Author: Alessia Di Cunto, 17/01/2021.
I’m so proud of this article, as it includes my university’s studies, my culture, my family. I hope you will enjoy it too! Can’t wait to read your comments.
Have you ever thought about how many Italians live all around the world? Well, that’s the answer: A LOT!
Many statistics demonstrate that one of the first things that other citizens find weird about Italian culture is how close relationships are among every family’s members. I was wondering how I could introduce this in my blog, but then I got a light bulb, and I remembered when I studied Italian immigration at the University.
But let’s look closely at this phenomenon.
Not everyone knows that there are a lot of foreign people applying for Italian citizenship as they have documents stating that their ancestors were Italian.
A manifesto of the Brazilian gouvernment written in 1886 for the future Italian immigrants.
Yet, Italy appears as an happy land, but it wasn’t so in the past. From 1861 a lot of Italian people immigrated abroad searching for a better future. It is estimated that from 1861 until 1985 nearly 30 million people left Italy. The majority left in the decade between 1861 and 1915, in what is called “La grande migrazione”, and many provinces were reduced by half. The destination was mostly North America which was in need of manpower. New York was not the one and only meta, but was followed by Argentina and Uruguay. Obviously, it was the man of the family who left first, and when he had established in this New World, the rest of the family met him in his new house. As you could imagine, it was the lower class of the society who left and, of course, not everyone could effort the trip. It is estimated that nearly 50% was clandestine, thus leading into many prejudges from American people.
In fact, earning trust of North America population was so difficult, while the situation seemed quite better in the South. Furthermore, Italian people didn’t know how to speak in English, and it was difficult for them to get better if no one came in their help. That’s why they tended to confine their Italian community, creating true and proper Italian districts abroad.
Still now, in Argentina they call us “Tano” or “Tana”, as an abbreviation of “Italiano/a”. We must admit that it wasn’t that easy for our ancestors, but one way or another they got through all of this crazy stuff, and they built a future for their families, giving their child everything they need to grow up safe and well.
Going back to the beginning, I like to think that that’s the reason why Italian family relationships are so tight, because our ancestor taught us how it feels to leave your family when you have no other choice, how it feels to be full of hope but with no money in the pocket. That’s why I’m grateful every day of my life for what I have, for who I am and who I want to become in the future: a person who fully believes in family values. What is more is that I do have some distant relatives in Brazil, and who knows.. maybe one day I’ll meet them!