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Reading’s ‘Little Italy’

Stories of Migration and Belonging

16th August – 17th December

The South of Italy has always been a place of poverty and hardship and the years after the Second World War were no different. Desperate to escape these poor living conditions, Southern Italians hoped and searched for a better life elsewhere.

Reading was worlds away from the rural countryside on which many of these Italians had grown up on. However, its busy and industrial nature meant that Reading provided a wealth of opportunities for these hard working individuals. Yet, we so rarely hear the story of Reading’s Italian community.

Reading’s ‘Little Italy’: Stories of Migration and Belonging shines a light on the lives of these Italians who left Southern Italy for Reading in search for a new beginning. For the first time, this exhibition puts their migration stories at centre stage through oral histories, photos and other archival material. Where these Italians lived and worked in Reading and how they created a sense of community within their new home will all be explored.

It is now time to unearth how Italians and their fantastic culture have helped shape the Reading town which we know and love today.

[A display produced by Lydia Ackrell, MA Public History student (Royal Holloway University)]