5 prominent Italian figures of Albanian descent

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The migration of Albanian families toward Italy began in the 15th and 16th Centuries as a result of the Ottoman occupation.

Many of these families, helped by the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily, headed to Italy’s south, where today remain known as the “Arberesh”.

Euronews Albania listed below the five most prominent Italian personalities, who actually have Albanian descent.

Pope Clement XI (1649-1721)

Born on 23 July 1649, in Urbino, Giovanni Francesco Albani was the first offspring of Carlo Albani and Elena Mosca. The Albani was a noble family of Albanian descent, while his mother Elena belonged to the family of the Marquesses of Mosca of Pesaro, of ancient origin from Lombardy.

Giovanni Francesco completed his secondary studies in 1660 where he was distinguished for his talent in the study of languages, especially in the translation from Latin and ancient Greek.

He wrote the text approved by Pope Innocent XII entitled “Romanum Decet Pontificem”, a famous script condemning nepotism. Giovanni Francesco became a well-known figure among the Roman Curia as a man of integrity, against corruption and nepotism.

Girolamo de Rada (1814-1903)

Girolamo de Rada was the son of a parish priest of the Italian-Albanian Catholic Church “Macchia Albanese” in the highlands of Cosenza, Calabria. De Rada immediately expressed interest in his Albanian origins by starting a collection of folklore at a very young age.

He is known as one of the most famous and influential writers of the 19th Century, where he had an important role during the National Renaissance.

Francesco Crispi (1818-1901)

Francesco Crispi held the post of Prime Minister from 1887 to 1891. He was an Italian patriot and politician with a family of Albanian origin, baptized in the Orthodox religion. A prominent figure of the Renaissance period and one of the organizers of the Sicilian Revolution in 1848.

Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937)

Antonio Gramsci a prominent intellectual and Marxist philosopher came from an Albanian family who fled to Italy at the end of the Century. XV, a time coinciding with the Turkish occupation of the country.

Gramsci was one of the founders, and one-time leader, of the Communist Party of Italy in 1921, while in 1926 he was caught and imprisoned by the fascists in the Turin prison. In 1934, after his health precipitated, he was released on bail and admitted to a clinic, where he spent the last years of his life.

He is considered one of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century.

Anna Oxa

Italian-Albanian singer Anna Oxa was born on April 28, 1961, in Bari. Her father is from Kruja while her mother is Italian. She grew up in the city of Bari where she graduated from the Giuseppe de Nittis Art High School.

In 2020, Prime Minister Edi Rama handed Oxa Albanian citizenship.

She is a two-time winner of the Festival of Sanremo, once in 1989 with the duet “Ti Lascero”, with Fausto Leali and for the second time in 1999 with the song “Senza Pieta”.

5 figura të rëndësishme italiane me prejardhje shqiptare by Euronews Balkans

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