Some people in Italy may view Americans as too loud or pushy, while others may admire certain aspects of American culture, such as its entrepreneurial spirit.
Ultimately, it depends on the individual’s perspective and experiences with Americans.
As an Italian living in Italy, I can provide my two cents on the subject so you may receive a better response based on my experiences and those around me.
The majority of Italian people like Americans. Around 80% actually love Americans and America like a Country. That’s because the US culture is influential here. We’ve been exposed to American Culture, starting with movies and extending all the way down to brands and commercials.
The stereotype of Italians loving Americans is actually very accurate, in my opinion.
What does Italy think of America?
The Italian people I interact with either admire America or have been to the country. They view America as a place where you can make it big if you try hard enough.
The American dream of being free to do what you want with your life is something the Italians have heard of and think of positively.
That is not to say that all Italians are fans of Americans. There are still many Italians who don’t like Americans.
So, why do some Italians dislike Americans? They do not know anything about America or Americans. This may be due to them not having interacted with many Americans, and their only source of information about the country is American movies, which for the most part, portray Americans as loud and violent.
Their dislike for America and its people may come from a bad experience with an American or someone who seemed like they were an American.
However, this number grows smaller as Italians travel more and are exposed to different cultures. They want to know the world and be more tolerant of other people’s perceptions.
- Italians like Americans because they see them as hardworking, generous, casual (in a good way), open-minded people who are tolerant of others.
- Italians do not like Americans for some of the same reasons they like them: they see them as loud, pushy, and sometimes even violent people who never stop talking about how great America is. (No offense, every country has bad apples).
I’ll leave you with one essential thing to remember: Italians may admire certain aspects of American culture, but that does not mean they will like everything about Americans.
Italians are proud of their country and national identity; they believe their country has a lot to offer with its rich history, art, architecture, food, and culture.
I personally love America, but I’m not blind to America’s downfalls either.
There are always advantages and disadvantages in every country, but it all boils down to perspective and point of view.
Are Italians rude to tourists?
Not at all. In fact, they often seem to go out of their way to help them. This is odd because this impression persists in the minds of many tourists even after leaving Italy, and it colors their feelings toward Italians generally.
Especially in the South or center of Italy, people are willing to help, even if the only words they know in English are sorry and welcome.
Generally speaking, Italians are friendly people; however, there’s no need to pretend that Italy doesn’t have its share of problems.
There are some impoverished areas where locals may seem somewhat unwelcoming.
(Not because you are American, even local, may seem somewhat unwelcoming).
Then there are places where people are just not very talkative. If an Italian isn’t interested in interacting with you, don’t take it personally.
And, of course, at the risk of sounding like a xenophobic American, never forget they can be considered foreigners if they go to other European countries. So don’t expect them to be very familiar with American culture.
Way too many tourists have this conception that Italians are supposed to know English or at least French just because they’re on the other side of the Atlantic.
While it’s true that you’ll find many locals who speak these languages, don’t expect everyone to be able to communicate with you.
There’s no need to be extremely shy about speaking a few words in Italian, and Italians will be very grateful if you at least attempt to speak their language!
Even those who don’t know a word of English can converse with you by gestures. They’re pretty good at it.
Italians can be more direct than Americans but don’t take it personally. They just want to tell you how they feel, even if that means saying something fairly blunt or rude.
So why do these misconceptions exist?
Some of it is a cultural thing: Many Americans, especially those from big cities, are not used to the fact that many Europeans don’t value the same things they do, like personal space or driving at less than 100 mph.
And some of it is not being informed about what to expect in the country you’re visiting. You can’t blame an American who has spent his whole life listening to stories about Italy’s famous people and monuments for thinking that Italians know English as well as they know Italian.
But this is another reason why you should go out of your way to interact with the locals.
If you’re going to take just one thing from this article away, let it be this:
If you travel to Italy, and everywhere you go, everyone is extremely kind and helpful. You’re probably either in an area of the country where people are just friendly by nature, or you haven’t been given a fair representation of what Italy is like.
Where are Italian people more friendly to tourists?
South and Island, for sure. I live in Sardinia, and I can tell you it is a tourist paradise. We are very friendly and known for being hospitable.
- The South, in general, is a very welcoming place, and you will notice that people don’t mind speaking English to you or helping out if they can.
- Northern Italy is more difficult for tourists, but at the same time, it’s fascinating. Different world, you have to travel a bit further to meet people who are not aggressive or unfriendly.
- Middle Italy is a bit of both world: You can find different parts that are very welcoming, but you can also stumble upon the ones who seem uninterested or even annoyed by your presence.
So what’s the best way to interact with Italians?
It depends on where you go. Different people will have different reactions depending on where you meet them.
If you want to actively approach people, the best way is to smile and be friendly. Say ciao! (hello!) or Buongiorno! (good morning), and see how they react.
Important: Do not say Pizza or pasta or Mafia when you meet an Italian for the first time; it is insulting; Italians are very proud of their country and food.
And don’t worry: Italians understand that you might not speak perfect Italian. That’s part of the reason why they’ll welcome your attempts at their language: It shows them that you respect them and their culture.
Remember: The more you interact with Italians, the easier it gets to get along. You’ll find common interests, and you’ll be able to communicate more efficiently. And who knows, maybe one day you will speak Italian as well as they do!