South Tyrol is an autonomous province (the second subnational level) inside one of the five Italian regions with a special status - Trentino-Alto Adige. Besides being formally a part of Trentino-Alto, it has more powers than the region and has an independent constitutional status. Small in population (half a million people, less than one percent of the country's total), Bolzano is very successful economically - it has the highest GRP per capita among all regions of Italy (1.5 times higher than the national average). It is located in the north-eastern part of the country and borders the Austrian Federal State of Tyrol. It became a part of Italy after the First World War. The title group - the German-speaking southern Tyrolesians - constitute the majority of the population (62.3%, 2011 census). Other notable groups are Italian-speaking (23.4%) and Ladin (4.1%).
The autonomy was established in 1948 as a means to guarantee the German-speaking population the preservation of their language and culture and has gone a long way of development, with a gradual increase in the degree of its autonomy. In this process (until the early 1990s), the Austrian Republic actively participated as a party; it still plays the role of kin-state for the German-speaking population. There was an ongoing conflict during the first period of autonomy (from 1948 to the beginning of the 1970s) when secessionists attempted several terrorist acts.
At the moment, South Tyrol represents one of the most successful models of the solution of the ethnopolitical conflict through the provision of territorial autonomy. Between the province, the three main ethnolinguistic groups and the Italian Republic, a complex system of interaction, checks, balances, and preferences is built. A unique feature of this system is a clear division of the population of South Tyrol by self-identification in the course of regular population censuses into ethnolinguistic communities, primarily Italian and German-speaking, as well as Ladin. This division lays the foundation for the quota system in the public service, separate systems of school education, and the adoption of specific decisions in the regional parliament.