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Stereotypes are rife when it comes to any nationality, but when it comes to Italians it's impossible to paint everyone with the same brush. For example, when an American woman asks a question like, "Should I marry and Italian guy?" it's really impossible to answer. Obviously, every Italian man is different, although there are certain trends that hold true with many of us.
While people from the outside may have certain stereotypes, Italians also view themselves in a particular way. The purpose of this article is to examine some of the common ways Italians see themselves and how others see Italians, so we can learn where these views are similar and where they differ.
The Italian Perspective
The Problem of Population Ageing in Italy
The future strength of a country is dependent upon its population, but what happens if a country cannot rely upon future generations? This is the question being raised in Italy, where population ageing is creating fears for the county's destiny.
The so-called processo di invecchiamento, ageing process, and its effects on the structure of the Italian population is currently in the spotlight. Some studies report that the continued ageing of the population is effecting the health of the country as a whole.
Despite the fact population growth has slowed in the last few years, the Italian population continues to increase, exceeding 60 million people in 2010. However, Italy's problem stems from the fact that 20.3% of its population are people aged 65 years or over.
Si dice- Mi hanno detto- ma lo sai che??- Non lo sai?? (people say-I was told- do you know that?-don't you know that?). These are the most common expressions used by Italians when they start gossiping. Some studies carried out at the University of California (which one?) and published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology showed that gossiping helps people to feel better as it lowers their levels of stress.
Italians really took these results at heart, as they love gossiping and talking about other people. In times gone by, it was not unusual to find old women outside their houses chatting with their friends about the neighbors, especially in small villages.
The Italian Way of Speaking: Communication through Gestures
Every country has habits and distinct cultural elements that make it unique. It is these features that become a way to identify and differentiate cultures. Where Italy is concerned, cultural behavior varies based on territory. Italians are quite famous for being effusive talkers that use hand gestures to underline most statements, but even these can change depending on which part of the country we are in: accent, tone of voice and gestures can all vary depending on which part of Italy you're visiting.
Italian Gestures & History
Italian and American Youth: Some Cultural Differences
Every country has certain cultural patterns making it unique. Of course, habits and customs between cultures and countries tend to overlap: the popularity of social media, for instance, ignores borders and breaks down cultural differences. Technology has made the world a much smaller and culturally homogenous place however, when looking at a foreign country, we will always find differences between our traditions and theirs.
Every culture has spawned stereotypes that are hard to dispel and the Italian culture is no different. While we often hear about them, it's important to remember that we can't generalize and think that the whole population does the same things or has the same habits. People abroad often seem to think of Italians along certain lines and expect certain stereotypical behaviors to be always true, although that is not always the case.
Here is a list of the most famous clichés about Italians. Some are true, or partly true, but others are myths that should be debunked.
1. Italians Sing
In Italy, as in many parts of the world, social structures and norms have changed dramatically over the last 20 years. The stereotype of the large Italian family is no longer true as Italy now has one of the lowest birthrates in the world. Most of the newer population in Italy comes from immigration. In the U.S. large families are still the norm especially in the Midwest and the Southern states.
The Health Care System is a thorny subject in every country of the world: often tied dangerously to the political agendas of its creators, it is known to be one of those matters that could make a government capitulate.
In spite of being both wealthy, developed countries, Italy and the US have completely different approaches to health care. Italy has a public-based system, supported by the tax income, as well as a flourishing private insurance market which is becoming standard top up to the public "mutua". In America, the public coverage is limited to Medicare, and the private sector is the major provider of health coverage to citizens.
1. Caesar Salad
The most famous salad served in almost every Italian restaurant in the U.S. is actually not Italian at all but very American. Until recently asking for parmesan cheese and croutons on a salad in Italy would have meant asking to be laughed at. In recent years with globalization and international menus offered in Italian restaurants, some places have begun to offer it. Don't be fooled if you see "Insalata Cesare" on your menu as it still remains an American dish.
2. Rolling Spaghetti with a Spoon
Lucca Comics & Games is the most important event concerning the fantastic world of comics and RPG (Role-Playing Games) in Italy. The very popular event has taken place in Lucca, a very nice city in Tuscany, for forty-three years now. This year, between October the 29th and November the 1st, this event became an even bigger Festival of Comics and Games inspired by the Bicentennial of Darwin's birth. The event is a mecca for everyone and anyone into comics, manga, science-fiction, cartoons, table role-playing games and live role-playing games.
Briscola: a very popular Italian card game:
Briscola, along with Scopa, is one of those card games that next to everybody knows and plays in Italy. The game is actually known in most Mediterranean Countries.
Briscola is one of those easy to learn, difficult to master games. It's a trick game, so the goal of the game is to get more cards than your adversary.
Nearly everyone in Italy has played it at least once in their life, and in small towns it is still common to see people gathered around a table where four elderly are exchanging swear words and bantering over a heated game of Scopa.
Pirelli Calendar History:
The Inspirational Pirelli Calendar
When Sophia Loren agreed to appear semi-naked for the 2007 Pirelli Calendar at 72 her decision was controversial. This was nothing new for the producers of the innovative calendar who have always been ahead of their time. Surprisingly, this prestigious calendar which is given away to certain select VIP’s and celebrities started off simply.
The Humble Beginnings of the Pirelli Calendar
Giovanni Pirelli founded tyre and cable company in 1872, employing only 45 people. Now the corporation employs thousands of people and earns trillions of dollars each year. It sponsors famous events such as the World Rally Championship and the World Superbike.
Cooperative Revives Land Formerly Belonging to Mafia
CORLEONE, Sicily — Anti-mafia organizations are transforming former land of those who were convicted of having mafia ties into business opportunities and an educational tool for Italy’s youth.
The cooperative Lavoro e Non Solo has been reviving since 1999 confiscated land and enterprises in the terrain surrounding the town of Corleone, formerly belonging to Mafiosi such as Cosa Nostra top boss Salvatore Riina who was arrested in 1993.