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Roots Tourism and Wonder Grottole

2024 will be the year of Roots Tourism, but what is it all about?

Roots tourism, or return tourism, involves first or second generation emigrants who decide to rediscover the places of their family origins. 

In numbers

80 million is the number of Italian descendants or Italians living abroad, the potential audience for this form of tourism in our country.

10 million were travelers in search of their roots in Italy in 2018, 72.5 percent more than in 1997.

4 billion is the economic value of root tourism in Italy in 2018, up from the previous year.

For the development of rural areas and small towns this type of tourism can be strategic, as the return tourist is usually linked to a place through the memories of his family and can help build bridges between communities of origin and emigration. Just as an example we could mention what has happened in the Vallo di Diano, Campania, where in recent years close ties have been created with the descendants of those who decades earlier left those territories to build a future in Venezuela.

Roots In, International Tourism Exchange of Origins, will be held in Matera on Sunday, November 20 and Monday, November 21, 2022. Will be the first international industry event dedicated to tourism back to the land of origin, in which Wonder Grottole will participate bringing the experience we have gained in this sector, first with Italian Sabbatical and then with various guests.

In the coming days and weeks we will tell you on our social networks some of the stories related to origin travel that we have collected over time. The first one is below and talks about Argentina and Cirigliano, in the province of Matera (Southern Italy).

Destination Cirigliano

Vane and Patricia are two sisters from Argentina and in 2019 they had applied to live a few months in Grottole with Italian Sabbatical. In August 2022 they decided to visit us with the goal of also visiting Cirigliano, a small village of about 200 in the heart of Basilicata where their mother was born before moving to the other side of the World.

We become friends and experience together the Feast of San Rocco, which is very important for the Grottole community, so they ask us if we would like to accompany them to discover their family’s places. The idea of participating in such an important moment for them makes us agree, and so through more or less bumpy roads we arrive in Cirigliano.

There we meet a distant relative, the owner of the only convenience store in the village, who takes us to see the family home (where Vane and Patricia’s mother was born and raised), takes us to the municipal cemetery to visit the graves of their ancestors (although she does not like cemeteries), and finally to make scamorza at her friend’s house.

It was an unforgettable experience for us, and even more so for Vane and Patricia, who will return to Cirigliano next summer with the rest of the family, to relive together those places linked to ancient family stories and made tangible for the first time.