The departure

Guides for migrants

The decision to leave, which was often made at the beckoning of relatives or friends already abroad,  found a further rationale in the so-called “emigrant guides”, often published by those countries which aimed at attracting labour from all over Europe. These guides showed images of earthly paradises: boundless plains with lush vegetation, clean houses, and orderly city districts.

Shamelessly misleading advertising of this kind was unscrupulously displayed by travel agencies and by agents of shipping companies in order to convince the undecided to leave. It is thus possible to speak of what was to all intents and purposes a “migratory conscription”, carried out in this way basically everywhere in Italy. 


Cover of an emigrant guide published in São Paulo, 1886