The period between the two World Wars marks the end of mass emigration for Italy. In the course of thirty years, the migratory flows were transformed: the number of starters was reduced and the trajectories changed. The new restrictions established by immigration countries – (e.g. the Quota Acts in the Twenties) – and the advent of the fascist regime redesigned the paths of Italian emigrants. At first, Mussolini gathered the legacy of liberal governments; then, since the end of the Twenties, he inaugurated a new migration policy, in line with the demographic policy of the regime and strengthening the link between emigration and foreign policy. As the historian Bertonha wrote, emigration became, «an evil to be preferred to the internal colonization and to that of the Empire». How, therefore, did the international conjuncture and the immigration restrictions that ensued, together with the new migration policies of the regime, limit the possibility of expatriation of people from Southern Italy? The closure of outlets, in fact, imposed new migration routes, which were mainly oriented towards Europe, as in the case of France and Germany, or colonies in Africa. It seems, however, that the new regime’s migratory policies – strongly connected from the 1930s to an aggressive, bellicose and imperialist foreign policy – have not always been able to provide an adequate response to millions of southerners who had traditionally travelled the migratory routes.
Keywords: Migratory routes; Fascism; Southern Italy; Migration block.