Electronic Database

National Mentalities:

Studies in the Context of Globalization and Interaction of Cultures

Edited by Anna Pavlovskaya and Grigory Kanarsh
The site was developed with the support of the Russian Foundation for the Humanities (project №13-03-12003).

Main/The Peoples of the West/

The National Character of the Italians (A. V. Pavlovskaya)

The paper is devoted to the issues of the Italian national character, history and culture of Italy, day-to-day culture. Constants of the Italian way of life — that influence on Italians’ preferences (structuring and ordering of life, predictability, hierarchy, comfort and aesthetics of property, related to the surrounding area as a decoration) — are the following: theatre, city, street, house, bar, family and family ties, friendship, football and food.

The author notes dominants of the Italian national character: theatricality (which should be understood as a sincere and serious attitude to their social status and the wish to follow the expected stereotype patterns of behaviour according to their roles — mother, barman, policeman, etc.); love for the game and metamorphosis in everyday life (which is manifested in the communication style, beautiful and expensive dressing manner); aestheticism; complacency and self-sufficiency, the desire to ‘save face’ in any situation; self-esteem. The Italians are also known for: sociability (which does not imply openness to strangers); positive attitude to cheating, trickery; cheerfulness and ability to enjoy life; superstition.

In the social sphere the Italians are patriotic, but their patriotism is manifested in love for a particular city, region, cultural achievements. As the Italians focus on themselves and their life they are too far from politics; the Italians also go to church, but this does not mean religiousness.

Keywords: national character, the Italians, national dominants, day-to-day culture.

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