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For Insight Into Italy's Multiethnic Future, Follow Your Taste Buds

In a country still struggling with how to integrate its fast growing immigrant population, the vibrant public market located in Rome's Piazza Vittorio Emanuele provides a taste of its recent ethnic changes.
August 13, 2013, 8am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"Once an average neighborhood market catering to middle-class Italians, the emporium at Piazza Vittorio, formally known as the New Esquiline Market, has evolved into the heart of multiethnic Rome," writes Rachel Donadio. "In a country still grappling with immigration — in recent weeks, Italy’s first black government minister has faced racist taunts — the market presents a different vision, one of an aging country’s future as a land of immigrants, marked by an easier coexistence through commerce."

"The number of foreign-born residents residing legally in Italy has tripled in the last decade, to about 4.3 million out of a population of 59 million," she explains. "The largest groups are from Romania, Albania, Morocco and China, but other ethnicities are on the rise."

Though, she adds, "Italy has trailed France and Germany in terms of immigration and integration."

"'It’s hard to quantify, but I think 20 years behind is a reasonable estimate,' said Riccardo Staglianò, the author of 'Thanks: Why We’d Be Lost Without Immigrants,' which argues that immigrants have become essential in Italy in fields as diverse as construction and health care for Italy’s growing elderly population."

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Published on Sunday, August 11, 2013 in The New York Times
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