Nine abilities we Italians have over everyone

We Italians get easily recognized wherever they travel. Whether we visit the United States, go on vacation in Cuba, venture the culturally more similar Argentina and Uruguay, people can easily spot us as Italian. Conversations soon start, appreciation shown for our beautiful country. Then, the old stereotypes kick in. However, although most of the world defines Italian by the pizza, pasta and mafia stereotype, an old national saying states “Italiani brava gente” (good people) and we’d rather think of ourselves as a country of poets, artists and sailors. Yes, there are a number of abilities Italians have over everyone.

So, here’s my list of nine abilities that Italians have over everyone:

1. We have turned a stereotype into a virtue

Since we are known for the pizza and pasta country, we have gone above and beyond our limits to create the most amazing pizza and pasta dishes. Italy is the only country where pizza is a gourmet dish and where just 3 ingredients are necessary to prepare a sophisticated pasta course. Not bad for a stereotype.

Pizza à Sorrento

In case you wonder, this is how a GOOD pizza should look like!

2. There’s nothing that a good meal can’t fix.

Whether we celebrate Christmas, a wedding or a promotion at work, we are bound to have a meal. But it won’t just be a simple lunch. It will be a 15 courses meal that will last anything between 2 to 5 hours, during each we stuff ourselves as if we are camels drinking before the longest ride through the desert. And when we feel a bit down, we indulge in some treats – a mouthwatering gelato, a delicious torrone snack, or a good spoonful of nutella. Eating is a huge part of our culture. We spend endless amount of hours shopping for the best ingredients, preparing our meals and even just talking about what we ate or what we plan to eat next.

Feeling low? EAT! Celebrating? EAT EAT!

Feeling low? EAT! Celebrating? EAT EAT!


3. We appreciate beauty.

Our love for beautiful things has brought us to express ourselves with some of the most incredible art, music and culture. Italian design, fashion and luxury goods are only some of the modern ways to express the artistic genius of which Leonardo, Machiavelli, Caravaggio and many others were our world ambassadors. The same goes with Pavarotti, who sang Italian opera in the world’s best opera houses.

No doubt the most beautiful city in the world to me

No doubt the most beautiful city in the world to me


4. We always manage to communicate.

We are not exactly masters at foreign languages. We get by with Spanish and we may know a little English, but we are so expressive and communicative that we always manage to make ourselves understood. An Italian will never get stuck for being unable to speak the local language! On the other hand, if you don’t speak Italian, you may confuse a plain and friendly conversation for a heated argument, just because of our hand gestures and our facial expressions. Nothing to worry about!

communication age

Yes, yes, I got it!

5. We are one yet many.

We manage to overcome all our differences, forget our regional rivalries and become one big family as soon as we step outside the country. But the minute we step back in, it all goes back to being very local and there is no way a Sardinian would want to be mixed up with someone from Naples or Venice.

I love travelling alone

I had to show my Sardinian pride even when I was in Chile!

6. We forget all our problems if our national football team is playing.

The financial crisis won’t get any worst just because we stop worrying about it for 90 minutes to watch a football match. And if our national team wins, we don’t mind so much that the country may be going bankrupt; there may have been a recent natural disaster for whose reconstruction the government plans yet another raise in the taxes and unemployment rates may be skyrocketing. It’s time to celebrate!

Worry later, celebrate now!

Worry later, celebrate now!

7. We always help others.

We may complain about it, we may feel we don’t have the resources for that, but we are never going to push away and turn our backs the thousands of desperate people who flee war and poverty and cross the Mediterranean in search for a better life. We are the geographic centre of the Mediterranean, but we like to think of it more as its beating heart.

8. We have a good sense of humour.

Isis threatens to attack Rome and the Vatican? We don’t really worry so much. They will never find their way through the congested traffic of the capital. And if they do, we may as well make sure that they make the most of their experience in the country and give them the best recommendations for restaurants and places to stay.

Welcome, Isis! - photo courtesy of Legal Insurrection

Welcome, Isis! – photo courtesy of Legal Insurrection

9. We take summer flings to a higher level.

We may know that it is not meant to be, we may know that there are no chances it will work, but we give each relationship our best. We don’t just pretend to be be in love. We really are.

Do you have any Italian friend? What are their funniest abilities?


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    8 October 2015 at 13:23

    I’ll go for #1 and #2 first, yummy yummy ! Do I like more the beautiful pics or the humorous text ?!?

  • Amanda | Chasing My Sunshine
    29 October 2015 at 3:11

    Gosh, I studied abroad in Rome and I just loved being surrounded by Italians. You are totally right on all of these accounts! I miss it everyday. My dream is to spend at least a month in Italy exploring, meeting more spectacular people. Cool post!

    • Claudia Tavani
      29 October 2015 at 8:14

      One month? Try to make it one year 🙂 I am sure you can do it!

  • KJ @ alwaystravelicious
    29 October 2015 at 15:13

    I have an Italian friend Is that a Sardinian flag ?? That’s awesome !

    • Claudia Tavani
      29 October 2015 at 15:17

      It is! It’s the one I actually ended up giving to the Taman Bacaan Pelangi library in Komodo 🙂

  • Traveling Rockhopper
    5 December 2015 at 21:38

    hihi, there is something in this. I’m not Italian, but my good friend is Italian, and you sound like him! 😀

  • Stephen
    23 December 2015 at 20:03

    The Italian passion for the Azzurri as I watched from a bar in Venice as I watched them beat the US in the ’06 World Cup group stages remains one of the most frustrating memories of that entire trip – quadruply so because you went on to beat France and take the whole thing! All the other traits you mention, however, quite fun! 😉

  • Angela
    23 December 2015 at 20:48

    #6 and #8 are obviously true! Ha. Good post. I like the way you roll!

  • Simone
    24 December 2015 at 11:56

    Oh I love this! I love Italy & every Italian person I have met has been amazing 🙂
    Simone x

  • Carol Colborn
    24 December 2015 at 20:12

    Here’s a passionate vote for #s 2, 3, and 4!!! Tops in expressions for great food, great art, and great talk!!!

  • Marge Gavan
    24 December 2015 at 20:13

    I don’t have an Italian friend (well none yet!) but I’d sure love to have one. I love your pizza and pasta though and I hope to someday go to your country and taste the real thing. I didn’t know there is a some sort of a regional rivalry in your country, it’s sure interesting to know about it.

    • Claudia Tavani
      27 December 2015 at 9:56

      It even goes on within regions and neighboring villages!!

  • dannielle - While I'm Young and Skinny
    26 December 2015 at 15:50

    Haha, my best friend is Italian and I recognise all of these qualities in her! I still haven’t been to Italy but I’d love to go!

  • Hugo
    26 December 2015 at 19:15

    Awesome! I have a couple of Italian friends and they’re super nice (and fit into some of these!)

    I would like to thank the Italian gods for all the pizza and pasta I’ve had and will keep having!

    • Claudia Tavani
      27 December 2015 at 9:57

      Get here and try some meat and seafood dishes 🙂

  • Stefan
    26 December 2015 at 21:50

    Ahahahaha – this was absolutely hilarious to read and reminded me of every single one of my proud, beautiful, football obsessed craaaaaazy loud Italian friends and I love them to bits. You know why? Cause they’re exactly like us Greeks 🙂

    • Claudia Tavani
      27 December 2015 at 9:58

      All my Greek friends say to us Italians “Una faccia, una razza”. Definitely true – we are very similar. Scarily so!

  • Karilyn
    26 December 2015 at 23:57

    This is a really great list! I haven’t been to Italy and haven’t met a ton of Italians through the years, but I love these generalizations! It has me thinking about what we as Americans are able to do… going to take me a while 🙂

    • Claudia Tavani
      27 December 2015 at 9:59

      If you need help drafting a list of what you Americans do, let me know hehe

  • Anita Hendrieka
    27 December 2015 at 8:17

    I love Italy because of the food and the attitude towards it! Love this post!

  • Mar
    27 December 2015 at 9:53

    Haha, yes for sure on the taking with signs and the hands, something Italians do better than anyone else! I have a lot of Italian friends and they sure fit the above bill 😉

    • Claudia Tavani
      27 December 2015 at 9:59

      I mean, I could tell countless stories of times in which talking with my hands saved me!

  • Bobbi Gould
    27 December 2015 at 10:00

    Hmm.. is this why Italy is my favorite country? 🙂

  • Natasha Amar
    27 December 2015 at 10:55

    I have to say I love the Italian expressiveness. The way Italians communicate, with the gestures, expressions and the intonation is beautiful. It makes any language come alive.

  • Fiona @ London-Unattached
    27 December 2015 at 13:38

    LOL, you maybe should add in national pride? Italians and football are something else too – it’s actually great fun to be in any City where the local team has a big home match.

    I’m a huge fan of Italy though I still have plenty of places there to visit!

    • Claudia Tavani
      27 December 2015 at 14:44

      Ohhhh if you want to see real football fanatics you need to go to South America – Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. They taught us Italians how to be football fanatics 🙂

  • victoria metcalfe
    27 December 2015 at 14:52

    Pizza is definitely one of the best things to come out of Italy!

  • Megan
    27 December 2015 at 17:01

    This list makes me laugh, I studied in Rome for a semester and agree with all of these. Would add the odd ability to eat so well and still say so fit! My host mom loved to force me to eat not just seconds but thirds.

  • Grietje | TravelGretl
    27 December 2015 at 19:49

    Haha, nice list! I live with a girl from Italy, and she is lovely 🙂

  • Wandering Carol
    27 December 2015 at 20:01

    What a cute post. My stereotypes of Italy are all good: art, truffles and red wine. What more can you ask for – all that and a warm beating heart. Love it.

  • Inma
    27 December 2015 at 21:20

    Number 9. Hilarious!
    The rest of them.. looks like you’re talking about a Spanish person. LOVE being sisters 😀

    • Claudia Tavani
      27 December 2015 at 21:42

      Hahahaha. Totally true. But you drink latte after meals. Mmmmm. Reconsidering -_-

  • Veronika
    27 December 2015 at 23:09

    Hi! I would also say THE CLOTHES. Most of my Italian friend were also well dressed. No wonder,when many designers actually come from Italy!

    • Claudia Tavani
      28 December 2015 at 9:17

      We’re not all about fashion. I don’t buy clothes – all my money is spent on travel hehe

  • leticia
    27 December 2015 at 23:41

    Such a fun post !! Agree with Inma, must be a mediterranean thing 🙂

  • Nic from Roaming Renegades
    28 December 2015 at 0:00

    ahh, I love this post and I love the Italian way! I have an Italian first name that I also love! I need to get back over for some of that pizza and pasta though! mmmm!

  • Lucy
    28 December 2015 at 16:06

    Oh girl I so love this post :))
    Of course there’s nothing a good meal cannot fix if you’re Italian … Oh and the football thing it drives me crazy:))
    I’m currently living in Italy … and if I need my dad to help me and there’s a game … there’s almost no way he’ll leave the game!!
    Beautiful country, beautiful people, lovely language and exquisite food!!

  • Alexandrea
    29 December 2015 at 1:45

    Very true, if persons have a positive view of you, why not embrace it?


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Hi, my name is Claudia. One day I packed my life and started traveling... except I packed too much. Follow me as I fill my life with dreams, drop the weight and inspire you to live your dreams. View and download my media kit here (updated December 2017). Learn more about me here...


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