A country long one of emigration because of its endemic poverty, Switzerland reversed its migratory balance at the beginning of the 20th century.
As from 1946, economic growth required substantial workforce in the sectors of construction, hotel and catering, commerce and industry. Within a quarter of a century, until the crisis of 1973, millions of Italians contributed to Switzerland’s remarkable prosperity.
Faced with the xenophobia of part of the population, enduring the harsh living conditions imposed by the status of seasonal workers, they nevertheless left traces of major importance.
Beyond the clichés, “italianità” has spread and put its durable stamp on all layers of society through food, music, cinema, sociability, sport, heritage, language, etc.
It’s the fascinating history of this presence in Lausanne – marked by the precious stories of many witnesses – that is unveiled here.