Italian Venezuelans

Venezuela Maracaibo Deportivo Italia (1948-2010)
Italian Venezuelans
Italo Venezolanos
Juan Germán Roscio.jpg
Pompeo D'Ambrosio.jpg
Luis Razetti.jpg
001B4119 Francisco Cervelli.jpg
Franco De Vita at Hotel Sheraton, Mexico City.jpg
001U3148 Marco Scutaro.jpg
Agustín Codazzi.jpg
Total population
30,000-126,000 citizens according to the National Census
0.39% of Venezuela's population[1] [2] 1,500,000 to 2,000,000 Venezuelans of Italian descent
5–6% of Venezuela's population[3]
Regions with significant populations
Greater Caracas, Valencia, Maracay, Barquisimeto, Maracaibo, Barcelona-Puerto La Cruz, Margarita Island, Ciudad Guayana, Acarigua-Araure and Mérida
Roman Catholic

Italian Venezuelans are Venezuelan citizens of Italian descent. The word may refer to someone born in Venezuela of Italian descent or to someone who has emigrated to Venezuela from Italy. Among European Venezuelans, Italians are one of the largest groups of immigrants to settle in the country.


Before the discovery of huge deposits of oil in Venezuela, during the first half of the 20th century, the emigration of Italians to Venezuela was limited. A number of Italians (among them Agostino Codazzi) moved to Venezuela from Italy during the colonial times and the Simón Bolívar era. In the second half of the XIX century there was a small number of Italians and their descendants, who were able to reach important levels inside the Venezuelan society, like Luis Razetti.

By 1926 there were 3009 Italians in Venezuela... approximately one-third lived in the capital, one-sixth in Trujillo and there were respectable showings in Bolivar, Carabobo, and Monagas. Zulia, with its port of Maracaibo, had gained in importance...... The "Societa' Fratellanza Italiana" was a mutual benefit society founded in Caracas in 1883. Other organizations of the small Italian community included the "Associazione Nazionale Combatenti", the "Lega Navale Italiana", the "Camera di Comercio Italiana in Venezuela", a section of the "Croce Rossa Italiana" and, founded in 1923, the "Partito Nazionale Fascista", with over two hundred members and organizations in four cities:Caracas, Valencia, Puerto Cabello and Barquisimeto (Duaca).....Two Italian newspapers, "Eco de Italia", followed by "El Eco de la Patria", were published in the early 1920s. The first attempts to provide schooling in the Italian language date from the late 1930s, as do the beginnings of the first social club, "La Casa de Italia" (officially founded in 1937 with the patronage of the Italian minister). The Casa co-sponsored an Italian school, a cultural institute and several sports teams, notably in soccer and cycling.Susan Berglund[4]

In the 1940s and 1950s the Venezuelan President Marcos Pérez Jiménez promoted European immigration to his depopulated country, and more than 300,000 Italians emigrated to Venezuela (although many later returned to Italy).

The Italians in the 1961 Venezuelan census were the biggest European community in Venezuela (ahead of the Spanish).

In 1966 -according to the Italian Embassy in Caracas- of the 170000 Italians present in the country, 90% lived in the main cities: about 96000 in Caracas, 14000 in Maracaibo, 8000 in Maracay, 6000 in Valencia and 5000 in La Guayra. Most of these Italians were born in Sicily, Campania and Puglia; only 15% were born in northern Italy (mainly in Emilia-Romagna). They initially worked in construction, in the service sector, in commercial agencies and in different businesses (like hotels, banks, restaurants, etc..), in manifacturing activities (the shoe industry in Caracas -for example- was fully in Italian hands) and a few also in the oil industry.

In 1976 the "Dirección de Estadísticas" of Venezuela registered 210,350 Italians residents and 25,858 Italians "naturalised" (who had obtained Venezuelan citizenship).[5] In 2001, 126,553 Italians were living in Venezuela.[6]

Marisa Vannini calculated that in the 1980s Italian-Venezuelans made up almost 400,000 of Venezuela's population, including second-generation descendants of immigrants. The Italian language in Venezuela is influencing Venezuelan Spanish with some modisms and loanwords and is experiencing a notable revival between the Italian-Venezuelans of second and third generation.

Santander Laya-Garrido estimated that the Venezuelans with at least one grandparent from Italy can be nearly one million at the beginning of the 21st century (like the former president of Venezuela, Raul Leoni, whose grandfather was an Italian mason refugee of the 19th century).

Currently, Italian citizens resident in Venezuela are reduced to less than 50,000 due mainly to demographic mortality and to their return to Italy (because of a Venezuelan political and economic crisis in the 2000s).[7] The Ambassador of Italy in Venezuela, estimated that 5-6% (1,44 to 1,73 million) of the current Venezuelan population is of Italian origin.[3]

Italian population in Venezuela
Census Year Venezuelan population Italian population % Italians over foreigners % Italians over total population
1881 2,075,245 3,237 6.6 0.15
1941 3,850,771 3,034 6.3 0.07
1950 5,091,543 136,705 31.1 3.01
1961 7,523,999 113,631 24.6 1.51
1971 10,721,522 213,000 22.3 1.99
2001 23,054,210 49,337 4.86 0.21


Initially, agriculture was one of the main activities of the Italian community in Venezuela. In the 1950s, entire Italian families were moved from Italy to special agricultural areas, like the "Colonia Turén" of the Portuguesa region.[8]

However, most Italians concentrated in commercial, building and services activities during the second half of the 20th century. In those sectors, Italians reached top positions in the Venezuelan economy.

The community's main Italian newspapers are Il Corriere di Caracas and La Voce d'Italia [1], both published in the Capital, and the main Italian school is the Agustin Codazzi of Caracas (with courses from elementary to high school). Since 2002, the Italian government has become the promoter for a provision which makes it mandatory to teach the Italian language as a second language in a consistent number of public and private schools within Venezuela.[9]

Most of the Italian community in Caracas but even in the rest of Venezuela followed Deportivo Italia football club, as its own representative team.[10]

Indeed, the Italian-Venezuelans have obtained significant results in the contemporary society of Venezuela. The Italian Embassy calculates that 1/4 of the Venezuelan industries, not related to the oil sector, are directly or indirectly owned and/or managed by Italian-Venezuelans.[11]

In the Italian community, actually one of the most important in Venezuela, there are Presidents of Venezuela (like Jaime Lusinchi and Raúl Leoni), entrepreneurs (like ing. Delfino, who with his "Constructora Delpre" made in Caracas the tallest skyscrapers of South America: Parque Central Complex), managers (like Pompeo D'Ambrosio), sportsmen (like Johnny Cecotto), artists (like Franco De Vita), beauty pageants (like Daniela di Giacomo and Viviana Gibelli), and many others personalities.

One winner of the title Miss Venezuela was born in Italy: María Antonieta Cámpoli [12] in 1972 (later she represented Venezuela in the Miss Universe, where she was the runner-up).

Main Italo-Venezuelan Institutions and Associations

Coat of Arms of Deportivo Italia (the futbol team of the Italian community in Caracas), that won five Venezuela Championships and the famous Little Maracanazo.


The Colegio Agustín Codazzi in Caracas is an overseas Italian school recognized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy.[15]

There are also multiple Italo-Venezuelan schools in the country:[16]


Eastern Venezuela:[16]

Western Venezuela:[16]

Notable Italian-Venezuelans

Geographical distribution and origin

Areas of Venezuela where the Italian community is concentrated

The Italians who migrated to Venezuela came mainly from the regions of South Italy, like Abruzzo, Campania, Sicily, and Apulia, but there were also migrants from the north, such as from Emilia-Romagna and Veneto.

The Italian Consulate in Caracas stated[17] that in 1977 - of 210,350 Italians residents in Venezuela - 39,855 were from Sicily, 35,802 from Campania, 20,808 from Abruzzi, 18,520 from Apulia, 8,953 from Veneto, 7,650 from Emilia-Romagna and 6,184 from Friuli – Venezia Giulia.

The Italians are concentrated mainly in the north-central region of Venezuela around Caracas. The Consulate stated that in the same 1977 there were 98,106 Italians in the Distrito Federal of Caracas, 39,508 in Miranda State, 14,203 in Maracaibo, 12.801 in Aragua State and 8,104 in Carabobo State, as well as 66 in the Amazonas equatorial region.

In the 2000s, it was determined that nearly 90% of the Italo-Venezuelans were concentrated in the northern coastal section of Venezuela facing the Caribbean sea. Approximately 2/3 of them are residents of the metropolitan areas of the three main Venezuelan cities: Caracas, Maracaibo and Valencia.

There is also a considerable number of Italian residents that live in the city of San Cristóbal and in the Andes region.



States with the highest proportions of Italian-born population tend to be those of the North-central coastal area (Capital and Central Region), the Andean Region (Mérida) and the Insular Region.

Percentage of population born in Italy through Venezuela

At the 2011 census, this was the breakdown of Italian-born population by state, showing that the capital area was the one with the biggest concentration of native Italians.

State Italian-born Population Percentage
Amazonas 19 0.013
Flag of Anzoátegui State.svg Anzoátegui 1,116 0.0798
Flag of Apure State.svg Apure 63 0.0137
Flag of Aragua State.svg Aragua 2,492 0.1537
Flag of Barinas State.svg Barinas 351 0.0434
Flag of Bolívar State.svg Bolívar 885 0.0631
Flag of Caracas.svg Capital District 5,792 0.3003
Flag of Carabobo State.svg Carabobo 3,011 0.1349
Flag of Cojedes State.svg Cojedes 93 0.0216
Flag of Delta Amacuro State.svg Delta Amacuro 18 0.01
Flag of Falcón.svg Falcón 355 0.0373
Federal dependencies of Venezuela's Flag.svg Federal Dependencies 20 0.9438
Flag of Guárico State.svg Guárico 582 0.0785
Flag of Lara State.svg Lara 1,449 0.082
Flag of Mérida State.svg Mérida 558 0.678
Flag of Miranda state.svg Miranda 8,263 0.3122
Flag of Monagas State.png Monagas 494 0.0566
Flag of Nueva Esparta.svg Nueva Esparta 915 0.1886
Flag of Portuguesa.svg Portuguesa 851 0.0986
Flag of Sucre State.svg Sucre 296 0.038
Flag of Táchira.svg Tachira 338 0.0291
Flag of Trujillo State.svg Trujillo 349 0.051
Flag of Vargas State.svg Vargas 557 0.1591
Flag of Yaracuy State.svg Yaracuy 339 0.0566
Flag of Zulia State.svg Zulia 1,645 0.0446
Total Venezuela 30,901 0.1137


See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Bevilacqua, Piero; Clementi, Andreina De; Franzina, Emilio (2001). Storia dell'emigrazione italiana (in Italian). Donzelli Editore. ISBN 9788879896559.
  3. ^ a b "...el diplomático calcula que 5% o 6% de la población venezolana actual tiene origen italiano."
  4. ^ Italian Immigration in Venezuela: A Story Still Untold", by Susan Berglund" (University Central de Venezuela)
  5. ^ Ministerio de Fomento (Dirección General de Estadísticas y Censos nacionales). Décimo Censo nacional de 1971. Caracas
  6. ^ Bevilacqua, Piero; Clementi, Andreina De; Franzina, Emilio (2001). Storia dell'emigrazione italiana (in Italian). Donzelli Editore. ISBN 9788879896559.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Archived 2009-02-12 at the Wayback Machine Colonia Turen (in Italian)
  9. ^ Section:Cultural cooperation
  10. ^ Website of Deportivo Italia (in Spanish)
  11. ^ "Americas".
  12. ^ Photo of María Antonieta Cámpoli
  13. ^ "Istituto di Cultura - Caracas".
  14. ^ " Emigrazione,Associazioni italiane al'estero,Venezuela".
  15. ^ "SCUOLE PARITARIE ITALIANE ALL'ESTERO" (Archive). Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Italy). p. 5/6. Retrieved on November 20, 2015.
  16. ^ a b c d "Informazioni utili nel Paese" (Archive). Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy (Farnesina). Retrieved on November 21, 2015.
  17. ^ Consolato Generale d'Italia a Caracas.Rapporto del Consolato per il Ministero Affari Esteri di Roma. Anno 1978
  18. ^ Censo 2011 - INE

External links