Why are the Italians so underrated?

martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
5,953
Spain
#71
Italy as State is only possible to talk from 1861 onwards....and maybe in some areas during Napoleon´s days. By other side.. the Pope´s power was "touched"... not only by Napoleon but also by Charles I and Philip II. The Sacco di Roma was a very clear message from Charles to Clemente to say the Crown wouldn´t tolerate a Pope under French Control or influence.
 

royal744

Ad Honorem
Jul 2013
9,804
San Antonio, Tx
#72
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.
I understand that Italy had several outstanding Divisions in their army - the Ariete being one of them. Much of their army was less effective and less well equipped than their German counterparts. I have often wondered if the Italians wouldn’t have been much more effective if they had gone to war on the Allied side instead of the German one.
 

royal744

Ad Honorem
Jul 2013
9,804
San Antonio, Tx
#73
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"].
Wow. That’s certainly a surprise...
 
Jul 2017
11
Europe
#74
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?
Because bias and misinformation. About military people only look at WW2 they never even count WW1 and preunitarian states wars. Italian states fought in many wars and important battles of history. Italian condottieri served (and some even commanded) the best armies of Europe. During Napoleon they fought pretty well: "The Italian army had displayed qualities which entitled it evermore to take rank amongst the bravest troops of Europe." (Kingdom of Italy (Napoleonic) - Wikipedia).
In any case i don't think they are "underrated". It's your opinion op.
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
4,620
Portugal
#76
Not sure the North African campaign was a great help to be honest.
Or the French border, Albanian and Russian (8th Army) fiascos.

Nevertheless Italians and Italian brands aren’t underrated.

In the textile industry and in the footwear industry often some Portuguese companies have/use Italian brands to improve the sells, or sell the products to the Italians where they are branded or re-branded to be exported. Italian suits and Italian shoes are often a synonymous of quality, as an Italian car is often synonymous of speed.
 
Last edited:
Jul 2017
11
Europe
#77
Not sure the North African campaign was a great help to be honest.
It's not up to us to decide what strategy at the time was good or not. Germany made its mistakes as well. One thing is for sure though: Italy's biggest mistake was to have sided with Germany, a country that started and lost the first WW. It should have remained neutral at least it would have kept some of its territories and colonies previosly owned. Italy wasn't simply military ready for WWII. Germany on the other side closed many stores and invested in its army but, most important, Germans were angry to have lost the first WW and reduced to starvation.

Besides, as i already said above, there is not only WWII in Italian military history.
 
Last edited:
Nov 2009
3,859
Outer world
#78
We generally are not, maybe wrongly described, stereotypes, dismissed or mocked for certain things, but that's something that happens with every ethnicity: as Italy has been the cradle of the Western civilisation taking much from Greece and spreading it around, Italians are more famous than other peoples and thus get praised and mocked more often than, let's say, Slovenians or Latvians or any other minor* ethnicity; but even these peoples have their own quarrels, praises and distinctions.
That being said, there have been unjust criticisms and praises delivered to Italians, as well as an ugly trend of racism stemming from Northern Europeans and Anglo's racial views, but those affected a lots of other peoples.
Yes, there are unfair criticisms levied at Italian soldiers for WWII which either stem from erroneous knowledge (the 250k vs 30k during Compass for example), mere prejudice (Italians can't fight) or simplifications (defeat ad Adua for example or at Stalingrad), but that is bound to happen: there is so much ignorance in the world that it is hardly a surprise.
Then, what people all over the world mostly do not understand is that Italy, in spite of its relatively small size (it's six times smaller than Texas to give you a proportion), is incredibly complex and different: for example, most stereotypes and beliefs held in the English-speaking world (and by extension in the world thanks to the internet and the pervasiveness of the English language) come from stereotypes of Southerners, but there is the Centre and North of Italy that are utterly different.
Whenever abroad I said that I am Italian, most Canadians (I am citing them as I had been studying there for a year) thought of me as someone singing to ladies while having thick moustaches and playing the mandolin, all thing I don't do (my voice is terrible, my beard is pitiful much to my dismay and I am terrible with musical instruments), and they imagine someone between a pizzaman and a mafia mobster (without any offensive connotation beware), being totally oblivious that I come from the Alps and that we are totally different from Southerners.
After all this "pappardella", that applies to me as well: if you ask me about what I think about someone from Arkansas, I can tell you just a vague stereotypes based on books, tv series and my idea of rural America.
Hence, back to the topic, I don't think Italians are underrated: we are highly sought after for many things in which we excel (from cars to fashion, from architecture to design, from classical art and music to literature, up to our unrivalled cuisine), and, at the same time, we are the receivers of many less positive stereotypes, as happens with everybody.
* minor meaning less known to world history, no offensive connotation here.
 

Shtajerc

Ad Honorem
Jul 2014
6,355
Lower Styria, Slovenia
#79
We generally are not, maybe wrongly described, stereotypes, dismissed or mocked for certain things, but that's something that happens with every ethnicity: as Italy has been the cradle of the Western civilisation taking much from Greece and spreading it around, Italians are more famous than other peoples and thus get praised and mocked more often than, let's say, Slovenians or Latvians or any other minor* ethnicity; but even these peoples have their own quarrels, praises and distinctions.
That being said, there have been unjust criticisms and praises delivered to Italians, as well as an ugly trend of racism stemming from Northern Europeans and Anglo's racial views, but those affected a lots of other peoples.
Yes, there are unfair criticisms levied at Italian soldiers for WWII which either stem from erroneous knowledge (the 250k vs 30k during Compass for example), mere prejudice (Italians can't fight) or simplifications (defeat ad Adua for example or at Stalingrad), but that is bound to happen: there is so much ignorance in the world that it is hardly a surprise.
Then, what people all over the world mostly do not understand is that Italy, in spite of its relatively small size (it's six times smaller than Texas to give you a proportion), is incredibly complex and different: for example, most stereotypes and beliefs held in the English-speaking world (and by extension in the world thanks to the internet and the pervasiveness of the English language) come from stereotypes of Southerners, but there is the Centre and North of Italy that are utterly different.
Whenever abroad I said that I am Italian, most Canadians (I am citing them as I had been studying there for a year) thought of me as someone singing to ladies while having thick moustaches and playing the mandolin, all thing I don't do (my voice is terrible, my beard is pitiful much to my dismay and I am terrible with musical instruments), and they imagine someone between a pizzaman and a mafia mobster (without any offensive connotation beware), being totally oblivious that I come from the Alps and that we are totally different from Southerners.
After all this "pappardella", that applies to me as well: if you ask me about what I think about someone from Arkansas, I can tell you just a vague stereotypes based on books, tv series and my idea of rural America.
Hence, back to the topic, I don't think Italians are underrated: we are highly sought after for many things in which we excel (from cars to fashion, from architecture to design, from classical art and music to literature, up to our unrivalled cuisine), and, at the same time, we are the receivers of many less positive stereotypes, as happens with everybody.
* minor meaning less known to world history, no offensive connotation here.
You put it quite well. All nations are praised and mocked for certain things, but if it's a small nation you might not know it if you're not their neighbour or something. The same stereotypes also get atributed to various nations. The Americans see the French as bad soldiers, while in former Yugoslavia this was applied to Italy and the French were know as people who eat snails and frog leggs. Slovenes are known as stingy, but so are the Scots. Balts, Finns, Hungarians and Slovenes are suicidal. Romanians are all gypsies. Montenegrins and Greeks are lazy. Bosnians are dumb. Ukrainian women are prostitutes. Russians and the Irish are drunks. Germans have no humour. Austrians are pesimistic nihilists. Croats are thieves. The Dutch are cowards. Swedes are stuck up. There's similar nonsense for everyone, but if you don't deal a lot with a certain nation, you probably don't know about those prejudices and stereotypes. Which, ultimately, is even better, as you don't base your impression of an entire people on something you heard from someone who heard it from someone else.