Although Italy and India have maintained important relations since ancient times, significant Indian migration to Italy is a recent phenomenon. Many Indians began immigrating to Italy in the early 1990s, when the Italian government offered amnesty to illegal migrants following a worker shortage, and the numbers have been growing progressively since. Today Indians in Italy number 140,000.
Most came from the Punjab and tend to work on dairy farms and in agriculture. Others have become businesspeople and have become active in the restaurant and retail fields associated with Italy's large tourism industry. About half of the total Indian migrant population in Italy live in the agricultural areas of the central and northern regions of the country, especially in the areas around Rome and Milan.
Most Indians have integrated successfully into Italian life, and local authorities and people are impressed with their contributions to the local economy. They have been found to be generally very industrious, hard working, and law-abiding.
Most Indians have retained their religious practices, namely Hinduism and Sikhism. There are numerous temples and gurdwaras as well as ISKCON centres.