Past, present and future
Italian immigration

– Massimiliano, What have you learned from your customers over the years?
In recent years we have broken many stereotypes about immigration, which is generally idealized (sic!) as an event connected to the absolute poverty of people who take a cardboard suitcase and go to seek their fortune God knows where True, there have been these cases too, but in real life there have been many other, far more interesting stories.

– Can you give us some examples?
Certainly. Here in Colombia, and especially throughout the Caribbean area, there has been a very ancient flow of Italians linked to Masonic circles, which has had a significant impact on many of the coastal communities. Surely those who moved, driven by cultural ties of this type, did not do it with a cardboard suitcase, so to speak. In fact the stories that followed are significant contributions to the construction of the destination countries. Studying these dynamics seems even more interesting today in light of the widespread return to enforced national borders.

– What is your action plan?
We want to insert ourselves in this context and become a voice, or rather an amplifier, to create contacts and stimuli in this sense.

As the Italiani project is very ambitious, we are learning to develop new skills to bring it to fruition.

– How are you planning to achieve this?
From a practical point of view, let’s say first of all that this community has absolutely incredible figures.
Keep in mind that the record of Italians who, like me, live abroad with an Italian passport, according to  (A.I.R.E.), amounts to about five and a half million people throughout the world.

This figure, however, says very little when compared with the real numbers of Italian emigration, whose data calculation formally began in the nineteenth century (1876). It was  only then that the Italian authorities began to register the people who left the Country.

Thanks to these surveys, we know that up to the 1960s and 70s Italy was a country of emigrants, that is, the migratory balance was higher on leaving. Later, the trend reversed. In that time span, thirty million official departures have been counted.

– Where did the Italians emigrate to?
The numbers on European destinations (Germany, France, Switzerland, Spain) and the data relating to American destinations (North America, Central America and South America) tend to be the same. In summary: about fifteen million choose Europe, the other fifteen choose the Americas.

Now thirty million are the official numbers published by the M.A.E.; the unofficial numbers I expect to be far more significant.

Thanks to the genealogical trees in the hands of Studio Andino, we have learnt that emigrations began much earlier. We have cases that even began at the end of the eighteenth century, in 1790. For reasons related to our citizenship law, historically all the people of Italian descent – except for some exceptional cases – have the right to be recognized as Italian citizens.

Well, I’m not a mathematician, quite the opposite. But if we multiply these figures by the number of generations born to date, the estimated result, which for me remains underestimated, has been set at about  sixty million potential descendants. I am sure that there are at least one hundred million potential Italians. If we imagine that in Italy there are between sixty and sixty-six million residents, there are far more as many distributed in all areas of the globe.

– Why is the number of potential descendants important?
If we spoke with one voice, we would obviously be a world power in any sector. Moreover, the Italian industry is highly valued, the  Made in Italy is one of the most important brands that exist in the world.

We Italians, for better or for worse, make ourselves endeared everywhere.  We do not go abroad to conquer, we rather do it to join the local culture. I believe there is immense unexplored wealth in these communities. We found it and we started giving stimuli and a voice to it.

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