Welsh Italians - Wikipedia

Welsh Italians

Welsh Italians are an ethnic minority of Italian or mixed Italian and Welsh descent living in Wales. Most Italian immigration to Wales took place in the 19th and early 20th centuries, with the largest number of migrants settling in Glamorgan and Newport.[1]

Welsh Italians
Andrew Vicari at the Celtic Manor (cropped).jpg
Artist Andrew Vicari
Regions with significant populations
South Wales
English, Welsh, Italian
Christian: Mostly Roman Catholic
Related ethnic groups
Italians, Italian Scots, Welsh

Migration historyEdit

Italian immigrants to Wales, mainly originating from the Apennine Mountains and in particular the town of Bardi, established a network of cafés, ice cream parlours and fish and chip shops in Wales from the 1890s onwards.[2] In the Rhondda Valley the cafés became known as "Bracchis" after an early café owner.[2] The number of Italian cafés in Wales was more than 300 before World War Two. 11 of these are still run by the same families.[3] The brothers Frank and Aldo Berni, who started in business in Merthyr Tydfil, went on to found the Berni Inn chain.[2] Ystrad Mynach has seen many Italian cafes over the years, owned by families such as Lusardi, Massari, Bracchi and Sidoli. The last Italian cafe in the town, John's Cafe, was owned by the Sidoli family and closed in 2017 after over 50 years of trading. [4]

During the Second World War, Welsh Italians without British citizenship were declared enemy aliens and a number were interned on the Isle of Man or in Canada. 53 Welsh Italians lost their lives in the sinking of the passenger ship Arandora Star in 1940. A memorial was placed in Cardiff Metropolitan Cathedral in 2010 to commemorate the tragedy.[5] A memorial chapel is in the cemetery in Bardi.[6]

Notable peopleEdit

In popular cultureEdit

The BBC broadcast a two part documentary about Welsh-Italians. It was presented by Michela Chiappa (a Welsh Italian who was born in Merthyr Tydfil) who went to visit Bardi.[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Bardi - The Italian Connection
  2. ^ a b c The Welsh Academy Encyclopedia of Wales. Cardiff: University of Wales Press 2008
  3. ^ Servini, Nick (12 February 2020). "Why cafe culture has rich Italian flavour in Wales". BBC News. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  4. ^ Marcus Hughes (24 July 2017). "The evocative images that capture 50-years of business at a Welsh Italian family café".
  5. ^ "Service marks 70th anniversary of ship tragedy". BBC News. 2 July 2010. Retrieved 8 February 2011.
  6. ^ Alessandro Cardinali (2 July 2016). "Bardi. Commemorazione vittime Arandora Star" (in Italian).
  7. ^ Welsh Italians on the BBC website

External linksEdit