“My ancestors…encourage me to govern by the same policy of transferring to this city all conspicuous merit, wherever found. And indeed I know, as facts, that the Julii came from Alba, the Coruncanii from Camerium, the Porcii from Tusculum, and not to inquire too minutely into the past, that new members have been brought into the Senate from Etruria and Lucania and the whole of Italy, that Italy itself was at last extended to the Alps, to the end that not only single persons but entire countries and tribes might be united under our name. We had unshaken peace at home; we prospered in all our foreign relations, in the days when Italy beyond the Po was admitted to share our citizenship…. Are we sorry that the Balbi came to us from Spain, and other men not less illustrious from Narbon Gaul? Their descendants are still among us, and do not yield to us in patriotism. Everything, Senators, which we now hold to be of the highest antiquity, was once new.”
Emperor Claudius 41 to 54 AD
Italy hosts officially 5.014.437* foreign citizens which represent 8.2% of the total Italian population. Properly considered one of the main gates to Europe because of its geographical position, accommodates 187 different foreign communities (almost all the nationalities of the world). Few months ago, in response of the European policy on the current migration phenomenon, and inspired by the Emperor Claudius’s statement over 2000 years ago, I decided I want to try to make one portrait for each nationality inviting them to my studio.
* official numbers of foreign residents in Rome. Source CNR 2015.