Italian colonialism: from silence to downscaling. Following a brief summary of Italy’s colonial history, this paper analyses the causes of the absent memory of the crimes committed and the different stages of the historical reworking of this period. A process of silencing past history prevailed in the early years after World War II following the loss of colonies due to the defeat in war, the lack of prosecuting those responsible for atrocities and the absence of a critical historiography. In the 60s and 70s, the first studies appeared that put into question the myth of the "good Italian", even if a self-justifying interpretation prevailed. Since the mid-80s to today, new historical research and narratives - also by authors from the former colonies - have generated some awareness. However, in publishing and journalism the downscaling has continued. The thesis argued here is the need to assume responsibility for our colonial past to settle a historical debt but also to better combat the stereotyping and latent racist prejudices that are re-emerging with the influx of migrants also from our former colonies.
Keywords: Italian colonialism, "good Italian", process of silencing, self-justification, downscaling, racism, responsibility.