Although it is part of Italy, most of the population speaks German. Around a quarter of the population speak Italian, most of whom live in the two largest cities (Bolzano and Merano). Italian and German are both official languages. In parts of the province, a third language, Ladin, is spoken and official as well. South Tyrol is the most common name for the province in ancient English. German and Ladin speakers usually refer to the area as Südtirol. The official name is the Province of Bolzano (in Italian: Provincia autonoma di Bolzano – Alto Adige; in German: Autonome Provinz Bozen – Südtirol; in Ladin: Provinzia autonoma de Balsan/Bulsan – Südtirol).
South Tyrol/Alto Adige is an autonomous province. It has its own legislature that makes many laws that are separate from those made by the Italian government. Luis Durnwalder has been the head of government since 1989. He belongs to the South Tyrolean People's Party, which has been governing since 1948.