The boom of "roots tourism": those who return to look for their ancestors

22 April 2024

3 minutes

Roots tourism is becoming increasingly popular in Italy, with new generations wishing to rediscover the lands from which their ancestors departed. Lucca, in Tuscany, is one of the main destinations for this type of tourism, with the Lucchesi nel Mondo association working to promote the travel experience linked to family roots. Roots tourism offers an opportunity to explore small villages and local traditions, attractions that can attract Italians abroad.

Italy, Tuscany and Lucca in particular have been lands of emigration and today the new generations want to return to rediscover where their ancestors started from, giving life to a new kind of tourism, the one that wants to rediscover its roots.

There was also talk of “roots tourism” and how to strengthen it, at the international conference organized in Lucca, by Italy Discovery which proposes a new form of experiential tourism through the enhancement of the Italian countryside, with Italy Discovery Countryside. The adviser to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Giovanni Maria Di Vita, also spoke about it:

“Italy has an exceptional heritage,” he said, “a potential of about 80 million people around the world, whom we know may be interested in rediscovering, the places and culture from which their ancestors came. They have often heard about it, from their own countries, from those who have tried to keep certain traditions alive. We are working on the territories in collaboration with local authorities and private individuals for structured proposals for travelers of the roots, involving restaurateurs and hoteliers, farmhouses but also people who are interested in creating real itineraries linked to the territory and traditions, which can be a great attraction for our Italians abroad”.

Eighty percent of Tuscan migrants are from Lucca, who left with their cardboard suitcases in search of fortune from America to Europe and Australia. Confirming the tourism potential is Ilaria Del Bianco, president of the Lucchesi nel Mondo Association , which takes care of relations with migrants of yesterday and today.

“Our association, founded in 1968, has been working in this direction practically since forever – he underlined – We have therefore been involved in the technical table of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the development of roots tourism, where we have been able to bring our experience gained over many years in this sector”.

“This type of tourism is perfect for our territory, capable of insisting on those small villages, far away from the capital, from which many Lucchese have migrated over the years, from the villages of the Mediavalle, the Lima valley and Garfagnana. And there are many initiatives – concludes Del Bianco – which we carry out every year to be able to bring back to the territory those who want to tie up the threads with the past of their family and their culture”.