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an autonomous region of Italy, the country’s smallest in territory and population. It has an area of 3,262 sq km and a population of 107,900 (1968). The spoken languages are Italian and French; German dialects are spoken in the region of Monte Rosa. The major city is Aosta, with a population of 35,300.
Valle d’Aosta is situated in northwest Italy, in the Alps. It comprises the valley Valle d’Aosta and part of the Pennine Alps in the north, Mont Blanc in the northwest (up to 4,807 m high), and the Graian Alps in the southwest. There is a dense network of rivers. Mountain-forest and mountain-meadow terrain and glaciers are characteristic. Over 40 percent of the economically active population (1965) is engaged in industry. The principal branch of agriculture is dairy stock raising. There is also cheese and butter production. Meadows and pastures account for 46 percent of all agricultural lands. A small area is devoted to the cultivation of grains, potatoes, orchards (apples and pears), and grapes. There is tourism and mountain skiing. Iron ore (Cogne), anthracite (La Thuile), and marble (Châtillon) are mined. The total capacity of the state electric power plant is 900 megawatts (900,000 kW). There are enterprises in electrometallurgy (Aosta, Pont-Saint-Martin), production of artificial and synthetic fabrics (Châtillon), meat and fruit canning, and beer brewing.
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