Journey and destinations

The journey and the destinations

Italian migrants have truly journeyed to the four corners of the world. They can be found, in differently sized groups, in every country of the world.

Ever since 1876 (the year when Italy started keeping emigration records) and for about one century, more than 10 million people left from Southern Italy and Italian islands, five million left from central Italy, five million and a half left from the Northeastern regions and five million from the North-western ones. 

Migrants hailed chiefly from Veneto, Campania, Sicily, Lombardy, Piedmont and Calabria. 

The countries that became home to the largest amounts of migrants were the USA (about 6 million), France (4 million and a half), Switzerland (about 4 million), Argentina (about 3 million), Germany (about 2 million and a half), Brazil (one million and a half) and Canada (about half a million).

There is a Sicilian saying that applies to all migrants : « E unni agghiorna agghiorna ». Here is how Italian author Leonardo Sciascia explains it in « Occhio di Capra » as follows : « It actually means ‘The day will dawn when it will dawn’ however the ‘when’ is also a ‘where’ and carries also a tint of ‘if’ inside. The day will dawn if, when and where it will dawn. We say this when we are about to make a decision that entails potential risks, as if by making it we had set off for a walk in the middle of the night, without any certainty of actually reaching a destination. In such a walk only the dawn will tell us where we will end up and which fate will befall us. » This sentence has, for a century, accompanied the decision to migrate that thousands of people took, feigning a carelessness that often hid the inner turmoil and anxiety.