The zone of Vrancea is situated high in the ‘elbow’ of the Carpathians, on the eastern side of the mountains. It is separated from the valea Trotușului zone to the north by sparsely populated forests, to the south it meets the Buzău region of valea Râmnicului, and drops to the plains along the river Siret to the east.
The ethnographic zone follows the river valleys deep into the Carpathians where there is little agricultural land. There is a string of settlements along the rivers, where occupations are mainly pastoral. The zone of Vrancea was relatively isolated until recently due to poor road access, whereas the political county of Vrancea also includes the city of Focșani and its surrounding plains.
Archaeological evidence indicates that sites have been inhabited from the Neolithic through to the Iron Age predominantly along the foothills, but a few sites exist in the lower reaches of the valleys. The ‘age of migrations’ appears to have been limited to the area of the plains.
In 1227 to 1228 a Cuman bishopric was founded near Focșani with the conversion of the Cumans to Christianity. This increased the Hungarian Kingdom’s religious and political influence in the region. However, the diocese was destroyed in 1241 by the Tatar invasion.
Vrancea is mentioned in documents of Alexandru cel Bun in 1421 and was in the past an independent ținut. At the beginning of the 17th century after 13 years of war with the boyars (feudal nobility), the peasants in all the villages succeeded in freeing themselves from their feudal owners.
Some influences from other regions may still be present in the villages of Rucăreni, Dragosloveni and Soveja which had a population originating from Muscel. The village of Bârsești is to have originally a Transylvanian population.
Despite Vrancea being a remote area, the folklore has continued to transform and develop, incorporating influences from outside the zone. Originally connections to the outside world were made by the transhumance shepherds, but more recently forestry workers from Sitna Buzăului have come to work in Vrancea during weekdays.