“Terra Ancestrale” – “Earth of Pioneers” – a study of Greeks in Italy presented in Rome, focuses on the “modern Greek diaspora in Italy, especially the first and second generations”. The research, and the relevant publication by the Cnr Research Foundation, was curated by Andreas Pelitsias and historian Riga Raftopoulos – both members of the Greek diaspora living in Italy.
The first migration wave was noted after World War II during the years of the Greek dictatorship. “We can say that Greece cast greater emphasis on Greeks abroad with the creation of a specialist sector in the framework of a government group,” said Greek-Italian researcher Raftopoulos.
The research was based on 256 questionnaires and 70 in-depth interviews. It was found that second-generation Greeks in Italy assume a new identity that goes beyond a simple mix of the Greek and Italian elements. The feelings of Greek heritage and identity are very strong and there is a high level of “roots tourism” – travels to Greece in order to seek personal and family roots.
Though second-generation community members don’t actively participate in activities of different Greek associations they are still greatly interested in Greece and use the Greek language.
The study was conducted with the collaboration of the Greek community in Rome, the Italian Research Foundation and the Greek Embassy of Rome.