Created By: Belfagor on April 2, 2011 Last Edited By: Belfagor on April 10, 2011

Italians Talk With Hands

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If you have an Italian character (or a character with Italian origins) and you want to point it out clearly, you're probably going to have him/her gesticulate every time he/she says something relevant.

However, it's not just a stereotype.

Exaggerations apart, this trope is a case of Truth in Television. It also has a social and historical importance, since the Mediterranean custom of using ample gesture while speaking once helped the communications between peoples that spoke differently. It's also useful in the present days, since Italy has an incredibly wide range of different dialects.


Anime and Manga

Comedy Series

  • Italian comedies are full of this trope.
  • Happens a lot, of course, in virtually any movie about Italian Mafia.
  • In Mission: Impossible 3 we see this outside the Vatican.
  • The protagonist of Eat Pray Love is told that Italian is spoken with the hands.

Live-Action TV
  • It is part of the OTT stereotype Captain Bertorelli does this a lot in 'Allo 'Allo!.
  • Desperate Housewives: Bree Hodge gesticulates while trying to impress some Italian clients of her catering agency.
  • The Beverly Hillbillies: Jethro was dating an Italian woman and claimed he knew Italian because he could make the gesture pictured.

Video Games
  • Mario and Luigi can do this as part of their gestures whenever they "Talk" in the Mario & Luigi games.

Web Original
  • The meme Philosoraptor once contained the question "If an Italian is missing an arm, can we say he has speech impediment"?

Western Animation
  • Chef Luigi Risotto and, on a lesser grade, Fat Tony from The Simpsons.
  • Every time an Italian character appears in Family Guy.
    • It was itself directly parodied when Peter grew a mustache and thought he could speak Italian - by speaking gibberish and gesticulating.

Real Life
  • In Italy itself, Southern Italians are said to gesticulate more than Northern Italians. Also, some gestures vary from zone to zone.
  • In Argentina there has been a massive cultural influence from Italian immigrants, including food and language. Gesture language included, and to this date a lot of Italian hand gestures have been adopted.
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