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Although Italy and India have maintained important relations since ancient times, significant Indian migration to Italy is a recent phenomenon. Many Indians began immigrating to Italy in the early 1990s, when the Italian government initiated programs to get Indian IT professionals and engineers to contribute to the technology sector in Italy.

Indians in Italy
Total population
169,394 (January 1, 2016)
Regions with significant populations
Rome, Milan
Italian, Indian English, Punjabi, Hindi, Languages of India
Sikhism, Islam, Hinduism, Religions of India
Related ethnic groups
Non-resident Indian and Person of Indian Origin, Desi

Many came from the Punjab as entrepreneurs who are incredibly active in the restaurant and retail fields associated with Italy's large tourism industry. About half of the total Indian migrant population in Italy live in the central and northern regions of the country, especially in the cities of Rome and Milan. Lombardy host the most important indian community with 47,743 people.

The Indian community has integrated successfully into Italian life, and local authorities and people are impressed with their contributions to the Italian economy. They have been found to be generally very industrious, business-minded, entrepreneurial and law-abiding.[1]

Most Indians have retained their religious practices, namely Hinduism and Sikhism. There are numerous temples and gurdwaras as well as ISKCON centres.


Dairy IndustryEdit

The production of many Italian cheeses, including Parmigiano-Reggiano, Grana Padano, and mozzarella, depends significantly on immigrant labour.[2][3][4] Starting in the 1990s, Indians have come to dominate the labour force of the Italian dairy industry in this niche.[3] Indeed, 60% of the workers in the Parmesan industry are Sikh.[2]

Most Indians in Italy tend to settle in the north of the country and work in agriculture.[5][6] The Po Valley is similar in climate to the Punjab, where most of these Sikh workers are from.[2] Their first jobs tend to be directly with the cows and buffalos, as many come from farming families, but some move on to become cheesemakers, which is better paying.[7]

it:Coldiretti, which Politico Europe describes as Italy's most important farming union[8] and civic authorities in the region acknowledge that the immigrants are indispensable for agriculture in general and the dairy industry in particular.[9] The dairy workers themselves (bergamini) tend to belong to the Italian General Confederation of Labour[3].

Notable individualsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Italian Indians: the other side of migration
  2. ^ a b c Mitzman, Dany (25 June 2015). "The Sikhs who saved Parmesan". BBC News. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Migration from Punjab to Italy in the Dairy Sector: The Quiet Indian Revolution
  4. ^ "The Sikh migrants keeping Italy's mozzarella industry alive". Newsweek. 13 May 2015. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  5. ^ "Now, Indian agricultural workers flock to Italy". The Economic Times. 4 July 2008. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  6. ^ The Indian Community:Annual Report on the Presence of Migrants in Italy - Executive Summary published by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies (Italy)
  7. ^ Duttagupta, Ishani (2012). "Dairy workers from Punjab keep Italy's Parmesan industry going". The Economic Times. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  8. ^ "Italian farmers' union flexes its political muscle". POLITICO. 23 November 2017. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  9. ^ Povoledo, Elisabetta (7 September 2011). "In Italian Heartland, Indians Keep the Cheese Coming". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 February 2018.

External linksEdit