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With the lanterns glowing
And the vino flowing
And the good strong smell of mozzarella in the air!
I like a great big Italian Sposalizio,
Lay it out and count me in!
I'm the kind of fella
Likes a tarantella
To the fine, fine music of a mellow mandolin!
The Most Happy Fella, "Sposalizio"

Italy, mostly known for its food, wine and the fat mustachioed guys who prepare delicious dinners. There are only three cities in Italy, Rome, Milan and Venice (and maybe four with Florence in more recent works). None of these cities seems to contain a single building constructed after the 17th century, unless special attention is given to ruins from Ancient Rome. Rome is heavily populated by gourmet chefs, effete fashionistas, and handsome, Adonis-like Vespa-riding homewreckers all too eager to give young female tourists a romantic ride past the Trevi Fountain — oh, and most famous landmarks are within five minutes of each other, too. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is usually found here as well, as opposed to, you know, in Pisa.

Venice, meanwhile, is chock full of handsome, gondola-riding, elegantly dressed homewreckers all too eager to give young female tourists a romantic boat ride under the Bridge of Sighs. Either way, men: if your wife or girlfriend steals away on one of these intimate little tours, you're probably flying back home by yourself. Sorry you had to hear it from us.

Apparently, Tuscany (which is where Pisa is actually located) has swallowed up the rest of the country, as all the surrounding countryside consists of tomato farms, olive groves, and vineyards, and the villagers stomping the crops the old-fashioned way. If anybody's got any kind of sound system, expect to hear it blasting either "Funiculì, Funiculà",note  "O Sole Mio", "Santa Lucia" (all Neapolitan songs), or some famous Giuseppe Verdi aria.note  At the same time, the population of Venice, Rome and Tuscany consists entirely of Sicilians and Neapolitans.

Female Italians are usually dark-haired beauties, feisty and wildly slutty, yet for some reason are also very faithful and jealous of their man. In other words, Spicy Latinas... but Italian.

Expect plenty of Gratuitous Italian, Scenery Porn of sun-dappled mountains, olive droves and vineyards, and Food Porn of delicious pasta dishes.

There's also a dark side to this idyllic country: the time-warped post-war black-and-white Italy that somehow survived till today, directly from neo-realistic movies. It's a dangerous and inhospitable country mostly populated of black clad old women that speak quietly and make emphatic gestures, act as superstitious yet religious fanatics, and still don't own a TV set or a motor vehicle. The only intelligible words these creatures seem to be able to communicate is some distorted provincial dialect like "goombah", and they still claim to vote for Mussolini. (Which you technically still can, in the form of his granddaughter.) The remaining population of dark Italy is composed of dark skinned and dark-haired (almost Indian looking) scoundrels, good-for-nothings or whores.

In a twist of supreme irony, the whole American continent was discovered by an Italian sailing under the flag of Spain. Rather than coming from Rome or Venice, said Italian, Cristoforo Colombo, came from Genoa, the maritime merchant republic in northwest Italy which destroyed the Pisans (yes, them of the leaning tower) and scared the Venetians shitless in several naval battles. (Back in the day when they went around in heavily armed galleys rather than gondolas, defeating Venetians was an achievement to be proud of, like sinking the U.S. Navy.) Contrary to the more popular Italian tropes, Genoese are famed to be a surly bunch of seldom-smiling, understated, humorless fellows, disdaining songs and dances and preferring pesto to tomato on their pasta; they also have an unjustified reputation of being stingy, similar to stereotypes of Scots and Jews.

Following a rather lacklustre performance in World War II, the Italian armed forces are popularly regarded as a bunch of Chianti drinking surrender monkeys, even if their previous and later performances were never as bad as that one.

See here for info on the real country. See Toros y Flamenco and Ruritania for the Hollywood versions of the rest of Southern Europe.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers: North (Venice) and South (Rome, which is not part of Southern Italy, although foreigners often think it is) Italy are personified (the former being the main character). North Italy is a ditz who loves good food like pasta, pizza, gelato, and appreciates art and culture. The time when he fought against Mediterranean pirates is shown too. South Italy is more of the mafia image. Both of them are flirtatious. South Italy wails that his brother is eating nothing but potatoes.
  • Porco Rosso takes place on the Adriatic coastline of Italy (with some scenes set in Milan) back when it was ruled by the Fascists. And pigs could fly.
  • ARIA has a deliberate example in Neo Venezia, an idyllic, tourist-friendly recreation of Venice filled with friendly people, beautiful landscapes, and plenty of opportunities to indulge in Italy's finest wine and song. This is because it's heavily implied that the real Venice, like the rest of Earth, went to hell in the future.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Zigzagged. Italian culture doesn't suffer these stereotypes, as Hirohiko Araki is a nut for Italian culture, and his devotion to the subject in parts like Battle Tendency and Golden Wind shows in flying colors. Rather, it's the names of the Italian characters in Golden Wind that fall under this category. As some examples...
    Leone Abbacchio = Lion Lambmeat
    Risotto Nero = Black Rice
    Vinegar Doppio = Double Vinegar
    Ghiaccio = Ice
    Cioccolata = Chocolate
  • Anpanman has a character named Naporitanroll-chan, who specializes in making naporitan rolls (a Japanese dish based on spaghetti, but uses ketchup as the sauce and is placed inside a bun). She also rides a gondola and sings her own rendition of "Funiculi, Funicula".

    Fan Works 
  • In keeping with the canonical treatment in the Discworld of Brindisi, which is the Disc's "Hollywood Italy", A.A. Pessimal gleefully alludes to a Mussolini-like dictator called Il Doge, a sort of Vetinari without the subtlety. Among other things, Il Doge allegedly got the coaches to run on time, no mean achievement. An organisation not unlike The Mafia is alluded to and the nation has a cheerful domani attitude to punctuality and promptness. The national Army has a particular reputation for professional excellence in one military skill, and witches, called vecchia, abound. In keeping with the trope, all Brindisian men are required, by legal statute, to be persistent romeos.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The 1999 film of A Midsummer Night's Dream is set in 19th century Tuscany. It includes that newfangled contraption, the bicycle. It has a soundtrack full of famous Italian arias.
  • Much Ado About Nothing (1993) was filmed in a Renaissance villa in Tuscany.
  • James Bond:
    • From Russia with Love: SPECTRE has its headquarters in Venice, as Kronsteen is introduced winning a Venice chess tournament. The film also ends there as Bond and Tania have their final confrontation with Col. Rosa Klebb at a hotel, and after her defeat, they share a loving moment on a gondola, passing through the Bridge of Sighs.
    • The Spy Who Loved Me averts the trope by Bond going to Sardinia.
    • Moonraker: Bond investigates a Venitian glass factory that's producing special containers for Drax. Bond also gets involved in a high-speed boat chase, converting a gondola into a motorboat, leading to one of the series' most infamous moments as Bond also turns into a hovercraft and takes it into the streets, perplexing everybody, including a double-taking pigeon.
    • For Your Eyes Only featured the northern Dolomiti mountains and Cortina d'Ampezzo.
    • The Daniel Craig films have gone all over Italy, including Lake Como and Venice (Casino Royale), the small coastal town of Talamone, the city of Siena and its yearly horse race event the Palio (Quantum of Solace), Rome (Spectre) and the seldom seen (as itself, anyway) old city of Matera (No Time to Die). It's picturesque every time, of course.
      • About Spectre: of course, the unlucky Italian driver who gets caught in the chase in Rome was peacefully listening to a Verdi aria from an opera (namely, La Traviata) performed by Luciano Pavarotti, what else?
  • In The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015), the majority of the film takes place in Swinging Sixties Rome, a city populated with dark-haired fashionistas, playboys, and villains vaguely connected to Mussolini.
  • Under the Tuscan Sun and the book it was based on exaggerate all corny aspects of this trope.
  • The Eat portion of Eat, Pray, Love takes place in Rome, a place that apparently exists only to help Julia Roberts' character reconnect with her sensuality, and supply viewers with copious food and Scenery Porn.
  • In Spider-Man: Far From Home, one of the European cities Peter and his class visits is Venice.

  • The Discworld of Terry Pratchett introduces Brindisi, which is the Disc's Italy. Brindisi owes a lot to "Hollywood Italy" and takes the obvious tropes of opera, pasta, calamari, and big flamboyant men with ornate moustaches all the way. Italian is also mangled via food names and typical opera lyrics.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Everybody Loves Raymond: Any Italian character and the country itself on the "trip" episode.
  • I Love Lucy: The infamous grape-stomping episode, although early on, the bell boy did tell them that very few places in Italy still stomped grapes for wine by foot, with most now using machines.
  • The Sopranos: Tony and the boys go to Naples in an episode. They meet a female Camorra capo, and her men mock Paulie and Silvio's lack of culture. (In fairness, Paulie and Silvio are seriously lacking in culture—they make Tony look sophisticated.)
  • Angel and Spike go to Rome in the Angel episode "The Girl in Question"; everyone they run into has a comical accent (including the demons) and tends to be rather overdemonstrative.
  • Jordan Schlansky, an associate producer on Conan, is a huge Italophile and can drone endlessly about Italian culture and why it's miles ahead of American culture. This trait has been mocked mercilessly by Conan O'Brien over the years. In 2018, Conan finally decided to take a trip to Italy with Jordan to see what all the fuss was about.

  • Joe Dolce's "Shaddap You Face" was a comical take on this trope.
  • "That's Amore" by Dean Martin evokes imagery such as pizza, wine, and the tarantella.
  • Louis Prima often explored his Sicilian heritage in his songs, including "Angelina" which explicitly mentions "antipasta", "minestrone" and "pizzeria".
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic's song "Lasagna" (A parody of "La Bamba" by Ritchie Valens) is just a humorous two-minute long list of Italian stereotypes.
  • The video for Lady Gaga's "Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say)" is a variant of this trope: it's filmed on-location in New York's Little Italy, with the singer travelling around on a Vespa.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Played for Laughs with the Italian Four Horsemen of Dramatic Dream Team, who went through several incarnations, each made up of Fake Italians portraying every stereotype they could think of while also spoofing the various versions of The Four Horsemen.
  • With his very large family, his love for wine and opera, women swooning all over him, and oh yes, his outrageous accent, WWE wrestler Santino Marella seems to hail from this version of Italy. Of course, since his Face–Heel Turn, he only thinks women swoon over him. He's much funnier this way.


    Video Games 
  • Counter-Strike's cs_italy, of course.
  • The final level of Contract J.A.C.K. is set in a stereotyped version of Italian province that serves as the home turf to a second-rate Nebulous Evil Organization.
  • The setting of Just Cause 3, Medici, was intended by the developers to be a generic Mediterranean country, with features from Italy, Spain, and the Balkans, ultimately hewing closest to Sicily and Corsica.
  • One of the cities in Dragon Quest XI is Gondolia, a Venice-like City of Canals well-known across Erdrea for its mercantilism and its cuisine. Gondolians also speak with an Italian-tinged Poirot Speak.

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3: The episode "The Venice Menace" is set in Venice and features an extended chase scene in gondolas. Koopa's plan is to chase out the human population and turn the flooded city into a water park for Kootie Pie.
  • In the Jem episode "In Stitches", the Holograms and the Misfits are invited to a fashion contest by the owner of a salon in Venice, Italy.
  • Kim Possible bucks the trend by actually having an episode set partly in Milan. Of course, the villains in that episode were criminally-minded fashion designers. (Hey, at least they did some research!)
  • Looney Tunes:
    • In "A Hound for Trouble", the foreign (But Not Too Foreign) Charlie Dog goes to this version of Italy, attempting to be adopted by a ludicrously stereotyped Italian chef. At the end, said chef tricks Charlie into "holding up" the Leaning Tower of Pisa while he "goes for help".
    • The Sylvester the Cat and Tweety Bird cartoon "A Pizza Tweety Pie" is set in this version of Italy's Venice, where a foreign (but, again, not too foreign) Sylvester tries to catch Tweety, who, with Granny, is vacationing here. He ends up trying to catch Tweety with spaghetti noodles, tied together like a lariat.
  • The Simpsons:
    • An Italian tour bus had Mario from Super Mario Bros. mocking Homer. Then an angry Homer starts throwing trash cans at him, and it pretty much plays out like Donkey Kong.
    • Milhouse is Italian through his mother's side of the family and, in an episode where Lisa is learning to speak Italian so she can become fluent enough in it to be able to study abroad in Rome (as one of the requirements was that you must be fluent in Italian), the tutor she hires ends up being Milhouse. He explains that, ever since he was a baby, he spends part of each summer visiting his maternal grandmother, who lives in Tuscany—Milhouse was ultimately forced to learn Italian because his grandmother (who was left pregnant by an American soldier during World War II) hated the English-language and would beat Milhouse with an olive branch every time he spoke in English to her.
      • In the episode following the one where Lisa learns to speak Italian, she and her family head to Italy—they visit the Tower of Pisa, Pompeii, a village in Tuscany where Sideshow Bob just so happened to be the mayor, and Rome, where they see an opera being performed in the Colosseum. And in the closing credits montage, they're shown taking a gondola ride in Venice. Justified, as it's mentioned they spend at least a month there.
  • Futurama: Mario also serves up stereotypical dialogue as a representative of Italy in a video game reimagining.

Alternative Title(s): Italy In Fiction, Olive Garden