(2015-2018) Italy is out

What does it mean to be an Italian abroad today?
The purpose of this photographic essay is to invite the exploration of the common background elements leading Italians to migrate, but also to explore the specific characteristics of migration contexts across time and space from an historical and social perspective. The intent of the project is to collect stories of life involving Italian communities and individuals belonging to different generations. The first one is represented by the the economic migrants departed around the half of the 20th century. The second typology involved are descendants of Italians who born and grow up away from Italy. The last category involved is about the new young generations of people who are living Italy in these last fifteen years.
This approach would incentivize a reflection about the idea of ‘italianita' perhaps redundant and certainly over determined by stereotypes. The final work is developed through a series of portraits of Italians abroad and their personal objects which tell the story of the family and the connections with the Italian culture.

The research is part of the AHRC-funded project 'Transnationalizing Modern Languages: Mobility Identity and Translation in Modern Italian Cultures' involving researchers at the Universities of Bristol, Cardiff, Queen Margaret, St Andrews, and Warwick which commissioned this work.

Valerie Lee Di Benedetto, Clerkenwell, London (ENG) 2015
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Valerie Lee Di Benedetto, Clerkenwell, London (ENG) 2015
Valerie Lee Di Benedetto has origins from the Amalfi Coast, with her paternal grandparents were from Atrani and Ravello, in the province of Salerno. Valerie grew up in London near Clerkenwell and her memories are linked to daily life and specific places. For example, she remembers her grandfather, 'Nonno', speaking Italian with his friends in the area, her grandmother in the kitchen preparing pasta, family celebrations and events, and holidays to the Amalfi Coast.
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1. Family album; 2. Book about Italians in Clerkenwell where Valerie grew up; 3. Bracelet she bought on one of her holidays to the Amalfi coast.
Alberto Varnero, Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) 2017
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Alberto Varnero, Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) 2017
Alberto Varnero is born into a family of Italian builders. His uncle in 1910, and subsequently his father in 1920, moved to Ethiopia, where they started a real estate venture. Alberto was born in Asmara in 1942, and after graduating at the Politecnico Engineering school of Milan he returned to Ethiopia to take up the family business. The company is still thriving today, under the leadership of Alberto’s son.
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Alberto Varnero selected three photographs representing three generations of his family. 1. Alberto’s father; 2. Alberto’s childrens with their wives; 3. Alberto’s grandchildren.
Sara Tesfai, Cambridge (ENG) 2015
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Sara Tesfai, Cambridge (ENG) 2015
Sara Tesfai was born and grew up in Florence. After gaining a degree in Economics, she moved to Cambridge where she has lived since 2014: "Italy, Florence, represent home for me, my culture and everything that is most familiar. At the same time, though, I don't feel like I belong in only one place - rather, I'm suprised by the many places that make me feel at home. England is one of these. I myself am a balance of different cultures'.
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1. 'Le ragazze di Sanfrediano’, Vasco Pratolini. The book takes place in Florence where Sara born and grew up; 2 - 3. postcard from Tuscany and Florence.
Riccardo Iorio, La Plata, (ARG) 2016
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Riccardo Iorio, La Plata, (ARG) 2016
Riccardo Iorio gained a degree in Communication Sciences in Rome. In 2013 he moved to La Plata, where he teaches Italian and has set up a new intercultural and artistic association, 'Espaguetti beat'.

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1. Pasta-making machine which he brought with him from Italy 2. Riccardo's grandmother's salt and pepper grinders; 3. Riccardo grew up in Anzio, a coastal city south of Rome which has a well-established baseball tradition since the sport was brought over by the Allied landings in WWII.
Maria Domenica Arcuri, Hackney, London, (ENG) 2016
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Maria Domenica Arcuri, Hackney, London, (ENG) 2016
Maria Domenica Arcuri is originally from Canna (in the province of Cosenza). After living in Naples, and completing a PhD in Postcolonial and Cultural studies. She moved to London in 2012. She currently organizes and provides Street Art tours of London's hidden corners.

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1. “For me ‘Grand river’ is the connection between Naples and London. I started reading it in Naples and it triggered my move to London; 2. Pebble from Rocca Imperiale beach, a coastal town near Maria Domenica's village; 3. “I got this ring from my mother as a present on the occasion of a visit to Naples, when I still lived there. She bought it for me and on the same day I gave her a ring too”.
Antonia Dawes, Brixton, London (ENG) 2016
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Antonia Dawes, Brixton, London (ENG) 2016
Antonia Dawes has Campanian (Vico Equense) and English origins. She lives in London with her Senegalese husband.

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1. Wedding Album; 2. Handmade crochet cover, a wedding gift made by her maternal grandmother; 3. Photo of Antonia's mother.
Vittorio Valentino, La Manouba (Tunisia) 2018
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Vittorio Valentino, La Manouba (Tunisia) 2018
Vittorio Valentino is from Pomigliano D’Arco (Napoli). In 1990’s Valentino’s father decided to move with his family in France (Toulouse), after the aerospace company in which he worked decided to reallocate the staff. Valentino attended the French school and grew up in a multicultural context, especially with people coming from different part of Mediterranean. Then he graduated in Literature, and he specialized in Literature of migration. After some year teaching in France, he decided to move in Tunis, where he currently lives teaching at the La Manouba University.
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1. For Vittorio is important the dress code: ‘For me it should not be necessary formal, but it is important do not be untidy’; 2. This book is really important for Vittorio. At the same time the writer Erri De Luca is from Naples, the same city in which Vittorio born and grew up; 3. A Tunisian wood box.
Cesar Toffolo, La Plata, (ARG) 2016
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Cesar Toffolo, La Plata, (ARG) 2016
Cesar Toffolo was born in San Donà del Piave (Treviso). In 1952, still only a young boy, he moved to La Plata together with his mother Antonia to join his father Riccardo, who had emigrated a few years earlier. One of the most emotional moments of his life was returning to San Donà del Piave after many years and revisiting the places of his childhood.

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1 and 2) Alpino (Italian Alpine Soldier) hat and certificate of authorised leave; 3) Travel document obtained for Cesar and his mother's journey to Argentina.
Alberto Di Lorenzo, Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) 2017
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Alberto Di Lorenzo, Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) 2017
Alberto Di Lorenzo was born in Addis Ababa in 1954. When he was 14, he moved to Asmara to study at the High school. After serving the Italian Army he stayed in Italy, working in the marble trade. In 1996 he returned to Addis Ababa to take up the family carpentry business.
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1. Carpenter’s work bench; 2. Kitchen stove; 3. Ethnography books about Ethiopia written by Alberto’s grandfather.
Francesco Guercio, Brooklyn, New York (USA) 2016
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Francesco Guercio, Brooklyn, New York (USA) 2016
Francesco Guercio a musician and researcher, grew up in Rome and has a degree in Philosophy. He moved to America about two years ago, and subsequently married. He now works and lives with his wife Rebecca in New York.

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1. His philosophy books; 2. The photo is of Francesco with his maternal grandparents; 3) His inseparable guitar, which he brought with him from Italy.
Riccardo Dessupoiu, La Plata, (ARG) 2016
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Riccardo Dessupoiu, La Plata, (ARG) 2016
Riccardo Dessupoiu has Ligurian and Sardinian origins. He has lived in La Plata for eight years, where he married and where his son was born. At present he works in the cultural sector and as a muscian in various bands, covering genres from experimental rock to jazz.

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1. His grandfather's pipe; 2. Grandfather's watch; 3. A rune which reminds him of Sardinia.
Simone Tolomeo, La Plata, (ARG) 2016
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Simone Tolomeo, La Plata, (ARG) 2016
Simone Tolomeo is originally from Palermo. After a short stay in France he decided to move to Argentina to follow his passion for music. Simone works with various music groups, playing and teaching the bandoneon. He lives in La Plata with his wife and daughter.

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1. Bandoneon; 2. Akkura CDs - a music group from Palermo; 3. 'Diario minimo' di Umberto Eco, one of Simone's favourite books.
Andrea Cabrera, La Plata (ARG) 2016
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Andrea Cabrera, La Plata (ARG) 2016
Andrea Cabrera grew up in San Martín de los Andes, in the south of Argentina. His great-grandfather Nicola Napolitano emigrated to Argentina at the start of the twentieth century, and was joined a few years later by the rest of the family from Potenza. Andrea studied at the classical dance school of La Plata, and now lives and teaches contemporary dance and yoga in the city.

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1. Family photo taken during his mother's communion 2. Photo of his mother with his great-grandfather Nicola and cousin. 3. Photo of his grandfather, Vicenzo Napolitano, with other Italians in the second half of the twentieth century in Buenos Aires.
Simona and Cloe Scaduto, Bromley, London (ENG) 2015
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Simona and Cloe Scaduto, Bromley, London (ENG) 2015
Simona and Cloe Scaduto: Simona is a photographer and artist. She moved from Palermo to London in 2013 together with her 9-year-old daughter, Cloe.

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1. The diary Simona had when she left for London; 2. and 3. Cloe's favourite toys, brought from Italy.
Alfonso Campisi, La Marsa (Tunisia) 2018
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Alfonso Campisi, La Marsa (Tunisia) 2018
Alfonso Campisi is from Trapani (Sicily). After he graduated in Roman Philology and Italian, he obtained a Phd at the Sorbonne Université in Paris. The Sorbonne proposed to him to work for a short time in Tunisia, but then he decided to live for a long period of time in the country, and he asked for Tunisian citizenship. Currently, he is professor at La Manouba Université, where he found a course in Sicilian Culture and Language. He wrote several books about the Arabic influence of Sicily and about the history of the Sicilian community in Tunisia. He feels Tunisia and Sicily as a same geographical and cultural background.
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1. The majolica art was brought to Sicily by the Arabs. These wall tiles are used by Sicilians and Tunisian bourgeoisies to decorate the houses; 2. Furniture made in 1861, that Alfonso inherited by his grandmother; 3. The painting represents Madame Baldanbembo, a Sicilian-Hebrew who lived in La Marsa. It was painted by Sauver Almenza, the last Sicilian painter member of the School of Tunis.
Rita Strazzera, Tunis (Tunisia) 2018
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Rita Strazzera, Tunis (Tunisia) 2018
Rita born and grew up in Tunis, from Sicilian origins. In the half of nineteenth century, her grandfather moved to work in Tunisia from Marsala (Sicily). He was a fisherman, and he practiced particular fisher technics using a dangerous diving suite. Then he got married with the Rita’s grandmother. She was also from Sicily, and she moved in Tunisia in 1907, one year after the Rita’s mother born.
Rita has still a strong relation with Sicily, where she likes to go back every years. She has family memories of the French occupation and the daily life during the colonialism. She remember that Italians, but especially Sicilians, were seeing as a Tunisians by French authorities, and then as enemies during the Second World War. ‘The French authorities were racist. When I was attending at school, I had French teachers, and always they were sarcastic with Italian pupils. Italians were living in their own community, we had our own social and cultural rules, but at the same time, since ever we have had good relations with Tunisians. Especially Sicilians for historical and cultural reason. We are different only for religion and language, but Sicilians and Tunisians have the same roots. Also, after the Second War World Italians started to married Tunisians'.
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1 and 3. Paintings bought in Caltagirone (Sicily). Caltagirone is one of the most important place in Sicily for ceramic and artistic productions. 2. The art of majolica pottery was brought to Sicily by the Arabs. One of the most important folk art pieces are the 'Teste di Moro' (Moors Heads), connnected to an oral legend about a love story which take place around the year 1100, between a woman from Palermo and an Arabic Man.
Nikita Pironti, Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) 2017
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Nikita Pironti, Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) 2017
Nikita Pironti born in Addis Ababa and she has Italian-Ethiopian origins. After she graduated in Accounting and Finance at the Asia Pacific University in Malaysia, she come back to Addis Ababa and she works at the Italian Cultural Institute.
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1 and 2. A souvenir representing the sea and the ‘Trinacria’ (Mythological Meduse), the most important Sicilian symbol. The Medusa’s legs represents the three capes of Sicily. Sicily is the region where Nikita’s father born, and where they usually go for holidays; 3 Nikita likes to listen Italian music.
Giorgia Giunta, Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) 2017
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Giorgia Giunta, Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) 2017
Giorgia Giunta has been living in Ethiopia since 2006. WIth her Ethiopian partner in 2006 she co-founded Fekat Circus (Blossoming Circus, in Amharic) a circus school and a social and cultural hub for the youth of Addis Ababa. Over the last years Fekat Circus has been developing international projects and tournées.
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1. Pincers for the developing and printing of photographs used by Giorgia’s father; 2. Study books in Education that she brought with her from Italy; 3. Cotton sheets from/made in Italy.
Domenico Marraffini and Filomena Bolgona, Ensenada, (ARG) 2016
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Domenico Marraffini and Filomena Bolgona, Ensenada, (ARG) 2016
Domenico Marraffini and Filomena Bolgona are originally from Carpineto Sinello in Abruzzo. In 1947, Domenico's father moved to Belgium where he started work in the mines. The job was arranged by an Italian who managed the migrant Italian workforce on behalf of the mining companies using false promises of work. After working for two years in the mines, he decided to move to Argentina (Domenico was 16 when he left Belgium). In 1956, 19-year-old Filomena from Carpineto was offered to him as a wife. In 1957, after a 17 days at sea aboard the ship Augustus, Filomena joined Domenico in Ensenada, where they subsequently married. In the following years, Domenico and Filomena became militant communists and founded a mutual aid society for Italians. Their political activity was closely monitored by the various Argentinian governments over the years, and they were often threatened.

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1. Old suitcase containing family photographs; 2. Domenico requested a photograph of Filomena for their engagement - she sent him a photograph of the original image; 3. Spanish translation of 'The International'.
Edvige and Claudia Giunta, Teaneck, New Jersey (USA) 2016
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Edvige and Claudia Giunta, Teaneck, New Jersey (USA) 2016
Edvige (left) and Claudia Giunta (right). Edvige is a writer and teaches creative writing at New Jersey City University. She grew up in Gela, Sicily, where she studied and was a political activist. In 1984 she moved to Miami for a PhD programme. In 1992 she was joined by his sister Claudia in 1992. Today Caludia is a successful lawyer in New York.

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1. Claudia's records LPs: "These are the records I listened to as a child and as an adolescent in Sicily, they told me about America."; 2. Records Edvige listened in Sicily; 3. Edvige was very close to her maternal grandmother. She keeps all her grandmother's household objects in a wooden chest.
Annalisa Pastore, Harrington Park, New Jersey (USA) 2016
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Annalisa Pastore, Harrington Park, New Jersey (USA) 2016
Annalisa Pastore was born in the USA. Her parents were from Mola di Bari. Annalisa's mother, Marisa, moved with her family to the USA in 1958, aged 16. She later met and married Franco, a sea captain. Annalisa is a holistic healer in an integrative medicine centre. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, orginally from Cyprus, and their three children.
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1) Sheet handmade by her maternal grandmother; 2. Photos of her father Franco and mother on their wedding; 3. Old family coffee cup.
Julia della Croce, Nyack, New York State (USA), 2016
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Julia della Croce, Nyack, New York State (USA), 2016
Julia della Croce is a food critic, writer, radio presenter and journalist. She was born in the U.S.A to Sardinian parents. Food for her is a tool of political emancipation. Today she works in food education projects in American schools, where the poorest sectors of society are more accutely affected by excessive consumption of junk food and related health risks.

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1. Photograph of Julia's father, originally from Cagliari. In the 1920s he left his job as a shepherd in Sardinia to move to New York. The Great Depression forced him to leave the city to seek better fortune elsewher. For many years he was a cowboy for different ranches in the American West; 2. 1920s edition of the 'Talismano della Felicità', still recognised today as one of Italy's classic cookbooks; 3. Souvenirs bought in Venice on one of her countless trips to Italy.
Peter Covino, Teaneck, New Jersey (USA) 2016
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Peter Covino, Teaneck, New Jersey (USA) 2016
Peter Covino was born in Sturno, in the province of Avellino. His father lived and worked for many years in Venezuela; when Peter was three years old, the family moved permanently to Glen Cove, Long Island: 'We never spoke in Italian, but rather in Sturnese dialect, and then a lot of Spanish, because my father had lived in Venezuela and we grew up with lots of Hispanics.

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1. Picture of the Gulf of Naples; 2. Pillow stuffed with wool, made by his mother; 3. Key-ring commemorating the sister cities of Sturno and Glen Cove - the latter the town where Peter lived with his parents in the USA.
Calogero Savoca, Bronx, New York (USA) 2016
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Calogero Savoca, Bronx, New York (USA) 2016
Calogero Savoca's family is originally from Grammichele in the province of Catania, Sicily. His father Gaetano was in the police but, under Fascism, he decided to abandon everything and go to Argentina where his cousins lived. He and his wife Concetta left ten days after Calogero was born, who spent the first month of his life in the ship. The family then moved to Mendoza, where Gaetano had various jobs before opening a very profitable pasta shop. Following Gaetano's death, Calogero joined the police force and became a functionary. In 1955, during the military coup against Juan Domingo Perón, the army also raided the government headquarters in Mendoza where Calogero worked; as a functionary, he found himself mediating between the soldiers and the security forces to avoid bloodshed whilst the building was under siege.
His daughter Marta still remembers how she, her sister Cristina, their newborn brother Carl Dante and their mother were at home with their ears glued to the radio and with no news of him. In 1959 Calogero decided to move to New York, where he had other relatives, and where Nancy were subsequently born.
Calogero went back to Sicily for the first time when he was 78; he still has family there, but the place he loves most and is most attached to is Argentina.

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1) Calogero is a very cosmopolitan person, he has travelled a lot and nurtures a great curiosity about the world. On his many trips, he has always taken this camera. At home he has a large VHS archive that also contains recordings of documentaries and travel programmes; 2. Picture of the daughter Marta and her family; 3. Maria Elvira's wedding ring, Calogero's wife who died years ago.
Elsa Gasparinetti, La Plata, (ARG) 2016
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Elsa Gasparinetti, La Plata, (ARG) 2016
Elsa's husband Bruno was a sailor in the Italian navy and served in the Second World War. He later decided to move to Argentina, where his sister already lived with her family - they had moved in the second decade of the 1900s. Bruno began working on the trams, and selling fabric. On the 11th October 1949, he was reunited with Elsa and their daughter Wilma after they had made the two week journey to Argentina with the ship 'Sestriere'.

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1. Photo of Elsa's husband Bruno and his parents; 2. Photo of Elsa's parents; 3. Newspaper with the passenger list of the Sestiere (including the names of Elsa and Vilma) dated 11th October 1949, the day of their arrival in Argentina.
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