Italian Stereotypes: True or False?

May 5, 2021
Three scooters lined up side by side in front of a fountain

Before traveling to any country, we all have some expectations, be it good or bad. These expectations are often based on stereotypes to which we have been exposed for the longest time. You might think you already know many things about Italy, but do you? Let’s see!

 

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Italians always eat pasta - mostly TRUE

This stereotype is not that far from reality. We Italians love carbohydrates, I would speculate that we eat pasta almost every day. Pasta is indeed a fundamental part of our cuisine and we are pretty proud of it. You might ask yourself how we don’t get tired of eating it so often. Well, that is because eating pasta doesn’t mean just eating spaghetti with tomato sauce daily. For instance, we have a broad choice of kinds of pasta and sauces to go with it. For example, on Monday I could have rigatoni alla carbonara (short pasta with bacon, egg, and parmesan cheese), on Tuesday I might have spaghetti alle vongole (long pasta with clams) and on Wednesday ravioli burro e salvia (pasta stuffed with ricotta cheese and spinach with butter and sage). I could go on making plans for the whole week if I wanted to. Trust me, once you try Italian pasta, you will never get sick of it. If I can give you a piece of advice, I would suggest not to eat pasta for dinner. Italians tend to have dinner later at night (in my case around 9 pm), which means that we don’t have much time to digest it. So, if you don’t want to feel too heavy when going to sleep, just enjoy your pasta at lunch. 

 

Italians drive like crazy - unfortunately TRUE

This is one of those stereotypes that I wish were not true. However, I have to admit that it is quite accurate. Many people who come to visit Italy are shocked by the way Italians drive. I can assure you that those people are not exaggerating, it is just that we Italians got used to it and don’t give much thought to it anymore. In a way, we could say that Italians forget all good manners when at the wheel. It won’t be that rare for you to see drivers screaming at each other or cars zooming in traffic. And don’t even get me started on parking skills and the way that pedestrians are treated. On that note, I must warn you that Italian streets are simply very dangerous. So, whenever you have to cross the road, be extremely careful!!!

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We talk with our hands - Way less than you think!

I was shocked when I realized that this stereotype had caught on so easily. We got to a point where we even have emojis of the so-called “Italian hands.” I know you were expecting this stereotype, so I decided to address it once and for all: we don’t (always) use our hands like that! Truth is that Italians like to gesticulate, in general. Every time we speak to someone, we feel the need to use our hands, perhaps to accentuate the meaning of our words, or because it helps us focus. Our hand movements vary a lot, but I have to admit that, at times, we come to use this specific gesture as well. Interestingly enough, the “Italian hands” has many different meanings. For example, we might use it to express confusion, trying to make a point, or when we are angry. We do not put our hand like that to applaud or to pour wine.

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