In my experience, every Italian I know has tried to demonstrate that Italian stereotypes could be very tricky.
What is an Italian Stereotype?
A Stereotype is a simplified and persistent subjective characteristic applied to a place, an object, an event or to a recognizable group of people who share certain characteristics or qualities. It is derived from the greek word “stereos” (hard, solid, rigid) and “typos” (imprint, image, group), hence it means “rigid image”. A stereotype can have a negative meaning and, in this case, sometimes reflects the opinion of one social group about other groups. Clearly, stereotypes rise from some kind of truth: a cultural feature, an historical fact or a habit. Nevertheless, the “actual fact” is then distorted by people who often are just full of hot air. Eventually, they apply this idea to a large group of people. In addition, stereotypes don’t take into account the continuous evolution of things.
Who has not dealt with a stereotype at least once?
Personally, both as Neapolitan in the North of Italy and as Italian abroad it has always been the routine. Unfortunately, I have often found myself trying to reassure people I am not related to the Mafia. Orthat I don’t usually shout at people. Unless you try to bite my dessert, that’s another story!
As the Italian writer Silvia Zoncheddu once said, “the stereotype deceives the mind and distorts the spirit”. In fact, the stereotipo (Italian word for stereotype) is nothing but a wrong over-generalized idea.
With this in mind, I decided to shed some light on the 15 most common Italian stereotypes. Hopefully, it would be of some help. So, let’s start!
1. Italians are obsessed with food
This is one of the Italian stereotypes that I cannot deny. Food is everything, our lives revolve around it. For instance, take my mom: her first question in the morning is “what do you want to eat today?”.
Probably, you’re thinking that it is a normal question. But, is it normal that during lunch she asks what do we want to eat for dinner? And also, is it normal that during dinner she asks what do we want to eat the next day? But, besides my family’s weirdnesses, food truly plays a crucial role in Italians’ lives. In fact, every celebration, birthday and kind of occasion ends up in “what should we prepare to eat?”.
However, could you blame us? In my opinion, preparing food is an act of love, for both yourselves and others. Nonetheless, not every Italian is a remarkable cook.
2. Italians eat pasta and pizza everyday
Let me destroy this myth: we don’t eat pizza everyday, even if I’d wish to. Similarly, we don’t eat only pasta. In general, it’s our favourite dish and it’s delicious (especially the fresh made). But we have a wide range of options at our disposal, so this is surely an Italian stereotypes.