Why are the Italians so underrated?

Oct 2018
11
Olympia WA, Pacific North West
#1
Almost every culture has had an empire and a high point. The Italians had it in the ancient Roman Empire. Even without being unified for another 1200 years, the Italians were still formidable and were absolutely untouchable because of the Pope. So why does 1 war where they got invaded by the worlds largest empire ever make them a military embarrassment?
 
Dec 2011
1,221
#2
Almost every culture has had an empire and a high point. The Italians had it in the ancient Roman Empire. Even without being unified for another 1200 years, the Italians were still formidable and were absolutely untouchable because of the Pope. So why does 1 war where they got invaded by the worlds largest empire ever make them a military embarrassment?
Well, it wasn't just "one war". Italy was beaten by the Ethopians in 1894-96, it suffered a humiliating defeat at one battle of the Second Italo-Ethopian War, another during the Spanish Civil War, it performed poorly when invading a France that had already its hands full with the Germans in 1940, it fared poorly in Northern Africa and embarrassed herself when attempting to conquer Greece. Regardless of whatever military successes the Roman Empire had had, 20th century Italy didn't exactly show a stellar military performance. However, I would distinguish between poor Italian leadership and its troops. Italians received unjustified criticism for their performance during the invasion of the USSR by the Axis and the invasion of Italy by the Allies.
 
Likes: stevev

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
24,138
Lago Maggiore, Italy
#3
Italy is underrated in the world, not Italians. Ask around ... wonder why in US they want to hire Italian researchers graduated in Italian Unis ... wonder why everybody is imitating the "Italian Style" [even in military field, but here there is an explanation: some of the most technological advanced military units have produced or designed by Italians ... new Apache, stealth F35, land stealth vehicles ... they are all "made in Italy"].
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
2,313
Las Vegas, NV USA
#4
. However, I would distinguish between poor Italian leadership and its troops. Italians received unjustified criticism for their performance during the invasion of the USSR by the Axis and the invasion of Italy by the Allies.
Agree. Italian soldiers performed well under Rommel in North Africa and under other commanders on the Russian front, giving way only after taking heavy losses in the Soviet attack outside Stalingrad (Nov, 1942). The problem was officers were recruited from the aristocracy (Italy was a monarchy) without much regard for ability. They generally earned little respect from their German allies or their own enlisted men.
 

macon

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
3,372
Slovenia
#5
I love Italy, my ancestor was a blacksmith from Italy who settled in Slovenia in 16th or 17th century. I even have a slovenized Italian family name. I spent some time only in Venice and Torino.

I must say that I hate Italian siestas in restaurants.
 

kandal

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,132
USA
#8
Remember, Columbus was an Italian. And the renaissance! Italians might have lost their winning streak in warfare, but have excelled in others.
 
Apr 2017
550
Lemuria
#9
Italy (Roman period excluded) were and are influential but they never reached the level of influence of the British, French and German. Italy has been always one or two levels below the top power or powers of Europe at any given period. The renaissance started in Florence though.