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Italian Scots

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Title: Italian Scots  
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Subject: Italians in the United Kingdom, Italian diaspora in the United Kingdom, Italian diaspora by country, Jade Ewen, Italian diaspora
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Italian Scots

Italian Scot
Total population
No exact numbers but estimates range from 35,000 to 100,000
Regions with significant populations
Throughout Scotland specifically Glasgow ·
Scots · English · Italian (and related forms)
Roman Catholicism
Related ethnic groups
Italian, Welsh Italians, Scots

Italian Scots or Scots-Italians are people of Italian descent living in Scotland. These terms may refer to people who are born in Scotland and of Italian descent. It can also refer to people of mixed Scottish and Italian descents. A recent Italian voter census estimated that there are 70,000 to 100,000 people in Scotland of Italian descent or Italian nationals, which is up to 1.9% of the Scottish population.

The majority come from the provinces of Lucca, Frosinone and Isernia.


Arguably the first people from Italy to reach Scotland were the Romans in and around 40, although the modern nation of Italy did not exist at the time and of course the Roman Empire was a cosmopolitan institution, with some Roman Emperors from the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa. Still, the Romans were for the most part from what is now Italy and they did leave their mark on Scotland in the shape of Hadrians Wall, Antonine Wall and other monumental constructions, although it was not until the end of the 19th century that an Italian-Scots identity really began to take shape.

Many Italian-Scots can trace their ancestry back to the 1890s where their forefathers escaped drought, famine and poverty in their homeland for a better life in Scotland; yet it was not until World War I that a sizeable population of Italian-Scots—over 4,000[1]—began to emerge, with Glasgow hosting the third largest community in the United Kingdom.[1] Since then, there has been a steady flow of migration between the two countries.

Italy and the fascist involvement in World War II brought many hardships on Italians settled in Scotland - many families were separated as adult males were interned.[2] The family members that were left behind were forced to cope with mistrust and discrimination. Of those imprisoned many men found themselves held in Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man. A number of others were employed in Orkney, at Scapa Flow, to construct a barrier against Nazi U-boats. These men additionally constructed the Chapel of Lambholm from scrap metal and junk.[3] Nowadays, this Chapel is one of Orkney's most popular tourist attractions.

Today, Italian Scots can be found working in all manner of professions. However, a large proportion of the community have plied their trade in the catering industry, working in the chip shops, ice-cream parlours, pizzerias and restaurants across Scotland.

Notable Italian Scots

In popular culture

  • American Cousins – A film about an Italian Scots family and their Mafia associated American cousins.
  • Strictly Sinatra
  • Comfort and Joy – A film about a war between rival Italian ice cream companies in Glasgow. The film is a spoof of American gangster movies.

See also


  1. ^ a b "Italian role in Scotland honoured". BBC News. 3 November 2004. Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  2. ^ "History". Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  3. ^ "Orkney's Italian Gift". BBC. Retrieved 2008-03-16. 

Pieri, J. (2005) 'The Scots-Italians: Recollections of an Immigrant' The Mercat Press

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