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Thread: Italians of the Diaspora

  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by italouruguayan View Post
    Hello everyone!
    I'm from Montevideo (Uruguay). My paternal grandfather was from San Martino di Lupari (Veneto). We still have relatives there, with whom we are in contact through Facebook. My paternal grandmother, Uruguayan, was a granddaughter of Italians, of Liguria, I believe. And my maternal grandmother, also Uruguayan, had a Neapolitan grandfather. Here in Uruguay, as in Argentina, Italian immigration has influenced the peculiar accent of our Spanish, and has contributed many words. In addition to eating various types of pasta, and pizza (brought by immigrants and not by Hollywood movies), we also have fainá, Pasqualina cake, polenta, etc. The Italian presence is very noticeable in my country, and influences even those who do not have a drop of Italian blood ...
    Welcome, Italouruguyan,

    Obviously some Ligurians did immigrate there if you eat fainá! :)


    Non si fa il proprio dovere perchè qualcuno ci dica grazie, lo si fa per principio, per se stessi, per la propria dignità. Oriana Fallaci

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    My Italian side came from 3 regions of Italy from my mother. Kind of like a Frankenstein, patched together from different parts of Italy to end up in upstate NY to marry one another. My mother's paternal grandfather came from a small mountain town commune called Ferrazzano, Campobasso in Molise. I always hear the joke when I'm in Italy when I mention Molise is that "it doesn't exist". They say it's so small, that nobody ever goes there and it's full of drunk people. Maybe some of that is true. One thing that is true that the ancient inhabitants were a fierce, stubborn warrior group called the Samnites who fought the Romans on many occasions. The tribe was called the Pentri. The Lombards and Avar/Bulgars settled the area where they have excavated their graves goods and were buried with their horses. Paul the Deacon in the 8th century wrote about them and how they still spoke "Latin" but also their language at home. They have some interesting religious traditions and festivals in Molise including Castelnuovo del Volturno. I'm also related to Robert de Niro, who's family were from Ferrazzano and who's grandparents also moved to my city in NY.

    My mother's paternal grandmother all came from a region miles from the swiss border of Lombardia in a small town in Brescia. Not much is known to me about them because my great-grandmother died of the flu when she was quite young during the Flu epidemic in the US. My grandfather was sent to an orphanage with his brothers. His father remarried a Sicilian woman who's family hated my family. My grandfather wasn't too fond of her for the many troubles she put them through including involving the FBI with an unknown "Sicilian witch" who threatened to put a curse on my family unless a ransom was paid. Old world malocchio.

    My mother's maternal side all came from Avellino in Campagna. They left Italy because my great-grandmother didn't want to marry the man she was set up with. So she ran off with her lover, and came to NY. After giving her 8 children, my great-grandfather disappeared and changed his name, starting a new family in Massachusetts for god knows why. The family didn't speak about it. My great-grandmother started a boarding house for Italians needing a contact, looking for work and a place to stay. Avellino is another area steeped with Samnite traditions. They were the tribe called Hirpini. This name means the wolf in ancient Oscan but oddly it made it's way into English from Oscan via Latin, French and into English and became the word hearse. Strange. Italian diaspora interests me deeply. A great book called On the Ocean about emigration is by Elmondo De Amicis. It's his personal account on board the Nord America from the port of Genoa to Uruguay in 1884. Funny thing is that I'm moving to Sassari Sardinia with my fiance this winter. My mother says I'm going in reverse! I would love to make a film documentary about all of the places in the world that the Italian diaspora settled. Below is a little video about Samnites in Molise and the pictures are the deer man in Castelnuovo del Volturno.
    orso-e-cervo-ridotta.jpg2727a307e412ca41aa03e7c590a088b0--the-dance-blog-entry.jpg
    Last edited by Auld Reekie; 05-11-17 at 03:43.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Auld Reekie View Post
    My Italian side came from 3 regions of Italy from my mother. Kind of like a Frankenstein, patched together from different parts of Italy to end up in upstate NY to marry one another. My mother's paternal grandfather came from a small mountain town commune called Ferrazzano, Campobasso in Molise. I always hear the joke when I'm in Italy when I mention Molise is that "it doesn't exist". They say it's so small, that nobody ever goes there and it's full of drunk people. Maybe some of that is true. One thing that is true that the ancient inhabitants were a fierce, stubborn warrior group called the Samnites who fought the Romans on many occasions. The tribe was called the Pentri. The Lombards and Avar/Bulgars settled the area where they have excavated their graves goods and were buried with their horses. Paul the Deacon in the 8th century wrote about them and how they still spoke "Latin" but also their language at home. They have some interesting religious traditions and festivals in Molise including Castelnuovo del Volturno. I'm also related to Robert de Niro, who's family were from Ferrazzano and who's grandparents also moved to my city in NY.

    My mother's paternal grandmother all came from a region miles from the swiss border of Lombardia in a small town in Brescia. Not much is know to me about them because my great-grandmother died of the flu when she was quite young during the Flu epidemic in the US. My grandfather was sent to an orphanage with his brothers. His father remarried a Sicilian woman who's family hated my family. My grandfather wan't too fond of her for the many troubles she put them through including involving the FBI with an unknown "Sicilian witch" who threatened to put a curse on my family unless a ransom was paid. Old world malocchio.

    My mother's maternal side all came from Avellino in Campagna. They left Italy because my great-grandmother didn't want to marry the man she was set up with. So she ran off with her lover, and came to NY. After giving her 8 children, my great-grandfather disappeared and changed his name, starting a new family in Massachusetts for god knows why. The family didn't speak about it. My great-grandmother started a boarding house for Italians needing a contact, looking for work and a place to stay. Avellino is another area steeped with Samnite traditions. They were the tribe called Hirpini. This name means the wolf in ancient Oscan but oddly it made it's way into English from Oscan via Latin, French and into English and became the word hearse. Strange. Italian diaspora interests me deeply. A great book called On the Ocean about emigration is by Elmondo De Amicis. It's his personal account on board the Nord America from the port of Genoa to Uruguay in 1884. Funny thing is that I'm moving to Sassari Sardinia with my fiance this winter. My mother says I'm going in reverse! I would love to make a film documentary about all of the places in the world that the Italian diaspora settled. Below is a little video about Samnites in Molise and the pictures are the deer man in Castelnuovo del Volturno.
    orso-e-cervo-ridotta.jpg2727a307e412ca41aa03e7c590a088b0--the-dance-blog-entry.jpg
    Great video. I have a lot of respect for them that they want to keep this tradition and the ancient method of producing cheese alive.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.

    Parents' grandparents ancestry locations

    How the ancestry locations of someone from the "diaspora" looks like. :)

    How to read the map:

    Orange - father side
    Yellow - mother side

    Circles - locations of their grandparents
    Bigger quadrates - locations of great-grandparents' who were born in different places from grandparents
    Smaller quadrates - known ancestry locations even farther in time

    Polygons (total of 8 clusters) cover ancestry locations of each of their grandparents.

    Red traces above the quadrates indicate the origin of the most distant known ancestor in male line. The associated cluster is therefore related to the paternal grandfather.
    Red traces below the quadrates indicate the origin of the most distant known ancestor in female line. The associated cluster is therefore related to the maternal grandmother.

    PGM indicates the cluster related to the paternal grandmother.
    The remaining cluster is related to the maternal grandfather.



    I met only my maternal grandfather. His native language was what they call "Talian", a mix of North Italian dialects and traces of Portuguese. He barely spoke Portuguese itself, and he usually "italianized" Portuguese words, so the communication with him was not easy. More or less like this (the difference is that he did speak "some" Portuguese, even if very badly, and with a huge accent):


    Or like the vecieta in this documentary:


    I remember to ask him, a little before he passed away, if he would like to know Italy. He said no, because there was just misery in there. Lol Well, he was a very simple man from the country, illiterate (hadn't have the opportunity to study, as many in that time and place), then he didn't know that Italy became a rich country. He was probably based on what his immigrant father told him many decades before. A point of view more than one hundred years old then. :)

    My parents were born in "Italian" cities, and talked in Talian when they were children. My mother spoke it as first language till abt. 12 years old. I remember they talked in Talian when they didn't want we (me and my siblings) understand what they were talking. It worked just for a while, je je je.

    Now we're all Italian citizens.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Regio X View Post
    How the ancestry locations of someone from the "diaspora" looks like. :)
    How to read the map:
    Orange - father side
    Yellow - mother side
    Circles - locations of their grandparents
    Bigger quadrates - locations of great-grandparents' who were born in different places from grandparents
    Smaller quadrates - known ancestry locations even farther in time
    Polygons (total of 8 clusters) cover ancestry locations of each of their grandparents.
    Red traces above the quadrates indicate the origin of the most distant known ancestor in male line. The associated cluster is therefore related to the paternal grandfather.
    Red traces below the quadrates indicate the origin of the most distant known ancestor in female line. The associated cluster is therefore related to the maternal grandmother.
    PGM indicates the cluster related to the paternal grandmother.
    The remaining cluster is related to the maternal grandfather.

    I met only my maternal grandfather. His native language was what they call "Talian", a mix of North Italian dialects and traces of Portuguese. He barely spoke Portuguese itself, and he usually "italianized" Portuguese words, so the communication with him was not easy. More or less like this (the difference is that he did speak "some" Portuguese, even if very badly, and with a huge accent):

    Or like the vecieta in this documentary:

    I remember to ask him, a little before he passed away, if he would like to know Italy. He said no, because there was just misery in there. Lol Well, he was a very simple man from the country, illiterate (hadn't have the opportunity to study, as many in that time and place), then he didn't know that Italy became a rich country. He was probably based on what his immigrant father told him many decades before. A point of view more than one hundred years old then. :)
    My parents were born in "Italian" cities, and talked in Talian when they were children. My mother spoke it as first language till abt. 12 years old. I remember they talked in Talian when they didn't want we (me and my siblings) understand what they were talking. It worked just for a while, je je je.
    Now we're all Italian citizens.
    Just watched the second video. Fascinating. A subculture of a subculture, the Cimbri. As he said, a mixture of Italian and German.

    I was very moved by that poveretta, the ninety year old. She travelled those thirty-six days by sea, and then who knows how long by land, to a strange place, for "a better life". It doesn't seem any better to me. Worse, if anything. My great-aunt died in her mid-nineties. She too worked like a mule most of her life, but in her later decades she got rid of that black kerchief and clothes. In fact, she told me that of all the changes she had seen, cars, planes, electronics, that's what she appreciated the most, saying goodbye to those kerchiefs and getting her hair done once a week. :) She also loved her tv and the car and going to the shops or making a passeggiata. While she still cleaned and cooked until the very end, she wasn't farming. The old woman in the video was still out there with her zappa. Yet, everyone is different. I shouldn't be substituting my values and judgments for hers. She said she prefers the fields to work in the house. God bless her. Her eyesight may be going, but as of the time of this video her brain was still sharp and alert.

    What difficult lives they led, what sacrifices they made for their children and grandchildren, our ancestors. It always broke my heart listening to them recount stories of the past.

    I don't know if you ever looked the Cimbri up. This Wiki article on them is pretty good. You can see the Lessinia area mentioned in the Video.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cimbrian_language

    Btw, there was a paper which discussed the Cimbri speaking groups in northeastern Italy.
    https://journals.plos.org/plosone/ar...l.pone.0081704

    "The German speaking populations show the most marked signatures of genetic drift. As predicted by the outlying positions of Sappada, Timau and Luserna in the plot of genetic distances, the intra-group variation is very high (0.240, p<0.05), around two times higher than that found for geographically distant European populations. Moreover, the haplotype diversity values in these populations are the lowest of the the dataset, with the exception of Lessinia (see Table S6). Different haplogroups prevail in Sappada (E1b-V13 63%) and Timau (R1a-M17 56%), and different R1b subhaplogroups in Sauris (S139 34%), Lessinia (S116 17%) and Luserna (M269 84%). The considerable differentiation among German-speaking populations may be also seen as a consequence of their demographic history. In fact, they are in continuity with small founding groups [47] which settled in the present day location in Medieval times. Furthermore, as we have recently proposed [30], a relative reciprocal isolation could have occurred even among the linguistically closely related communities of Sappada, Timau, and Sauris as a result of “local ethnicity”. In this condition, the members of each community tend to identify their ancestry with their own village rather than considering themselves as part of the same ethnic group, similarly to what occurs in other alpine regions [48].

    The genetic differentiation between the two Cimbri populations of Luserna and Lessinia deserves further discussion. Both these communities derive from Bavarian populations that colonized a vast territory of the Eastern Italian Alps starting from 1053 AD (Veneto; [49]) to 1216 AD (Trentino; [44]). Luserna is genetically very distant from all the other Alpine populations (average Fst=0.328; see Table S6) and shows a strikingly low intra-population diversity (0.483±0.119). Paternal lineages are represented mostly by the R1b-M269* (frequency of 84%), with six different STR haplotypes associated with only one founder surname. Lessinia shows different, if not opposite, features. The average genetic distances from other populations (Fst=0.097; see Table S6) is less than one third compared to Luserna, while HD is close to the highest values of our dataset (0.978±0.019; Table S6). The prevalent haplogroup, R1b-M269*, accounts for only one third of the total, the rest represented by different lineages (G-M201, I1-M253, M410-J2A and K-M9), which are associated with twenty-three different surnames. The demographic history of the Luserna and Lessinia communities may help explain their differentiation. Luserna was founded by few families which moved from Lavarone, the first known Cimbrian settlement in the territory of Trentino [44]. This could have led to a strong founder effect in this community, a hypothesis supported by a previous study of mtDNA polymorphisms [40]. Moreover, Luserna is located on a high plateau (1,333 m a.s.l.) and is quite isolated from the surrounding areas. By contrast, Lessinia, a more extensive area with reliefs of low altitude (Giazza, 758 m a.s.l.), and has been colonized since the XIII century AD through several migration waves of small groups of settlers for more than one century. From the XV century AD, this community opened to, and probably admixed with, Italian neighboring groups [49]."


    That explains why the old women seemed so Italian to me.

    We discussed it here:
    https://www.eupedia.com/forum/thread...s+Italy-Cimbri

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    Quote Originally Posted by Regio X View Post
    How the ancestry locations of someone from the "diaspora" looks like. :)
    How to read the map:
    Orange - father side
    Yellow - mother side
    Circles - locations of their grandparents
    Bigger quadrates - locations of great-grandparents' who were born in different places from grandparents
    Smaller quadrates - known ancestry locations even farther in time
    Polygons (total of 8 clusters) cover ancestry locations of each of their grandparents.
    Red traces above the quadrates indicate the origin of the most distant known ancestor in male line. The associated cluster is therefore related to the paternal grandfather.
    Red traces below the quadrates indicate the origin of the most distant known ancestor in female line. The associated cluster is therefore related to the maternal grandmother.
    PGM indicates the cluster related to the paternal grandmother.
    The remaining cluster is related to the maternal grandfather.

    I met only my maternal grandfather. His native language was what they call "Talian", a mix of North Italian dialects and traces of Portuguese. He barely spoke Portuguese itself, and he usually "italianized" Portuguese words, so the communication with him was not easy. More or less like this (the difference is that he did speak "some" Portuguese, even if very badly, and with a huge accent):

    Or like the vecieta in this documentary:

    I remember to ask him, a little before he passed away, if he would like to know Italy. He said no, because there was just misery in there. Lol Well, he was a very simple man from the country, illiterate (hadn't have the opportunity to study, as many in that time and place), then he didn't know that Italy became a rich country. He was probably based on what his immigrant father told him many decades before. A point of view more than one hundred years old then. :)
    My parents were born in "Italian" cities, and talked in Talian when they were children. My mother spoke it as first language till abt. 12 years old. I remember they talked in Talian when they didn't want we (me and my siblings) understand what they were talking. It worked just for a while, je je je.
    Now we're all Italian citizens.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cla34bTSvIs
    có che un pòpoło no 'l defende pi ła só łéngua el xe prónto par èser s'ciavo

    when a people no longer dares to defend its language it is ripe for slavery.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Just watched the second video. Fascinating. A subculture of a subculture, the Cimbri. As he said, a mixture of Italian and German.

    I was very moved by that poveretta, the ninety year old. She travelled those thirty-six days by sea, and then who knows how long by land, to a strange place, for "a better life". It doesn't seem any better to me. Worse, if anything. My great-aunt died in her mid-nineties. She too worked like a mule most of her life, but in her later decades she got rid of that black kerchief and clothes. In fact, she told me that of all the changes she had seen, cars, planes, electronics, that's what she appreciated the most, saying goodbye to those kerchiefs and getting her hair done once a week. :) She also loved her tv and the car and going to the shops or making a passeggiata. While she still cleaned and cooked until the very end, she wasn't farming. The old woman in the video was still out there with her zappa. Yet, everyone is different. I shouldn't be substituting my values and judgments for hers. She said she prefers the fields to work in the house. God bless her. Her eyesight may be going, but as of the time of this video her brain was still sharp and alert.

    What difficult lives they led, what sacrifices they made for their children and grandchildren, our ancestors. It always broke my heart listening to them recount stories of the past.

    I don't know if you ever looked the Cimbri up. This Wiki article on them is pretty good. You can see the Lessinia area mentioned in the Video.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cimbrian_language

    Btw, there was a paper which discussed the Cimbri speaking groups in northeastern Italy.
    https://journals.plos.org/plosone/ar...l.pone.0081704

    "The German speaking populations show the most marked signatures of genetic drift. As predicted by the outlying positions of Sappada, Timau and Luserna in the plot of genetic distances, the intra-group variation is very high (0.240, p<0.05), around two times higher than that found for geographically distant European populations. Moreover, the haplotype diversity values in these populations are the lowest of the the dataset, with the exception of Lessinia (see Table S6). Different haplogroups prevail in Sappada (E1b-V13 63%) and Timau (R1a-M17 56%), and different R1b subhaplogroups in Sauris (S139 34%), Lessinia (S116 17%) and Luserna (M269 84%). The considerable differentiation among German-speaking populations may be also seen as a consequence of their demographic history. In fact, they are in continuity with small founding groups [47] which settled in the present day location in Medieval times. Furthermore, as we have recently proposed [30], a relative reciprocal isolation could have occurred even among the linguistically closely related communities of Sappada, Timau, and Sauris as a result of “local ethnicity”. In this condition, the members of each community tend to identify their ancestry with their own village rather than considering themselves as part of the same ethnic group, similarly to what occurs in other alpine regions [48].

    The genetic differentiation between the two Cimbri populations of Luserna and Lessinia deserves further discussion. Both these communities derive from Bavarian populations that colonized a vast territory of the Eastern Italian Alps starting from 1053 AD (Veneto; [49]) to 1216 AD (Trentino; [44]). Luserna is genetically very distant from all the other Alpine populations (average Fst=0.328; see Table S6) and shows a strikingly low intra-population diversity (0.483±0.119). Paternal lineages are represented mostly by the R1b-M269* (frequency of 84%), with six different STR haplotypes associated with only one founder surname. Lessinia shows different, if not opposite, features. The average genetic distances from other populations (Fst=0.097; see Table S6) is less than one third compared to Luserna, while HD is close to the highest values of our dataset (0.978±0.019; Table S6). The prevalent haplogroup, R1b-M269*, accounts for only one third of the total, the rest represented by different lineages (G-M201, I1-M253, M410-J2A and K-M9), which are associated with twenty-three different surnames. The demographic history of the Luserna and Lessinia communities may help explain their differentiation. Luserna was founded by few families which moved from Lavarone, the first known Cimbrian settlement in the territory of Trentino [44]. This could have led to a strong founder effect in this community, a hypothesis supported by a previous study of mtDNA polymorphisms [40]. Moreover, Luserna is located on a high plateau (1,333 m a.s.l.) and is quite isolated from the surrounding areas. By contrast, Lessinia, a more extensive area with reliefs of low altitude (Giazza, 758 m a.s.l.), and has been colonized since the XIII century AD through several migration waves of small groups of settlers for more than one century. From the XV century AD, this community opened to, and probably admixed with, Italian neighboring groups [49]."


    That explains why the old women seemed so Italian to me.

    We discussed it here:
    https://www.eupedia.com/forum/thread...s+Italy-Cimbri
    Angela, thanks for this study. I'll read it with atention as soon as my little dude here allows. I took a while to do a simple map thanks to him. :)

    That's what I thought when I first saw the vecieta: she looks Italian, not German at all. I guess that she was born in South Brazil. It was likely her parents who faced those "36 giorni di macchina e vapore", as the old song says. Merica, Merica... :)
    I have a far ancestor "Cimbro del Cansiglio", who migrated from Altipiano di Asiago - where he married this ancestor from Ampezzo-UD - to North Treviso. I found it curious, since Ampezzo is relatively far from Asiago area. How did they meet?
    Recently I figured out, thanks to a 23andMe match, that he probably belonged to Y J2b, which in fact is not exactly odd with we consider that some places in there must have lots of it, like Timau-UD: ~30%. Coincidently(?), Timau is not that far from Ampezzo.
    http://cimbridelcansiglio.it
    http://www.cimbri.info
    (Probably not all infos concerning the origin are accurate, but...)

    Cimbri in South Brazil were indeed a minority, but I'm not sure they were a minority among a minority. It depends. If we consider Brazil as a whole, then ok, sure; however, if we consider just that macro-area, then no: Italians were the majority by far, and still are, apart "perhaps" in Caxias do Sul, which became a big city.

    I also found the documentary really touching. It inevitably brings us back to the difficulties those poor people encountered. Aside this exhausting journey that you mentioned, just in part through sea, they settled in a "virgin" area in South Brazil, with forests, and had to start from scratch. Not easy! Additionally, and perhaps the worst: many of them left relatives - sometimes very close ones - in Italy. I guess you know pretty well what I'm talking about, since you yourself had to migrate. Imagine the suffering with the separarion from siblings and parents, possibly knowing they would never see each other again. I know of situations like this in my own family, especially maternal. Four mother's great-grandparents left five 2nd great-grandparents in Italy. Not to mention siblings. For example, a father's maternal grandfather (so also his parents) left his sister (and daughter, respectivelly), who was already married at that time. (Then my father still has 3rd cousins in there, but they never met. Not yet.)

    We have a good collection of stories on immigration btw, mainly from Est Editora (https://www.esteditora.com.br).

    Well, things got better more recently, but I'm affraid that those immigrants and the first generation haven't reaped the fruits of their efforts. Who stayed in Italy were in better condition, apparently. Anyway, here we are. :)

    Perhaps sometime in the near future I post more stuff related to the diaspora to (South) Brazil.
    Cheers!

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    Still abt. ancestry locations, it astonishes me some migrations even inside Italy, like the one in my male line. It's not clearly represented in the map, but they stayed quiet just until ~1700. Since then, not a single man in male line was born in a same city, till my own little son. Just amazing! And I myself always wanted to migrate. Possibly some relatively recent mutations in Y-DNA? Just kidding! :)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Regio X View Post
    Angela, thanks for this study. I'll read it with atention as soon as my little dude here allows. I took a while to do a simple map thanks to him. :)

    That's what I thought when I first saw the vecieta: she looks Italian, not German at all. I guess that she was born in South Brazil. It was likely her parents who faced those "36 giorni di macchina e vapore", as the old song says. Merica, Merica... :)
    I have a far ancestor "Cimbro del Cansiglio", who migrated from Altipiano di Asiago - where he married this ancestor from Ampezzo-UD - to North Treviso. I found it curious, since Ampezzo is relatively far from Asiago area. How did they meet?
    Recently I figured out, thanks to a 23andMe match, that he probably belonged to Y J2b, which in fact is not exactly odd with we consider that some places in there must have lots of it, like Timau-UD: ~30%. Coincidently(?), Timau is not that far from Ampezzo.
    http://cimbridelcansiglio.it
    http://www.cimbri.info
    (Probably not all infos concerning the origin are accurate, but...)

    Cimbri in South Brazil were indeed a minority, but I'm not sure they were a minority among a minority. It depends. If we consider Brazil as a whole, then ok, sure; however, if we consider just that macro-area, then no: Italians were the majority by far, and still are, apart "perhaps" in Caxias do Sul, which became a big city.

    I also found the documentary really touching. It inevitably brings us back to the difficulties those poor people encountered. Aside this exhausting journey that you mentioned, just in part through sea, they settled in a "virgin" area in South Brazil, with forests, and had to start from scratch. Not easy! Additionally, and perhaps the worst: many of them left relatives - sometimes very close ones - in Italy. I guess you know pretty well what I'm talking about, since you yourself had to migrate. Imagine the suffering with the separarion from siblings and parents, possibly knowing they would never see each other again. I know of situations like this in my own family, especially maternal. Four mother's great-grandparents left five 2nd great-grandparents in Italy. Not to mention siblings. For example, a father's maternal grandfather (so also his parents) left his sister (and daughter, respectivelly), who was already married at that time. (Then my father still has 3rd cousins in there, but they never met. Not yet.)

    We have a good collection of stories on immigration btw, mainly from Est Editora (https://www.esteditora.com.br).

    Well, things got better more recently, but I'm affraid that those immigrants and the first generation haven't reaped the fruits of their efforts. Who stayed in Italy were in better condition, apparently. Anyway, here we are. :)

    Perhaps sometime in the near future I post more stuff related to the diaspora to (South) Brazil.
    Cheers!
    I would enjoy that.

    The emotional and psychological cost of migration is sometimes too ignored. I think my mother cried continuously for five years after we came. My father worked all hours of the day and night, and my mother, who didn't speak a word of English, was left alone with us. Other than my father's family, none of whom lived within walking distance, no one spoke Italian. Well, there were a few people who spoke a sort of pidgen Neapolitan mixed with English, but that was about it. My own reactions were definitely not always positive. I remember crying and asking my mother why he'd brought us to a place where they didn't even have "BREAD"! :) Well, they had something they called bread, but I thought it was disgusting. It took a while to find Italian import stores so we could at least eat a semblance of our own food. Italian daughters are often very close to their mothers, but I think I became particularly so out of a sense that I had to protect her, translating for her at stores, banks, school conferences, since I picked up English so quickly. Heck, I was doing the banking when I was about thirteen. It does build character and fosters maturity, I'll say that for it.

    It may have been different in South America, but in the U.S. the Italians had the highest rate of return to their home country out of all the immigrant groups. My paternal grandfather did it, dragging the first seven of his eleven children back to Italy with him (my father and the three youngest were born there). They made their money and went back home. I'm not surprised at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    I would enjoy that.

    The emotional and psychological cost of migration is sometimes too ignored. I think my mother cried for five years after we came. My father worked all hours of the day and night, and my mother, who didn't speak a word of English, was left alone with us. Other than my father's family, none of whom lived within walking distance, no one spoke Italian. Well, there were a few people who spoke a sort of pidgen Neapolitan mixed with English, but that was about it. My own reactions were definitely not always positive. I remember crying and asking my father why he'd brought us to a place where they didn't even have "BREAD"! :) Well, they had something they called bread, but I thought it was disgusting. It took a while to find Italian import stores so we could at least eat a semblance of our own food. Italian daughters are often very close to their mothers, but I think I became particularly so out of a sense that I had to protect her, translating for her at stores, banks, school conferences, since I picked up English so quickly. Heck, I was doing the banking when I was about thirteen. It does build character and fosters maturity, I'll say that for it.

    It may have been different in South America, but in the U.S. the Italians had the highest rate of return to their home country out of all the immigrant groups. My paternal grandfather did it, dragging the first seven of his eleven children back to Italy with him (my father the three youngest were born there). They made their money and went back home. I'm not surprised at all.
    This is a song of homesickness by a Ligurian immigrant to South America who returns so his bones can someday rest with those of his nonna. I know how he feels. :) It's in the dialect of Genova, so the Italian translation shows up at the bottom.

    This is the English translation:



    But if I think about it...

    He had left without a single penny,
    thirty years ago, perhaps even more.
    He had struggled to put his money in a bank
    and to be free to come back some day
    and to build his house and his little garden
    with a creeper, and a cellar for the wine
    with a hammock tied to the trees to use it as a bed,
    to rest on it in the evening and morning.
    But his son told him «Don’t think about
    Genoa, do you really want to go back there?!»


    But if I think about it, then I see the sea,
    I see my mountains, the Annunziata square1
    I see Righi again, and I feel a pang in my heart,
    I see the Lighthouse, the cave and the dock down there …
    I see again Genoa by night, illuminated,
    I see the foce on the shore and I hear the sea crashing,
    and then I think to go back again
    to lay my bones where my grandmother is.


    And a lot of time passed, perhaps too much,
    his son insisted: «We're fine here,
    where do you want to go, dad? we’ll think about later:
    the travel, the sea, you’re old... it isn’t convenient!»
    «Oh no, oh no! I’m still quite spry and capable
    I’m fed up, I can't stand it anymore,
    I’m tired of hearing “señor caramba”
    I want to go back again down there…
    You speak Spanish since you were born here,
    I was born in Genoa and …I won’t give up!»


    But if I think about it, then I see the sea,
    I see my mountains, the Annunziata square,
    I see Righi again, and I feel a pang in my heart,
    I see the Lighthouse, the cave and the dock down there …
    I see again Genoa by night, illuminated,
    I see the foce on the shore and I hear the sea crashing,
    and then I think to go back again
    to lay my bones where my grandmother is.


    And without any fuss, like before, he departed
    and in Genoa he built his nest again.


    This is an English version which better captures the emotion, I think. I've heard this song dozens upon dozens, upon dozens of times, and still she makes me tear up.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5CvEnRQqkA

    Btw, not that it matters, but I think the old Cimbri woman made that journey. She talks about a young girl child dying and being buried in the sea. Can you imagine the suffering of the parents? No tomb with a picture to visit, to clean, to decorate with flowers. Horrible.

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    Nonna in Italian means mother ? In Albanian its Nana / Nena

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    Nonna is Grandmother.

    Nana is a Woman with Dwarfism.

    People have various ways to call their Parents and Grandparents.

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    I know about the Darcy Loss Luzzatto, from Pinto Bandeira-RS, grandson of trentini and bellunesi. He is an enthusiast of the so-called Talian (https://youtu.be/YfnQkLHQQZs, and has done a grammar (~1994) and a dictionary (~2010).

    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    I would enjoy that.

    The emotional and psychological cost of migration is sometimes too ignored. I think my mother cried continuously for five years after we came. My father worked all hours of the day and night, and my mother, who didn't speak a word of English, was left alone with us. Other than my father's family, none of whom lived within walking distance, no one spoke Italian. Well, there were a few people who spoke a sort of pidgen Neapolitan mixed with English, but that was about it. My own reactions were definitely not always positive. I remember crying and asking my mother why he'd brought us to a place where they didn't even have "BREAD"! :) Well, they had something they called bread, but I thought it was disgusting. It took a while to find Italian import stores so we could at least eat a semblance of our own food. Italian daughters are often very close to their mothers, but I think I became particularly so out of a sense that I had to protect her, translating for her at stores, banks, school conferences, since I picked up English so quickly. Heck, I was doing the banking when I was about thirteen. It does build character and fosters maturity, I'll say that for it.

    It may have been different in South America, but in the U.S. the Italians had the highest rate of return to their home country out of all the immigrant groups. My paternal grandfather did it, dragging the first seven of his eleven children back to Italy with him (my father and the three youngest were born there). They made their money and went back home. I'm not surprised at all.
    So your grandfather migrated to America and then returned to Italy... Your father, years after, migrated to America. Is that right? Very interesting! It would be similar to what happened with my godfather. His maternal grandparents migrated to South Brazil, and his mother was born in Caxias do Sul. But then they returned to Treviso, where he was born, and married. In the 1940s, if my memory serves, the couple migrated to Argentina, and in 1950s to South Brazil, now definitely. His mother, born in South Brazil, lived in Treviso till her death with 107 years - believe me! Unfortunately, he himself didn't live that long.
    These immigrations to Serra Gaúcha after 1900 were not common, that's why I think the vecieta was born in Antonio Prado-RS, Brazil, rather than Italy, and must have heard from her parents about that misfortune in the ship, involving the poor child. That was not rare, btw; I myself heard about it several times (on bodies thrown into the sea during the journey). Really horrible! Plus, at 9:25 the man asked: "Da dove sono venuti (i genitori)"?. At 17:40 she explains part of the journey, and uses "sono", not "siamo".
    Anyway, I don't know how common returns were, compared to North America. I do know that many were disappointed (the propaganda in Italy was exaggerated). Still, some immigrants, satisfied, did send letters to relatives in Italy stimulating migrations; my guess is that sometimes they were absolutely sincere, and other times, still with good intentions, they were possibly distracted or induced by the fact they simply missed their folks. There were also letters of regret. It depends. So, some were really satisfied, some were not exactly happy but didn't want to go back for some reason, and some did want to return, as a mother-in-law's great-grandmother, just for example. After her husband tragically died, she wanted to go back to Italy with the kids, but she hasn't had the ways. To provide an example in my own family: years ago I sent a letter to the Anagrafe of a certain comune in Treviso, asking for a certificato di stato di famiglia storico, and the responsible person wrote more or less the following, in Italian:
    - Hey, your ancestor was brother of my great-grandfather, who also migrated to Brazil, but returned to Italy soon after his twins died.
    I myself didn't know, and later I saw it was in the same ship. Great coincidence! And it was her to said who my father's 3rd cousins from Italy are.
    Anyway, some of these immigrants were very successful, and the descendants generally haven't lost the "attachment" to Italy. An example of both is Raul Randon and ancestors. Raul became a multimillionaire and has never forgotten his roots. You probably don't read Portuguese, but the Google Translator may help you to read this nice article about him and his visits to the ancestry location in Italy:
    http://pioneiro.clicrbs.com.br/rs/cu...-10803849.html

    So, anyway the immigration thrived, and Brazilians, Italians, Germans etc. have done a good work in developing some areas: http://www.economist.com/news/americ...-states-escape

    Interesting this story of yours. An additional difficulty your family faced apparently was this cultural "isolation", while in my area at least the Italians were almost completely surrounded by... Italians. :) I believe this fact softened a bit their way.

    Thanks for the beautiful song. Really touching, and probably even more for those who experienced a migration to a distant place. You usually post some nice and interesting videos, btw. For example, I showed the trallalero for my father and the tammuriata for my mother. They liked them. My mother even shared it with the family. :)

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Regio X View Post
    I know about the Darcy Loss Luzzatto, from Pinto Bandeira-RS, grandson of trentini and bellunesi. He is an enthusiast of the so-called Talian (https://youtu.be/YfnQkLHQQZs, and has done a grammar (~1994) and a dictionary (~2010).

    So your grandfather migrated to America and then returned to Italy... Your father, years after, migrated to America. Is that right? Very interesting! It would be similar to what happened with my godfather. His maternal grandparents migrated to South Brazil, and his mother was born in Caxias do Sul. But then they returned to Treviso, where he was born, and married. In the 1940s, if my memory serves, the couple migrated to Argentina, and in 1950s to South Brazil, now definitely. His mother, born in South Brazil, lived in Treviso till her death with 107 years - believe me! Unfortunately, he himself didn't live that long.
    These immigrations to Serra Gaúcha after 1900 were not common, that's why I think the vecieta was born in Antonio Prado-RS, Brazil, rather than Italy, and must have heard from her parents about that misfortune in the ship, involving the poor child. That was not rare, btw; I myself heard about it several times (on bodies thrown into the sea during the journey). Really horrible! Plus, at 9:25 the man asked: "Da dove sono venuti (i genitori)"?. At 17:40 she explains part of the journey, and uses "sono", not "siamo".
    Anyway, I don't know how common returns were, compared to North America. I do know that many were disappointed (the propaganda in Italy was exaggerated). Still, some immigrants, satisfied, did send letters to relatives in Italy stimulating migrations; my guess is that sometimes they were absolutely sincere, and other times, still with good intentions, they were possibly distracted or induced by the fact they simply missed their folks. There were also letters of regret. It depends. So, some were really satisfied, some were not exactly happy but didn't want to go back for some reason, and some did want to return, as a mother-in-law's great-grandmother, just for example. After her husband tragically died, she wanted to go back to Italy with the kids, but she hasn't had the ways. To provide an example in my own family: years ago I sent a letter to the Anagrafe of a certain comune in Treviso, asking for a certificato di stato di famiglia storico, and the responsible person wrote more or less the following, in Italian:
    - Hey, your ancestor was brother of my great-grandfather, who also migrated to Brazil, but returned to Italy soon after his twins died.
    I myself didn't know, and later I saw it was in the same ship. Great coincidence! And it was her to said who my father's 3rd cousins from Italy are.
    Anyway, some of these immigrants were very successful, and the descendants generally haven't lost the "attachment" to Italy. An example of both is Raul Randon and ancestors. Raul became a multimillionaire and has never forgotten his roots. You probably don't read Portuguese, but the Google Translator may help you to read this nice article about him and his visits to the ancestry location in Italy:
    http://pioneiro.clicrbs.com.br/rs/cu...-10803849.html

    So, anyway the immigration thrived, and Brazilians, Italians, Germans etc. have done a good work in developing some areas: http://www.economist.com/news/americ...-states-escape

    Interesting this story of yours. An additional difficulty your family faced apparently was this cultural "isolation", while in my area at least the Italians were almost completely surrounded by... Italians. :) I believe this fact softened a bit their way.

    Thanks for the beautiful song. Really touching, and probably even more for those who experienced a migration to a distant place. You usually post some nice and interesting videos, btw. For example, I showed the trallalero for my father and the tammuriata for my mother. They liked them. My mother even shared it with the family. :)
    Thanks, Regio. I'm glad you and your family enjoyed them. :)

    Yes, our adjustment to America was made much harder by the fact that we weren't surrounded by "Italians". We weren't even surrounded by "Italian-Americans". There were Italian descendants in the industrial town to which we migrated, but by the time we arrived, these people were third and even fourth generation Italians. If they spoke the language at all, it was their own dialect from Napoli or Reggio Calabria or Palermo, which was unintelligible to us. (The only Northern Italians I knew growing up were the members of my father's family, and the people at the "Parmigiano" club in Astoria, Queens, to which we drove a couple of times a year for events, and later, for some ill fated attempts to find me a husband among "our" kind of Italians. :) Most only had a smattering of it anyway.

    Their food was different too. Even the Italy they knew from their grandparents' stories was a totally different Italy from ours. It no longer existed. It was surprising how little they actually knew of Italian culture and history, and that they didn't speak standard Italian. Then, it wasn't like New York City or Philadelphia or even Boston, where actual heavily "Italian" neighborhoods still existed and in fact still exist in part today. Everyone was scattered around, many had intermarried, etc. It also was a much bigger production in those days to stay in contact with family from home. My mother, and I, missed family desperately. Her father died suddenly of a stroke. When they finally let her know she screamed and fell to her knees in the kitchen. I still have it all in my head to this day.

    All of this made it extremely difficult for my mother, and for me, because I was older and felt so attached to "home", and family, and friends. The very sights and smells here were so foreign, especially for my mother, who came from the Italian Riviera. Years later, my husband and I took my parents on a trip to California. When we got to Santa Barbara, and she saw the road hugging the sea, the palm trees, the fig trees, smelled the wild rosemary, and wild thyme and the flowers, she teared up. Why couldn't we have come here, she said. She had no idea America had a place like that. Not that the northeast isn't beautiful, but it's so very different.

    La Spezia:


    Lungomare:



    Santa Barbara:





    Anyway, yes, my paternal grandparents went to the U.S. during the early migrations. My nonno started a logging company in Pennsylvania, where they had seven children. When he had made enough money he took them all back to Italy. It was all for nought. Instead of investing in good farmland near Sarzana in the plain, where he could have made an even bigger fortune, he bought apartment buildings and a restaurant and store. They didn't make the money he hoped. Then life became very difficult under the fascists, and slowly the much older children, who were American citizens, went back to the U.S. They had reverse homesickness. :) My father was the last holdout. A real Italian patriot, he didn't want to go, especially as things were finally starting to turn around. My grandmother literally forced him.

    Oh well, it worked out in the long run. He became very successful, even though he was in his thirties when he arrived, with not one word of English, but it wasn't easy. Even my mother adjusted in time. She liked the convenience of life here, and the lack of the stultifying bureaucracy. Life in Italy can be spectacular if you have a good position, but even then it's not always convenient. :)

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    How much is an apartment to rent in Italy ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gash View Post
    How much is an apartment to rent in Italy ?
    Like anywhere else there's a wide variation depending on the town, the area, the size, the upkeep, etc.

    Best thing to do is just google apartments in a particular town.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Like anywhere else there's a wide variation depending on the town, the area, the size, the upkeep, etc.

    Best thing to do is just google apartments in a particular town.
    A lot of foreign young people stay in youth hostels until they figure it out.

    Generally, anywhere you want to be is expensive, as it is all over the world. :) You also have to consider job opportunities. Won't matter if the place is really cheap if there's no work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    A lot of foreign young people stay in youth hostels until they figure it out.

    Generally, anywhere you want to be is expensive, as it is all over the world. :) You also have to consider job opportunities. Won't matter if the place is really cheap if there's no work.
    What about investing in apartments / real estate or running your own business there ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gash View Post
    What about investing in apartments / real estate or running your own business there ?
    In your Country, go see a decent Financial Advisor to assess your situation (Consulente in Italian), and then ask to get you in contact with a decent Financial Planner.

    (don’t skip these steps)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Thanks, Regio. I'm glad you and your family enjoyed them. :)

    Yes, our adjustment to America was made much harder by the fact that we weren't surrounded by "Italians". We weren't even surrounded by "Italian-Americans". There were Italian descendants in the industrial town to which we migrated, but by the time we arrived, these people were third and even fourth generation Italians. If they spoke the language at all, it was their own dialect from Napoli or Reggio Calabria or Palermo, which was unintelligible to us. (The only Northern Italians I knew growing up were the members of my father's family, and the people at the "Parmigiano" club in Astoria, Queens, to which we drove a couple of times a year for events, and later, for some ill fated attempts to find me a husband among "our" kind of Italians. :) Most only had a smattering of it anyway.

    Their food was different too. Even the Italy they knew from their grandparents' stories was a totally different Italy from ours. It no longer existed. It was surprising how little they actually knew of Italian culture and history, and that they didn't speak standard Italian. Then, it wasn't like New York City or Philadelphia or even Boston, where actual heavily "Italian" neighborhoods still existed and in fact still exist in part today. Everyone was scattered around, many had intermarried, etc. It also was a much bigger production in those days to stay in contact with family from home. My mother, and I, missed family desperately. Her father died suddenly of a stroke. When they finally let her know she screamed and fell to her knees in the kitchen. I still have it all in my head to this day.

    All of this made it extremely difficult for my mother, and for me, because I was older and felt so attached to "home", and family, and friends. The very sights and smells here were so foreign, especially for my mother, who came from the Italian Riviera. Years later, my husband and I took my parents on a trip to California. When we got to Santa Barbara, and she saw the road hugging the sea, the palm trees, the fig trees, smelled the wild rosemary, and wild thyme and the flowers, she teared up. Why couldn't we have come here, she said. She had no idea America had a place like that. Not that the northeast isn't beautiful, but it's so very different.

    La Spezia:


    Lungomare:



    Santa Barbara:





    Anyway, yes, my paternal grandparents went to the U.S. during the early migrations. My nonno started a logging company in Pennsylvania, where they had seven children. When he had made enough money he took them all back to Italy. It was all for nought. Instead of investing in good farmland near Sarzana in the plain, where he could have made an even bigger fortune, he bought apartment buildings and a restaurant and store. They didn't make the money he hoped. Then life became very difficult under the fascists, and slowly the much older children, who were American citizens, went back to the U.S. They had reverse homesickness. :) My father was the last holdout. A real Italian patriot, he didn't want to go, especially as things were finally starting to turn around. My grandmother literally forced him.

    Oh well, it worked out in the long run. He became very successful, even though he was in his thirties when he arrived, with not one word of English, but it wasn't easy. Even my mother adjusted in time. She liked the convenience of life here, and the lack of the stultifying bureaucracy. Life in Italy can be spectacular if you have a good position, but even then it's not always convenient. :)
    Angela, wow! Quite a story, yours!

    I can imagine how hard all the situation must have been for your family, and especially for your parents (young people usually adapt better), but I'm sure it also made you stronger.
    I assume those days you haven't visited family in Italy from time to time? Probably it was not so easy as nowadays.

    As for your paternal grandfather, I think he was very successful then, even if he hasn't made all the money he hoped. And your grandmother contradicted the famous music, yes? This is Valdir Anzolin (AFAIK he and my mother share two great-grandparents - those from Belluno):


    "Cento lire me te le do
    Ma in America no no no" :)
    Anyway, "le parole di ogni mamma dicon sempre la verità", so she was right after all (in forcing your father). ;)
    Jokings apart, I can imagine how difficult it was for him.

    Now you posted these pictures together, yeah, Santa Barbara does have this "aura" from riviera. But a real aura, not that one from haplogroups. Lol
    (Hey, by any chance did you eat good artichokes in there?) :)
    Well, I know what you mean, 'cause the geography of South Brazil also helped immigrants in their adaptation, admittedly, and I'm sure that part of California would have helped your mom as well.
    Btw, I confess I prefer cold, cloudy and humid weather, and no, I'm not depressive. :) It's just that I'm somewhat sensible to strong light, and I'm absolutely hot-natured. I can stand dry weather, but not the heat, that's why I guess I'd like more the climate from Santa Barbara than the Riviera's, or at least the summer. But of course, climate is not the whole opera. :)

    The fact those "Italians" didn't know Italian history doesn't surprise me. I'm sure most of our "Italians" didn't - and don't - know it very well, and this is true for the immigrants themselves, who generally told stories just about their own specific locations and way of life, it seems. In fact, I'd guess that even in Italy many people didn't know Italian history - at least till some time ago; now virtually everybody go to school -, as in Brazil many people don't know even the basic of Brazilian history.
    But it really surprised me that "outdated" comment of my grandfather, who still thought Italy was poor (probably referring to the Italy of his father, i.e., Padova from the 1870s/80s), in consonance to what you just related. Plus, in 1990s he still spoke "fiorini" rather than the name of the Brazilian currency. Funny! :)
    Also similarly to what you said, there were different dialects in S. Brazil, and not all "oriundi" were able to communicate properly with each other, especially in the old times, before the "Talian" emerged. My mother told me she didn't unserstand well what the neighbors cremonesi used to say, when she lived in the country. That's decades after the immigrarion period!
    Yet, a difference between the immigration to South Brazil and to other places was that, while in USA, for instance, those who were born there knew how to speak English, there were many people born in South Brazil (mainly from the first generation, but not only) who didn't know how to speak Portuguese well, or didn't speak it at all, due to isolation. My father has old cousins in the country whose first language is still the Talian. That's in 2019!
    And not just Italians, btw. I dated a German descendant some years ago, and I remember her paternal grandmother also spoke Portuguese very baddly - with an enormous accent -; her first language was the Hunsrückisch. And that's more than 150 years after the immigration of her German folks. Just amazing! Now, certainly, cases like these are becoming rare, whereas they were relatively common till some few decades ago. Anyway, it's an interesting and somewhat uncommon feature of my area.

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    2 out of 2 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Regio X View Post
    Angela, wow! Quite a story, yours!

    I can imagine how hard all the situation must have been for your family, and especially for your parents (young people usually adapt better), but I'm sure it also made you stronger.
    I assume those days you haven't visited family in Italy from time to time? Probably it was not so easy as nowadays.

    As for your paternal grandfather, I think he was very successful then, even if he hasn't made all the money he hoped. And your grandmother contradicted the famous music, yes? This is Valdir Anzolin (AFAIK he and my mother share two great-grandparents - those from Belluno):


    "Cento lire me te le do
    Ma in America no no no" :)
    Anyway, "le parole di ogni mamma dicon sempre la verità", so she was right after all (in forcing your father). ;)
    Jokings apart, I can imagine how difficult it was for him.

    Now you posted these pictures together, yeah, Santa Barbara does have this "aura" from riviera. But a real aura, not that one from haplogroups. Lol
    (Hey, by any chance did you eat good artichokes in there?) :)
    Well, I know what you mean, 'cause the geography of South Brazil also helped immigrants in their adaptation, admittedly, and I'm sure that part of California would have helped your mom as well.
    Btw, I confess I prefer cold, cloudy and humid weather, and no, I'm not depressive. :) It's just that I'm somewhat sensible to strong light, and I'm absolutely hot-natured. I can stand dry weather, but not the heat, that's why I guess I'd like more the climate from Santa Barbara than the Riviera's, or at least the summer. But of course, climate is not the whole opera. :)

    The fact those "Italians" didn't know Italian history doesn't surprise me. I'm sure most of our "Italians" didn't - and don't - know it very well, and this is true for the immigrants themselves, who generally told stories just about their own specific locations and way of life, it seems. In fact, I'd guess that even in Italy many people didn't know Italian history - at least till some time ago; now virtually everybody go to school -, as in Brazil many people don't know even the basic of Brazilian history.
    But it really surprised me that "outdated" comment of my grandfather, who still thought Italy was poor (probably referring to the Italy of his father, i.e., Padova from the 1870s/80s), in consonance to what you just related. Plus, in 1990s he still spoke "fiorini" rather than the name of the Brazilian currency. Funny! :)
    Also similarly to what you said, there were different dialects in S. Brazil, and not all "oriundi" were able to communicate properly with each other, especially in the old times, before the "Talian" emerged. My mother told me she didn't unserstand well what the neighbors cremonesi used to say, when she lived in the country. That's decades after the immigrarion period!
    Yet, a difference between the immigration to South Brazil and to other places was that, while in USA, for instance, those who were born there knew how to speak English, there were many people born in South Brazil (mainly from the first generation, but not only) who didn't know how to speak Portuguese well, or didn't speak it at all, due to isolation. My father has old cousins in the country whose first language is still the Talian. That's in 2019!
    And not just Italians, btw. I dated a German descendant some years ago, and I remember her paternal grandmother also spoke Portuguese very baddly - with an enormous accent -; her first language was the Hunsrückisch. And that's more than 150 years after the immigration of her German folks. Just amazing! Now, certainly, cases like these are becoming rare, whereas they were relatively common till some few decades ago. Anyway, it's an interesting and somewhat uncommon feature of my area.
    No, it was different in the U.S. Even the children of the actual immigrants often understood Italian but didn't speak it very well. There was this mania to be "AMERICAN", and that meant eating hamburgers, playing baseball, speaking English. That's all it took, and you were completely accepted. My husband is third generation from southern Italy, but he doesn't speak a single word of Italian. All of his cousins married out except for him. When his grandmother met me she almost fell to her knees in thanksgiving. :) I became her absolute favorite, and she would teach me all her Neapolitan recipes, and tips on keeping your man happy. To wit, when it's about time for him to come home, change your apron, comb your hair and put on some lipstick. :). However, as she said to me, while her grandson was a very good boy, all the same I should tell him what she told her husband before they got married: your house and clothes will be clean, there'll be good food on the table, and I'll raise your children right, but if you ever raise a hand to me in anger, don't go to sleep after that because you'll never wake up! Trust me, she meant it. :) She was a pip! Oh, and no smoking in the house, and only one glass of wine with supper! She also believed in white magic, if you know what I mean, and so on Christmas Eve one year she taught me how to get rid of the mal occhio and unwanted guests and all sorts of other things. I didn't have the heart to tell her I didn't believe in any of it. I loved my grandparents and great aunts and uncles so much, and couldn't spend time with them the way I wanted, so I sort of adopted her. :)

    Strange thing is that my husband, without speaking a word of Italian, is far more an Italian man in a very old-fashioned sense than my male cousins in Italy. I call it the diaspora effect. :) My Greek American friends tell me it's the same thing with Greeks. Italian Americans are less clannish than the Greeks though. Everyone intermarries. Well, almost everyone but me. A Southern Italian was about as "foreign" as I could imagine going. Oh, my husband even studied the "classics" in university: Latin, Greek literature, the history of the Greek and Latin cultures etc.to keep in touch with his "roots".

    That reminds me. By the time of Mussolini in Italy people were not only taught Italian and Roman history(well, the version he approved), but were all instructed in "standard" Italian, i.e. Tuscan as modified by Manzoni etc., lingua toscana in bocca romana. At least that's the way it was everywhere north of Rome except perhaps for the Veneto. It was your patriotic duty to know those things. My father, as I said, without being at all fascistic, rather the opposite, was a great Italian patriot in the tradition of Mazzini, who was his hero. He was also an anti-cleric. So, we had portraits of Mazzini and Garibaldi on the wall, not the Pope. :) He knew a lot of Dante by heart and other Italian poets, mostly self taught, and the lyrics and melodies of all the Italian operas. Those were my lullabies. He was a brilliant man, my father, especially in mathematics, with many talents: a great voice and wonderful artistic skills on top of everything else. He apprenticed to a sculptor in Carrara for a while. If only Italy had the opportunities that people are afforded in America.

    Actually, I went back to Italy more often than they did. My father could only go for two weeks at a time on visits. I went during the summers for much longer, even the summers during university. I studied there too. It was very important to me. Then, with work and children, it was two to three weeks at a time maximum. Now, I can call my own shots and go for longer. I still plan on retiring there for five or six months a year. The mistake I made was in not speaking to my children only in Italian. I did some of the time, but not always, so although they can understand a lot they're not fluent. It was difficult because it left my husband out if we all spoke Italian, and I was uncomfortable with that, as was he. I joke sometimes and say that when I'm old and doddering and have dementia my husband won't understand a word I'm saying, and neither will the nurses.

    Speaking of the language, it was indeed difficult to communicate with some of the old Italian people here in the U.S., and their children only knew a smattering of dialect as well. In Italy, again because of Mussolini it was important to speak standard Italian. My father was manic about it. He spoke it beautifully and he wanted that for me too. He went to the extent of forbidding anyone from speaking even the Lunigiana dialect or his own Parma dialect in front of me. Then he'd teach me some verses and make me show off my "pure" Italian. Yes, he'd have me sing too, in my puffy party dress and white lace topped socks and black Mary Janes. Just like the movies. :) My "American" cousin told me he thought I was the Virgin Mary when I came from Italy, a Virgin Mary with a gold cross necklace and little golden drop earings in my ears. You can imagine how I went over with the jeans and sneaker set at my school. :) The nuns thought so too. I was the Virgin in every May Day parade and pageant I can remember.

    Yes, great artichokes in California. Have you been there? I think Castro is still the artichoke capital of the world. Every spring I get a bag shipped to me of the tiny, tender ones, and fry them Jewish style and make a pasta with the rest. The restaurants in California can be very good, and they're very "Mediterranean". In one in Monterrey, which we adored, they served small ones as gratis appetizers. The self-important waiter started to tell us how to eat them. My father interrupted and said, young man, I was eating artichokes before you were born. :) Outside of a restaurant my father saw a huge fig tree behind the restaurant. It was groaning with the weight of the figs, and the floor was littered with them. He went in and asked the owner if he could pick some. The owner was glad to get rid of the excess. He should have been preserving them, of course. My Dad still wore those caps that older Italian men wore. He filled it with figs. All these "Americans" gathered round asking what they were and how to eat them! I think he filled that cap five times.

    I have my father's genes for cold weather, and quite enjoy winter, but my mother was a Mediterranean through and through. She detested the cold and liked nothing better than to curl up and fall asleep in the sun. Meanwhile my father and I would be under the trees because we burned so badly. Fwiw, the climate in Santa Barbara is very like the climate in Liguria, imo. It's cool and pretty rainy in winter, and hot and pretty dry in the summer. I can't abide humidity, and neither could my father. They're mountain people his family, having lived for more than 500 years up in the Apennines, still cool in the summers, and snow eight months a year it sometimes seems. No offense to anyone from the Po plain, but I would not ever choose to live there, not even in Parma itself. It's cold and wet in the winter and brutally hot and humid in the summer. Firenze, one of my favorite cities, has an unfortunate climate as well imo.

    My grandmother, like all Italian mothers and grandmothers, wanted to keep the family together. The seven oldest would never go back to Italy. My father was the last hold out. He was the toughest man I ever met, the strongest, but even he couldn't say no to his mother forever, and he was in his thirties. :) One last story: when my father got his first project for over a million dollars, he went out with his partners to celebrate after work, something he never did. His mother lived with us. Once it was past nine o'clock she paced and paced in her long white nightgown with her long white braid swishing around, muttering, just wait till he gets home, Menelich. I'll fix him. My mother begged her not to get upset, as she wasn't. When he came home, a little the worse for the wear, it must be said, she asked him what he thought he was doing. She didn't like the answer. She slapped him right across the face and said, "A decent man comes home to his wife and children at a decent time. I don't care how old you are (He was over 40), until the day I die I'm still your mother. I thought he'd have a heart attack, but he took it.

    I always wonder who started the absurd idea that Italian women are weak.

    Well I could go on reminiscing forever, but I don't want to bore you. It's been fun, though.
    Last edited by Angela; 23-03-19 at 03:53.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    No, it was different in the U.S. Even the children of the actual immigrants often understood Italian but didn't speak it very well. There was this mania to be "AMERICAN", and that meant eating hamburgers, playing baseball, speaking English. That's all it took, and you were completely accepted. My husband is third generation from southern Italy, but he doesn't speak a single word of Italian. All of his cousins married out except for him. When his grandmother met me she almost fell to her knees in thanksgiving. :) I became her absolute favorite, and she would teach me all her Neapolitan recipes, and tips on keeping your man happy. To wit, when it's about time for him to come home, change your apron, comb your hair and put on some lipstick. :). However, as she said to me, while her grandson was a very good boy, all the same I should tell him what she told her husband before they got married: your house and clothes will be clean, there'll be good food on the table, and I'll raise your children right, but if you ever raise a hand to me in anger, don't go to sleep after that because you'll never wake up! Trust me, she meant it. :) She was a pip! Oh, and no smoking in the house, and only one glass of wine with supper! She also believed in white magic, if you know what I mean, and so on Christmas Eve one year she taught me how to get rid of the mal occhio and unwanted guests and all sorts of other things. I didn't have the heart to tell her I didn't believe in any of it. I loved my grandparents and great aunts and uncles so much, and couldn't spend time with them the way I wanted, so I sort of adopted her. :)

    Strange thing is that my husband, without speaking a word of Italian, is far more an Italian man in a very old-fashioned sense than my male cousins in Italy. I call it the diaspora effect. :) My Greek American friends tell me it's the same thing with Greeks. Italian Americans are less clannish than the Greeks though. Everyone intermarries. Well, almost everyone but me. A Southern Italian was about as "foreign" as I could imagine going. Oh, my husband even studied the "classics" in university: Latin, Greek literature, the history of the Greek and Latin cultures etc.to keep in touch with his "roots".

    That reminds me. By the time of Mussolini in Italy people were not only taught Italian and Roman history(well, the version he approved), but were all instructed in "standard" Italian, i.e. Tuscan as modified by Manzoni etc., lingua toscana in bocca romana. At least that's the way it was everywhere north of Rome except perhaps for the Veneto. It was your patriotic duty to know those things. My father, as I said, without being at all fascistic, rather the opposite, was a great Italian patriot in the tradition of Mazzini, who was his hero. He was also an anti-cleric. So, we had portraits of Mazzini and Garibaldi on the wall, not the Pope. :) He knew a lot of Dante by heart and other Italian poets, mostly self taught, and the lyrics and melodies of all the Italian operas. Those were my lullabies. He was a brilliant man, my father, especially in mathematics, with many talents: a great voice and wonderful artistic skills on top of everything else. He apprenticed to a sculptor in Carrara for a while. If only Italy had the opportunities that people are afforded in America.

    Actually, I went back to Italy more often than they did. My father could only go for two weeks at a time on visits. I went during the summers for much longer, even the summers during university. I studied there too. It was very important to me. Then, with work and children, it was two to three weeks at a time maximum. Now, I can call my own shots and go for longer. I still plan on retiring there for five or six months a year. The mistake I made was in not speaking to my children only in Italian. I did some of the time, but not always, so although they can understand a lot they're not fluent. It was difficult because it left my husband out if we all spoke Italian, and I was uncomfortable with that, as was he. I joke sometimes and say that when I'm old and doddering and have dementia my husband won't understand a word I'm saying, and neither will the nurses.

    Speaking of the language, it was indeed difficult to communicate with some of the old Italian people here in the U.S., and their children only knew a smattering of dialect as well. In Italy, again because of Mussolini it was important to speak standard Italian. My father was manic about it. He spoke it beautifully and he wanted that for me too. He went to the extent of forbidding anyone from speaking even the Lunigiana dialect or his own Parma dialect in front of me. Then he'd teach me some verses and make me show off my "pure" Italian. Yes, he'd have me sing too, in my puffy party dress and white lace topped socks and black Mary Janes. Just like the movies. :) My "American" cousin told me he thought I was the Virgin Mary when I came from Italy, a Virgin Mary with a gold cross necklace and little golden drop earings in my ears. You can imagine how I went over with the jeans and sneaker set at my school. :) The nuns thought so too. I was the Virgin in every May Day parade and pageant I can remember.

    Yes, great artichokes in California. Have you been there? I think Castro is still the artichoke capital of the world. Every spring I get a bag shipped to me of the tiny, tender ones, and fry them Jewish style and make a pasta with the rest. The restaurants in California can be very good, and they're very "Mediterranean". In one in Monterrey, which we adored, they served small ones as gratis appetizers. The self-important waiter started to tell us how to eat them. My father interrupted and said, young man, I was eating artichokes before you were born. :) Outside of a restaurant my father saw a huge fig tree behind the restaurant. It was groaning with the weight of the figs, and the floor was littered with them. He went in and asked the owner if he could pick some. The owner was glad to get rid of the excess. He should have been preserving them, of course. My Dad still wore those caps that older Italian men wore. He filled it with figs. All these "Americans" gathered round asking what they were and how to eat them! I think he filled that cap five times.

    I have my father's genes for cold weather, and quite enjoy winter, but my mother was a Mediterranean through and through. She detested the cold and liked nothing better than to curl up and fall asleep in the sun. Meanwhile my father and I would be under the trees because we burned so badly. Fwiw, the climate in Santa Barbara is very like the climate in Liguria, imo. It's cool and pretty rainy in winter, and hot and pretty dry in the summer. I can't abide humidity, and neither could my father. They're mountain people his family, having lived for more than 500 years up in the Apennines, still cool in the summers, and snow eight months a year it sometimes seems. No offense to anyone from the Po plain, but I would not ever choose to live there, not even in Parma itself. It's cold and wet in the winter and brutally hot and humid in the summer. Firenze, one of my favorite cities, has an unfortunate climate as well imo.

    My grandmother, like all Italian mothers and grandmothers, wanted to keep the family together. The seven oldest would never go back to Italy. My father was the last hold out. He was the toughest man I ever met, the strongest, but even he couldn't say no to his mother forever, and he was in his thirties. :) One last story: when my father got his first project for over a million dollars, he went out with his partners to celebrate after work, something he never did. His mother lived with us. Once it was past nine o'clock she paced and paced in her long white nightgown with her long white braid swishing around, muttering, just wait till he gets home, Menelich. I'll fix him. My mother begged her not to get upset, as she wasn't. When he came home, a little the worse for the wear, it must be said, she asked him what he thought he was doing. She didn't like the answer. She slapped him right across the face and said, "A decent man comes home to his wife and children at a decent time. I don't care how old you are (He was over 40), until the day I die I'm still your mother. I thought he'd have a heart attack, but he took it.

    I always wonder who started the absurd idea that Italian women are weak.

    Well I could go on reminiscing forever, but I don't want to bore you. It's been fun, though.
    Not at all. I'm reading your stories with great interest. I just loved your husband's grandmother, btw, and I must say your father somewhat looks like mine, in several aspects. :)
    I myself wish I could write more, but I usually have a hard time doing it in English.

    I definetely identify with somethings you related, as you'll see further up.

    I couldn't eat artichokes in California, unfortunately. Probably you don't remember, but you told me about them at the end of 2015 in the old 23andMe forum. I asked tips for my trip in there, and you gave me some, including of wineries in the Napa area, one of my destinations. Thanks again! :)
    Yeah, Po Valley may be very hot. Indeed, my eldest brother was choosing a place to visit with my parents in next July. He gave up the Veneto due to the possible heat, and decided to go to Canada with them.
    Btw, these east ocean coasts tend do have milder summers (and winters), in comparison to west coasts in similar latitudes. See Vancouver, for example. Anyway, California coast has a relatively mild climate. The averages low and high in Santa Barbara in the hottest month are 15.8 and 24.4, respectively, and they're associated to dryness (Riviera is also somewhat dry in summer, but I guess Santa Barbara is even drier), meaning even less heat index, and "humidex" (if you're Canadian). Averages from latitude 34°! Check out the averages from, say, Wilmington, in opposition. But I know the temperatures may be very high also in Santa Barbara, occasionally.
    I get burned in the sun too, however, my problem is more with the light itself. It really disturbs my eyes - certainly much more than average - and causes me headache and some prostration. Sunglasses are mandatory. :)

    Yeah, also in Brazil the Italian descendants were stimulated to speak just in Portuguese, including by the government - forcibly - during the World War II mainly, but also by some parents. There were those parents who even prohibited the kids to speak "Italian" at home. That's not necessarily because in the past it was associated to, say, low status(?), or simply no study, but also because they wanted them to integrate. Some were even ashamed to speak. Things changed later, which imo was good. The language does have cultural importance, and it's part of our history. Still, my own (close) family never bother too much in learning what they call(ed) "the dialect", je je je. My mother used to say Talian was making the learning of Italian difficult. My father doesn't mix them up, but he was not an enthusiast of the Talian. He respected it a lot, but certainly preferred Italian, as my siblings - oblivious to Talian. One of them was (and probably still is) a great fan of Verdi, then imagine! ;) https://youtu.be/0upXYbw-gBQ
    In fact, he's a composer himself (he does it as hobby), and his first opera, still to be premiered this year, is in Italian. In family, I (the youngest) am the one who give Talian lots of value, even if I don't speak it very well, and genealogy itself*. I mean, I understand your father, some of my own grandparents and the political purposes of the past, but times changed. Can you imagine,say, Naples without its linguistic particularities, for example? They're part of its "soul". :) Italian should be learned by all Italians, obviously, but there is nothing wrong in "keeping" regional languages. Well, I guess I convinced my parents of the importance of Talian anyway. :)
    *People have "some" interest in genealogy, you know. More, or less, but they have. I always had much more interest on it though, than my siblings and people in general. There is this old video in which I show up still as a little child proposing a toast for a certain great-grandfather, on occasion of some holiday. They looked at me as they were saying: wtf? Lol Those times I already wanted to know who my 2nd great-grandparents were, and part of their stories. I remember we had just three or four names from this specific generation. A bit more than ten years ago, I was designated to find the exact birth place of my father's paternal grandfather (we knew just the province), after a lawer failed in the task. The purpose was the dual citizenship. Then I figured out that the last name changed in Brazil - hence the initial difficulty -, and also the place of origin. Anyway, I was already in the mood, and started to build what became a huge tree. Today I'm "the guy who knows about the family". Lol As for DNA, I tested my parents already, and now I'm going to test a maternal uncle. :)
    Btw, my father-in-law is a typical Brazilian, from a Central area in the country, but my mother-in-law is also Northeast Italian in ancestry. However, she descends from Italians who settled in Espirito Santo, more to the North. There was no big isolation in there, and they integrated much quicker. To exemplify how the "side effect" of the isolation in South Brazil caused the preservation of the language, see that my mother-in-law, granddaughter of Italians in paternal side and great-granddaughter in maternal, doesn't speak a single word of Talian or related language. In fact, I accidentaly noticed she did know one, but she didn't know it was Venetian. I told her. :) Still, I do know some few people in Espirito Santo speak Talian - or similar language.
    Finally: Yes, most Venetians didn't speak Italian at the time of the immigrarion (I guess more than 90%), but there were exceptions even between immigrants. My father's maternal grandfather was one of them, and apparently he did know how to speak it more or less. It's at least what a letter suggests (to my grandparents, who were living in a different city, so I assume my grandmother spoke it as well). Tell me if I'm wrong (I'll send it to you through PM), but it doesn't seem to me a pure Venetian.

    I believe in the "diaspora effect". :) I'd risk to say an akin phenomenom may be observed not just among descendants, but among the migrants themselves, even if the migration happens regionally (at least in countries with lots of diversity, like Brazil and Italy themselves). It happened with me. Sometimes you have to leave your place to value certain things and reinforce identity.
    My parents and kids (including me, naturally) left our land time ago. Y-DNA's fault. ;) At the beginning, some of us wanted to come back, but they ended up adapting after all. I say "they" because I myself never adapted completely. When I reached the age, I came back to my land and lived there several years. Then your grandmother came, I mean, my mother, and said: come here, let's keep all together. :) Obviously she convinced me, but you know... I also loved the place where I was born, as your father. It was very difficult for me. Sometimes I asked myself if it worthed, even loving my family above all. I mean, today is so easy to travel that I could have had both, I guess...

    ED: correction.
    ED2: I couldn't send the PM. It says you exceeded your quota.

  24. #49
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    2 out of 2 members found this post helpful.
    Yes, WWII had a profound impact on Italian Americans too. People forget that a lot of Italians and Germans who hadn't gotten citizenship were "interned". It was even more important to jettison things that made one "foreign", and that included speaking a "foreign" language. Some even changed their names. I've been told that a lot of Muellers became Millers, for example.

    Nonna Anna (really Marianna), was an extraordinary woman. The first time I went to dinner at their home, and this white haired Italian grandmother wearing a flowery apron and orthopedic shoes whipped out a cigarette and lighter I almost fell off the chair. :) She had picked up the habit from her children. She also had a very, well, I think I have to call it "bawdy" sense of humor. I had never heard a woman curse. My mother spoke like a Mother Superior in a convent, and my grandmother and aunts and great-aunts were also very restrained. You know what I mean: certain things were only spoken of in whispers and among adult women. Well, not Anna. Sometimes I blushed so hard I looked like a tomato. I would also get told regularly to speak up, per l'amor' di dio, when I wanted something. I couldn't be heard over the noise they made. :) To me, it seemed like they were fighting, but they weren't, although they could fight, alright.

    She took her children back to see her husband's family once. It didn't go well. Someone told her brother in law that she was seen talking to another returned Italian American at the post office, a man, horror of horrors. The brother in law started yelling at her at dinner so she took the bowl of spaghetti she was eating and threw it right in his face. She told him he wasn't her husband, and he had no right to question her! The local Italian priest in America who got on her "wrong" side also got short shrift. Sometimes she let her boys sleep in on a Saturday morning instead of going for religious instruction. When he came to bless the house for Easter one year and reprimanded her she took her broom and swept him out of the house. They were the only Italian family who didn't go to the "Italian" church. She seemed to me the very personification of a Neapolitan woman: warm, generous, direct, feisty and hot tempered.

    Part of my father's insistence on speaking "Italian" was tied up with his politics, his view of Italy, and the place it should hold in the world. He wanted Italy and Italians to be strong, to no longer be the victim(s) of foreign governments, and to ensure that he believed that Italy had to be united against the outside world, and that necessitated a common language. A divided people who couldn't even understand one another properly would always be kicked around by the rest of the world. As I said above, he idolized Mazzini, except in that he wasn't as religious as Mazzini, although Mazzini too was an anti-cleric. Yes, the two things can go together. :)


    It was also tied up with his love of Italian literature. Reading "I Promessi Sposi" wasn't the chore for him that it is for most Italian school children, and learning whole passages of Dante and Petrarca was a delight.

    Part of it was also very practical, however. "Dialect" speakers were seen as uneducated, poor, lower class, in our part of Italy. If you wanted a good job, preferment, it was important to "sound" a certain way. It was always the same in England. Your "language" told people everything they needed to know about you and your status. There has been some movement in trying to recognize the "old" dialects in my area, but it won't really work. There are too many southern Italians who migrated there, not to mention people from further afield lately. People have to have a common language for everything to function. Even in the south things have changed. I know older Sicilian Americans, who do speak their parents' "dialect", who go to Sicily and find that even the Sicilian dialect has changed and they're not perfectly understood. The advent of television changed everything. Standard Italian has had a big influence on the Sicilian language, and there's no going back. Don't misunderstand though, "core" Neapolitans of a certain type still speak a dialect. When the movie "Gomorrah" was released, it had subtitles in "Italian", because people in other parts of Italy would not be able to understand the dialect. Up until a few decades ago there were still a substantial number of Genovesi who spoke or at least understood "Zenese". See the following by our poet laureate.

    Creuza de ma'


    I'm not the geneaologist you are. My father's geneaology was done by an uncle working in the churches of their villages in the Apennines. His people can be traced back to the mid 1500s with the Council of Trent and there are scattered records even further back. I don't doubt that they were there from the early Middle Ages, although there were periodic arrivals of men fleeing "uncomfortable" situations in other parts of Italy. Those villages, only loosely supervised by a very distant bishop, were a perfect place for men who didn't want to answer to local lords and robber barons. One of his ancestors was supposedly a "pirate", probably a privateer, in Rimini. My father's grandparents still had a gold basin and candlesticks from him. In another thread I showed their coat of arms over the village gate and at the door of the old family house. My mother's lines are spottier because of damage to archives during the war, but again a member of her family did the family tree. I filled in what I could but I'm not that dedicated to it. Part of that is because of what I know of genetics. Go back to your great, great grandparents and you actually start carrying the dna of only a few of them.

    What I am fixated on and always have been is the "people" of my ancestral areas, most of whom are my "cousins" to one degree or another, in particular my mother's areas, where I was born and lived, although also my father's, where I know we're all very closely related to one another. I have studied their history, their culture, their food, their sufferings, for decades. I wanted to know what "made" them (us), how they came to be, how they came to have the character I so love. That led me to population genetics eventually. Most of my family think I'm mad. I tried to explain all of this to my adored great aunt, but after listening intently she just waved her hand to encompass the whole terrain and said, "but we've always been right here". :) To some degree, for at least a thousand years, she was correct.

    Believe me, I've sometimes wondered if my father did the right thing. In America I feel very Italian, and in Italy very American. It's as if I'm suspended between the two places, hovering over the Atlantic ocean
    somewhere. It's not always comfortable.

    I'm going to be presumptious and express a personal opinion about what you said. You were right to join your family. It's the only thing that matters. I've seen it over and over again with old people. When the end draws near, money, position, status, none of it matters. The only thing that matters is the people we have loved and how we treated them. Keep them close.

  25. #50
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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Yes, WWII had a profound impact on Italian Americans too. People forget that a lot of Italians and Germans who hadn't gotten citizenship were "interned". It was even more important to jettison things that made one "foreign", and that included speaking a "foreign" language. Some even changed their names. I've been told that a lot of Muellers became Millers, for example.
    Nonna Anna (really Marianna), was an extraordinary woman. The first time I went to dinner at their home, and this white haired Italian grandmother wearing a flowery apron and orthopedic shoes whipped out a cigarette and lighter I almost fell off the chair. :) She had picked up the habit from her children. She also had a very, well, I think I have to call it "bawdy" sense of humor. I had never heard a woman curse. My mother spoke like a Mother Superior in a convent, and my grandmother and aunts and great-aunts were also very restrained. You know what I mean: certain things were only spoken of in whispers and among adult women. Well, not Anna. Sometimes I blushed so hard I looked like a tomato. I would also get told regularly to speak up, per l'amor' di dio, when I wanted something. I couldn't be heard over the noise they made. :) To me, it seemed like they were fighting, but they weren't, although they could fight, alright.
    She took her children back to see her husband's family once. It didn't go well. Someone told her brother in law that she was seen talking to another returned Italian American at the post office, a man, horror of horrors. The brother in law started yelling at her at dinner so she took the bowl of spaghetti she was eating and threw it right in his face. She told him he wasn't her husband, and he had no right to question her! The local Italian priest in America who got on her "wrong" side also got short shrift. Sometimes she let her boys sleep in on a Saturday morning instead of going for religious instruction. When he came to bless the house for Easter one year and reprimanded her she took her broom and swept him out of the house. They were the only Italian family who didn't go to the "Italian" church. She seemed to me the very personification of a Neapolitan woman: warm, generous, direct, feisty and hot tempered.
    Part of my father's insistence on speaking "Italian" was tied up with his politics, his view of Italy, and the place it should hold in the world. He wanted Italy and Italians to be strong, to no longer be the victim(s) of foreign governments, and to ensure that he believed that Italy had to be united against the outside world, and that necessitated a common language. A divided people who couldn't even understand one another properly would always be kicked around by the rest of the world. As I said above, he idolized Mazzini, except in that he wasn't as religious as Mazzini, although Mazzini too was an anti-cleric. Yes, the two things can go together. :)
    It was also tied up with his love of Italian literature. Reading "I Promessi Sposi" wasn't the chore for him that it is for most Italian school children, and learning whole passages of Dante and Petrarca was a delight.
    Part of it was also very practical, however. "Dialect" speakers were seen as uneducated, poor, lower class, in our part of Italy. If you wanted a good job, preferment, it was important to "sound" a certain way. It was always the same in England. Your "language" told people everything they needed to know about you and your status. There has been some movement in trying to recognize the "old" dialects in my area, but it won't really work. There are too many southern Italians who migrated there, not to mention people from further afield lately. People have to have a common language for everything to function. Even in the south things have changed. I know older Sicilian Americans, who do speak their parents' "dialect", who go to Sicily and find that even the Sicilian dialect has changed and they're not perfectly understood. The advent of television changed everything. Standard Italian has had a big influence on the Sicilian language, and there's no going back. Don't misunderstand though, "core" Neapolitans of a certain type still speak a dialect. When the movie "Gomorrah" was released, it had subtitles in "Italian", because people in other parts of Italy would not be able to understand the dialect. Up until a few decades ago there were still a substantial number of Genovesi who spoke or at least understood "Zenese". See the following by our poet laureate.
    Creuza de ma'

    I'm not the geneaologist you are. My father's geneaology was done by an uncle working in the churches of their villages in the Apennines. His people can be traced back to the mid 1500s with the Council of Trent and there are scattered records even further back. I don't doubt that they were there from the early Middle Ages, although there were periodic arrivals of men fleeing "uncomfortable" situations in other parts of Italy. Those villages, only loosely supervised by a very distant bishop, were a perfect place for men who didn't want to answer to local lords and robber barons. One of his ancestors was supposedly a "pirate", probably a privateer, in Rimini. My father's grandparents still had a gold basin and candlesticks from him. In another thread I showed their coat of arms over the village gate and at the door of the old family house. My mother's lines are spottier because of damage to archives during the war, but again a member of her family did the family tree. I filled in what I could but I'm not that dedicated to it. Part of that is because of what I know of genetics. Go back to your great, great grandparents and you actually start carrying the dna of only a few of them.
    What I am fixated on and always have been is the "people" of my ancestral areas, most of whom are my "cousins" to one degree or another, in particular my mother's areas, where I was born and lived, although also my father's, where I know we're all very closely related to one another. I have studied their history, their culture, their food, their sufferings, for decades. I wanted to know what "made" them (us), how they came to be, how they came to have the character I so love. That led me to population genetics eventually. Most of my family think I'm mad. I tried to explain all of this to my adored great aunt, but after listening intently she just waved her hand to encompass the whole terrain and said, "but we've always been right here". :) To some degree, for at least a thousand years, she was correct.
    Believe me, I've sometimes wondered if my father did the right thing. In America I feel very Italian, and in Italy very American. It's as if I'm suspended between the two places, hovering over the Atlantic ocean
    somewhere. It's not always comfortable.
    I'm going to be presumptious and express a personal opinion about what you said. You were right to join your family. It's the only thing that matters. I've seen it over and over again with old people. When the end draws near, money, position, status, none of it matters. The only thing that matters is the people we have loved and how we treated them. Keep them close.
    Sounds picturesque. :) I'm not PhD in South Italians, but the bravissima granny seems to correspond to the stereotype of a Neapolitan mamma, out of an Italian movie. I say it 'cause in fact I have never been in close contact with a typical Southern Italian family, so I have no reference beyond TV. Anyway, I wouldn't have imagined nothing too different from what you described, almost scenic.
    Apparently it's impossible to get bored in a South Italian circle. :)

    As for Italian language etc., it's really complicated, because the context would still include politics, apparently, and I'm not that tuned into it. So not sure what to say. Whilst I understand the purposes you mentioned, and don't disagree, I also believe a price was paid for the cause, culturally, but also concerning freedom. No problem; that was a different time, and that's history! Actions and reactions of political nature still contaminate the matter, though. Even so, I guess there is no need to "pay" it anymore, and in fact regional peculiarities make a country richer imo. I see languages as part of "cultural packages", and my fear is that the death of a language could inevitably correlate to the death of a whole package. Hope I'm wrong. Anyway, I'm for freedom, of course, especially in the individual level. At the end, people must be free to do what they want in this regard. If they don't care, due to, say, utilitarianism - or whatever reason -, ok. If they care, even if they are being just "romantic" - I must be one of them :) -, and there is a relevant demand for keeping it, then ok as well. In this last case, even government could help occasionally (through the representatives of the very people, of course). It happened in cities of South Brazil, for example, where Talian is taught in public schools for those who have interest. Meanwhile, some people don't even think about the matter, and again: nothing wrong.
    In short, caring about a cultural heritage is good. That's positive, "affirmative". What I think is not acceptable at all is opportunism, racism, the despise to different cultures, be it for economical reasons, religious, you name it. That's negative. The two things must not be confused, because they are not necessarily associated to one another. I know you haven't said otherwise, btw.
    Finally, despite what I just said, I'm aware that certain movements are just inevitable. Repeating history, many things we care about will eventually die (and languages can be one of them, sure). It's just a matter of time. But we're still alive, so... :)
    Btw, wow!, Zenese seems pretty different. I don't get virtually anything of the music!

    I'm also curious on people, and not just about my own, but especially about them, which is natural. The willing to know our own family would be part of the same mecanism. But names per se won't tell us too much about our family history, i agree. Anyway, researching was fun, so basically a hobby, but also somewhat educational for me, since it was possible to learn some things in the process. Apart the factoids themselves, as for example that one about an ancestor cimbro. :) The intellectual curiosity on family and people came early in my case, as you could notice, but I've never really feed my time with it till more recently.

    Regarding to be with family, yeah, you must be right! Anyway, it already happened. Let's move on. :)
    And hey!, you were not presumption. Be sure I sincerely appreciate your oppinion.

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