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Newspaper keeps Italian heritage in Tunisia alive

Tunisia once hosted a significant Italian population, including the Finzi family, which founded Il Corriere di Tunisi, an Italian-language newspaper currently being kept afloat almost single-handedly by Silvia Finzi, an adamant defender of tolerance and multiculturalism.

Silvia Finzi yells in Tunisian Arabic to her secretary down the hall before turning to her colleague and switching to Italian. Sitting in her office on Avenue de la Liberté in downtown Tunis, Finzi sighs, lights a cigarette and apologizes, “A busy day,” she explains, in impeccable French.

Finzi is one of the last of what she calls “la Tunisie plurielle” — the multi-ethnic Tunisia that prevailed for about a decade after the country gained independence in 1956. She descends from an Italian family that has lived in Tunisia for five generations. Once the country’s largest foreign community, Italian Tunisians, and their heritage, began to dwindle in the mid-20th century.

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