Tag Archives: Milano

Frequency of Italian family names Greco and Spagnuolo by region — And Greeks and Albanians in Italy

13 Jan

“Greco” in all the obvious places, maybe some distant Magna Graecia leftovers, but followed by the much, much more recent and numerous waves of refugees fleeing Ottoman conquest in the 15th and 16th centuries from the western Balkans and Greece and the religious persecution that followed in those same areas (Because, apparently, there actually is compulsion in religion?). The prevalence of the name around Milan and Turin and scattered throughout Liga Norte regions in the north probably is just proof of the huge post-wave migration of poor Italians from the south to the industrial areas of the north.

Whereas here there’s reasons to believe that western Lombardy and Milan and Turin had the name Spagnuolo because those corners of the north were Aragonese and Imperial/Hapsburg for significant amounts of time.

Given the heavily mixed populations of the regions on the Balkan coasts of the Ionian and Adriatic seas, and that many of them probably were of mixed Albanian-Greek stock, it’s hard to calculate the separate number of each group “ethnically”.

But today, while in the handful of still Greek-speaking villages of Pugliese Salento, the language is fast dying out: there are classes that are trying to teach children both the regional “Griko” dialect and making them proficient in Modern Greek, a thankless job; in the Albanian-speaking towns of Calabria and especially Sicily, the culture and language are flourishing, is taught in primary schools and there are very strong personal and institutional bonds with Albania, educational exchanges at levels of both younger school children and higher academic programs and tourist activities. Cool!

One just has to assume that after a few Sicilian Albanians take a group trip to Albania, they must mumble to themselves: “welll…shshshsh…but good thing our ancestors left”

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