The guidebook Guida alle Radici italiane, whose first volume was presented at the Farnesina, is addressed to the new generations of the six million Italians living abroad and to the nearly 60-80 million people of Italian descent who are scattered across the world: an audience that is very different from the traditional readership of Italian tourist guidebooks. They are an exceptional group of people, a heritage that is now given a chance to discover the places they come from – their roots, along with the origin of their families and their stories.
“Roots tourists” travel to their countries of origin with a view to getting to know the land where their ancestors came from, its culture and traditions so to rekindle a bond with it and discover they have a second home. They represent a tourist segment which has been showing a substantial growth in the last ten years and that can become a major source of sustainable development for Italian small towns and hamlets, which often are little known but that have a great economic potential for tourism.
“It is an important initiative for Italians abroad but also and primarily for Italy and it has the full support of this Government,” said the Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Ricardo Merlo, at the presentation event. “For an Italian living abroad or for a citizen of Italian descent, coming to Italy is a completely different experience characterised by feeling and identity: it is a special journey, an unconventional form of tourism that is extremely meaningful from the point of view of nature and business. What Italy spends on Italians abroad is not an expenditure but an investment that Italy should capitalise on,” Undersecretary Merlo added.
The ’Associazione RAIZ italiana’ accepted the invitation by the Directorate General for Italian Citizens Abroad and Migration Policies and wrote and published the first volume of the Guida alle Radici italiane guidebook, which offers a set of sentimental itineraries geared to let roots tourists discover historical, cultural, social and wine and food traditions of four Italian Regions that have a significant history with regards to migration: Abruzzo, Basilicata, Emilia Romagna and Apulia. This volume is a first step towards hopefully a comprehensive coverage of all Italian Regions and Autonomous Provinces.