Fabio Bertolissi and Family

Visitors from Rovereto
In October Dan Aspromonte hosted from Rovereto Sara Bozzi and her father Claudio and Fabio Bertolissi and his father Massimo. They traveled through California, Arizona and Nevada visiting several national parks and other sites along the way. claudioNoteworthy to us members of the Trentino diaspora is Fabio’s research on Trentino emigration. In 2009 he published a thesis at the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice on Trentino immigration to Bosnia, and then from Bosina to Agro Pontino, the former marshland south of Rome. The Trentino History Museum Foundation awarded him the year’s best thesis on Trentino
emigration. Vincenzo Mancuso from the same Foundation interviewed many of our club members last year, and snippets of those interviews will soon appear on television in Trentino. Most of emigration to Bosnia occurred 130 years ago from Aldeno, about 6 miles southwest of Trento, to Mahovljani. Why Bosnia? In part it was an effort by the Austro-Hungarian Empire to stem the rush of immigrants to the Americas. Fabio cites several reasons for Trentino immigration in that period of time: the international financial crisis; changes in political borders; flood disasters; diseases that devastated vines and mulberries (silk). The town of Aldeno, on the banks of the Adige River, was affected by all the above, but in particular by a calamitous flood in 1882. Most of those who settled in the Muslim-dominated Bosnia were poor farm laborers. They were given land to cultivate. They grew grapes and established a flourishing wine industry. On the cover of the July issue of the Trentini nel Mondo magazine, there is a photo of the monument that was recently erected in Mahovljani in honor of these immigrants. The story does not end here. In 1818, after WWI, Trentino was no longer part of the Austro- Hungarian Empire. Bosnia became part of Yugoslavia, and the Yugoslav government wanted these Trentini to serve in the military. Only a few had become citizens. They appealed for help, and in 1928 the Italian government granted them passports. In 1940 nearly the entire Trentino population of Mahovljani, about 100 families, sold their land and transferred to the marshlands of Agro Pontino, south of Rome. Mussolini had embarked on what he referred to as “the battle of the swamps.” With an army of workers he had these swamps drained, stripped of malaria and made into arable land. The Trentini, with origins in Aldeno, remained united, and many established noteworthy vineyards and wineries.
Some Trentini remained in Bosnia. The Province of Trentino is now providing them assistance in establishing productive vineyards and quality wines. In the future Fabio would like to trace Trentino involvement in the grape and wine industries of Brazil. In the meanwhile he is working on a project for the Trentino History Museum Foundation. He is researching the archives of Vallagarina to document migratory trends towards the end of the 19th century, mostly destined for Brazil. Rovereto and 16 other municipalities comprise the district of Vallagarina. Fabio offers his generous assistance to any of our members who are researching their ancestry in Vallagarina.