Italians And Their Stereotypes

Italy is very famous for its landscapes, culture, food and… people! What we do, our quirks, how we speak with our hands, our accents, our passionate way of interacting with each other generate an idea of who we are. It is safe to say that we don’t all behave the same way and that Italy is a mix of regional traditions and culture. However, there are some funny aspects of what we do and how we are perceived that creates stereotypes. It’s not my goal or even in my expertise to analyse them or to demonize them. This is just to talk about how I embrace and perceive the Italian stereotypes. 

I have lived in London for more than 8 years and I always recognize my fellow Italians from miles away! I realized that there is a set of very clear details that we are Italians:

  • We gesticulate a lot. Talking is not delegated just to our mouths but also to our hands!
  • We wear sunglasses also in the tube/ indoors. We love to look cool in any situation.
  • Puffer jacket for each season. Italians are famous for their style, but also for feeling cold! 
  • We are genetically programmed to eat carbs. Italians look for a good pasta dish everywhere they go, no matter what season. 
  • Italians are loud. We speak with passion and often we end up shouting… but not aggressively!

My favourite Italian stereotype is the “Food Guardian”, who does anything to protect Italian dishes.
When my boyfriend and I have Italian food, I become overprotective of what is Italian traditions. The most classic way of making an Italian angry is to get the ingredients of carbonara wrong. We can get very irritated if someone puts cream in Carbonara. I remember watching a TV show about Italian restaurants in Germany and how they were proud of not using cream in their Carbonara.
Pizza toppings are another way to infuriate an Italian, especially chicken. The variety of toppings is completely different in Italy and we normally put just two-three toppings. It is a massive cultural shock when we get served pizza with pineapple! The YouTube channel Vincenzo’s Plate has a lot of video-reactions to other people cooking Italian food and I found it very hilarious!
In my lessons, I play a lot around this stereotype. In some lessons my students have to decide the right ingredients for a dish or guess the right order of a recipe. Anyone would think that my favourite food is Italian but it is actually Japanese!

And what is your favourite Italian stereotype?

Photo by Guillaume Meurice at Pexels

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