I’m an Italian Sussex student, here are your misconceptions about my culture

Someone must’ve lied to you along the way

I moved to the Brighton a little over two years ago to pursue my degree at the University of Sussex. Relocating to the UK came as a bit of a culture shock, as would any move to a different country. Although it was undoubtably the best decision of my life, it was really hard for me to integrate into British culture. I still can’t tell the difference between a scone and a biscuit.

Growing up in a traditional Italian household, I was oblivious to a lot of stereotypes that surrounded the culture. I’m not just talking about the volume with which we communicate or the fact that we say “mamma mia”. There are many things that Brits genuinely believe we do, that just aren’t true. During my time living in the UK, I have noticed a few misconceptions about Italian culture – they are pretty innocuous, but very funny.

Here are some of your misconceptions about us that I have noticed over the years:


I have observed a lot of strange recipes that Brits regard ‘Italian’. Please stop considering chicken pasta to be an Italian delicacy, it is decidedly not. Also Fettuccine Alfredo??? Not Italian. If you ever order a pizza in Italy please don’t ask for stuffed crust or ‘pepperoni’, we don’t know what that is. Finally, I admit, although begrudgingly, that garlic bread and mozzarella sticks are not actually our invention. We would love to take credit for those two but it would be dishonest.


This always makes me cringe. We don’t order a cappuccino after noon, milk is exclusively to be consumed in the AM (unless you are a breastfeeding baby, in which case you are exempt).


Yes, we are a very passionate population that occasionally use gestures as part of our vocabulary. BUT you guys exaggerate it sooo much.

Bad driving

Just because I am a bad driver doesn’t mean the whole nation is. I would attribute this stereotype to the fact that we drive fast; we are a very confident population and we always have somewhere to be. (And honestly the standards to get your license are incredibly low).

The Mafia

It always surprised me how much people affiliate Italy with the Mafia. Although it is a very legitimate problem, please stop exclusively associating us with organised crime, it’s not something that we are proud of. Also, in Italy, the term ‘Mafia’ solely refers to a regional organisation in Sicily, it is not a generic term for the type of crime. If you want to make fun of us, at least use the correct terminology.

The cold north

As someone from the north, I can guarantee that we would welcome you with open arms just as much the south. We are an affectionate population through and through.


This is such a generalisation. I am personally far too socially anxious to be late to any event. Ha.

Romanticised life

Unfortunately, we don’t all live on a set of La Dolce Vita. Although we’d love to swim in famous fountains in Rome, that’s just not our reality. We do get stuff done… sometimes.

There are some stereotypes that are definitely true though, we do drink too much Aperol spritz and we are too loud. Hard not to love us.