The Italian irredentists wanted all Italian-speaking regions to be annexed by Italy, most specifically parts of Austria-Hungary, and this is why Italy joined the entente during the Great War, in order to try to get those territories annexed. They partially succeeded, yet only part of their claims were annexed by Italy (they also claimed areas that are today part of Slovenia and Croatia).

Now my question is : Did the irreentists also have claims on the Swiss Canton of Tessin, which is also Italian speaking, and is today the biggest native Italian speaking community outside of Italy (if emigration doesn't count)?

1 Answer 1


Yes, it appears they did.

Wikipedia's caption on the map below reads:

Italian territory claims by Italian irredentism activists in the 1930s, including Nice, Ticino and Dalmatia in green, Malta in red, and later also claimed Corsica in purple

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"Ticino" is of course the Italian name for what German-speakers call "Tessin".

How hard this was pushed is another matter though. I did find that Ticino was the source of rather a lot of unrest from the mid to late 19th Century*. Once Mussolini came to power, this got wrapped up in Republican vs. Fascist politics. The Fascists went so far as to stage a march on Bellinzona in 1934. However, they faded away to nearly nothing soon after that.

* - The overt political reasons are so buried in Swiss political minutiae that's it tough to imagine anyone caring, except to use them as a convenient pretense for separatism

  • 2
    I came across rather a lot of what looked like it might be good reference material on this subject, but sadly it was almost all in either German or Italian, so I can't be sure. But for those who can read those languages, I'd suggest reading up on the life of Aurelio Garobbio might prove fruitful.
    – T.E.D.
    Jan 29, 2016 at 14:47

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