vogherese-Pavese, Lunigiano.
Venetian, a language distinct from Standard Italian spoken in Northern Italy, in the city of Venice, and the area of the Tre Venezie; as well as in parts of Venezia Eugànea, Venezia Tridentina and Venezia Giulia, including Trieste. Bisiacco, one of the dialects of Venetian, is spoken in Gorizia Province. Other dialects include Istrian, Triestino and Venetian Proper. Venetian is also spoken in Croatia and Slovenia.
Sicilian(Calabro-Sicilian, Sicilianu, Siculu) is distinct enough from Standard Italian to be considered a separate language. Dialects include Western Sicilian (spoken in Palermo, Trapani and Central-Western Agrigentino), Messinese, Pantesco, etc. Pugliese and Southern Calabrese are reported to be dialects of Sicilian.
Mócheno, a language related to Bavarian and Cimbrian and spoken in Valle del Fersina (Trentino) by about 1,900 italians. Speakers can partially understand Bavarian, Cimbrian, or Standard German. Dialects include Fierozzo (Florutz), Palú (Palai) and Frassilongo (Gereut).