Searching for Roots is a very significant thing for many people. In Uruguay, where a large part of the population is second or third generation immigrants, this search becomes even more important. Another incentive is to obtain a European Community passport, which opens the door to the labour market in almost all of Europe and facilitates some formalities. In this context, the Italian Root Association, an organization that proposes to visit Italy following the footsteps of the ancestors, has focused on countries with large Italian communities such as Uruguay.
Within the framework of Expo Viajes, the Italian Marina Gabrieli, co-founder of Italian Root Association, was present at the stand of the Embassy of Italy to introduce the plan and a guide for those who wish to find their roots.
“We are an association that helps Italians discover their roots and we do it by investigating the family history of people,” the Italian told El País.
His job is to trace the documents and locate the origins of the ancestors. Accordingly, a touristic itinerary is organized with the aim of reconstructing the family memory: “we take the Italian descendants to their original village; to the house where the ancestor was born; to the church where he was baptized; or to the cemetery where the ancestors are buried. All those places that are linked to family history, ” he explained.
Gabrieli pointed out that the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is very interested in developing what is known as “Root tourism” and, to this end, supports the dissemination of a guide of Italian roots created by the Association headed by Gabrieli that is available online and free of charge.
“At the moment the guide includes four regions: Puglia, Abruzzo, Basilicata and Emilia Romagna; and in the coming months we will implement more,” he said.
The document aims to provide information to the Italian descendants who want to visit the places and get involved with the culture of origin. The text, which is far from an itinerary, highlights elements such as the places linked to the historical memory of 1800 and 1900, mainly. Among them is the first and Second World War or the unification of Italy. At the same time, it includes stories of famous global characters who were born in each region as Domenico Modugno, author of the historic song Volare.
” There is also room for typical dishes cooked by grandmothers who remember family lunches and a calendar of traditional festivals, in which the descendant can discover scenes from the past to soak up that culture, ” added Gabrieli.
What is Italian Root?
Italian root emerged from the alliance of the Italians Marina Guardeli and Attilio Arditto, with Italo-argentina Mariana Bobadilla. Marina and Atilio are from the Puglia region, while Mariana was born in Córdoba and then moved to Italy.
“The Puglia region financed us the birth of the association and then with the Foreign Ministry of Italy we began to work with all the topic of the promotion of the country. We came to Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay and Colombia and in the coming months we will be in other parts of the world,” said Guardeli.