Initially when Sylvia suggested that I write about this topic, I thought that it would be simple seeing how there were so many famous Italian stereotypes. I mean, we’ve all heard about it. Italians are this and they are that …
But the more I thought about it, the harder it was to write because most of the stereotypes are based off the Italian-American community. And shows like Rocky, The Godfather, Saturday Night Fever, The Sopranos as well as Jersey Shore are definitely not helping.
Even innocent games like Super Mario plays on the Italian stereotype. And interestingly enough, it orginated from Japan.
It’s-a me! Mario!
But in any case, at the top of my head, I’ll try to recount a few popular misconceptions about Italians.
Myth 1 : All Italians have dark hair and olive skin
For a long time, I’ve the impression Italians typically have dark hair and tanned, olive skin. Hence, when I see natural red heads, sometimes I’d quip to Cartcart, “Is he Italian? He doesn’t seem Italian to me” and Cart would explain to me that since Italy is an amalgam of population, areas up north are closer to countries such as Switzerland and Austria and hence would have paler skin and lighter eyes and hair. While areas down south are closer to the Mediterranean, hence the darker skin and dark hair.
In fact, there is a whole melting pot going on in Italy since the 1930’s. Thanks to globalization there are many migrants settling down in Italy and starting their own family and children. Increasingly I’ve witnessed Black-Italians, Chinese-Italians, Arab-Italians, Filipina-Italians … the list goes on.
If blessed be that Cart and I would have kids of our own, we’d have a Matalian perhaps. Malay+Italian.
Our baby according to Morphthing
Myth 2 : Spaghetti and meatballs
Looks good doesn’t it?
But after living in Italy for the past one and a half year, I’ve yet to see it being served in any restaurants, trattoria or osteria. And Cart would passionately tell me that pasta and meatballs are two separate foods. The closest thing is probably the Pasta al ragú which uses grounded beef in tomato sauce, but never shaped as a meatball.
Speaking of which, I’ve yet to see any chicken being cooked in pasta. Nor Fetttucine Alfredo. And also peperoni means bell peppers in Italy not spicy cured sausage slices.
Myth 3 : Italian men are womanizers
Well, mostly this man who thinks that he is a stallion.
Its true that Italians are very open in showing their affections. All the kissing and the hugging. There are times when I cant even get through a journey without at least seeing one public display of affection where the guy pulls the girl’s hand and kissing it, smooching the girl, hugging the girl and others.
And many a times if you are a woman and walking alone, a big chance you’ll have an Italian man flirting with you. They’ll back off respectfully though if you are not interested.
Myth 4 : Italian men has an unhealthy obsession with their mothers
There are a number of Mama’s boys in Italy and they are termed as, “Mammone”.
There are a huge 80% of Italian men above 30 years old who still live with their parents. And while there are some people who might scoff and find the entire idea as unfathomable, to still have their mothers to wash and clean for them as well as the lack of privacy and independence, the biggest reasoning as to why Italians stick with their parents for so long is mainly because of how expensive housing are. Thus they’d need some time to save up.
This house alone which is not too far from where we live, costs at least 500k euro. That’s quite a lot of money for the regular person.
Myth 5 : All Italians ride gondola and sing O Sole Mio
I was watching this interesting show about how Napolitana pizza is made. And towards the end of the show, I innocently asked Cartcart, “Why are they playing O Sole Mio? Isn’t it a Venezia song?”
Cart started to burst into peals of laughter. Several moments later when he’s calmed down, he explained to me.
Cart : You’ve fallen into the biggest Italian fallacy that when you sit in a gondola, the boatman will sing this song to you
Me : You mean, its not from Venezia?
Cart : Oh no! In fact the lyrics of the song is in Napoli accent! Haha!
Alright, so those were my top 5 Italian stereotypes. I’ll update this page if I can think of more. Do you know of any others? Do share