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An Italian voyage through Melbourne

Baptism of Anna Maria Caneva at the Italian Club in Russell Street, Melbourne, 1933. Source: Co.As.It - Italian Historical Society Collection State Library of Victoria

What has been the impact of the Italian community on the city of Melbourne? Good food and coffee immediately spring to mind, but the Italian presence has brought much more. Prior to a recent screening of Martin Scorsese's documentary "My Voyage Through Italy", we have taken part in an event dedicated to the Italian history of Victoria's capital.

Melbourne has seen from the 1950s a strong Italian immigration, and is still the Australian city with the most numerous Italian community. The Italian presence has contributed to shape the city itself.

SBS Italian has explored in collaboration with ACMI, Australian Centre for the Moving Image, the history of the Italian community in Mebourne, in an event that took place on Sunday 21 August. Four guests have helped us navigate this long and varied history: Laura Mecca, former director of Coasit's Italian Historical Society, Lina Panetta director of the Italian Cultural Institute of Melbourne, Stefano De Pieri, Mildura chef with a past linked to Italo-Australian politics, and Lisa Marie Corso, blogger with an Italian background.

Laura Mecca recalled how the history of Italian migration to Melbourne is older than what is generally thought, and has remembered the contribution which already in the 1800s the Italian community has given in various fields, for instance in music. Lina Panetta has remembered the more recent history of the Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Melbourne and the role of this Italian istitution.

The music of two members of Radiosuccessi, Ilaria Crociani e Mirko Guerrini, accompanied us throughout the event. Here is the recording of the first part of the event, hosted by Magica Fossati and Dario Castaldo.

In the second part of the event, Stefano De Pieri talked about the political contribution of the Italian community to wider Austraia, while Lisa Marie Corso, Italo-Australian but born-and-bred Melburnian, talked about the cultural influence her nonne had on her.

Laura Mecca remembers her arrival down under

Source SBS Italian