Fifty years after their parents left Puglia and other provinces in the south it seems their sons and daughters are on the move again. 50,000 last year left Northern Italy to move to Southern Germany to find work in the large motor plants, washing machine and refrigerator factories in Bavaria. That , of course, was what their parents did all those years ago. The Italian economic miracle of the late fifties and the sixties was based on cheap southern labour moving north. In 1951 Italy produced 18,000 fridges and by 1967 3,200,000 making it the largest producer behind the USA and Fiat sold more cars than any other car manufacturer in Europe including VW. Almost 2M people moved north in those 20 years leaving this place if not deserted then pretty quiet. The population of my local town Martina Franca shows big drops over those 20 years and the number didn’t get back to the 1938 level until the late 80’s when government economic policy subsidised industrial development in the south. The towns around here then had full employment producing mainly textiles until the Maastricht Treaty in 1993 did away with the subsidies and the factories all closed.
The Germans in return for the labour have become the biggest foreign buyers of Italian property and the advice is that if you have an apartment in Rome , a shed in Venice or Tuscany or a large farmhouse in Puglia to advertise it on German websites. They are hoovering them up as the domestic home sales market declines rapidly . I met a new German arrival yesterday as we were tying the guttering to the car. He is doing up a large place nearby and was buying bits and pieces. So a German and an Englishman stood outside speaking or rather slaughtering the Italian language as it was our only common communication method much to the amusement of the shopkeeper. We actually do the same with the French who live opposite us as they profess to speak not a word of english, but let’s face it they’re french aren’t they so we don’t believe them. I meant to post a picture of my guttering though my wife had trouble taking it as she was laughing so much. However here it is.
There is another metre in the wood shed that has the downpipe fitted into it but I couldn’t hold it all ! It was supposed to go on the end of the shed you can see behind me.
Now the one thing I am sure all those migrants to Germany will take with them is their support for Juventus . We looked at the two Milan teams in an earlier post this week but of course Juventus won the Serie A title this year. They are owned by the Agnelli family who also own a small motor business called Fiat, and they play in Turin. Their nickname is La Vecchia Signora ( The Old Lady). Numerous reasons are given for the nickname but the one I like is that before World War II all Italian ladies of a certain age wore black dresses and all had white hair. Juventus play in black and white strips so there you are.
They of course have a song
Survived the Giro d’Italia more tomorrow