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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Text and information sources: Fun Stuff Caffe