Every culture is associated with stereotypes, and while they can have some truth to them, many of them are exaggerated or generalized. This is being written by someone who is constantly stereotyped as a guido (thanks a lot Jersey Shore). So let me clear up some of these Italian stereotypes for you:
- Italians only eat pasta
Pasta is sacred. You cannot take pasta away from an Italian meal otherwise it won’t be complete. We do not only eat pasta, but it is a staple for us, it is often eaten on a daily basis, sometimes more than once a day. Usually an Italian dinner would consist of some apetizers, a pasta dish (or rice), a meat dish, and maybe some dessert, coffee, or limocello.
- Italians are very romantic
This is very dependant on the person, however I will say that romance is more prominent in Italy than it is in the U.S. This is not to say that all Italian men are romantic, I know that for a fact. For example, an Italian man would not let a girl go home without being escorted. Chivalry is definitely still alive and well in Italy.
- Italians drink a lot of coffee
This is true. We drink copious amounts of coffee. But erase the image of a bunch of Italians sitting around a Starbucks sipping on a venti caramel macchiato. Italian coffee is just an espresso, but we wouldnt call it an espresso, its just called a coffee. We dont lounge around and sip on our coffee, we rush into a bar, order it, talk about the latest gossip or news for a minute, throw it back like a shot of of vodka (or grappa) and head right back out to resume our day.
- Italians talk with their hands
100% true. There was actually a social experient done where an Italian asked another Italian “where the closest bank is” with their words, but with their hands they gestured “what time is it” and every Italian responded to the question asked by the hand gestures. Body language is a very important element of the way we speak. The way we move our hands, the way we hold our heads, move our shoulders and our facial expressions are good percentage of our communicaion skills.
I’ve had many of my American friends tell me that they can read my mind just by looking at my face, and that is because, although I calm my hands down when speaking English, I can’t control the Italian facial gestures that I was raised with.
- All Italians are involved with Mafia
The Mafia is real, we arent proud of it, but especially in the south of Italy, including the islands of Sicily, it does exist. Not every Italian is a Mafioso, and we will be offended if you assume that we are. Many Itlaians may know someone who knows someone in the Mafia, but my advice to you is to not bring it up, and not joke about it.
- Italians are always mad
A lot of foreigners think we are fighting when we talk that way but it’s just the way we are, we are loud people, and we are expressive, emotional people. Many of our CDV guests would overhear some of us talking and become worried that we are fighting, but like my mom says, if we were really fighting, you would see blood. (just kidding, sort of)
- Italians are very fashionable
Italians do generally have an excellent sense of style. Though casual wear is the norm in everyday life, you may notice some impeccably dressed people in the bigger cities. It is unheard of to exit the house in basketball shorts and a tank top, or gym clothes, and if you do, you will get an endless amount of stares from people that are flabbergasted that you would dress yourself like that, or that your mother would allow you to be seen like that. Italians very much believe in creating a good impression and dressing well. Yes, there are fashion victims in every city, but that is true for everywhere.
- Italians have no problem with PDA
It is not uncommon to see lovers passionately kissing in a piazza or in a park. Young couples can be spotted getting quite physical in public and it is not taboo at all. We are all just so full of love, who can blame us, this is a romantic country.
- Italians all have big families
This is not necesarily true, unfortunately, Italians actually have a negative population growth rate, meaning that our population is in decline. The high cost of living in Italy causes couples to hesitate in having children. The typical Italian family is usually one or two children, the family unit in Italy is much smaller than it is percieved to be.
- Italians live with their families until theyre 40
Perhaps 40 is a little much, but this is true for most Italians who simply cannot afford to buy their own place and must depend on Mamma and Papa late into their late 20’s and often early 30’s. For most Italians, it is not uncommon to live at home until they marry.
- Italians men are all Mamma’s boys
In Italian culture, the mother is the glue that sticks the family together. Italians dont feel that their relationship with their mothers is unusual because parents are simply more respected. There is no feeling of teenagers being embarassed by ones parents in Italy, the mother and father are honored.