11: The Case of Rio Grande do Sul: A Few Aspects of the Ordinary Life of the Italian Community



  • 1

    “Around 1901, an agent from the Italian government arrived at Conde d'Eu. With the best of intentions he assembled his fellow countrymen and women for a meeting. Those who participated were few and everyone knew the reason. One could hear publicly: When the poor colonizers had nothing to eat, no one came from Italy to visit them, but now that they have food, everyone wants to come to have a share of what they have acquired” (Apremont, 1976). “… at 8:00 in the evening she had given birth to a robust and healthy girl. The birth went very well, the midwife was very good, and things went better than in Italy (…). Sunday at 11:00 a.m. she was baptized (…). She was given the name Italia, because I hope she never goes to Italy” (Rossato, in: De Boni, 1877). “Do you suppose it is the voice of God which says that the penance of Cismon in Purgatory is finished, that one can flee from this jail and leave freely to live happily where one is called” (Madalozzo, in: De Boni, 1977).

  • 2

    “Dear daddy, you should see what a beautiful piece of land I bought. It is in a beautiful location and it must be good. And if you could see how much wood there is! If someone had all this wood in Valdagno, he would be rich. I cannot wait until my brothers and the whole family come. There we were servants and here we are wealthy people (…). Here one lives better than in Italy, without the landowners (…). I think my mother should also be here; she is so good at raising chickens and pigs, and we could have all the animals we want. I am tired of knowing she is always under those criminal landowners, all rascals and thieves: (she) who must work on rented land and pay rent on the house. Leaving everything there, because here you can own your own home (…)” (Rossato, in: De Boni, 1977).

  • 3

    “Several years later, thanks to the strength of his arms, the colonizer knew how to dominate the forest full of brushwood and chase away the wild animals. Not happy enough with doing his own work, he began to build roads, houses, schools, and churches (…). Long live Brazil! Long live work!” (Maestri, 1939).

  • 4

    “Practically speaking, the Italian immigrant and then his children dedicated themselves primarily to polyculture. In this he excelled and gained respect and gratitude. He planted and harvested almost everything he needed to live, as though he wanted at all costs to be self-sufficient. He sold what he did not need and was modest and parsimonious in obtaining what was lacking” (Men De Sa, 1950).