The long lasting wave of Italian refugees, returning to their homeland at the conclusion of World War II and during the decolonization process, arises many questions. First of all the demographical dimension is still unclear, and gures given by historians may present relevant variations. In the second place, their arrival has compelled the administration and political power to better de ne the boundaries of citizenship, and the answers given to the refugees show the cultural limits of citizenship in our country. Moreover, since the many arrivals have received different reactions by their fellow citizens, from solidarity to annoyance, questions concern the reasons of these different behaviours. Finally, recent historical research has shown that the construction of the public memory of refugees has been a sensible political issue in every country. In the case of Italian expellees, the different levels of attention paid to them show that political support and memory depended mainly on their possible exploitation for territorial claims. When they were considered useless for this purpose, they were not included in the public memory and also historical research has been directed to them with an inexcusable delay.
Keywords: Italian refugees; Citizenship; Immigration policy; Public history