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Italian Diaspora

The term Italian diaspora refers to the large-scale migration of Italians away from Italy in the period roughly beginning with the unification of Italy in 1861 and ending with the Italian economic miracle in the 1960s.

Poverty was, no doubt, responsible for the diaspora. Italy was until the 1950s a mostly rural society where land management practices, especially in the South, did not easily convince farmers to stay on the land and work the soil.


There is a history of Italians working and living outside of the Italian peninsula since ancient times. Italian bankers and traders expanded to all parts of Europe and the Mediterranean, sometimes creating outposts. In medieval times, there was a significant permanent presence in Flanders, Lyon, Paris and outposts were created throughout the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Since the Renaissance, the services of Italian architects and artists were sought by many of Europe's royal courts, as far as Russia. This migration, though generally small in numbers, and sometimes ephemeral, pre-dates the unification of Italian states.

Before World War I

Source: Wikipedia