“Ciao Italia”, the exhibition which traces Italian immigration thanks to the people of Cannes …

The poster is there, full of colors on a black background: The good life, by Federico Fellini. With the great Marcello Mastroianni and the sculptural Anita Ekberg, with which we wanted to dive into a Roman fountain. In 1960, the film caused a scandal in Italy but was awarded the Palme d’Or on the Croisette. Like what…

But as Jean-Michel Arnaud (municipal assistant delegate for culture) recalled during the opening of the exhibition Ciao Italia, “The life of the Italian community in Cannes was not always The good life, but it is nonetheless a model of integration. “

So much so that, often, those who were nicknamed “the Ritals” voluntarily gave French names to their children, and sometimes stopped practicing their native language at home.

Several waves

Through educational panels borrowed from the National Museum of the History of Immigration, the Calmette center of contemporary archives evokes these exoduses of our transalpine neighbors across the national territory, from 1860 to 1960. Immigration was first motivated by labor, before becoming political, even tourist today. The City of Cannes has also made its contribution, with signs that relate more strictly to its local community.

“There were several waves”, explains Magalie Claveau, new director of municipal archives.

In the middle of the 18th century, it was first of all seasonal workers who came to cultivate the vines, the olive trees, the wheat, but also the perfume flowers for Grasse.

During the Belle Epoque, the Croisette became a winter resort popular with aristocrats and wealthy industrialists, construction sites were hired for their comfort (roads, hotels, railway tracks, villas, etc.) and labor was still called upon. work of Piedmont. The same with the establishment of a summer season and the post-war economic boom.

Did you know? On the eve of the First World War, Italian immigrants made up 30% of the Cannes population (10,000 inhabitants out of a total of 30,000). And the current Boulevard de la République was then called Boulevard des Italiens (1919-1945), some of whose craftsmen did honor to community know-how (many families also resided in Le Suquet or La Bocca).

A third wave will take place with political refugees fleeing Mussolini fascism. Then a fourth with the tourist boom.

Call to “locals”

The good idea is to have appealed to the people of Cannes of Italian origin, so that testimonies and period objects complete this historical saga. There, an old accordion, here an old pasta machine.

Among these descendants, Jeanine Tosello, 97 years old, came with her son André. Her parents emigrated to Cannes in 1923, she was born on our soil the following year. “I have kept links with Perugia, and I speak an Italian from there, but above all I feel like Cannes anyway!”, vehemently emphasizes the nonagenarian.

A former stay-at-home mother, Jeanine has also cultivated the art of Italian cooking. “But today, I no longer make too much pasta, because I ate too much”.

His favorite dish, his specialty: stuffed from Cannes!

We wish to say thanks to the writer of this write-up for this remarkable material

“Ciao Italia”, the exhibition which traces Italian immigration thanks to the people of Cannes …

Hank Gilbert