Local Activities I

Analysis of the situation: Italy

In the frame of Local Activ­i­ties I, each project organ­i­sa­tion had to analyse the sit­u­a­tion of young migrants and urban art in its coun­try. Here you have a sum­ma­ry of the text writ­ten by Espres­sione Hip Hop con­cern­ing the sit­u­a­tion of Italy.


Italy was a coun­try of mass emi­gra­tion from the late 19th cen­tu­ry to the 1970s, whilst cur­rent­ly immi­gra­tion has become a char­ac­ter­is­tic phe­nom­e­non of the coun­try. Indeed, at Decem­ber 31, 2019, accord­ing to the Nation­al Insti­tute of Sta­tis­tics, 5,039,637 for­eign cit­i­zens, includ­ing first, sec­ond or third gen­er­a­tion immi­grants, were legal­ly res­i­dents in Italy, rep­re­sent­ing the 8.45% of the total pop­u­la­tion. Regard­ing the ori­gin, 1,2 mil­lion Roman­ian cit­i­zens live in Italy, which rep­re­sents the 23% of the for­eign pop­u­la­tion in the coun­try. The oth­er main for­eign com­mu­ni­ties are Alban­ian (9.3%), Moroc­can (8.7%), Chi­nese (5.4%) and Ukrain­ian (4.65%). Over 30% of for­eign res­i­dents are cit­i­zens of anoth­er EU coun­try, whilst 20% are cit­i­zens of African coun­tries and oth­er 20% of Asian states. Con­cern­ing the edu­ca­tion­al lev­el, there are no dif­fer­ences to under­line between the for­eign and the Ital­ian pop­u­la­tion. Two third of the peo­ple that immi­grat­ed to Italy declared that they did it for work­ing rea­sons. How­ev­er, the eco­nom­ic con­di­tions of for­eign fam­i­lies are gen­er­al­ly worse than those of the Ital­ian fam­i­lies, espe­cial­ly for those com­ing from Ukraine, Moldo­va and Romania.

The offi­cial data do not include the numer­ous for­eign­ers resid­ing ille­gal­ly on the nation­al ter­ri­to­ry, which is esti­mat­ed to be of at least 300,000 irreg­u­lar for­eign­ers. The irreg­u­lar immi­gra­tion is made up by “over­stay­ers”, it means peo­ple that remain in Italy after the expiry of the visa or res­i­dence autho­riza­tion, and by immi­grants who arrived ille­gal­ly from oth­er Schen­gen coun­tries, tak­ing advan­tage of the abo­li­tion of inter­na­tion­al bor­der con­trols and, although only the 15%, from the Mediter­ranean sea. Peo­ple that are dis­em­bark­ing on the Ital­ian coasts are main­ly refugees escap­ing from armed con­flict or per­se­cu­tion and enti­tles to asy­lum, and peo­ple that are look­ing for bet­ter work­ing con­di­tions. In recent years, the main coun­tries of embarka­tion of migrants are those of North­ern Africa, espe­cial­ly Libya, Tunisia and Egypt, but also Turkey and Greece.

Regard­ing this top­ic, there has always been a strong polit­i­cal debate in Italy on whether or not to open ports for land­ings. Con­cern­ing the inclu­sion, accord­ing to the MIPE, that is the Index of Immi­grant Inte­gra­tion Poli­cies in 52 coun­tries, Italy’s approach to integration/inclusion has a score of 58/100. Major obsta­cles tend to emerge in polit­i­cal par­tic­i­pa­tion and access to nation­al­i­ty, as immi­grants in Italy face slight­ly unfavourable polices in these two areas.


It arrived in Italy in the ear­ly 80s with the first video­tapes and it imme­di­ate­ly involved for­eign com­mu­ni­ties, in many cas­es help­ing the inclu­sion of these peo­ple in the soci­ety, espe­cial­ly in largest cities such as Rome, Bologna, Milan and Turin. Rap is the most famous of the four ele­ments of Hip Hop Cul­ture and it has reached very high pop­u­lar­i­ty, dom­i­nat­ing the charts espe­cial­ly with its sub-genre of trap music. Many Ital­ian Trap artists are from migrant fam­i­lies and there­fore they often speak about these top­ics in their songs.
In Italy there is not a large-scale Hip Hop fes­ti­val. There are jams but the audi­ence is not so big. In gen­er­al we can say that there are no big Hip Hop events with the theme of the social inclu­sion of migrants. In 2020, in the frame­work of the Eras­mus+ project “Inclu­sion­ART”, the asso­ci­a­tion Espres­sione Hip Hop cre­at­ed a pro­fes­sion­al rap song named “Non è un Sog­no” (It’s not a Dream) by the rap­per BJ, that talks about the social inclu­sion of foreigners.