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Conclusion

A tribute to all the immigrants from Arpino around the world

As I bring my research of the REAS to an end I hope you, the reader, have gained some understanding of our origins and history.

Italians have only been ‘Italian’ for the last 140 years since the unification of our homeland. Italians are not a race, just a collection of many peoples. Many tend to think of themselves first and foremost as Romans, Milanese, Sicilians, or Florentines, and then secondly as Italians. There is very little that really links the North to the South other than the autostrada and the Catholic Church. The regions of Italy are very different from one another, in cuisine, dialect, and politics. The deeply ingrained regionalism is quite understandable, considering that Italy has only existed as a nation since 1861. The great men who unified Italy were Garibaldi, Mazzini, and Cavour, but as Cavour said “now we have made Italy; let’s now go and make the Italians”. If he was alive today he would still be trying to make Italians. Italians only truly become Italians when they have emigrated away from their homeland. That is when one finds Italian communities really work well; outside of Italy.

Italy is a country steeped in history and art with three quarters of the world’s art treasures within its regions; no wonder this great nation is envied by the world. Not only did the Romans leave such wealth behind, but the many emigrants that left these shores left tears of great sadness behind them too. By establishing our ‘Little Italys’ wherever we went, Italians have made and left their mark on history forever.

There are many descendants out there who have ancient roots going back to the village of Arpino, high in the mountains of Frosinone, where that little surname REA comes from. Some may have lost their genetic attachment to their ancient roots over generations. I hope for those who have that I may have rekindled their genetic cultural identity once more and can proudly claim they descend from a great people.

To know the history of your surname is to know your true identity. Born in Britain, I have now succesfully reclaimed my birthright of Italian citizenship, one of the happiest moments of my life.

Tony Rea
rea_tony@hotmail.com  

There is a proverb that goes:
“As each generation moves farther from its immigrant beginnings, it longs to unearth roots and examine, in the most personal of ways, the origins of identity.”
Lini S. Kadaba

“To forget one’s ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root.”
Chinese Proverb

 

 

Statue in Arpino commemorating the many emigrants who left in search of work
Plaque on the statue: "To all those who left this sweet and beloved land to search for work and who left traces everywhere of their skilled labours" by Vito De Arcangelis
My granparents wedding day, 22nd December 1907
My grandparents after my grandad returned from the Italian army in 1919, taken In Chester, England. Shown are 5 of their 11 children; back left: Antonio, front left: Maria, baby Donarto, Gerardo, right: Immaculata
This site is dedicated to my grandfather and grandmother, Marco and Maria