Archivi storici nel territorio

Migrants. Stories of Flight and Hope in 20th Century Italy

Development project for the historical archives of Acuto, Paliano, Piglio, and Serrone

. The initial idea


Migrants. Stories of Flight and Hope in 20th Century Italy was the title given to the development project for the historical archives of Acuto, Paliano, Piglio, and Serrone completed between 2006 and 2007. A research topic was chosen that would question history, the past and the present, beginning from these archives. Don't think of the archives as simply archives, but instead as instruments capable of unfolding to the major themes of memory and contemporary society. The theme of emigration was and is one that is certainly still very alive in these four towns and that has not been sufficiently explored.



. The goals and criteria


Because of the complexity of the subject, two main principles were followed.


First, the setting of time and space limitations.  In the first year, the focus was on the first twenty years of the twentieth century, the following year, on the 1930s until the Second World War. Only emigration to foreign countries was taken into consideration.


The other principle was the comparison between the specificity of the phenomenon in this territory versus the general tendencies, in this way proving how local history can insert itself and find its own space in the national history. Therefore, how this analysis could open a reflection on the phenomenon of migration tout court up to the present.



. Publications and events


The following have been published on the topic:


two volumes of research;


a documentary (entitled Find Me the Cards to Go to America)


The following were arranged:


8 exhibitions in the cities, with archival material and contributions from private citizens.


The following events were produced:


4 theatrical laboratories in primary schools that led to 4 theatrical performances as a result, entitledMamma mia dammi cento lire (Mamma mia, Give Me One Hundred Lire), with the children themselves as actors.


Finally, the following were organised:


Two events with experts and scholars entitled Migrants. The Cultural Project, the Topicability of the Subject. In attendance were the historian Ermisio Mazzocchi, Carlo Felice Casula(Contemporary History, Roma Tre University), Giovanni Vetritto (Presidency of the Council).


One concluding meeting, in which the following participated:


Maurizio Proietto (Mayor of Serrone), Natale Nucheli (Councillor of Culture, Serrone), Olimpia De Angelis and Giorgina Scardelletti (Culture, Region of Lazio), Benedetto Volpe (Culture Province of Frosinone), Flavia Cristaldi (Human Geography, La Sapienza University), Michele Fianco (Curator of the SAI project).





A segment on the exhibition was broadcast on Rai International for the programme Sportello Italia (20 December 2007 episode);

The exhibition was hosted by the Department of Human Geography at La Sapienza University in Romein conjunction with the special day-long event on emigration called Cardboard Suitcases and Brain Drain (14 March 2008, coordinated by Professor Flavia Cristaldi);

The documentary was screened at the opening of Acuto Jazz 2009 (10 August 2009)



. Contributors


Project by Michele Fianco

Research by Maura Posponi, Annalisa Proietto

Documentary by Elio Mazzacane

School Theatre Laboratories by Luca Simonelli, Luca Sperati

Mounting of exhibits by the Serrone Cultural Association

Organisation by Emilia Casile

Additional collaboration from Gioia Riccardi.


[English version by Rachel Moland]