Italian American Country

Finding Italy in small-town America


Paolo Battaglia


21x30 cm over 500 illustrations + 3 episode documentary of one hour each






To see the documentary write an email to with subject "Instruction documentary"



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An illustrated book and a 3-episode documentary to discover the history of the small Italian American communities in the Heartland of the United States.

Italian American Country is a multimedia project with an illustrated book and a documentary which to be released in September 2019. Both products will be available both in Italian and in English. The book will follow the journey from New York to California. Each chapter is dedicated to one of the communities with historical photographs combined to photographs of the communities today. The chapters dedicated to the towns intertwine with themes that crossed the paths of most Italians in America. As an example, the chapter on the Macaroni Railroad highlights the close relationship between the diffusion of railways and the distribution of Italians in America; its starting point is the construction of a small railway in the south of Texas promoted by an entrepreneur from Foggia. It came to be known as Macaroni Railroad because most of the workers who built it came from Italy.

The documentary will be available for the buyers of the book and as a stand-alone product online. It’s been produced as a 3-episode series and it’s based on the conversations with the people I met along the way. Their voices tell the unknowns of a journey their ancestors often started without any idea of where they would end up. They tell of the first generations that had to fight against discrimination and against very harsh living and working conditions. They tell of the strength and unity of communities that gradually succeeded in their integration with American society without losing their emotional and cultural ties with Italy. They tell of an evolution that transformed them into Americans who are finally free from discrimination and who have thrived in the new society, and can rediscover the language and the traditions of their country of origin. When they tell these stories they show a great participation. When they remember the troubles of the past, sometimes they are moved, sometimes they joke about them because they know that they have overcome them and have made it. The emotion and the openness with which they talk witness the desire of sharing and of making their history known to those who still live in the Old Country, a place that too often forgot them and almost never tried to understand them.

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