Lega Nord (Northern League) is one of the most long-standing parties sitting in the Italian parliament. Deeply-rooted in several regions, the party displays a well-defined ideological outline that guarantees it a place among the range of European far-right forces. Its characterization is the result of a complex history that saw the gradual coalescence of localist-oriented political forces born and evolved in the northern Italian regions since the end of the 1970s. This essay retraces the paths of those forces, reflecting upon their evolutions and variations, examining two of their most characterizing traits: anti-southernism and xenophobia. The former had a pivotal role in the first period of Lega Nord’s existence; whereas the latter became the characteristic trait of the political season in which occurred the passage from the «Martelli» to the «Bossi-Fini» law. The present work outlines how, regardless of what is considered common knowledge by many observers, Lega Nord’s ideology was not an outcome of the erasure of Italian emigration’s memory. On the contrary, the regions in which the party demonstrates the strongest appeal are those that were greatly affected by the post-WWII incoming migratory exodus. It is exactly there, where it is more spread and stronger, that the memory of the emigration has been re-elaborated and re-framed in a xenophobic outlook.
Keywords: Northern League; Migrations; Anti-Southernism; Xenophobia; Racism.