"Italianità" in Valais


Category:
Social practices
  • Oral expressions
  • Performing arts
Canton:

Description

Despite their Mediterranean-sounding names, Pierre Gianadda, Denis Rabaglia and others like them are inextricably linked to Valais. Italians, who make up the largest immigrant population in the canton, have played a major role in its economic, social and cultural life and continue to do so today. It is a long-standing contribution reflected not only in a number of organised groups such as Catholic missions, Italian communities, academic societies, football clubs and theatrical troupes, but also in individuals such as the pair named above, construction entrepreneurs turned patrons of sport and culture, filmmakers, humourists, writers, scientists and more besides. All these facets of italianità in Valais remind us that the region's social and cultural identity, its "living traditions", are permanently shaped by the complex relationships between those who move, whether leaving or arriving, and those who stay in place. What better way to "raise awareness of cultural diversity in Switzerland and its creative potential", as demanded by the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage 2003. Indeed, the case of Italian immigration in Valais would seem to serve as an example opening the way to other immigrant groups - Spanish, Portuguese, Tamil and Kosovar - that are becoming established in Switzerland, since the dynamic of exchange between local populations and incomers is similar nationwide.

Image gallery

  • L’Occhio (The Eye), newsletter for Italians in Sion, no. 1, March 1993
  • Pierre Imhasly: Italiens parmi nous (Italians Among Us; Treize Etoiles vol. 5, 1970, p. 34) © Pierre Imhasly/ Ed. Pillet
  • Pierre Imhasly: Italiens parmi nous (Italians Among Us; Treize Etoiles vol. 5, 1970, p. 35) © Pierre Imhasly/ Ed. Pillet
  • Card records of workers at the Bertelletto construction firm in Sion, c. 1950-1980 © Musée d’histoire du Valais, Sion
  • Young women from the Don Bosco Italian community in Sion, 5 April 1954 © Raymond Schmid/Médiathèque Valais, Martigny
  • Italian immigrant at Brig station, 1963 © Oswald Ruppen/Médiathèque Valais, Martigny
  • Italian Catholic mission, Naters, 1976 © René Ritler/Médiathèque Valais, Martigny
  • Anne-Marie Cuttat: Une pluie d’or sur le verger (A Golden Rain on the Orchard; extracts from Migros Magazine no. 29, 19 July 2011, p. 26-29) © Anne-Marie Cuttat, Charly Rappo/Migros Magazine
  • L’Occhio (The Eye), newsletter for Italians in Sion, no. 1, March 1993
  • Pierre Imhasly: Italiens parmi nous (Italians Among Us; Treize Etoiles vol. 5, 1970, p. 34) © Pierre Imhasly/ Ed. Pillet
  • Pierre Imhasly: Italiens parmi nous (Italians Among Us; Treize Etoiles vol. 5, 1970, p. 35) © Pierre Imhasly/ Ed. Pillet
  • Card records of workers at the Bertelletto construction firm in Sion, c. 1950-1980 © Musée d’histoire du Valais, Sion
  • Young women from the Don Bosco Italian community in Sion, 5 April 1954 © Raymond Schmid/Médiathèque Valais, Martigny
  • Italian immigrant at Brig station, 1963 © Oswald Ruppen/Médiathèque Valais, Martigny
  • Italian Catholic mission, Naters, 1976 © René Ritler/Médiathèque Valais, Martigny
  • Anne-Marie Cuttat: Une pluie d’or sur le verger (A Golden Rain on the Orchard; extracts from Migros Magazine no. 29, 19 July 2011, p. 26-29) © Anne-Marie Cuttat, Charly Rappo/Migros Magazine

References and documentation

Publications
  • Thomas Antonietti, Marie Claude Morand : Valais d’émigration – Auswanderungsland Wallis (Cahiers d’ethnologie valaisanne 2). Sion, 1991

  • Léonard Gianadda : Leonard Gianadda présente son projet de Fondation, 1977

  • Elisabeth Joris (et al.): Tiefenbohrungen: Frauen und Männer auf den grossen Tunnelbaustellen der Schweiz, 1870-2005. Baden. 2006

  • Jean-Henry Papilloud et al. : Le Valais et les étrangers, XIXe-XXe (Société et culture du Valais contemporain 5). Sion, 1992

  • Adrien Pasquali : Le pain du silence. Carouge-Genève, 1999

  • Sedunum Nostrum : Le couvent des capucins de Sion. Sedunum Nostrum no. 66, Sion, 1998

Documentation