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Italian Stereotypes. True or False?


Pizza Pasta e Mandolino

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 I will try to give you some insight into the Italian soul and clarify some common misunderstandings that foreigners have about us. Some of  the stereotypes are actually true, but being Italian takes a lot more than that. 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. Unless it’s risotto.

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.

3. Stereotype: Pizza was invented in Italy.
Additional information: Babylonians, Israelites, Egyptians, Armenians, Greeks and Romans, and other ancient cultures ate flat, unleavened bread cooked in mud ovens. The Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians were eating the bread topped with olive oil and native spices (what is today called focaccia). But Italy’s version of the dish, especially from Naples, is the one we are familiar with – with tomato, cheese, and other toppings and seasonings. Supposedly, this pizza was first created by the baker Raffaele Esposito in Naples. His creation was immediately a favorite, and Esposito was called to make a pizza for the visit of King Umberto and Queen Margherita of Italy in 1889.

4. Stereotype: Italians are very fashionable.

Is it true?: TRUE
Additional information: Indeed. In general, 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!” “Vaffanculo!” 
Is it true?: TRUE (mostly)
Additional information: Italian people really do say these things, quite often.

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.

7. Stereotype: Italian is just like French.
Is it true?: FALSE
Additional information: Not at all. They’re both neo-latin languages, but they are very different. You cannot improvise a conversation in French if you haven’t studied it.

8.  Stereotype: Mafia is real and dangerous.

Is it true?: TRUE
Additional information: The Mafia is real. We 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.

9. Stereotype: Italians are very romantic.

Is it true?: TRUE (mostly)
Additional information: Italians do enjoy romance 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.

10. Steropype: Italians don’t speak foreign languages.

Is it true?: Generally TRUE

Additional indormation: Italian/French/Spanish people don’t speak English well because their English education is bad.







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