True or false?
Every nation has its own stereotypes: the French eat frogs, the English have a stiff upper lip, the Americans only eat burgers (funny how it seems centered a lot around food!). The Italians have of course not escaped this. Like anything, there’s a lot of truth in them, however a lot of them just aren’t true.
Here is our top 10 debunk:
Italians only eat pizza and spaghetti: it is true that pizza and spaghetti are quite high on the menu, however Italy has a rich culinary heritage. Indeed it is one of the most appreciated and delicious cuisine in the world. Because of its diverse climate, agriculture and cooking traditions, there’s a lot more on offer than a carb rich diet! The Italians are very proud of their products, you will generally find seasonal vegetables, fresh fish and seafood if near the coast, and tastefull meats everywhere!
Spaghetti bolognaise or with meatballs: the Bolognaise sauce doesn’t actually exist, nor do spaghetti with meatballs, in Italy !! You will never find them in a menu, apart from maybe in a badly translated one. The tomato sauce with minced meat is actually called “ragù”, however there is far less meat than in foreign countries and it contains very often a mix rather than just beef. And you will never see spaghetti served with ragù, it’s sacrilegious! Because pasta is taken very seriously here, you have to have the right sauce for the right pasta and “ragu” is the right sauce for tagliatelle!
Singing: not only Italians don’t sing all the time, but neither are they all great singers or budding Pavarotti’s. You’ll be more likely to find singers at the opera or on a gondola in Venice than in the street.
Black hair, brown eyes and olive skin: there is in fact a very large mix of distinctive features, those are not the only ones. You can find blonds with blue eyes in Sicily! Due to the various invasions throughout the history of Italy, Italians can have just any hair colour and can get sunburnt just as easily as a pure Scottish guy!
Antique history: If Rome was actually founded many centuries before Christ, modern Italy is a fairly young country in comparison with the rest of Europe. It was unified only in 1861 and the republic, as it is today, is only from 1946. This explains the huge mixed bag of culture, architecture, dialects and local dishes which change pretty much from city to city. Two Italians won’t always necessarily speak the same language. It’s not unsual that they don’t understand each other, especially from north to south.
The mafia: there couldn’t be a top 10 Italian stereotype list without mentionening the mafia! The mafia itself was originated in Sicily, as made famous by the Godfather films. However there are 2 other main groups of organised crime syndicates: the ndranguetta in Calabria, the camorra in Campania. But don’t worry, their influence has largely disappeared over the years, thanks to effective police action and more Italians willing to speak against them. Italy isn’t a crime infested country, it’s rather quite pleasant in fact! La Dolce Vita is closer to the true way of life.
Bad drivers: the stereotype is there but the stats say something else. There are in fact less mortal accidents in Italy than in France and Germany in 2015, according to Eurostat. It is true however that driving in larger cities can be chaotic, it always seems an organised chaos though! And remember that our roads are in a large extent uncrowded country roads, for your maximum fun in the saddle.
Tropical country: Italy is not a tropical country. It has 4 seasons, unfortunately the sun doesn’t shine all year around. Each region has an ideal time of year to be toured, either because it’ll be too cold, too wet and even too hot otherwise. Therefore we wouldn’t recommend a tour in the Alps in February, or one in Sardinia in August, for example.
Football: it is true that it is a real passion here, however it’s not the only national sport. Cycling is another one, there are many clubs organising rides all over, whether it be by the beach or in the numerous hills and their twisties. Motorbike racing is of course another. A lot of riders start at a very young age, many mini bike tracks can be found everywhere. And of course, it’s a well known fact that Italians are the best MotoGP riders, although I think our Spanish friends might disagree…
Fashion: like they’re not all great singers, they’re also not all great fashionistas. Fashion isn’t just restricted in Milan and Rome, but on the other hand comfort is more important to most people, especially in the hot summer months and the cold winter season.
Italy and the Italians aren’t quite as you would expect. Remember, Italy has its head in Europe and its feet in Africa, its population and heritage is diverse. There is so much to discover and experience. Why not book a motorcycle tour with us and we’ll show you what the real Italy has to offer! From north to south, west to east, we have something for all tastes and pockets. And then hopefully it will be your turn to debunk those stereotypes!