Why are the Italians so underrated?

Jan 2015
3,190
Rupert's Land ;)
#81
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), .
Compass was certainly a horrendous debacle for Italy.
What erroneous knowledge would you correct BTW?


Nations are often judged by their latest performance (as in sports), so French and Italian results in WWII are derided.
 

VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,292
Brassicaland
#82
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.
Should we start pointing out what Italy is known for excellence?
The Alpine Lakes are fairly beautiful, if the Internet images are correct.
It has a substantial output to classical arts and music.
I have read a few Italian recipes.
What do you think of Italian products or Italian produce?
 
Nov 2009
3,870
Outer world
#83
Compass was certainly a horrendous debacle for Italy.
What erroneous knowledge would you correct BTW?

Nations are often judged by their latest performance (as in sports), so French and Italian results in WWII are derided.
It was certainly an ominous defeat, I was not contesting that. My point is that it is used as an oversimplification to explain that Italian soldiers surrendered en masse because they are cowards (in this light you can often read the "250k vs 30k"), when actually there are a few points to be clarified:

1) There were circa 130,000 Italian soldiers on an area going from Tobruk to Sidi el Barrani

2) Nowhere they were concentrated nor they had any possibility to move rapidly as trucks were sorely lacking

3) O'Connor never faced more than 20,000 men assembled as he carefully and aptly avoided gross regroupements

4) Most British armour was basically invulnerable due to poor Italian ammo and lack of AT guns

5)Most Italian camps were also placed too distant from one another so that they could not aid their comrades anyway

6) British forces were heavily motorised and could move through the desert, while Italians were sitting ducks

7) Let's not even compare the quality of leadership between the two generals because the comparison is pitiful

As you can see, the defeat, while spectacular, was quite foreseeable in hindsight, and no other army in those conditions could have resisted much better.
Should we start pointing out what Italy is known for excellence?
The Alpine Lakes are fairly beautiful, if the Internet images are correct.
It has a substantial output to classical arts and music.
I have read a few Italian recipes.
What do you think of Italian products or Italian produce?
Italian excellence is quite well known abroad I'd say: our cuisine is considered the best in the world (and in terms of sheer quality and numbers it probably is), our fashion and design is also considered top-notch, Italian engineering in a few fields is one of the best in the world (sport cars, yatch and vessels, military ships*, helicopters, ship artillery, aero-components), Italy is famous for its unrivalled art and architecture (no other country has so many UNESCO sites as Italy, not even China or Egypt), our language is viewed as one of the most beautiful on par with French and so forth.
Are there positive sides of Italians that are not widely known? For sure, as there are many positive traits of other peoples that are not commonly known, that's simply the way of life.
 
Jan 2015
3,190
Rupert's Land ;)
#84
As you can see, the defeat, while spectacular, was quite foreseeable in hindsight, and no other army in those conditions could have resisted much better.
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Agreed on all points. ;)

Your last comment is exactly right, while it seems obvious in hindsight that the Italian forces were Ill prepared for mechanized war in Africa, at the time few if any Axis leaders expected anything other than an easy victory for the much larger Italian forces.