World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Greeks in Italy

Article Id: WHEBN0016763449
Reproduction Date:

Title: Greeks in Italy  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Greeks, Greek diaspora, Greece–Italy relations, Greeks in the Republic of Macedonia, Immigration to Italy
Collection: Ancient Greece, Ethnic Groups in Italy, Greece–italy Relations, Greek Minorities
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Greeks in Italy

Griko-speaking areas in Salento and Calabria

Greek presence in Italy begins with the migrations of the old Greek Diaspora in the 8th century BC, continuing down to the present time. There is a linguistic minority known as the Griko people,[1] who live in the Southern Italian regions of Calabria (Province of Reggio Calabria) and Apulia, especially the peninsula of Salento, within the old Magna Graecia region, who speak a distinctive dialect of Greek called Griko.[2] They are believed to be remnants of the ancient[3] and medieval Greek communities, who have lived in the south of Italy for centuries. Alongside this group, a smaller number of more recent migrants from Greece lives in Italy, forming an expatriate community in the country. Today many Greeks in Southern Italy follow Italian customs and culture.


  • Ancient 1
  • Medieval 2
    • Modern Italy 2.1
    • Griko people 2.2
  • Immigrants 3
  • Notable Greeks in Italy 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7
  • External links 8


Greek Diaspora 6th century BC

In the 8th and 7th centuries BC, for various reasons, including demographic crisis (famine, overcrowding, climate change, etc.), the search for new commercial outlets and ports, and expulsion from their homeland, Greeks began a large colonization drive, including southern Italy.[4]

In this same time, Greek colonies were established in places as widely separated as the eastern coast of the Black Sea and Massalia (Marseille). They included settlements in Sicily and the southern part of the Italian peninsula. The Romans called the area of Sicily and the foot of the boot of Italy Magna Graecia (Latin, "Greater Greece"), since it was so densely inhabited by Greeks. The ancient geographers differed on whether the term included Sicily or merely Apulia and CalabriaStrabo being the most prominent advocate of the wider definitions.


16th-century Greek migrants in Italy. Left: Francesco Maurolico (c. 1494–1575) was born in Messina, Sicily to a Greek family who had settled there following the Ottoman invasion of Constantinople.[5][6] Right: Thomas Flanginis (c. 1578–1648) a wealthy Greek lawyer and merchant in Venice, who founded the Flanginian School a Greek college where many teachers were trained.[7]

During the Early Middle Ages, new waves of Greeks came to Magna Graecia from Greece and Asia Minor, as Southern Italy remained governed by the Eastern Roman Empire. Although most of the Greek inhabitants of Southern Italy became de-hellenized and no longer spoke Greek, remarkably a small Griko-speaking minority still exists today in Calabria and mostly in Salento. Griko is the name of a language combining ancient Doric, Byzantine Greek, and Italian elements, spoken by people in the Magna Graecia region. There is rich oral tradition and Griko folklore, limited now, though once numerous, to only a few thousand people, most of them having become absorbed into the surrounding Italian element. Records of Magna Graecia being predominantly Greek-speaking, date as late as the 11th century (the end of Byzantine domination in Southern Italy).

The migration of Byzantine Greek scholars and other emigres from Byzantium during the decline of the Byzantine empire (1203–1453) and mainly after the fall of Constantinople in 1453 until the 16th century, is considered by modern scholars as crucial in the revival of Greek and Roman studies, arts and sciences, and subsequently in the formation of Renaissance humanism.[8] These emigres were grammarians, humanists, poets, writers, printers, lecturers, musicians, astronomers, architects, academics, artists, scribes, philosophers, scientists, politicians and theologians.[9]

In the decades following the Ottoman

  • Grika milume! An online Griko community
  • Enosi Griko, Coordination of Grecìa Salentina Associations
  • Grecìa Salentina official site (in Italian)
  • Salento Griko (in Italian)
  • English-Griko dictionary

External links

M.F. Tiepolo and E. Tonetti, I Greci a Venezia. Atti del convegno internazionale di studio, Venezia, 5-8 Novembre 1998 (Venice, 2002), pp. 185–95

Heleni Porphyriou, 'La presenza greca in Italia tra cinque e seicento: Roma e Venezia', La città italiana e I luoghi degli stranieri XIV-XVIII secolo, ed. Donatella Calabi and Paolo Lanaro (Rome, 1998), pp. 21–38

Jonathan Harris and Heleni Porphyriou, 'The Greek diaspora: Italian port cities and London, c. 1400–1700', in Cities and Cultural Transfer in Europe: 1400–1700, ed. Donatella Calabi and Stephen Turk Christensen (Cambridge, 2007), pp. 65–86

Jonathan Harris, Greek Emigres in the West, 1400–1520 (Camberley, 1995)

Jonathan Harris, 'Being a Byzantine after Byzantium: Hellenic Identity in Renaissance Italy', Kambos: Cambridge Papers in Modern Greek 8 (2000), 25-44

Further reading

  1. ^
  2. ^ Greek MFA: Greek community in Italy
  3. ^ G. Rohlfs, Griechen und Romanen in Unteritalien, 1924.
  4. ^ Greek Italy:A Roadmap
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Byzantines in Renaissance Italy
  9. ^ Greeks in Italy
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^


See also

Notable Greeks in Italy

After World War II, a large number of Greeks immigrated to countries abroad, mostly to the United States, Canada and Australia, however, a smaller number of diaspora migrants from Greece entered Italy from World War II onwards, today the Greek diaspora community consists of some 30,000 people, the majority of whom are located in Rome and Central Italy.[21]

The Bulgari brand was founded by Sotirio Bulgari, a Greek immigrant to Italy


The Griko people are a population group in Italy of ultimately Greek origin which still exists today in the Italian regions of Calabria and Apulia.[14] The Griko people traditionally spoke the Griko language, a form of the Greek language combining ancient Doric and Byzantine Greek elements. Some believe that the origins of the Griko language may ultimately be traced to the colonies of Magna Graecia. Greeks were the dominant population element of some regions in the south of Italy, especially Calabria, the Salento, parts of Lucania and Sicily until the 12th century.[15][16] Over the past centuries the Griko have been heavily influenced by the Catholic Church and Latin culture and as a result many Griko have become largely assimilated[17] into mainstream Italian culture, though once numerous, the Griko are now limited, most of them having become absorbed into the surrounding Italian element. The Griko language is severely endangered due to language shift towards Italian and large-scale internal migration to the cities in recent decades.[18] The Griko community is currently estimated at 60,000 members.[19][20]

Griko people

Thus, for example, Greeks re-colonized the region in the 16th and 17th centuries. This happened in reaction to the conquest of the Peloponnese by the Ottoman Turks. Especially after the fall of Coroni (1534) large numbers of Greeks and Albanians sought, and were granted, refuge in the areas of Calabria, Salento and Sicily. The Greeks from Coroni - the so-called Coronians - belonged to the nobility and brought with them substantial movable property. They were granted special privileges and given tax exemptions. Another part of the Greeks that moved to Italy came from the Mani region of the Peloponnese. The Maniots were known for their proud military traditions and for their bloody vendettas (another portion of these Greeks moved to Corsica; cf. the Corsican vendettas). These migrations strengthened the depopulated Italian south with a culturally vibrant and militarily capable element.

Although most of the Greek inhabitants of Southern Italy became entirely Italianized during the Middle Ages (as Paestum had already been in the 4th century BC), pockets of Greek culture and language remained and survived into modern times. This is due to the fact that the "traffic" between southern Italy and the Greek mainland never entirely stopped.

Modern Italy


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.