Ortisei is a town of 4,500 inhabitants in the province of Bolzano-Bozen, in the Italian region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. It occupies the Val Gardena within the Dolomites, a mountain chain that is part of the Alps. The name derives from the Latin urticetum ("place of nettles"). According to the 2001 census, 82.32% of the population speak Ladin, 12.13% German and 5.55% Italian as first language. Ortisei borders the following municipalities: Kastelruth, Villnöß, Lajen and Santa Cristina Gherdëina. From 1860 to 1914 Ortisei experienced a relevant economical growth due to the opening of a major road connecting Val Gardena to the main railroad; as a result the local woodcarving industry flourished. International tourism developed through the discovery of the Dolomites first by English tourists, and subsequently visitors from Austria and Germany. Currently, the town's economy is mostly based on Winter skiing tourism and Summer hiking tourism and woodcarving.
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