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Articles by: Roberta Cutillo

  • Facts & Stories

    Grandparents Maintain Families but the Model is Unsustainable

    According to a report by ISTAT (the Italian National Institute of Statistics) based on data gathered in 2018, 7.4 million Italian families live off of state issued retirement pensions as their main source of income. In fact, the total number of pensioners was around 16 million that year, a figure which isn’t entirely unexpected considering how Italy has been grappling with the issue of its rapidly aging population for quite some time now. 

    What does come as a surprise is how instrmental these pensions have become in supporting Italian households, serving as strategic social safety nets not just for the pensioners themselves but for their families as well. 

    Apparently, the presence of a “pensionato” receiving a pension by the state within a “vulnerable” household can cut the risk of falling into poverty almost in half. In other words, Italy’s elders are economically supporting their children and grandchildren, as revealed by ISTAT’s data, which took into account the number of households including elderly members, but the phenomenon likely has a much larger impact since the latter often share their pensions with younger family members even when they live in separate homes. 

    This can be read as a sign that family solidarity is a strongly ingrained value that is still predominant in Italian culture, which is also the reason why grandparents are often expected to look after their grandchildren on an essentially full-time basis.

    The problem is that these pensions are issued by the state and they add up. In 2018, total pension spending in Italy amouted to 293 billion euros, that’s 16.6% of the country’s GDP. It was up 2.2% from the previous year. 

    Additionally, most of the people going into retirement today started accumulating their pensions in a time of economic growth, which does not match the state of the Italian economy today. According to the Istat report, “the weight of pensions accrued in the phases of major economic growth is becoming heavier and heavier.”

    The pension funds for the current workforce are being calculated differently in today’s economy and they are set to receive much lower proportions of their income once they hit retirement.  

    Furthermore, the report revealed that there is great inequality amongst current pension receivers. Over 36% of Italy's pensioners are getting less than 1,000 euros each month and over 12% less than 500 euros, which is already a small sum and certainly not enough to serve as the main source of income for an entire multigenerational household. 


    These inequalities are particularly noticeable on a geographic level with the Northern regions absorbing half of the country’s pension spending. And, as a result of irregular carreers (often interrupted by the arrival of children), women receive on average much smaller sums than the men their age. 

    Though it is nice to think of grandparents being able to provide for their families, this model is very clearly unsustainable. Retirement pensions cannot continue to support multigenerational households, it just isn't what they were designed to do. 

  • Termoli, Molise
    Facts & Stories

    Three Italian Destinations for 2020, According to the NYT

    The New York Times’s yearly review of the 52 places to go is out and features three Italian destinations: the captivating and vibrant island of Sicily, the little-known region of Molise and the walled town of Urbino, home to great Renaissance master Raphael.


    Sicily, a region, an island, a world of its own, really. Few places on Earth are as lively, colorful, and majestic as this simultaneously relaxing and chaotic mediterranean island, which has for millenia been a crossroads of civilizations. Its cities are both decaying and decadent, ancient yet burgeoning with life. Here, cultures have been mixing since the dawn of time, resulting in a rich and unique quality that permeates everyday life and is witnessed in the region’s art, architecture, cuisine, language(s). At the same time, vast parts of the island remain wild, almost primordial, unknown to most and eternally mysterious to all.


    But the reasons for nominating Sicily as the 7th place to visit in 2020 go beyond poetry; very real and concrete initiatives are taking place across the Southern Italian region, making it an unmissable destination. As the NYT piece states, “A new wave of green tourism is washing over the Mediterranean island, where nonprofit grassroots groups have begun to spearhead sustainable volunteer tourism initiatives like EtnAmbiente, which launched an app in 2019 to help locals and tourists photograph and report pollution, increasingly an islandwide problem.” 


    The Slow Food movement is also seeing a boom with many initiatives involving local wineries, food producers, culinary heritage associations, hoteliers and so on, all dedicated to spearheading a new wave of sustainable tourism and overall lifestyle. 


    The mountainous region of Molise shares a border with Abruzzo, Lazio, Campania, Puglia and has a coastline on the Adratic Sea, yet it remains to this day a “secret,” a treasure hidden in plain sight. Molise is one of those places you never - even as an Italian - think about until something or someone brings it to your attention and then you wonder how you never noticed it before - why on Earth aren’t more people talking about this magical place? 


    I don’t know the answer to those questions but maybe they will become obsolete now that the region has been named the 37th place to visit this year. From its pristine beaches to its centuries-old mountain tracks, from Roman ruins to lively festivals and spectacular train rides in historical carriages from the 1920s, the small but mighty region of Molise is the ideal destination for just about everyone. 


    Finally, the walled town of Urbino, located in the central region of Umbria, is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the art and life of Renaissance master Raphael. And what better time to enjoy the wonders of the artist’s hometown than on the year that marks the 500th anniversary of his death? There you can visit Raphael’s perfectly preserved house, once a “gathering place for some of the best artists and writers from around Italy” as well as the home to one of his first frescos, and enjoy a special exhibition of his works on view at the National Gallery through January 19. 


    Festivals, trade shows, and conferences of all sorts abund in Urbino: covering various spheres from dance to literature and of course music (particularly the famous Umbria Jazz Festival which takes place in August). Considered Italy’s book capital, the town hosts the Institute for Book Decoration and Illustration and is home to one of the world’s oldest universities (founded in 1506). A Unesco World Heritage Site, the hilltop town - this year’s 51st place to go - is breathtakingly beautiful and offers up incredible views of the surrounding countryside. 

  • Art & Culture

    Cecilia Alemani to Curate the Venice Biennale

    Born in Milan in 1977, Cecilia Alemani has been directing the art program of New York City’s High Line Art since 2011, working with celebrated contemporary artists such as Kerry James Marshall, Carol Bove, Nari Ward, El Anatsui, Sarah Sze, Maria Hassabi, and Simone Leigh, from which she commissioned a variety of site-specific works ranging from sculptures to installations, group shows and performances.


    Under her direction, the former railroad turned elevated park, which runs along Manhattan’s west side from the Meatpacking district through Chelsea and all the way to Hudson Yards, has become a recognized contemporary art venue as well as a charming promenade.


    Ms. Alemani was also the curator of Frieze Projects, a program of new artists’ commissions realized annually at the Frieze New York art fair, from 2012 to 2017 and already participated in the Venice Art Biennale as the curator of the Italian Pavilion in 2017, which featured site-specific works by Giorgio Andreotta Calò, Adelita Husni-Bey, and Roberto Cuoghi. Furthermore, her husband, New Museum curator Massimiliano Gioni, was the artistic director of the 2013 edition of the prestigious international biennial. 


    She will be the first Italian woman and the fifth-ever woman in the history of the Venice Biennale, which began in 1895 and has grown to become one of the most important contemporary art appointments in the world, to curate the event, following in the footsteps of Rosa Martinez and Maria de Corral (2005), Bice Curiger (2011), and Christine Macel (2017). 


    “As the first Italian woman to hold this position, I understand and appreciate the responsibility and also the opportunity offered to me,” Ms. Alemani commented. “I intend to give voice to artists to create unique projects that reflect their visions and our society.”


    The theme and participants have yet to be announced but the 59th edition of the Venice Biennale will take place from May to November 2021. For further information check back here in the coming months.

  • Art & Culture

    Trieste 2020, the European City of Science

    Trieste begins its year as the 2020 European City of Science. The Northeastern Italian city was chosen by the European Science Forum (Esof) over fellow finalists Leiden and the Hague, which had partenered up to represent the Netherlands. 


    The nomination is a recognition of the value of the area’s academic and research network comprised of the SISSA (International School for Advanced Studies), the Elettra Sincrotrone research center, the National Institute of Oceanography and Applied Geophysics, and the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology. 


    In addition to seminaries, workshops, panels, and other encounters dedicated to discussing and presenting the latest advancements in the fields of technology, innovation, science, and politics, which will take place from July 5-9 during the EuroScience Open Forum, the city will also host a Science Festival from June 27 to July 11. The event will be open to the public and feature notable guests such as Swiss astronomer Didier Queloz, who was awarded the 2019 Nobel Physics Prize along with James Peebles and Michel Mayor, and Scottish biochemist Iain Mattaj. 


    A rich and diverse city for centuries thanks to its strategic location in the heart of the Mediterranean, Trieste has always been a melting pot of different cultures and traditions, a place for the exchange and diffusion of knowledge.


    Over the years, Trieste has produced and welcomed numerous intellectuals, from Italo Svevo author of the Conscience of Zeno, born Aron Hector Schmitz into a Jewish family, the son of a German father and Italian mother, he then “Italianized” his name following the annexation of Trieste to the reign of Italy. Pshychoanalyst Edoardo Weiss, a student of Freud, was also born in Trieste and was among the first to bring the then new discipline to Italy.


    Additionally, the Irish author James Joyce also spent some time in Trieste, where he moved in 1905 to teach at the Berlitz School, as were many other figures who at some point in their lives passed through the city, contributing to its development and in turn letting it influence their work, from the Austrian Romantic poet Rainer Maria Rilke to Italian astrophysicist Margherita Hack.  


    Today, Trieste has become one of Europe’s main scientific hubs with over 30 research centers present in the area and boasts the highest number of researchers of any European city. 


    For more information on the Euroscience Open Forum and The Science in the City Festival, visit the official website.


  • Ambassador Mariangela Zappia, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations
    Art & Culture

    The Art of Saving Art: Italian Foreign Policy and Cultural Heritage

    Titled ‘Recovered Treasures: the Art of Saving Art,’ the art exhibition organized by the Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities illustrates the vastly important work carried out by the special unit of the carabinieri - the “art squad” - dedicated to safeguarding and recovering the art and heritage of Italy and the world.


    On view are fifteen masterpieces recovered by the Carabinieri, including a relief from Palmira, Renaissance paintings, ancient amphorae and an illustrated manuscript.

    During the two-week display at the UN headquarters, from January 8-17, officers of the Carabinieri Command will offer guided tours, especially targeted to young students.


    The works are accompanied by a series of wall panels explaining the role of the Command (TPC), which was established 50 years ago on May 3, 1969, a year before the 1970 UNESCO Convention inviting member states to set up dedicated services to safeguard their cultural heritage entered into force.


    An operational branch of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, the TPC is made up of around 270 highly qualified and specially trained military servants. They work both nationally and internationally to investigate, solve, and prevent cases involving art thefts, forgeries, illegal excavations, the traffiking of antiquities, and the protection of cultural heritage sites. They are active all across the globe, particularly in some of the most difficult conflict-heavy areas such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Somalia, the Balkans, and so on.


    “We are proud to have been able to bring this exhibition at the beginning of an important year, the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, which for us is an occasion to relaunch and reinforce the multilateralist message,” comments the Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, Mariangela Zappia.

    “We want to support multilateralism, to support the UN, and we’re doing it in many ways, including through the recovery of these incredible artworks. We do it because we believe that it means recovering cultural identity, which is not only important for how it represents our history, our past, but also for our future.”


    The TPC Command often handles elaborate cases involving different players that operate within vast international criminal circles. The ability to exercise international cooperation is therefore of key importance. These carabinieri are mediators exercising cultural diplomacy, one of the major strengths and focuses of Italian diplomatic efforts. 


    “This exhibition is also a way of remembering what Italy has traditionally always done for the protection of culture within the UN,” continues Ambassador Zappia. “Not only with the adhesion to the #Unite4Heritage campaign, the famous blue helmets of culture, to which we were amongst the very first to adhere, but also with our efforts towards obtaining a reform of the security council focused on the protection of cultural heritage in situations of conflict, which lead to a historical, groudbreaking resolution in 2017, which we want to invoke with this exhibtion.”


    An exhibition which was met with great interest, as witnessed by the large crowd present at the opening on January 7th, which included UN Secretary General António Guterres, who spoke to the importance of the work carried out by the unit, particularly in times of conflict. 


    Given the universal relevance of the subject, the exhibit, which has already been shown at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris this past October, is set to travel to Beijing later this year.

  • Fatti e Storie

    Aperitivo + tombola, a New York come a casa

    Quale modo migliore di festeggiare a New York le feste che se ne vanno, se non con un aperitivo e una tombolata napoletana? Da Cacio e Vino di Giusto Priola questo è stato possibile.

    Tra italiani, americani e newyorkesi provenienti da tutto il mondo, questo gioco da tavolo non è mai stato così internazionale.

    La formula di successo della serata? Spritz + tombola. E sentirsi come a casa è stato un attimo.

    Un’idea, quella della tombola, nata da due fratelli italo-americani, Gabriella e Giancarlo Carusone, con origini napoletane/laziali e l'amica Alaina Sinopoli che da cinque anni a questa parte portano ogni dicembre in giro per i ristoranti questa tradizione napoletana.

    "L'idea iniziale è stata quella di un'organizzazione di giovani italiani e italoamericani di New York della quale facevano parte Giancarlo e Alaina dieci anni fa'", ci spiega Gabriella. 

    "Col tempo quel gruppo si è dissolto ma visto che la tombola era di Giancarlo - donatagli da nostro nonno - e Alaina nutriva una passione per organizzare eventi, hanno deciso di perpetuare questa tradizione. Vista la mia formazione di design, Alaina mi ha chiesto di unirmi a loro e così organizzammo il nostro primo evento cinque anni fa'".

    Una serata di giochi che parte come improvvisata tra amici ma che si spinge poi oltre: "Ogni anno la location e il tema cambiano. Selezioniamo locali italiani a New York e il nostro obbiettivo è di riunire la comunità," continua la giovane interior designer. "Quest'anno è stato un grande successo, con più di 60 partecipanti!"

    Per alcuni una tombolata rappresenta l'infanzia e l'Italia, un senso di appartenenza alla nostra terra durante le feste natalizie. Mentre per chi non conosce questa tradizione, questa è un'occasione per scoprirla e sentire per un momento di essere in Italia.

    La risposta negli anni è stata accolta con entusiasmo, tanti infatti gli italiani residenti a New York che non si sono persi nemmeno una tombolata.

    Per il loro ultimo evento che si è tenuto il 10 dicembre 2019, il gruppo aveva scelto come location il ristorante Cacio e Vino. Un appuntamento che ha riscontrato un successo tale che Giusto Priola, il proprietario, ha deciso di riproporlo questo gennaio unendolo al suo aperitivo mensile con buffet.

    Perciò, chi lì per un aperitivo o chi per giocare a tombola, i partecipanti della serata hanno potuto godere di un salto nel passato attraverso gli odori di casa come quello della pizza appena sfornata o delle arancine/arancini ancora fumanti.

    Il tutto accompagnato dalle bollicine dello spritz e dal rumore del panariello che sheckerava rumorosamente i dadi. A gran voce i numeri della tombola annunciati sia in italiano che in inglese.

    Una serata newyorkese di sole usanze italiane, che molti hanno voluto rivivere o vivere per la prima volta. Una esperienza 100% italiana.


    Per maggiori informazioni e per partecipare alla prossima tombolata annuale, potete visitare il sito gestito da Gabriella e Alaina. 

  • Art & Culture

    Remembering the Great Alberto Sordi in the Late Actor’s Roman Villa

    The Alberto Sordi Museum and Foundation is dedicating a show to the beloved Roman actor 100 years after his birth. This multimedia exhibition will take place throughout various spaces inside Sordi’s beautiful roman home as well as in the square in front of the villa, where a selection of the actor’s films will be on view free of charge. The show, supported by the municipality of Rome, is set to open in March and will remain on view through June 2020.


    Born in Rome on June 15, 1920, Sordi, or Albertone as he is often referred to by fans, is an Italian film icon, having appeared in over 200 films over the course of his 65-year-long career. 


    He is mostly known for his leading roles in a series of post-war comedies, in which he portrayed the archetypal roman man, playing up his hilariously heavy accent. However, he also starred in a few dramatic films and even stepped behind the camera on several occasions to take on the role of director and collaborate on screenplays.


    At the age of 12, Sordi began to take part in amateur theatre productions and eventually went on to study acting at Rome's Academy of Dramatic Arts, while performing in cabarets and musicals on the side and eventually made his film debut with a small part in Mario Bonnard’s Il Feroce Saladino.  


    He also worked in radio, particularly dubbing American stars such as Oliver Hardy in some of the few foreign productions that Mussolini allowed to be shown in Italy. His interpretation of Ollie, who in the Italian version speaks in a comical english accent, became instantly iconic and marked Sordi’s rise to fame.   


    But his cinematic career really took off when he was chosen by Fellini to star in his 1952 film The White Sheik. The acclaimed director was so pleased with the actor’s performance that he returned to him for his next film, I Vitelloni, the following year.


    In 1954, Sordi starred in his most iconic film yet, Steno’s An American in Rome, which tells the story of Nando Moriconi, an Italian man who desperately tries to look American by adopting what he believes to be American mannerisms, habits, behaviors. In the film, Nando claims he is from Kansas City, where Sordi was invited following the movie’s release and made an honorary citizen.


    Since then, Sordi has starred in countless films, becoming the leading face of the  'Commedia all'Italiana' genre. His comically flawed characters, though often exaggerated, are highly relatable. Through his interpretations of the stereotypical unsophisticated lower-middle class roman man, he represented Italian society as a whole, its peculiarities and shortcomings.


    "My films were deliberate and never chosen at random,” he once said. “They had to reflect the reality of Italian life." This is presumably why he refused to pursue a career in Hollywood, despite receiving offers from prominent American figures such as Billy Wilder. He wanted to make films that reflected what he saw around him. 


    However, this didn’t stop him from receiving numerous awards throughout his career, including a Golden Globe, a Silver Bear in Berlin, a David in Italy, and a Golden Lion for his Lifetime Achievements at the Venice Film Festival. 


    When he passed away on February 24, 2003, all of Italy mourned him. He was beloved across the country, but especially in Rome, where on his 80th birthday in 2000, he was named ‘Mayor for a day” in recognition of his role as one of the city’s main representatives.


    Because of how approachable and genuine he appeared in the eyes of the Italian public, it makes all the more sense for an exhibition in his honor to be held in the intimate context of his former home in the Celio neighborhood in Rome.


  • Art & Culture

    2020 Will be the Year of Parma, the Italian Capital of Culture

    As Matera ends its term as the 2019 European Capital of Culture, focus now shift towards Parma, the 2020 Italian Capital of Culture. The Emilian town has prepared an exciting program to share the region’s rich and varied culture with the world. An occasion to showcase the area’s food, art, history, music, but also to bring forward innovation and development by renovating historical venues, promoting new sustainable practices, and encouraging entrepreneurship and investments.


    “Environmental themes, cultural and gastronomic initiatives, shows, debates, exhibits and the discovery of the territory...that’s how we became the 2020 Italian Capital of Culture,” announces Federico Pizzarotti, the Mayor of Parma, sharing his vision to “become a model for future Capitals of Culture, by interlacing the history, traditions and culture of a city that exemplifies Italian excellence but also wants to be a European city.”


    The inauguration of Parma’s 2020 program will kick off with an official 3-day inauguration on January 11, 12, and 13, amidst exhibition openings, presentations, institutional events, and of course concerts held in the city’s prestigious theatres.


    Saturday January 11th will bring the opening of “Noi, il Cibo, il nostro Pianeta: alimentiamo un futuro sostenibile” (Us, food, our planet: feeding a sustainable future), an exhibit produced by the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition in collaboration with National Geographic Italia to promote the culture of food sustainability and champion good environmental practices. Held at Galleria San Ludovico and Portici del Grano, the show will be open to the public through April 13, 2020.


    In the afternoon, the People of Parma Parade will run through the streets of the city’s historical center, followed by a speach by Mayor Pizzarotti and the launch of the Parma 2020 official jingle composed by songwriter and pianist Raphael Gualazzi. Finally, the evening will conclude with two musical performances: Mozart’s Gran Partita and Niccolo Paganini’s 24 Caprices for Solo Violin.


    On January 12, Teatro Reggio will host the institutional opening ceremony of Parma Italian Capital of Culture with the participation of the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella, who sent the city his best wishes during his traditional end-of-the-year address to the nation, stating that “culture is a great driver of quality of life and solidifies a country’s social fabric.”


    Afterwards, “Time Machine: seeing and experimenting time” will open at Palazzo del Governatore, a multimedial exhibition conceived by Michele Guerra, curated by Antonio Somaini with Eline Grignard and Marie Rebecchi, and produced by the Solares Foundation for the Arts alongside the municipality of Parma, which reflects on the role of the media in influencing our perception of time and space throughout history and today. The opening will be followed by a representation of Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot in the historical Teatro Regio.


    Finally, on the 13th of January, the name day of Parma’s patron saint, Sant’Ilario, local museums and cultural venues will adopt longer opening hours to give everyone a chance to partake in the town’s cultural offerings. Furthermore, the “Voyage through the golden city” initiative will provide visitors with the opportunity to experience Parma as narrated by its protagonists in 10 historically significant venues in an original and interactive enactment of the city’s history from antiquity to today.  


    It will then be time for the opening of a third exhibit titled “Parma and La Gazzetta, news, culture, arts, sports: 285 years of journalism” dedicated to the local newspaper, which has been covering news and recording the area’s history since 1735. And, of course, the day will once again end with a concert, an interpretation of Gioachino Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle.


    Three intense days, jam-packed with initiatives to set the stage for an exciting year ahead. 


    For more information visit the Parma 2020 website.


  • Facts & Stories

    New Year, Old Superstitions

    Superstitions are plentiful in Italy year-round, however such beliefs and practices seem to multiply exponentially around the holiday season, a time of endings and new beginnings, when everyone is trying to stock up on good fortune for the year ahead. Some of the most common ones are practiced by many across the country, while others are rather obscure, and in some cases pretty bizarre. 

    A widespread practice - presumably dating back to roman times - consists of eating lentils on New Year’s Eve to ensure prosperity in the new year. However, most people may not be familiar with the Abruzzese tradition of eating seven (like the seven virtues) soups with seven different legumes to exponentially raise the chances of economic good fortune. 

    Dried fruits and nuts, such as figs, dates, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, almonds, and so on, are also associated with prosperity and can be found on almost every Italian dinner table during San Silvestro (New Year’s Eve.)

    In the Valle d’Aosta and Marche regions, eating 12 purple grapes as the clock strikes midnight is thought to bring good luck, while in Tuscany, Umbria, and Emilia Romagna people eat other fruits such as pomegranites, which represent prosperity.

    Then, as everyone knows, the new year must be wrung with a bottle of bubbly. But you may not have heard that the popping noise the cap makes when it comes off supposedly serves to chase away evil spirits. 

    Another ritual consists of wearing something red - usually underwear - for good luck. There doesn’t seem to be any consensus on when and where this practice originated - some say it comes from the Romans, while others claim it was adopted from China, where the color symbolizes good fortune - however it is one of the most widespread New Year’s traditions nationwide. 

    Some of these superstitions can be seen as sensible advice. For example, in Calabria, they say you should avoid borrowing money on December 31st because that would mean needing to borrow that money all year. Others, on the other hand are less obivous. For instance, traditionally, young women used to throw a slipper down the stairs: if it landed pointing towards the front door, it meant they were to be married soon, if not they were doomed to remain single.

    In Lazio, women had to pick from three different needles without looking, if they chose the one with a red thread, it meant they were to be married soon, black meant they were destined to be widows, and white meant they would remain “zitelle” or spinsters. And still on the topic of marriage, in Apulia, two grains are placed in a cup of water, if they stay together it means there will be a wedding before the end of the new year.

    Fireworks are of course a must, as in most parts of the world, since fire symbolizes light, energy, and good health. However, some people take this a step further: in Friuli, young men jump over fire to ensure virility and fertility. 

    Finally, a very satisfying - though perhaps not 100% safe - tradition typical of southern Italy, particularly of Rome and Naples, is that of getting rid of old objects by throwing them out the window, and with them bad memories and misfortunes. 

    These are just a few of the countless New Year’s supersitions that can be found across Italy. Were you familiar with them? Are there any other ones you would like to share? We would love to hear from you. 


    Happy New Year!

  • Facts & Stories

    Italian Emigration is Rising as Immigration Declines

    Emigration is once again on the rise


    In 2018, 157 000 people left Italy to live abroad (+1.2% from 2017), 117 000 of them were Italians (+1.9%) bringing the total number of Italian expats throughout the course of the last decade to rise to 816 000.


    The region from which most Italians emigrated this past year was not the South as one might expect, but Lombardy, where the number of anagraphic transfers was 22,000, followed by Veneto and Sicily (both over 11,000), Lazio (10,000), and Piedmont (9,000.) 


    It is important to note however that many Italians are moving from Southern regions to Northen ones and to big cities. Over the course of 2018, Sicily and Campania lost over 8,500 highly educated residents over 25 who migrated internally to other regions. Overall, all Central and Northern regions saw a positive or neutral gross variation, while Southern regions registered a clear population drop. 


    For the most part, the direct flows of Italian citizens going abroad came from big cities such as Rome (8,000), Milan (6,500), Turin (4,000) and Naples (3,500.)


    The main destination of these flows was the UK, which in 2018 welcomed 21,000 Italians, followed by Germany (18,000), France (about 14,000), Switzerland (almost 10,000) and Spain (7,000). These five countries represented 60% of total Italian expat destinations, while the main extra-european destinations were Brazil, the United States, Australia and Canada. 


    The average age was 33 for men and 30 for women and over half (53%) have some type of higher education degree. 


    According to ISTAT, this increase in Italian emigration is in part due to the unfavorable state of the Italian job market, especially for young people and women, as well as to the change in attitude towards the idea of living abroad. Both factors are pushing qualified young people to look for opportunities outside of Italy. 


    Among the number of Italians leaving the country we also count those who were born elsewhere, then came to Italy, where they lived for some time acquiring citizenship and eventually moved on to a third country. 35,000 of these “new” Italians left the country in 2018 (30% of total expats, a 6% increase from 2017).


    Immigration slows down


    After the increase that followed the entry of Romania and Bulgaria in the EU in the early 2000s, foreign immigration to Italy started seeing a slow decline. From 2015 to 2017, it then rose again due to the numerous flows of migrants coming from the Mediterranean region. 


    But in 2018, for the first time, the number of migrants entering Italy decreased (-3.2% from the previous year). Romania remains the main country of origin (37,000 or 11% of the total) although the numbers are decreasing significantly (-10% from the previous year), followed by Albania (over 18,000).


    Immigration flows from Africa were consistent but faced a significant decline after having peaked in 2017, particularly Nigeria (18,000, -24%), Senegal (9,000, -20%) and Gambia (6,000, -30%). Morocco is the only African country which registered a positive variation (17,000, +9%). As for the flows from Asia, most came from Bangladesh and Pakistan (both 13,000 with a decline of 8% and 12% from the previous year).


    The average age of immigrant women was 32.2 and that of men 28.7, however, both age and gender both vary according to the country of origin. Overall, the youngest are African immigrants (on average 25.4 years-old), followed by Asians (27 years), while the oldest are European, American, or Australian (around 33,5 years).


    Among the people moving to Italy were also 47,000 Italians, who for the most part were living in countries such as Brazil, Germany, the UK, Switzerland and Venezuela, countries that in the past welcomed a significant number of Italians. It is therefore likely that most of these represent people who are returning to Italy after having spent some time abroad.