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Saving Southern Italy

A documentary by Valarie D'Elia

Saving Southern Italy begins in the late stages of covid, when I return to the land of my Italian ancestry looking to find a home to buy and renovate, and along the way I’ll shepherd other ex-pats through the incredibly challenging yet rewarding process of honoring their roots in a tangible way. There are many well publicized schemes for the sale of abandoned properties, so I will engage property managers and lawyers who will help guide us through the options, from the  “case un euro” phenomenon to homes on the private market.

In essence, we are collectively “building gratitude” in a bricks and mortar fashion, which besides the possibility of buying a “heritage” home, we will meet other Italian-Americans who might be establishing a business such as a wedding venue, turning a village into an “Albergo Diffuso,” a diffused hotel, or perhaps populating an artist-in-residence borgo. 

The tone of the documentary will feel authentic and grounded, not “reality tv” but cinematic realism. 

After all, we’re filming Italy here!  So, I want viewers to smell every batch of bread baking, absorb the glow of every sunset, hear the music of feet shuffling on weathered cobblestones and feel the tug of their heartstrings when visiting villages that are literal time warps, many with an eerily melancholy aura of abandonment. 

The storyline will mainly be driven by the narrative of the interviews conducted with the subjects being featured, rather than a voice-over narration. 

Associated Members

Valarie D'Elia, Independent Filmmaker


We are grateful for the generous support of our sponsors:

Massachusetts Cultural Council
Lowel Cultural Council
Cabot Family Charitable Trust
Liberty Mutual Foundation
City of Boston Arts and Culture