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 a short definition of italianity. But are all 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 means a lot more than that –we 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 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.
Is it true?: MAYBE TRUE, MAYBE FALSE
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, of course. Anyway you won’t ever see an Italian wearing sporting short pants combined with long socks: it’s simply against our 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 nor 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 neolatin languages, but they are very different.
8. Stereotype: 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 that term, even when if you mean it as a joke.
9. Stereotype: Italians are very romantic.
Is it true?: TRUE
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.