Follow TV Tropes


Rambunctious Italian

Go To
"Mamma Mia!"
"Have hysterics... isn't that what one expects of Italians?"

Italians and people of Italian descent in fiction tend to be very loud, very passionate, and very Hot-Blooded people. They are temper-prone, and they may cry easily, but are very nice towards their friends and family. They may-or-may-not be involved in The Mafia or some sort of street gang. Even if they're not, they give off a tough demeanor.

In a fighting team, Italian characters may be a Boisterous Bruiser, although another stereotype is that Italians tend to be the Miles Gloriosus or a Guile Hero whose skill at talking exceeds their combat abilities.

This is something of an Evolving Trope. Early iterations of this tended to portray Italians as either fast-talking con-men whose loudness was a cover for various schemes, or as a Latin Lover. Later on, as movies about The Mafia became popular, depictions of Italians as more violent, easily angered thugs with passionate relationships. A newer variant has Italians (particularly men) whose emotion goes along with being effeminate. In any case, these characters will be loud, argumentative, and prone to gesticulating a lot. And lead-footed.

Often overlaps with Funny Foreigner, particularly if paired with an outrageous accent, and Italian-American Caricature. There's also a lot of overlap with Brooklyn Rage and Joisey due to a lot of Italian-American characters being from either Brooklyn, the Bronx, or New Jersey. Compare to Balkan Bastard, Violent Glaswegian, The Idiot from Osaka, Spicy Latina, Southern-Fried Private, Half-Witted Hillbilly, Jews Love to Argue, and Fighting Irish.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • An inversion happens with Bambino! (the Seinen manga as well the TV Dorama adaptation), in which Japanese owners of Italian restaurants as well some of their clients act under this stereotype.
  • Anzio, the Italian themed school from Girls und Panzer fits. All the members of the Sensha-do team are named after Italian foods. Anchovy, the leader (Duce), and her two co-deputies, Pepperoni, and Carpaccio field a group of girls more interested in pasta than victory. They party after the match with all sorts of Italian dishes, and when spectating at the finals, they party so hard they sleep through the entire battle.
  • Heavily inverted in Gunslinger Girl. Despite taking place in Italy, the characters are as far from stereotypical Italians as can be. They're very unemotional, unaffectionate, and stoic, especially in the original anime adaptation. While some of this has been chocked up to the writer being more accustomed to Japanese mannerisms, it also has an in-series reason as well: All the cyborgs are Child Soldiers and their handlers try not to become attached to them. On top of that, the entire cast is extremely troubled.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers: South Italy is tough-talking and foul-tempered, not to mention associated with the mafia. However, North Italy is an energetic Big Eater Ditz. They're both flirtatious and expressive though.
  • Ghiaccio plays this straight in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind, having a Hair-Trigger Temper and being prone to going on rants, but this trope is otherwise averted with the rest of the cast.

  • One of the most frequently-appearing regular characters created by the Jerky Boys is Frank Rizzo, a blue-collar Italian-American with a short temper and a foul mouth.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • Codex Equus:
    • Rock Opera (now Prince Racconto Mousikós-Corporatum) is half-Bitalian (i.e. the Codexverse's Second-Age version of Italy) as he was born from the marriage of a Bitalian mother and a Ponylander father. He's also hot-tempered, foul-mouthed, and suffers from a lot of issues (including resentment and a huge Guilt Complex). However, it's clear that Rock Opera/Racconto is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who genuinely treasures his family and friends, sympathizes with those who had their dreams crushed, and is a Death god who specializes in punishing wicked souls. While there were times where Rock Opera/Racconto fell by the wayside (even briefly becoming a villain in desperation), he always bounced back thanks to receiving support and at times much-needed advice.
    • Rock Opera's oldest daughter, Melody of the Virtuous Seven, is part-Bitalian due to her mother, Timely Aid, being a Ponylander (i.e. the Codexverse's Second Age equivalent of America). And like him, she can be egotistical, hot-tempered, and determined to fulfill a goal to the point of forgetting everything else. She also, by her own admission, knows a lot of Bitalian swear-words that would "get [her] mouth scrubbed with soap" if Timely Aid were to hear them. Despite her flaws, Melody is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who is genuinely heroic and close to her family and friends.
  • Elsa's future wife Cristina from the Frozen fanfic The Cut of Your Love Never Hurts, Baby is unafraid to speak what's on her mind, to the point of rudeness. She arrives to Arendelle angry about being forced into an Arranged Marriage. Cristina doesn't even try to make it seem like she likes Elsa or the idea of their marriage.
  • While only a minor character, Miraculous: The Phoenix Rises gives us Julian, a thuggish student who attempted to kidnap another before our protagonist Morgan tried to stop him. After she bungles it, he proceeds to have her framed for stalking and assault, ruining her life. He was also rather foul-mouthed and aggressive in his brief appearance.

    Film — Animation 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Franco from The Gumball Rally spares no time in slipping into this. As soon as he shows up at the garage where the race is starting, he gets into a spirited argument with Michael Bannon, culminating with him shooting Bannon with a water pistol. However, he is on friendly terms with his teammate Smith. As for expressiveness:
    Franco: And now, my friend. The first rule of Italian driving. (grabs the rearview mirror and breaks it off its mount) What's-a behind me is not important.
  • In the story within a story of The Fall, The Black Bandit's Multinational Team/Five-Token Band includes an Italian who is a powerfully built Boisterous Bruiser and a Demolitions Expert who is always a little disappointed when he doesn't get to blow things up with his bombs.
  • Sonny Corleone from The Godfather is a passionate, impulsive, and aggressive Jerk with a Heart of Gold who deeply loves his family. This is deconstructed, as his hot temper ends up being a Fatal Flaw that leads to his demise.
  • In Green Book, Italian-American "Tony Lip" is a smooth hustler able to talk his way out of any situation. He's also a tough guy not afraid to bust a few heads if he needs to. He talks pretty much constantly while driving, much to Dr. Shirley's consternation, and his whole family is loud and emotive.
  • Giuseppe Martini from It's a Wonderful Life is an Italian immigrant bartender with an over-the-top accent, and he is particularly shouty when he banishes Mr. Welch from his bar for punching George. Nevertheless, Martini and his family are decidedly sympathetic characters. Most notably, the only character who says anything bad about Martini and his family is Mr. Potter, who contemptuously refers to them as garlic-eaters. It should be noted that this movie's director, Frank Capra, was himself an Italian immigrant.
  • In every Marx Brothers movie, Chico Marx always plays an Italian character who is a fast-talking, argumentative hustler, talking his way into and out of tight situations with equal success. This type of character was a staple of ethnic humor in Vaudeville, but even though the character was stereotypical, he was popular with Italians because he usually got the better of high society types.
  • Many roles of Joe Pesci, especially if they are Italian-American mobsters in a Martin Scorsese movie.
  • In the "Weird Al" Yankovic mockumentary The Compleat Al, Al signs a contract with Ronzoni Records. It is owned by the Ronzoni brothers, who play this trope straight — they even compare their label to a pizza, with their artists as the toppings.
  • My Cousin Rachel (2017): Discussed by Philip and Louise; Philip expects his half-Italian cousin Rachel to be hysterical owing to her heritage.
  • In West Side Story (2021), the rambunctious and hot-blooded gang member A-Rab is described in the script as Italian, and is played by an Italian-American actor. His heritage is never mentioned in earlier versions of the musical, but the actor who originally played him onstage was also Italian-American, although his actor in the 1961 film was British Jewish.

  • In Death on the Nile, Signor Richetti is the living epitome of this trope, as he's very passionate about archaeology. It's later revealed that it's all an act, as he's actually a dangerous criminal of mixed descent (non-Italian).
  • Played with in The Man in the High Castle with Joe, who acts very much like a stereotypical working-class Italian guy. He's actually a Nazi assassin.
  • In the Modesty Blaise novel A Taste for Death, Giulio Barbi the fencing instructor is very hot-tempered — in the scene he appears in, nearly every sentence he speaks (or shouts, or screams) ends in an exclamation mark, or features italics, or both. To be fair, the shortcomings of his student are rather exasperating.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Our Miss Brooks: Mr. Morelli, a One-Scene Wonder appearing at the end of "Four Leaf Clover". Miss Brooks ends up going to his house to pay for the barber pole she accidentally broke; Mr. Conklin goes after Miss Brooks to get the airplane ticket she accidentally pocketed. The very animated Mr. Morelli literally tries to shoo them both away.
  • Due South: The Vecchio family is loud, with members often talking over each other at the dinner table.
  • In Everybody Loves Raymond, the Barone family of Lynbrook, Long Island, New York, are anything but quiet. Any gathering of the extended Italian-American Barone family is marked with noise, drama, excitement and old family feuds unearthing; and the two families who have married into the Barones, the Whelans and the McDougalls, both admit they are horribly inhibited and reticent by comparison.
  • Laverne & Shirley: Carmine was nicknamed "The Big Ragu" and he entered and exited every scene singing "You make me go from rags to riches" at the top of his lungs.
  • Mind Your Language has Italian student Giovanni Capello, who is very passionate, outspoken and impatient.
  • In the New Jersey edition of The Real Housewives, this came to be Teresa Giudice's defining trait... often to her own dismay.
  • The Confalones from Odd Squad are brothers who own a restaurant. They are nice but often fight with each other, though it is shown they really do care about each other.
  • The Sopranos: Tony Soprano is an aggressive, belligerent and short-tempered Italian-American mobster.
  • Saturday Night Live had the recurring Bill Hader sketches with "Vinni Vedecci", an Italian talk show host who interviews American actors. His producers never inform him that the guest doesn't speak Italian because they're too busy eating pasta, Everybody Smokes (except for the American guests) and Vinni tends to go on yelling rants the moment he interprets something the guest said as an insult.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Carmella merging this with Brooklyn Rage, though more on her NXT persona. She's introduced as a hairdresser-turned-wrestler who came in off the streets to learn to fight from Enzo Amore (having grown up with brothers). Although Leah Van Dale is from Boston rather than New York (she had to be from New York because Sasha Banks was already being billed from Boston), she has Italian ancestry.
  • Nikki Bella of the Bella Twins fit into this once she and her sister Brie started differentiating their personalities. Even as a Face, Nikki was the aggressive Good is Not Nice variant. As The Fashionista, she was always dressed to the nines in elaborate fashions - in contrast to Brie's more relaxed casual style.

  • Tom and Ray Magliozzi, a.k.a. Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers from Car Talk. Rarely does a minute go by on the show without them making fun of listeners, cars, callers, cars, their families, cars, and especially each other, usually prompting both of them and usually the caller to burst out laughing.

    Video Games 
  • In Assassin's Creed II, Ezio Auditore starts off as a loud, energetic, and Hot-Blooded young man who cares very much about his family. He gets toned down a lot in this department as he grows wiser in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and Assassin's Creed: Revelations.
  • Campfire Cat Cafe & Snack Bar:
    • Implied with Chef Gino. There's not much to tell us about his nationality except that his name is Italian (and so is that of his wife, Alessia.) However, he fits the personality of this trope. In his default expression, his burly arms are folded, his eyes are closed, and he has a big grin on his face, showing confidence and strength. He also gets very romantic and emotional (to the point of Manly Tears) whenever he thinks about his beloved wife.
    • Also implied with Baker Mario. Again, his name is the only indication of his nationality. He has a perpetually angry expression and shouts everything he says. However, unlike most Angry Chefs, it seems like this is because he loves his job so much that it's serious business to him.
  • Zig-zagged with in the Grand Theft Auto universe:
    • In GTA III, Luigi and Tony Cipriani's mother play it straight. The other members of the Liberty City Mafia downplay it.
    • Subverted with Tommy Vercetti in Vice City: he's more Deadpan Snarker than rambunctious.
  • Pizza Tower: The protagonist, a pizza chef named Peppino Spaghetti, is very expressive with his emotions. That said, the two emotions he displays most often are extreme anxiety and, when he's running at top speed, Unstoppable Rage as he barrels through enemies.
  • Street Fighter 6's Marisa is a hammy, jovial Boisterous Bruiser who approaches fights with boundless passion.
  • Super Mario Bros.:

    Visual Novels 
  • Moe Mortelli from Daughter for Dessert is loud and talkative, and shows emotion easily. His temper even drives him to point a gun in the protagonist's face once - even though he never loses his temper.

    Web Original 
  • The Italian animator and voice actor ThePruld produces Machinima that milks the hell out of this trope. Particularly in his Dark Souls-based videos, the contrast between the melancholy of the canon source material and the energetic gesticulation and dialogue it is used for is jarringly funny.
  • Anna of the web series Amore In Translation, who is an Italian woman living with a more laid back Irish man. She fit this more in the first episode filmed "Sympathy", where the comedy comes from Michael not making the dinner and Anna getting furious that he's not apologizing. Sefora Castro even played up the Italians Talk with Hands. The other episodes downplay this, showing Anna being mostly level-headed with only the occasional bursts of passion.


    Western Animation 
  • In the Dexter's Laboratory episode "Lab on the Run", three of Dexter's robots escape and fall in love with a fancy car that belongs to an Italian man. When they touch it and set off the alarm, he screams at them and runs downstairs in his underwear to catch them, leading to a Car Chase as he chases after them in the car while shouting "I'm-a gonna call the cops on you-a bots!"
  • Family Guy: This trope has been used several times by Italian people.
    • In one episode, a Trigger Phrase to awaken KGB sleeper agents is "Boy, that Italian family at the next table sure is quiet", since it's something nobody would ever say naturally, thus preventing the sleeper agent from hearing the phrase by accident.
    • Defied in cutaway in "You Can't Do That On Television, Peter." where an Italian mother walks in on her sons quietly studying and acts like they're having a loud argument, unable to comprehend that her children are law-abiding successful college students instead of violent career criminals that routinely get sent to jail.
  • Roxanne "Roxy" Pelligrini from Jem is the "tough girl" of The Misfits (though she's actually more docile than Pizzazz in terms of temper). She was raised in Philadelphia, ran away from home as a teenager, and joined a street gang. Roxy played the role as Pizzazz's Beta Bitch until season 2 introduced The Sixth Ranger Sheila "Jetta" Burns, who was an Evil Brit who got along extremely poorly with Roxy due to their similar personalities clashing. Roxy is The Lad-ette out of her group and also yells a lot of her dialogue.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: Lila Rossi and Gina Dupain are the two known Italian characters, and they and the latter's relatives (that include even series' protagonist Marinette) are easily loud, passionate and extremely hammy... With Lila bringing back the old con-woman side with extreme effectiveness (Tikki, who has lived for millennia, admits Lila is the best liar she has ever seen).
  • Maxi from Roary the Racing Car is known for his over-the-top reaction to anything and everything.
  • In The Three Bears, the bears are given stereotypical Italian accents and mannerisms and are often shown arguing amongst each other. Papa Bear in particular is a Large Ham, freaking out when he finds that Goldilocks tasted his pasta. ("SOMEBODY TOUCH-A MY SPAGHET!")

    Real Life 
  • Bud Spencer was commonly known for having this stereotype in the movies he was part of, especially the non-Spaghetti Western ones like Watch Out, We're Mad! with Heterosexual Life Partner Terence Hill, where Bud was a Boisterous Bruiser.
  • Televised political debates in Italy typically look like this on a good day. Later on, one of the politicians from this debate, Vittorio Sgarbi, was literally dragged kicking and screaming from the Italian Parliament for repeatedly hurling rude insults, and refusing to wear his COVID mask properly.
  • Olivia Hussey describes legendary Italian director Franco Zeffirelli as this whenever asked about her time in Romeo And Juliet - saying he was loud, passionate and dedicated to creating art. She recalls him coming into a costume testing for her, ripping the bodice off and declaring to the sky "this is all wrong!"
  • Benito Mussolini was a famously hammy man (at least by Anglosphere standards), known to be very fond of shouting and gesticulating.
  • In real-life motorsports, Italian carmakers are often stereotyped as this, especially when painted in the infamous Rosso Corsa colors. While several carmakers and constructors such as Alfa Romeo, Lancia and Abarth are often treated this way, Ferrari is the most infamous example in many of motorsports' history, especially in Formula One.
    • Not just motorsports, Ferrari's road cars, most of them being supercars and grand tourers, are treated with this trope the most, compared to other Italian carmakers. Lamborghini and Pagani (which are also supercar makers) come close second.
    • This example might have to do with the backstory: During the 1907 Peking to Paris race, Prince Scipione Borghese, an Italian aristocrat, was so sure of winning at one point he took a detour from Moscow to St. Petersburg to take part in a dinner in honor of the race then went back to Moscow and rejoined the race... And he actually won. He was driving a red car, and in his honor Italy adopted Rosso Corsa (racing red) as its international racing color. While racing colors have started being supplanted by sponsorship liveries from 1968, Scuderia Ferrari stuck with red (and would instead take sponsors with red colors).