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Heitor Blasi (Decada 1920)

The history of Italian sport abroad not only sheds light on the experiences and lives of individual athletes and sports associations, but also ties in, from time to time, with other important aspects of the lives of our emigrants, such as politics, sociology and social welfare. It is capable of telling stories that really capture the different forms of Italian presence in the countries of arrival, the different lifestyles of the social classes, the difficulties encountered in order to emerge and succeed in a foreign land, the strong ties the emigrants maintained with their homeland, and the influence of Italian politics on our communities abroad. All interwoven with historical events, of international interest, and the culture that prevailed in each specific country and at each specific time.

From the description of the models of participatory and associative life of Italian communities in South America, via the comparison of the various ways in which emigrants were included through sport, continuing with the influence of the outbreak of the Second World War on the lives of Italian athletes and clubs abroad, telling the story of the sport of Italian emigrants and their descendants enables us to gain a better understanding of the history of Italian emigration in all its many aspects.

With this in mind, the Museo Nazionale dell'Emigrazione Italiana got in touch with the main football clubs of Italian origin in South America, some of which have Genoese roots, such as Boca and River, involving them in the creation of an important story that reveals how sport has often been a faithful snapshot of the lives of Italian emigrants, interweaving with historical events, with the different social conditions and with the specificities of the countries where they immigrated. The countries involved are: Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Australia and Chile, and 10 teams have provided material and documentation that can be seen in the exhibition of the Museo Nazionale dell’Emigrazione Italiana along with the stories of some Italian athletes from racing driver Juan Manuel Fangio to cyclist Nino Borsari and of a sports museum - Museo del Deporte de la provincia de Santa Fe, Rosario – Argentina.

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