“We created Italy. Now it remains to create the Italian.” These are the famous words of writer and politician Massimo d’Azeglio at the unification of Italy. Many modern day Italians do not think that 150 years of central government have succeeded in producing this Italian. „This is not Italy,” a guide told us once while we were visiting Sardinia. He was right, as a recent study of Italian genetics has shown.
East-West rather then North-South
The universities of Ravenna and Bologna have investigated 900 genetic profiles of blood donors coming from all over Italy and, surprisingly, discovered that the major difference in origin is not between the north and the south but between east and west (more or less). The Lega Nord, striving for northern independence, always emphasizing the difference between the settentrionali (northerners) and the meridionali (southerners), therefore is wrong.
Our Sardinian guide was right, however, as the island turns out to have a unique genetic profile that has nothing in common with the mainland. For the island of Sicily this does not hold as a large number of peoples have populated it over the centuries.