The most common stereotypes about Italians

I have no doubt about that the most common stereotypes about Italians are  : Spaghetti, mafia, musical accent, gestures, romantic, loud, fashion, chaos – these are all words often used to describe Italians and are in fact short definition of italianity.

But are these stereotypes true? In this article we will try to give you some insight into the Italian soul and clarify some common misunderstandings that foreigners have about them. Some of the stereotypes are actually true, but being Italian takes a lot more than that – they are not really pasta and pizza chomping mafiosi. And Italy is a wonderful country that is well worth a visit – you may like it or not, but you will definitely be surprised!

1. Stereotype : Italians love pasta and they eat it everyday. Spaghetti and pasta in general are sacred.

Italians looove pasta and they eat it everyday. Spaghetti and pasta in general are sacred.
Italians looove pasta and they eat it everyday. Spaghetti and pasta in general are sacred.

Is it true?: TRUE! (mostly)
Additional information: Italians do eat pasta everyday, sometimes twice a day depending on the phase of the moon and the direction of the wind. Unless it’s risotto. And comparing these foods to the strand shaped sludge of the same name in China is like peeing into a hurricane.

2. Stereotype: Italians have amazing coffee culture, exemplified by Starbucks.

Italians have amazing coffee culture, exemplified by Starbucks.
Italians have amazing coffee culture, exemplified by Starbucks.

Is it true?: FALSE (but the coffee is still very very GOOD)
Additional information: Starbucks is NOTHING like Italian coffee. The fact that the place is somehow based on Italian coffee culture is akin to Nazism being based on the Carebears. Italian coffee is espresso, but no one calls it that, they just call it coffee. People don’t lounge around and sip on it, they cruise into a coffee bar, order it, talk about last night’s soccer match, take it back in one shot and they’re out, cruising around in their turbo diesel wagon through the countryside at 200.

3. Stereotype: Pizza was invented in Italy.
Is it true?: MAYBE TRUE, MAYBE FALSE
Additional information: While many sources indicate to modern pizza being developed in NYC by Italian immigrants, the Pizza in Italy may as well be the same thing, in fact, you could even say that Italian Pizza exists of some kind of 4th dimensional plane where it is actually NYC pizza and NYC pizza is actually Italian pizza. An infinite number of super fresh ingredients are always available, and versions from ultra thin crust to pizza pie are easily acquired at prices that make me sad that the only thing available in QD is made by people who wouldn’t know what pizza was if they made sweet love to it in the back of a Ford Taurus. Wagon.

4. Stereotype: Italians are very fashionable. In fact, Italians are fashion victims icon wink Italianity: The cult of Italian stereotypes

Italians are very fashionable. In fact, Italians are fashion victims icon wink Italianity: The cult of Italian stereotypes
Italians are very fashionable. In fact, Italians are fashion victims icon wink Italianity: The cult of Italian stereotypes

Is it true?: TRUE
Additional information: Indeed. No sequins, rhinestones, acid wash or flowers embroidered into the jeans here. No dresses that look like garbage bags either. Just pure style! You can recognise Italians by the way they dress from the head to feet (strictly black Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses; Calvin Klein boxers; Levi’s jeans; Gucci handbags; tanned skin all year long; perfect make up). They will dress stylishly for every possible occasion. You won’t ever see an Italian wearing sporting short pants combined with long socks: it’s simply against their fashion rules.

5. Stereotype: Italian people often say: “mamma mia!” “va fan culo!” and “thatsa spicy meataball!”
Is it true?: TRUE (mostly)
Additional information: Italian people really do say these things, quite often. With the exception of the last one. We made that part up.

6. Stereotype: All Italian girls look smoking hot, as if the steped straight out of the Vogue and Vanity Fair advertisements.

 All Italian girls look smoking hot, as if the steped straight out of the Vogue and Vanity Fair advertisements.
All Italian girls look smoking hot, as if the steped straight out of the Vogue and Vanity Fair advertisements.

Is it true?: FALSE (mostly)
Additional information: There are definitely some attractive girls, but no more or no less than anywhere else in the world. Every single one of them has a boyfriend though. That is confirmed ;(

7. Stereotype: Italian is just like French.
Is it true?: FALSE
Additional information: Italian is just like Italian. Being fluent in French, I tried adding on O and I to the end of French words hoping for the best, but receiving looks as if I was speaking Chinese, which I ended up doing anyways out of frustration. Ironically I could read most things without difficulty, with the exception of the most important item you need to read in that country…menus. Yes, the way Italians speak is completely original. The most important element of communication are the gestures: the way we move our hands, hold our heads, move our shoulders, our facial expressions, as well as the way we use our eyes and mouths to make ourselves understood. They simply cannot talk without our hands. Italians speak very loudly in public whether on the bus, in the street or on the phone. Don’t worry, they are not all deaf. A lot of foreigners think we are fighting when we talk that way but it’s just the way we are.

8. Stereotype: Most Italian men are plumbers, and spend the working day jumping on turtles, eating mushrooms, and saving princesses.

Most Italian men are plumbers, and spend the working day jumping on turtles, eating mushrooms, and saving princesses.
Most Italian men are plumbers, and spend the working day jumping on turtles, eating mushrooms, and saving princesses.

Is it true?: THE POPE SAID IT HIMSELF
Additional information: They also all wear overalls, and can increase their productivity 10 fold if they jump to the top right corner of the screen in level 1-2 and get to the warp zone.

9. Sterotype: Mafia is real and dangerous.
Is it true?: TRUE
Additional information: The Mafia is real. Italians are not proud of it but it does exists, especially in the South and the island of Sicily. Obviously, not every Italian is a Mafioso and most will feel offended and insulted if you use the term, even when if you mean it as a joke.

10. Stereotype: Italians are very romantic.

Italians are very romantic.
Italians are very romantic.

Is it true?: TRUE
Additional information: Italians do enjoy romance (just like everyone else – more or less) and maybe the stereotype of the Italian romantic lover is not completely dead. An Italian guy will never let a girl go home unescorted. Also, the macho ideal is still alive and well in Italian culture.

 

Photos were shot by famous celebrity photographer, Annie Leibovitz, featuring Electtra Rossellini Wiedemann, for Lavazza annual calendars. In 2009 the chosen topic was the cult of Italian stereotypes. The images feature some of Italy’s most well-known icons and landmarks… The company called the calendar ‘Italianity’, and it has influences from the world of art, cinema, history and Italian culture. Famous people featured include Electra Rossellini, daughter of the legendary Isabella Rossellini, the best accompaniment for a pasta dish in the middle of the Toscana. A media hit, as always, which is well worth the large amounts invested in these calendars.

Italianity: The cult of Italian stereotypes
Italianity: The cult of Italian stereotypes

Text and information sources: Fun Stuff Caffe

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18 Responses to "The most common stereotypes about Italians"

  1. Pizza was made in Naples (Napoli), centuries ago..

  2. signormu says:

    This article is bullshit. Pizza was invented in Naples. How can that be a stereotype? it is a fact..

  3. Forgot that Italian males are Momma's Boys and leave the nest late in life….lol.

    1. I disagree with your comment, not like it was meant

  4. Mafia is only in Sicily and Narcos and transex are only in Brasil….ma perfavore!

  5. Mass effect says:

    Senti testa di cazzo non sai niente di noi italiani quindi stai zitto;shut up! lLo capisci meglio questo piece of shit?

  6. No. 4 – The svelte, groomed, tanned look is true for the cities perhaps, but here in the mountain tans fade in winter and rhinestones and sequins abound on many. The odd appliqué flower, too.

  7. Femmy N AlNic says:

    #10 is true 😀

  8. Zach DeAugustine says:

    I'm italian, a plumber, love my pasta, have overalls…. BUT i don't have a mustache…. so i'm nothing like mario

  9. Fabio says:

    1 – TRUE (with some bullshit)
    We eat pasta everyday just because it’s basic in our culture, it’s fast and easy to prepare and it’s a cheap dish for families. YES, comparing pasta with to the strand shaped sludge of the same name in China it’s like compare shit with choccolate, same color, different taste. Depend on the phase of the moon and direction of the wind??? I hope you’re kidding! those are bullshit. It depends on if you want pasta or not, if not you can also go to Mc Donalds without being judged. I like pasta, but I don’t like spaghetti. Oh and what say about the famous spaghetti with meatballs? typical italian dish? never seen it in here, I see that only in the movie “Lily and the tramp”, pasta with ragù it’s another case, very good. Anyway Pasta + meat = too much calories and fats, never mix carboidrates and protein…

    2 – FALSE
    Agree with the things you wrote. Espresso it’s cofeee. stop. The Billion of other types are just considered based cofee drinks.
    FURTHER INFORMATION: In Italy we don’t have sturbucks… it’s expansive if compare to a normal bar (and here you can find a bar everywhere) where you can buy a cofee for 0,80 cent. When we travel abroad we go to starbuck to take coffee just beacause it’s an exotic stuff, usually seen in USA movies and TV series. We take the biggest paper cup (or whatever it is call that stuff) of cofee and then take pictures placing the cup near the head with a big stupid smile on the face like “Hey! Just like on TV!”
    Maybe in 2014-15 they try to open a sturbucks in here but I think it’s not a good idea…

    3 – FALSE
    Pizza was invented in italy, Naples of course. New York? Really? No! That is like the invention of the telephone… invented by italian Antonio Meucci but patented later by Bell (and now everyone from USA say that the inventor was Bell)

    4 – FALSE/TRUE
    I dont’ wear fashion thing. Jeans, sneakers, t-shirt… that’s my style. I don’t wear any famous brand… I consider stupid spending 200€ to buy some shoes just because the are branded when you can find the same quality without brand at 20€ during the sales. The only branded things I wear are my ray-ban sunglasses.
    Completely agree with not wearing sporting short pants combined with long socks (oh My God! If I see someone dressed like this I swear… I spit right on his face!)

    5 – TRUE
    Mamma mia! Litterally “Mom my!” (ahah) it’s an exclamation word used to express surprise (good or bad) it’s like the english terms “oh, my!”. Vaffanculo, means litterally “go to fuck yourself” (Vai a fare in culo), or “fottiti” (fuck you). we (or maybe just me) use a lot of bad words within a conversation to increase the relevance of what we are sayng. “Cosa dici?” means “what are you saying?” “Cosa CAZZO dici?” (what the fuck are you saying?) means that you are saying bullshit.

    6 – FALSE
    Of course!

    7 – FALSE
    I never heard that italian it’s like french… Usually I heard that italian it’s like spanish. I don’t understand neither french neither spanish. Spanish have some similar words but it’s different… Funny example: if you say in italian “Sono imbarazzato” means “I’m embarrassed, I’m ashamed” in spanish “yo estoy embarazado” means “I’m pregnant”, i said that during a trip in spain, try to imagine how they look at me…
    The italian gestures it’s a real important component of italian language and we always feel deeply offended when people from other country mocking our gestures in order to laughing at this particular italian stuff. Please don’t do it.
    FURTHER INFORMATIONS: Italian it is not just a language. The official italian (used to talk all over the nation, in television, all the media, and basically with the people coming from other region) comes from latin, from witch used a large range of words and is understand in every part of italy. But in italy every region have its own language (dialect) influence and accent, within each region every province have its own dialect, which have some pronounce changes from town to town. I’m from Brescia (lombardy) so I can barely understand Milan dialect (that is not too far from Brescia and it’s one of the easiest dialect in north Italy) try to figure out how sounds to me Naples dialect, a foreign language! So I hate when some English speaking people say to me ” I know some italian words, like: allu diavulu! ca’pummarola n’copp! ” etc… I look at them like they are speaking alien language. (now i know what the two example means, in my dialect the are “va’al diaol!” and “Col pondor en sìmò” (italian “vai al diavolo” and “Con sopra il pomodoro”). In USA they better know the italo-american culture (mostly descent from southern Italy people). I think that italo-americans are not italians. They don’t really know what italian culture means. They just have italian origins. Buddy Valastro for example (do you know him?)… he is italian like if i say that I’m a celt because my ancestor was a celt that copulated with an ancient roman.

    8 – /
    Never heard that.

    9 – TRUE
    Like say to a muslim that he is a terrorist, just because of his culture. Just stereothypes.

    10 – TRUE

  10. denny says:

    MANY SOURCES INDICATE THAT PIZZA WAS INVENTED IN NEW YORK BI ITALIAN IMMIGRANTS?

    FIRST OF ALL, EVERY REALIBLE SOURCES INDICATE THAT PIZZA WAS INVENTED IN NAPLES AND IS ONLY THANKS TO SOME SICILIANS EMIGRATED TO AMERICA THAT AMERICA HAVE PIZZA
    The modern pizza, the one that was the prototype for both Italian and American pizza was first prepared in 1889. The King and Queen of Italy, Umberto I and Margherita di Savoia, were vacationing in Naples and had heard about the excellent pizzas made by a pizzaiolo (pizza maker) named Raffaele Esposito, of Pizzeria Brandi (which is still open and selling pizza today).

    AND THAT’S A SPICY MEATBALL IS NOT ITALIAN BUT AMERICAN

    ITALIANS SPEAK LOUD? AHAHAHHAHAHA THE ONLY PEOPLE THAT SPEAK LOUD ARE THE AMERICANS. LOL

    AND IF YOU CHECK ANY NEWS ON CNN YOU WILL NOTICE HOW AMERICANS USE THEIR HANDS WHEN THEY TALK

    OHHHH YEAHHH, GIVEMMME AN HAMBURGER, ORRR RIGHTT, YEAHHH, YEAHH GIVEMME A FIVE, OHHH YEAHH

    THIS ARTICLE ISN’T WROTE BY A REAL ITALIAN BUT FOR SURE BY ONE OF THIS SILLY AMERICAN WITH 2% OF SICILIAN OR SOUTHERN ITALIAN ANCESTRY THAT CLAIM TO BE ITALIAN

    FIRST OF ALL, REAL ITALIANS ESPECIALLY FROM THE NORTH AREN’T TANNED BUT WHITE PALE.

    IN FACT ITALY BORDER WITH AUSTRIA, SWITZERLAND, SLOVENIA AND FRANCE. NORTH ITALY IS PART OF THE ALPINE TERRITORY AND NORTH ITALIANS ARE PART OF THE ALPINE GROUP AND AREN’T MEDITERRANEAN

    DO YOU WANT TO SEE A REAL NORTH ITALIAN IN ITALY?

    CHECK ON YOUTUBE OR YAHOO THIS NORTH ITALIAN PEOPLE BELOW

    FEDERICA FONTANA

    MADDALENA CORVAGLIA

    ANTONELLA CLERICI

    ALESSIA MARCUZZI

    PAOLA BARALE

    MARA VENIER

    BARBARA D’URSO

    LAURA CHIATTI

    MADDALENA CORVAGLIA

    FLAVIA VENTO

    PAOLO BONOLIS

    VALERIA MARINI

    EVA GRIMALDI

    CHECK ON YAHOO “RACIAL REALITY ITALIANS GEOCITIES”

    THAN ABOUT THE HAND GESTURE, ONLY SOUTHERN ITALIANS SUCH NEAPOLETAN OR SICILIAN USE THEIR HANDS WHEN THEY TALK. 80 % OF WHAT YOU CALL “ITALIANS” IN AMERICA ARE FROM SICILY OR OTHER SOUTHERN ITALIAN REGION

    NOBODY IN THE NORTH USE THEIR HANDS

    ITALY ISN’T SUNNY, ONLY SOUTH ITALY

    CHECK ON YAHOO OR YOUTUBE THIS NORTH ITALIAN CITIES OR REGIONS BELOW

    “SOUTH TYROL, BOLZAN, DOLOMITE, MONTE BIANCO, COURMAYEUR, MILAN, TURIN, LOMBARDY, VENETO, BRIANZA, MONZA, VALLE D’AOSTA, SESTRIERE”

    MORE THAN 78 % OF ITALIANS ARE HOMEOWNERS AND IS NOT TRUE THAT ALL ITALIANS ARE LIVING WITH THEIR PARENTS, ONLY IN SOUTH ITALY IS IN SOME PART PEOPLE TEND TO LIVE WITH THEIR PARENTS AND THE REASON IS BECAUSE THEY HAVE AN HIGH % OF UNEMPLOYMENT RATE COMPARE THE NORTH

    IN AMERICA YOUNG PEOPLE ARE LIVING BY THEIRSELF ONLY THANKS TO MOMMY AND DADDY THAT PAY THEIR RENTS EVERY MONTH, ANYBODY ARE ABLE TO LIVE BY THEIRSELF IF MOMMY AND DADDY ARE PAY THEIR RENT.LOL

    BUT IN THE NORTH NOBODY LIVE WITH THEIR PARENTS

    NOTHING IS ORGANIZED AND EASY TO USE IN ITALY? AHAHAHAHAH

    ITALY HAS THE SECOND BEST HEALTH CARE IN THE WORLD, THIRD BY PERFOMARCE, ITALY HAS THE SECOND LARGEST MANUFACTURER INDUSTRY IN EUROPE, THIRD LARGEST EXPORTER
    ITALY IS MEMBER OF THE G7, G8 AND G20 THAT IS A GROUP OF THE MOST POWERFUL AND INDUSTRIALIZED NATIONS IN THE WORLD

    CHECK ON YAHOO “EUROPEAN WEALTH REPORTS: WHY MEDIAN ITALIANS ARE FAR RICHER THAN GERMANS”

    CHECK ON YAHOO “FOUR MOTORS FOR EUROPE”

    CHECK ON YAHOO “MILAN EXPO CITY LIFE”

    CHECK ON YAHOO “FERRARI ITALO TRAIN RENAISSANCE ON CNN NEWS

    ITALY HAS THE MOST ADVANCED TRAIN IN EUROPE

    ITALY HAS THE OLDEST AND ONE OF THE BEST UNIVERSITY IN EUROPE

    ITALY= FERRARI, LAMBORGHINI, MASERATI, DUCATI, PAGANI, ALFA ROMEO, EVANTRA F&M, VIRUS MOTORBIKE, MV AGUSTA, BIMOTA

    PEOPLE ARE ONLY ENVY OF ITALY AND ITALIANS BECAUSE ITALY MAKE EVERYTHING AND BETTER THAN ANYBODY ELSE

    THE ROMAN EMPIRE RULED AND CONQUERED THE WORLD FOR 1000 YEARS AND THIS IS A FACT

    ITALIANS ARE THE FOURTH LARGEST EUROPEAN ANCESTRY IN USA, ALL THIS PEOPLE BELOW HAVE AN ITALIAN ANCESTRY BY MOM, DAD OR BOTH PARENTS

    NICOLAS CAGE, LEONARDO DI CAPRIO, BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, BRADLEY COOPER, LINDSAY LOHAN, ROBERT DE NIRO, JOHN TRAVOLTA, AL PACINO, MADONNA, LADY GAGA, HAYDEN PANETTIERE, PARIS HILTON, KAYLE CUOCO, JOE PESCI, JON BON JOVI, SUSAN SARANDON, MARTIN SCORSESE, FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA, QUENTIN TARANTINO,

    CECK ON YAHOO “FERRARI HAS BEEN NAMED WORLD’S MOST POWERFUL BRAND FOR THE SECOND YEAR RUNNING

    CHECK ON YAHOO “RACIAL REALITY WHITE AMERICANS GEOCITIES”

    CHECK ON YAHOO “BEN FRANKLIN ON STUPID SWARTHY GERMANS”

    CHECK ON YAHOO ‘Rich history surrounding Roman villa discovered in Ingleby Barwick goes on public display”

    check on yahoo “German Archaeologists Hail New Find: Discovery of Roman Battlefield Poses Historical Riddle”

    CHECK ON YAHOO “Archaeologists Discover Roman Battlefield in Northern Germany”

    CHECK ON YAHOO “German battlefield yields Roman surprises”

    As the Roman Republic expanded outward, it enslaved entire populations, thus ensuring an ample supply of laborers to work in Rome’s farms and households. The people subjected to Roman slavery came from all over Europe and the Mediterranean. Such oppression by an elite minority eventually led to slave revolts; the Third Servile War led by Spartacus was the most famous and severe. Greeks, Berbers, Germans, Britons, Slavs, Thracians, Gauls (or Celts), Jews, Arabs and many more ethnic groups were enslaved to be used for labor, and also for amusement (e.g. gladiators and sex slaves). If a slave ran away, he was liable to be crucified. By the late Republican era, slavery had become a vital economic pillar in the wealth of Rome. In the Roman Empire, probably over 25% of the empire’s population, and 30 to 40% of the population of Italy was enslaved.

    1. Davide says:

      Quante cavolate… mi domando se vivi chiuso nella tua stanza immerso nel tuo mondo di sogni, o se sei davvero convinto delle cazzate che hai scritto.

      A Milano, nel nord in generale, usiamo le mani mentre parliamo, anche se in maniera molto meno teatrale rispetto ai meridionali.

      La maggior parte delle persone che hai indicato come “esemplari” di italiano del nord sono invece del centro (romani per lo piu’).

      Produzione e ricchezza sono in declino in questo periodo di crisi economica. L’Italia sta cadendo nel baratro dei debiti e la disoccupazione e’ ai suoi massimi storici, di conseguenza molti restano in casa con i propri genitori perche’ non possono permettersi di vivere da soli, cosi’ al nord, come al sud.

      La soffocante burocrazia rende davvero difficile fare qualunque cosa o utilizzare qualunque servizio. Prova a fondare un’azienda e poi fammi sapere quant’e’ facile! I servizi sono disorganizzati, specialmente quelli al cittadino (anagrafe, certificazioni…), dove non sempre riesci ad ottenere le informazioni di cui hai bisogni e ti trovi a rimbalzare come un idiota da un ufficio all’altro.

      Siamo fondamentalmente disonesti, egoisti ed “arrangioni” e sul lavoro facciamo del nostro meglio per evitare le peggiori fatiche. La disorganizzazione e’ una conseguenza della nostra mentalita’.

      Come hai detto tu, l’Impero Romano esisteva mille anni fa! E’ tempo di smetterla di crogiolarsi sulle glorie antiche e di rendersi conto che la storia del nostro paese e’ tutt’altro che gloriosa. Abbiamo perso quasi ogni guerra che abbiamo combattuto e le nostre poche vittorie ci sono state garantite dagli alleati del momento. Siamo stati guerriglieri e nessuna forza ha mai saputo resistere al popolo unito, ma come nazione, a livello militare, non valiamo un cazzo. Non siamo nemmeno riusciti a tenerci l’Etiopia o la Libia, due nazioni sottosviluppate!

      Culturalmente siamo ancora superiori di gran lunga a quasi ogni altra civilta’, vuoi per le universita’ prestigiose, vuoi per il fatto che siamo un popolo di curiosi e ricercatori, ma con i tagli al bilancio e la cosiddetta “fuga dei cervelli”, l’Italia come nazione avra’ un coefficiente culturale da campo nomadi, prima o poi.

      Inoltre, spiegami cosa cazzo centra il tuo commento sulla schiavitu’! Lo hai espresso come una ragione di vanto per la nostra cultura! Io considero molto piu’ gratificante il fatto che la schiavitu’ in Italia era caduta in disuso sin dai primi anni del diciottesimo secolo, prima ancora che il trattato di Ginevra del 1926 ne sancisse l’abolizione ufficiale.

      Morale: sei un coglione.

  11. Emily Pelli says:

    I always thought it was “vaffanculo”, but actually “va fan culo” as more sense.

  12. #11 it is a thirld world country, cahtoic, unorganized
    Well, then that would not explain why it has been a member of the G7 meetings for at least the last 30 years. Breaking news for you disbelievers: in that G7, Italy is not the 7th country, it is the 6th – Italy's GNP is bigger than Canada's, and for a few years it was even bigger than the UK. Oh BTW it is very slightly lower than Russia's. But please do not take this big-mouth's word for it – do check wikipedia and tons of other websites.

    #12 They consistently fib on their taxes
    Well, then please explain how can they be the third largest contributor to the EU budget. For the last 10 years, Italy has given more funds to the EU than it has received back – the same can not be said of many EU countries.

  13. Pat Joseph says:

    Italy, is, in fact, among the higher tier of industrialized l/technologically advanced nations in the world. In fact, other countries have routinely 'expropriated' technology
    developed in Italy… Incredulous?? .. Just research the Olivetti company…

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