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Italian immigration

Last updated: 15 August 2008

"The Welsh are the Italians in the rain," said journalist Rene Cutforth. But just how did the Italians get to Wales?

In the wake of the industrial revolution, Italian people settled in Wales to create businesses and services for all the new workers who had arrived in Wales to work in the heavy industries of coal, steel and the docks.

At one stage there were many Bracchi (Italian cafés) dotted through the valleys, as much a part of the community as the chapel or the pub or the colliery or the miners' institute.

However, the two communities had opposing attitudes towards religion, with the Roman Catholic Italians having a very different approach from the Welsh nonconformist one. There were to be clashes over the issue of the Italian cafés opening on Sundays.

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