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Thread: What part of Italy do you associate to the 'concept' of Italy in the first place?

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    What part of Italy do you associate to the 'concept' of Italy in the first place?



    I mean, almost every country in the world has regions that identify them to foregneirs in the first place. France is "Paris" first, for most people around the world. Then Cote d'Azur, and the Loire Valley castles etc. Britain is "London", then Scotland, Liverpool with the "fab five" etc. What about Italy? What is the city, region etc. that come to people's mind in the first place? Many italians would see this question from a "parochial" point of view... North vs South, or Milan vs Rome, or Florence vs Venice, etc. etc. What about foreigners? In other words...what about you?
    Nullum magnum ingenium mixtura dementiae fuit.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Italy is one country I've never been to. However, the parts of Italy that are well known to people not of Italian descent in this part of the world are Rome, Venice and Tuscany. For some reason, if people from Canada, or at least Ontario, want to see rural Italy, they always seem to go to Tuscany.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    For its size, Italy is so diverse from North to South, and I think few European countries (at least the ones I visited) have so much diversity region by region, (Food, language/dialects and architecture).

    Coming to the question I think Rome will be what spring to mind first.....followed by Venice, Florence and Tuscany. Naples and Milan would come close too. Sicily and Sardinia are well know too but more thought of entities in their own right (not sure how to explain it) Maybe because they are big Islands.

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    Well, I can tell you the popular packages offered by American tour companies, and the tours chosen by my "American" friends:

    l)They usually start off with a Florence/Rome/Venice package (with an optional side trip to Pompei/Capri), if they have the time, or a Florence/Rome tour, or even just a week long tour of Rome.
    .
    2)More and more often people want to go to Toscana as a whole, while spending a few days in Firenze.

    3)Trips to the Amalfi region among the more well to do are pretty common.

    4)Tours of the Lake Region are pretty popular, with most heading to Lake Como . You find mostly Americans at the Villa D'Este there. It's not a coincidence that one of the most popular casinos in Las Vegas is the Bellagio...it's the Disney version, of course.
    http://www.vegasvipbottles.com/wp-co.../bellpool5.jpg

    Of course there's also Caesar's Palace and The Venetian, so there you go...
    http://www.lasvegastourism.com/caesa...s-palace-6.jpg
    http://usatravelwithus.com/wp-conten...las-vegas.jpeg

    5)Thanks to Rick Steves, a lot of people I know have gone to the Cinque Terre.

    Actually, if you listen to Rick Steves, this is the heart of Italy:
    https://www.ricksteves.com/tours/italy/heart-italy

    I don't agree...I'd at least include Venice and Amalfi/Pompeii, but then I don't think of myself as a foreigner, so my opinion doesn't count. He offers a "Best of Italy" one which is longer but more comprehensive.

    6)Most of the non-Italian American Americans I know (if you can follow that) don't start off with tours of southern Italy/Sicily, but they're very popular with Italian Americans or, increasingly, part Italian Americans. A company called Perillo tours does very highly regarded ones. Indeed, all their tours of Italy are very highly regarded, although they're very expensive. They even do specialty tours like tours of religious sites or wine tours.


    Non si fa il proprio dovere perchè qualcuno ci dica grazie, lo si fa per principio, per se stessi, per la propria dignità. Oriana Fallaci

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    6)Most of the non-Italian American Americans I know (if you can follow that) don't start off with tours of southern Italy/Sicily, but they're very popular with Italian Americans or, increasingly, part Italian Americans. A company called Perillo tours does very highly regarded ones. Indeed, all their tours of Italy are very highly regarded, although they're very expensive. They even do specialty tours like tours of religious sites or wine tours.
    Well, it's curious to me because a typical commonplace here in Italy is that americans conceive the whole country as the southern part of our country, due maybe to high rates of southern immigration to the US in the late XIX and early XX centuries.
    It seems they more attracted to northern and central regions, instead...?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mars View Post
    I mean, almost every country in the world has regions that identify them to foregneirs in the first place. France is "Paris" first, for most people around the world. Then Cote d'Azur, and the Loire Valley castles etc. Britain is "London", then Scotland, Liverpool with the "fab five" etc. What about Italy? What is the city, region etc. that come to people's mind in the first place? Many italians would see this question from a "parochial" point of view... North vs South, or Milan vs Rome, or Florence vs Venice, etc. etc. What about foreigners? In other words...what about you?
    For Australians, the popular ways is this groupings of packages
    There seems to be group sectors which divide italy. There is the :
    Sicily, Naples , Sardinia
    or
    Rome, Siena, Florence .......................if you want Greece as well, add in Bari to Corfu to Athens
    or
    Milan, Verona, Como, Ligurian coast, Lucca-Pisa
    or
    Venice, Padua, Vienna, Salzburg , Innsbruck ...................this has changed because in the last few years Venice gets direct flights in from O/S ......before, it was quicker to fly to Vienna to go to venice, than to fly to Rome.

    The Rome package is the most popular as it includes many other southern Tuscan cities which are very popular
    có che un pòpoło no 'l defende pi ła só łéngua el xe prónto par èser s'ciavo

    when a people no longer dares to defend its language it is ripe for slavery.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mars View Post
    Well, it's curious to me because a typical commonplace here in Italy is that americans conceive the whole country as the southern part of our country, due maybe to high rates of southern immigration to the US in the late XIX and early XX centuries.
    It seems they more attracted to northern and central regions, instead...?

    I think you've misunderstood. I meant that Americans of non-Italian descent don't, in my experience, ever choose a tour of southern Italy as their first foray. They generally start off with a trip to Rome, or Rome and Florence, or Rome, Florence, Venice.

    However, it's also true that the Italian-Americans I know, who are almost always third generation or more in America, like my husband's family, also tend to start off that way, and especially, of course, if they have intermarried with other groups, as many of them have done. Many of them do add on a few days to go to their ancestors' areas in southern Italy and/or Sicily, depending if they even know the precise village or town. Then, from what I see among my acquaintances, some of them do follow up with a tour to southern Italy.

    I think Europeans underestimate quite how "American" Italian-Americans are after two, not to mention three or four generations here in America. In my husband's family, for example, by his time none of them had any idea as to the location of their ancestral villages, beyond the province names. I was the one who discovered the village of his paternal ancestors by searching immigration and then Italian records. I was also the one who insisted that he go see it, at least. Part of the lack of interest stems from the fact that not one of his family speaks a word of Italian.

    That isn't to say, of course, that they don't identify as Italian-Americans...even the ones who are only half Italian by ancestry often feel a deeper connection to that part of their heritage. It's just that the "loyalty" is to their group here in America. I'm no expert on French Canadians, but perhaps it's a version of how they feel about their "French" identity, although in their case, they've held on to their language.

    Still, this is anecdotal evidence based on my own circle of acquaintance. I'm sure it's different for people more recently connected to Europe, people whose parents came from Italy who still speak Italian at home. However, given U.S. immigration laws, there aren't very many of them. It also may not be quite as true in the remaining "Italian" enclaves in certain northeastern U.S. cities, but those are shrinking all the time too, and there's a lot of intermarriage. In another fifty years I wonder whether there will even be much of an identification as Italian-American.

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    everything except the German-Speaking parts of the border with Switzerland

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mars View Post
    Well, it's curious to me because a typical commonplace here in Italy is that americans conceive the whole country as the southern part of our country, due maybe to high rates of southern immigration to the US in the late XIX and early XX centuries.
    It seems they more attracted to northern and central regions, instead...?
    Yes, I've heard the same sort of argument over here in the US. Also, "Italian-American" cuisine is largely of Sicilian and southern Italian origin - e.g. pizza and putting oregano on everything. The Mafia stereotypes also fit it with Sicily, but of course we do recognize that not all Italians are mobsters. I think it's both a pop-culture thing as well as an after-effect of the migration patterns.

    The major argument that I've heard regarding why Italian-Americans predominantly migrated from southern Italy is an economic one - that the southern part of Italy was more economically depressed during the periods of peak migration and thus triggered a greater "let's get out of here" attitude. By comparison, many people in the north thought "Emigrate to America? Why? We have it pretty good right here."

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    2 out of 2 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by RobertColumbia View Post
    Yes, I've heard the same sort of argument over here in the US. Also, "Italian-American" cuisine is largely of Sicilian and southern Italian origin - e.g. pizza and putting oregano on everything. The Mafia stereotypes also fit it with Sicily, but of course we do recognize that not all Italians are mobsters. I think it's both a pop-culture thing as well as an after-effect of the migration patterns.

    The major argument that I've heard regarding why Italian-Americans predominantly migrated from southern Italy is an economic one - that the southern part of Italy was more economically depressed during the periods of peak migration and thus triggered a greater "let's get out of here" attitude. By comparison, many people in the north thought "Emigrate to America? Why? We have it pretty good right here."

    I don't actually think the data supports that, although I'm aware that's the trope about Italian immigration current in the U.S . There were certainly particular factors in southern Italy which propelled emigration, such as the fact that most of the farmland was owned by large landowners or the Church, which meant that there was a huge number of landless farm workers, ecological destruction to the land, a sudden population expansion, etc., but there was a lot of poverty in some areas of the north as well, especially the northeast, ie. the Veneto, which hemorrhaged emigrants.

    The center fared rather better because of the land practice known as mezzadria, where peasants farmed land owned by landlords in return for half the harvests. The landlords paid for seeds, equipment etc from their half of the proceeds. A good number of men who didn't have such a contract simply didn't marry and merely provided labor on the farms of their relatives, as did various sisters/aunts etc. It was common in my mother's area. Parts of Lombardia, my father's Apennines mountains, some of the mountain areas of northwest Toscana, etc. were also pretty poor.

    In the first burst of immigration, prior to 1900, there were actually more immigrants from the north than from the south. Then, southern Italians start to form a larger proportion of the emigrants, making it about half and half. After World War I, the data I've seen shows southerners formed a larger proportion of the numbers. There's also a difference in destination. Much more of the northern Italian immigration went to countries in continental Europe (from which people often returned), and then to Latin America, to countries like Argentina and Brazil. The present Pope is a descendent of immigrants from Piemonte. The closest non 'actual family' DNA relatives on 23andme with whom I'm in contact are all from Argentina. (They were treated terribly in the early years in Brazil, by the way, but that's another story.) Perhaps because they migrated to other Romance speaking, southern European founded countries, these diaspora Italians seem to have retained their ties to Italian language, culture etc. far more than have Italian Americans.

    That isn't to say that southern Italians didn't go to Latin America, it's just that a lot of northern Italians went as well. Instead, in the U.S., the vast, vast majority of the Italian immigrants were from southern Italy and Sicily. The few northern Italians who came to the U.S. often came in the earlier periods, and a good number of those went to California and out west.

    It also has to be kept in mind that the first choice for emigration after the earliest years was within Italy to the Genova/Torino/Milano triangle, which is still a destination for southern Italians. This is because this was the first area in Italy to industrialize, and because of the ports. We even got quite a few people from the Veneto and Lombardia in my area of Liguria, mainly because of the port of LaSpezia.

    There is an English wiki article on the Italian diaspora, but like many wiki articles it's not very good, with many holes in its analysis. Some of these articles obviously have been changed to support various agendas. It's really too bad.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_diaspora

    This is one of the better graphics I've seen showing Italian emigration numbers. Of course, the data may not be exact, because records were badly kept.




    It only covers up to 1915. There was a lot of emigration after 1915 up to the second World War, and then a burst after that, with much of it coming from the more southern parts of the country.

    This article also seems to be rather well done and reputable, and it was done through the University of Torino.
    http://ftp.iza.org/dp938.pdf

    Italian emigration.JPG

    As to the "concept" of Italy, if you mention Italy to people here they might think "The Godfather" and the mafia, but I believe they also think food, wine, Rome, Florence, Venice, art, music, Pavarotti, film, warm family relationships etc. At least that has been my experience. Also, it has to be admitted that there are some Italian-Americans who seem to take an, in my opinion, perverse sort of pride in these criminals, just as there are some non-Italian Americans who seem to be fascinated by them. I find it inexplicable, but there you have it.

    I also have to say that when, as recently, I'm in a group of Americans from places other than the northeast, or the west coast, or large cities like Chicago, where they are more familiar with Italian-Americans, and I mention in response to a question about my surname, as I did, that I am Italian born, I am quite showered with appreciative comments, ecstatic memories of trips there, or, conversely, requests for travel tips, and everyone seems to ask for food tips etc. It is all overwhelmingly positive. Italian members should not think that the opinions posted on racist anthrofora sites are at all representative of American attitudes.
    Last edited by Angela; 16-04-15 at 14:53.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mars View Post
    Well, it's curious to me because a typical commonplace here in Italy is that americans conceive the whole country as the southern part of our country, due maybe to high rates of southern immigration to the US in the late XIX and early XX centuries.
    It seems they more attracted to northern and central regions, instead...?
    Americans of non-Italian ancestry are more attracted to northern and central Italian regions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    It only covers up to 1915. There was a lot of emigration after 1915 up to the second World War, and then a burst after that, with much of it coming from the more southern parts of the country.
    Yes, the emigration from North and Central Italy probably ended before the one from South Italy.

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    [QUOTE=Pax Augusta;455559]Americans of non-Italian ancestry are more attracted to northern and central Italian regions.

    Except for Capri and perhaps the Costa Amalfitana. I'm not saying they don't hit the big two or three first...Roma, Firenze, and then sometimes including Venezia, but Capri and/or Positano are often side trips on tours. I know tons of Americans who adore those places, and who could blame them?

    One lucky woman I know who had already been on the standard three city tour inherited a bundle from her grandfather, and her celebration trip was a two week stay (with private tour guides) to Capri and the area from Sorrento to Ravello.

    I jokingly told my kids that if I ever get a bad diagnosis I'm going to spend part of their inheritance to treat myself to a week in Ravello at the Villa Cimbrone just so that I can sit in the garden and look at the sea all day. :)

    http://www.villacimbrone.com/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Except for the Costa Amalfitana, and who could argue with them?
    Nobody, I think. Very beautiful place. The other side, the Penisola Sorrentina, is beautiful as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pax Augusta View Post
    Nobody, I think. Very beautiful place. The other side, the Penisola Sorrentina, is beautiful as well.
    You beat me to it. :)
    I jokingly told my kids that if I ever get a bad diagnosis I'm going to spend part of their inheritance to treat myself to a week in Ravello at the Villa Cimbrone just so that I can sit in the garden and look at the sea all day. :) A week in Capri would be good too.

    http://www.villacimbrone.com/


    Sorrento was actually my children's favorite vacation spot. Santa Margherita in Liguria was a close second. They have good taste!

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    Sicily, because of Mafia.

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    Rome,Sicily, Tuscany and Milan are the regions which are mostly associated with Italy imo.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fire Haired14 View Post
    Sicily, because of Mafia.
    Perhaps it depends on the education level of the person.

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    FireHaired 14: Sicily, because of Mafia.
    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Perhaps it depends on the education level of the person.
    The answer would also depend on whether they spend a lot of time on anthrofora, which is another way of saying the same thing.

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    I've only ever been to Milan & Lake Como but the villages around the lake are authentic Italy to me.

    Also England is Manchester!!!! :)

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