Did you know that Brazil is the first country in the world with the highest percentage of Italians? Only Argentina followed it. And this is the result of years of emigration of our compatriots who left Italy between the end of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth century. A great immigration that has allowed to create a strong bond between the two countries over the years. Today the international agreements signed at diplomatic level between the two countries are the concrete symbol of collaboration between the two states. But let’s get to know something more about the special bond between Italy and Brazil, first of all trying to retrace history. And maybe even football.
A special bond based on years of emigration
Traveling the streets of the major Brazilian cities, there are many places that remind us of Italy. Because there are many Italian Brazilians, people born in Brazil with Italian ancestors. But there are also many Italians who have lived in this country for years. According to the estimates of the Embassy of Italy in Brasilia, about 30 million Italians or descendants of Italian immigrants live in the country. And recently the percentage stood at around 15 percent of the Brazilian population, which would be of Italian origin, that is, around 30 million people.
Mass immigration to Brazil
In Brazil Italian emigrants arrived in the early twentieth century. They were mainly from northern Italy, slightly more from the south. Most immigrants came from Veneto, then from Campania and Calabria. And this migratory phenomenon took the name of mass immigration. Many Italians were farmers from the Veneto, Lombardy and Piedmont regions looking for a piece of land to cultivate. And many Italians worked on the Brazilian coffee plantations. And then for a short time there were also organizations that took care of placing the Italians who left in the companies.
Large Italian companies in Brazil
Over the years the bond between the two countries has also consolidated on an economic level. In fact, the major Italian companies have invested in various sectors from infrastructure, communications, machinery, agro-business, tourism, construction. The most important companies include Enel, Tim, Pirelli, Magneti Marelli, Costa Crociere, Atlantia, Gavio, Techint, Fca. And then many entrepreneurs have Italian surnames and origins, a sign of this historical and collaborative link between the two countries.
San Paolo, and the special bond with the Italians
The largest population of Italian origins in Brazil would reside in the state of Sao Paulo. In fact, the descendants of the Italians would be around 6 million. And there are many places to eat well, owned by Italians, but also fashion shops and other Italian companies. And the Palestra Italia football team, later known as Palmeiras, is the champion of numerous cups and its fans sing the Anthem of Mameli before the start of each game.
Brazilians who work in Italy
So there are many Italians in Brazil but there are also numerous Brazilians who live in Italy and have made their fortune. How forget of the many footballers including the “phenomenon” Ronaldo, Zico, Ronaldinho, Socrates, Paolo Roberto Falcao, Thiago Motta, Kakà, or other sportsmen such as Felipe Massa, Rubens Barrichello. And the football rivalry with Italy is remarkable. Let’s think about the matches of the World Cup. In the spirit shared by the two countries, lovers of this sport do not shy away from cheering on whoever arrives in the final. A sign that the heart overcomes all rivalries, in the name of common traditions and roots.