If you grew up in an Italian family in a country other than Italy, you may not realize that your family is part of one of the largest migration phenomena in modern history. Between 1861 and 1985, over 29 million Italians left their homeland in search of a better life. This site is dedicated to those families and their descendants.
The children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the Italian immigrants grew up as citizens of a new country, absorbing its history and culture and often knowing very little of the country their ancestors fled. Too often, the impoverished immigrants were treated as undesirables, and, responding to a fear of rejection, their children quickly distanced themselves from their origins, changing their names to more acceptable versions, and working hard to 'fit in' with the people around them.
After one or two generations, family members identified completely with the new country. For many today, their knowledge of Italian culture is limited to a taste for Italian food, or an appreciation of Italian cars, fashion or art.
Assimilation is a natural process, and is not, in any way, a negative part of the migration experience. At the same time, there are many organizations around the world that work to maintain a connection to their Italian roots, believing that this is an enriching experience for everyone involved. Italian festivals are a great example of families celebrating their heritage while still appreciating the country where they live.
This site is for people with Italian ancestry who know very little of the country that shaped their family's beliefs, attitudes and points of view. Italy is an amazing place, a small land mass in the center of southern Europe that has produced a disproportionate number of creative geniuses, and contributed much to the world we know. Just how much, you'll discover from browsing these pages.
Why Is Italian Culture So Influential?
Because the Italian peninsula sits squarely in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, its peoples have been center stage for the drama that is European history, and consequently have often played a pivotal role. From the classical Greek period through the Roman Empire and the Renaissance, and continuing into the 21st century, Italians have made major contributions to every human endeavor.
The Italians have never been a people to rest on their laurels. Their inquisitive natures and restless minds compel them to invent, create and explore.
Someone once joked that Italians are forever chasing perfection. That may well be the case, but the end result is that, in so many ways, the world is a better place. On this site we'll take you on a journey through the many manifestations of this obsession, from the timeless creations of Italian art through to the everyday pleasures of Italian cuisine.
Are You An Italian-American? Italian-Australian? Italian-New Zealander?
Italian immigration is not a recent phenomenon. Throughout recorded history, Italians have traveled to every corner of the earth. There are people of Italian descent in most countries, many of whom have never seen Italy. But in some way or another, they often retain traits that are quintessentially Italian, whether it be an independent spirit, an artistic flair, or a tendency to dramatize everyday events.
Because of political and economic conditions, or sometimes just for the sake of adventure, many Italians left their homeland to pursue their fortunes in other countries. An Italian may have been born a peasant in his own country, due to circumstances beyond his control. But put him in a new situation – in a new country with better opportunities for advancement – and he'll reach for the stars, if not for himself then certainly for his children. The achievements of Italians in countries like the Americas, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, are ample evidence of their ability to thrive when presented with a second chance.
This site celebrates all things Italian, from art and music, food and wine, to fashion and fast cars. It's a thank you to our families for braving the challenges of starting a new life on foreign soil, yet passing on to us a rich and colorful heritage from the 'old country'.
So grab a cup of Italian coffee and take a journey with us through the wonderful world of The Italian Legacy.