Being Italian An insight into Italian stereotypes So what's true in the stereotype? Stereotypes always tend to have some truth mixed in with a few generalizations and a bit of exaggeration. Let's see what's true in the Italian stereotype.
What do Italians seem to be like for Spaniards? The good side and the bad side... spaghetti, pizza, musical accent, gestures, romantic, loud, fashion, chaos… these are all words often used to describe Italians. How much truth is there in the stereotype?
Rome and Venice are the most known Italian cities in Spain. Rome was the capital of the Roman Empire and then the capital of Christianity, that is why there are so many and so beautiful monuments there.
UNIQUE ITALY: with masterpieces in any period of history.
Italians and Spanish are very similar. However, there are some surprising differences. Perhaps one of the most notable difference is the usual way of greeting, as in Spain this is the typical way: Girls: two kisses on the cheeks, regardless of whether the other person is a boy or a girl. Guys: two kisses on the cheeks for girls and handshake for guys. And the kisses are given from left to right. In Spain it seems a cold attitude if you give a handshake to a girl when she is presented by a friend: tow kisses on the cheeks is the usual greeting.
In Italy, however, the kisses are usually given from right to left, and also they act differently: The two kisses are given between girls. Between girls and boys is given a handshake. Boys kiss on the cheeks each other if they are friends, especially if they meet after a long time. This is typical in Italy and strange for Spaniards. In Spain this could suggest they are guys or close relatives.
Another difference is when you order a coffee. Normally, the Spanish, order a coffee and nothing more, but when Italians order a coffee also ask for a glass of water. This drew my attention the first time a visited Italy. A friend of mine gave me this explanation: “Time ago waiters used to bring a glass of water with the cup of coffee and also a cookie. First you ate the cookie, then you drank the glass of water to clean cookie’s flavour, and finally drank the coffee. Coffee should be tasted without other flavours in your mouth” The explanation was logical, as you see, but a little surprising.
Time for meals are different in Italy and Spain. Well, actually, Spanish schedules are strange for most of the Europeans. The Italians usually have lunch between 11:30 and 13:30, and dinner between 19:00 and 21:00. Spanish, however, have lunch between 13:30 and 15:00, and dinner between 21:00 and 22:30. But in summer time and on holiday Spanish schedules are a mess.
The way Italians speak is completely original. Gestures are the most important element of communication: the way they move their hands and shoulders, their facial expressions, as well as the way they use their eyes and mouths to make themselves to be understood. Italians simply cannot talk without their hands; when they are talking, they start moving their shoulders or other parts of the body for emphasis. Italians speak very loudly in public, in the street or on the phone. It seems they are arguing when they talk that way, but it's just the way they are.
LATIN LOVERS Italians men are romantic and enjoy romance. An Italian guy will never let a girl go home unescorted. The Latin lover ideal is still alive and well in Italian culture.
ITALIAN FASHION DESIGN Italy is a leading country in fashion design. Fashion has always been an important part of the country’s cultural life and society, and Italians are well known for their attention of dressing-up well; "la bella figura", or good impression, remains traditional in the Italian way of living! Italians are considered to be ‘fashion addicted’. They will dress stylishly for every possible occasion. Who wouldn’t be addicted with so beautiful fashion design?!
DOLCE VITA & DOLCE FAR NIENTE Italians are generous and communicative people. They like to smile. They love to talk - preferably over one or two hour meal followed by a good cup of coffee. This doesn't imply that they don’t take work seriously or that they work less than in other countries. Italians feel that work is not everything in life, that's why they spend so much time on coffee or cigarette breaks. Spaniards agree with this way of living.
FAMILY is for Italians the most important thing in their lives, and male as well as female roles are based on it. Men should be strong and protective, whereas women should be gentle and feminine. Nevertheless, this does by no means imply that women should stay home taking care of household and children while men are supposed to be the main breadwinners. Lots of Italian women have jobs and are independent as well!
FOOTBALL IS A RELIGION ITALY is made up by many different regions and provinces - each one with its own distinctive dialect, culture and history. Inter-regional relations can be quite tense during election times or even just during local football matches. But they are all totally committed to their national football team (the Squadra Azzurra). When the World Cup is being played, they forget about the differences between the North and the South, Milan and Rome.
ITALIANITY - I am italian, so: I believe I am the best lover in the world. I watch football all the time and it is my second religion. I wear very fancy clothes. I regularly eat Spaghetti for lunch and Pizza for dinner. I am always late (if I am early I will find the way to be late anyway). I drive in a crazy way. I do not speak English at all, actually I know only a few words to make compliments to foreign women. I speak with gestures. When I am on holiday I like to travel with many people from my country. I think family is the biggest value of the world. Italian mothers are very protective of their children (especially their sons). They say if you marry an Italian man, you marry his mother!!!
Grazie mille e saluti da Salamanca, Spagna!!! Italy and its people produce an endless amount of the best the world has to offer whether it be food, wine, art, fashion, architecture, cars …