1. We manage to communicate no matter what.
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, we are just expressive.
2. We immediately forget all of our problems if the national football team is playing.
The financial crisis won’t get any worse 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…but it’s time to celebrate!
3. We have actually turned a stereotype into a virtue.
Since everyone wants to refer to us as the pizza and pasta country, we have gone above and beyond our limits to not disappoint and to create the most amazing pizza and pasta dishes in the world. 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.
4. We know there’s nothing that a good meal can’t fix.
We know that one of the best ways to celebrate life is to share a meal. But it won’t just be a simple lunch. It will most likely be a 15 course meal that can last anywhere between 2 to 5 hours, where we stuff ourselves as though we were camels drinking before the longest ride through the desert. And when we feel a bit down, we indulge in some treats — a mouth-watering gelato, a delicious torrone snack, or a good spoonful of Nutella. 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.
5. We appreciate beauty in all forms.
Our love for beautiful things has brought us to express ourselves with some of the most incredible art, music and culture there is in the world. Italian design, music, fashion and luxury goods are only some of the modern ways to express and carry on the artistic genius of Leonardo, Machiavelli, Caravaggio, Pavarotti and many others who were our world ambassadors.
6. 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.
7. We always help others.
We may complain about it, we may feel we don’t have the resources for it, 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 ourselves more as its beating heart.
8. We are endlessly accommodating.
Terrorists threatens to attack Rome and the Vatican? First, we don’t really worry so much, because they will never find their way through the congested traffic of the capital. But if they do, we would probably 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, and before they know it, they would get distracted by our gelato and beautiful women.
9. We take summer flings to a higher level.
We may know that it is not meant to be, we may know that there is next to no chance it will work, but we give each relationship our best. We don’t just pretend to be in love. We really are. Even if just for the moment.