Italian identity prior to 1861

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Italian identity prior to 1861

Postby Squigy » 25 Jan 2012, 01:03

Hello, all.

I was just wondering if, prior to Italian Unification, there was one Italian identity. Meaning, did people ever think of themselves from Italy and as Italians as a whole, or did they consider themselves strictly in terms of regionality (Sicilian, Calabrese, etc)? Was Italy unified, culturally, before 1861, if not politically?

Thanks!
My Italian surnames:

Caserta: Maietta, Rossano, Tessitore, Negro, Peluso, Musone

Campobasso: D'Andrea, Barile

Catanzaro: Fiorelli/Fiorillo, Romito
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Re: Italian identity prior to 1861

Postby PippoM » 25 Jan 2012, 09:16

You wonder if in 1800's there was an Italian identity, I wonder if there's one nowadays! I mean, I think you happened to read of people talking about "Padania" or "Two Sicilies"...after 150 years!
Back to your questions, I have not a deep knowledge of Italian society of the time, but I think the concept of Italy as it is today, was something for people with some level of culture and studies. All the others, and they are the people we deal with here, most of our ancestors, would have serious problems to have themselves understood when going from State to State.
I am from Salerno and my wife is from Viterbo, and I always tell her that if our GGfathers would have known each other, they would need a passport to meet, as they were born respectively in "Stato Pontificio" and "Regno delle Due Sicilie".
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Re: Italian identity prior to 1861

Postby Squigy » 25 Jan 2012, 11:35

Pippo,

Thank you for your reply.

So, what you're saying is a well educated man from, say, England, prior to Italian Unification would view a Tuscan and a Sicilian both as Italians, whereas the average peasant from the same regions would view each other as (basically) foreigners?

I mean, I would *imagine* there was some sense of unity, and a feeling of common heritage (ie, descent from the Romans). But I guess this isn't something the average contadino would have really considered.
My Italian surnames:

Caserta: Maietta, Rossano, Tessitore, Negro, Peluso, Musone

Campobasso: D'Andrea, Barile

Catanzaro: Fiorelli/Fiorillo, Romito
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Re: Italian identity prior to 1861

Postby pink67 » 25 Jan 2012, 13:33

I agree with PippoM... Do you know the very well known italian proverb:

Moglie e buoi dei paesi tuoi

Essentially at those times people considered as foreigners not only the people from other Regions or States but almost also people from the town nearby...

Laura
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Re: Italian identity prior to 1861

Postby Squigy » 25 Jan 2012, 14:34

Laura,

Yes, I've heard of that saying, before :lol:

I definitely get that feeling of pride in ones town, with Italy; I have family that lived in the *same* Comune from 1592 to the early 1900's (and they moved there from a town across the river, which was recently dissolved). Would it be correct to say, even in modern Italy, pride in ones town comes first, followed by region, followed by country?

Also, now that we're on the subject, it's my understanding that towns often have their own dialects (not just regions). Is this true?
My Italian surnames:

Caserta: Maietta, Rossano, Tessitore, Negro, Peluso, Musone

Campobasso: D'Andrea, Barile

Catanzaro: Fiorelli/Fiorillo, Romito
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Re: Italian identity prior to 1861

Postby PippoM » 25 Jan 2012, 20:01

Yes, I think so: town first (or even district), then region, then country. And with more contrast with next neighbours (Napoli vs. Salerno, Lazio vs. Campania, Italy vs. France...).
Till 1960's dialects were considerably different between towns, with regards to words, and accent. And when I say "between towns", I don't mean between Roma to Viterbo, but also between villages close to each other. Then, with massive schooling and TV, dialect tend to resemble each other, and now the way of speaking of young people is more similar from town to town. Old dialects still live only in tradition, and in the words of old people. My mother-in-law, who is 80 and from a village near Viterbo where she still lives, speaks very differently from her coetaneous from Roma. Children from there, now speak just the same as my sons, who live in Roma.
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Re: Italian identity prior to 1861

Postby Italysearcher » 25 Jan 2012, 20:25

You can hear the old dialects still in the people who emigrated. Their version of the dialect didn't change, not even with the advent of TV.
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Re: Italian identity prior to 1861

Postby PippoM » 26 Jan 2012, 09:04

Even if most of them believe it is "Italian"...
Giuseppe "Pippo" Moccaldi

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Re: Italian identity prior to 1861

Postby Sabino » 30 Jan 2012, 11:32

Il Regno delle due Sicilie tra passato e futuro io ne parlo...e spero che i miei discendenti ne parleranno ancora, ancora, ancora ed ancora.

Con il sottofondo di Mediterraneo di Mango (al secolo Pino Mango) un sguardo tra passato e futuro attraverso i personaggi della galassia duosiciliana.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXx5WQ87 ... ata_player
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