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Image for The Young Italians

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Fri 4 Nov 2011 11:00 BBC Radio 4

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 04 November 2011

Italy is losing its young, talented professionals, driven out by a stagnant domestic economy and an entrenched employment market riddled with patronage and nepotism. As the Prime Minister advocates marrying someone wealthy as a means to get ahead, more and more young Italians are choosing to find work, recognition and respect abroad.

Alessandron Poggi is a young journalist living and working in London. We follow him as he talks to family and friends about life abroad, and his mixed feeling about leaving home.

Young Italians in London are socially organised; they picnic in Battersea Park; arrange costume balls, stage showings of Italian movies, and complain of both homesickness and disappointment in their homeland. As 29-year-old copywriter Simone puts it; "If you're young in Italy you're a problem; in other countries you're a resource." Silvia, a construction project manager is similarly cynical about opportunities back home; "If I was 45, or somebody's daughter or mistress, I'd get work. But I'm not."

Traditionally, ex-pat Italians have settled in London, Glasgow and Manchester. London sees the greatest concentration of Italians, young and old, at an estimated 39000. We also hear from the old, established "Britalians" who came in previous waves of immigration about the Italian experience of Britain.


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