Italian Culture Essay
Italy became a country when the states in the peninsula collided in 1861. King Victor Emmanuel the second was the ruler when Italy became a state. In the 1920s Italy was run as a dictatorship state under the leadership of Benito Mussolini. The dictatorship ended when Mussolini made the mistake of joining the Nazis in Germany. From 1946 to current Italy became a country part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, also known as NATO, which ended the dictatorship and Italy became a democratic republic. Italy consists of twenty-two states, some commonly known as Rome (Italy’s capital), Florence, Naples, and Venice. Italy has located on the continent of Europe, more specifically Southern Europe. Italy is bordered by several countries such as France, Austria, Switzerland, and Vatican City. In Italy, the climate is mostly hot and dry, also rugged and full of mountains. Just like many other countries, they are hit with natural disasters, more specifically avalanches, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and landslides. According to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), this county is mixed with several different ethnicities, and as of July 2018 holds 62,246,674 people. These ethnicities include Germans, French, Slovene-Italians, Albanian- Italians, and Greek Italians. Like Italy, the United States holds several ethnicities and is populated with 329,256,465 people as of July 2018. Although the United States of America holds more ethnicities, such as White, Black, Asian, Amerindian and Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian, etc. Italians have a couple of different religions in the country, but mainly Christianity is observed, eighty percent of the population is Roman Catholic, and the other twenty percent fall into Jehovah’s Witness and atheist. In the paper, my plan is to show you more insight into Italian Culture. We will speak more in-depth about Italian Religions, Family Life in Italy, and entertainment in Italian Culture, we will also speak about the communication styles of Italian culture, intercultural conflicts, and then how Italian Culture is similar and or different from American culture.
As stated above about eighty percent of citizens in Italy observe the Catholic Religion. Catholicism is considered a Christian Religion, meaning they believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and Jesus are the Son of God. “Catholics follow the teachings of the Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments” (Safari the Globe, 2014). Italians believe in the Holy Trinity (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit), they also believe that Jesus was conceived from a human, the Virgin Mary, and God. In the Catholic Religion, the Italians study the Bible which includes the Old and New Testaments. They study the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John mainly. Unlike other Christian religions, Mary is a very important person in the Roman Catholic Religion, although she is a human being and is not to be worshipped, she is the mother of God, so she is seen as pure. Although the landscaping and architecture of Italy are enriched in culture and religion, Italy is considered to be a secular state. In 1984, the Catholic religion was no longer a religion of the state and began a divide between law and religion. Due to Italians being enriched in Roman Catholicism, people’s life moments are acknowledged by Catholic ceremonies. These ceremonies include but are not limited to baptism, communion, confirmation, and marriage. In the Roman Catholic religion, usually baptism beings when a person is an infant, and it is meant to cleanse and purify the child. The Roman Catholic religion believes that communion makes us closer to Christ and makes us become fuller in our purpose for Christ. The religion believes that confirmation is the Holy Spirit confirming full maturity and growth spiritually. Ending off the topic of religion there is one thing you do not want to do in Italian culture. “Do not joke about the Catholic Church or the Pope when in the company of older Italians” (Cultural Atlas, 2019). Older people in the Italian culture take offense when joking about the Catholic religion, although the younger people in the culture are more lenient about religion.
Family life in the Italian culture is structured, there are three different structures that the Italian culture falls into which are decision-making, power authority, and interaction. In the Power authority structure, it is simply as stated, power is given out by where you stand on the hierarchy of the family. The hierarchy of the family is usually, grandparents, parents, aunts, and uncles (depending on which is older), and children. Unlike the United States of America, people in Italian culture it is not likely that children will leave the home, without being married off. Even when married off, the family members tend to live around each other, or possibly even in the same home. The most important thing to remember is the oldest in the family is the most respected. “The family is the most important aspect of an Italians life. It provides emotional and economic support to the individual…” (Cultural Atlas, 2019). Another family structure is the decision-making structure, and just like the title, it means that there are either one or two people making the decisions on what is best for the family. Once again during the decisions, the decision is made by the oldest person in the family and/or household. The last structure in the Italian family is the interaction structure. This structure allows for open communication within the family, due to most of the family members growing up together they are more open with each other. During this course, I was able to speak with a man from the Italian culture and he states that “most of my closest friends are my cousins and my brothers are very close”. This just shows how close the families are to the Italian culture. Most of the gatherings are large and open communication, family dinners, communions, baptisms, and confirmations. Because Italians are so close usually Italians marry other Italians, because of this when there is a marriage it is easy for the families to come along. As shown, Italians are very family oriented.
As stated, before Italian culture, art, and architecture is enriched by the Roman Catholic culture. Italy does not only show its culture in just visual art but also in food, music, film, sports, and literature. Some Italian foods that are most common in Italy are pasta, such as lasagna, red sauce spaghetti, ratatouille, and desserts, such as tiramisu and cannoli. There are several sports played in Italy, but the most common sport played in Italy is soccer (also known as football), the main soccer team from Italy is named Serie A. Italy holds the most famous structures in the world which include the Colosseum and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Also, Italy is filled with castles and royal and holy buildings, such as Vatican City also known as the Holy City. The basilica is also known as the royal palace, which is used for the public court. Italy also is home to the Sistine Chapel which was painted by Michelangelo in the 1500s. Some other art forms that are considered in Italy are parades, the most popular parade is the Carnevale. Carnevale has known all the colors, in Italy during the Carnevale time families cook and celebrated by wearing feathers, masks, and multiple colors. The Carnevale began in the fifth-teenth century by the pope, named Paul the second. You can compare the Carnevale experience to Ash Wednesday, like Ash Wednesday you give something up and have a party after all the fun. An important mask in the Carnevale culture is the Bauta, which is a full-face mask that is used for several purposes which can be criminal or romantic purposes.
There is an art in the communication of Italians, at the beginning of the paper we spoke about all the different ethnicities in Italy, but they are also several different languages in the Italian culture. In Italy the official language is Italian, but they are several different dialects. The dialects include but are not limited to Neapolitan, Sicilian, and Sardinian. There are also other languages in the Italian culture which are Albanian, Catalan, Cambrian, Greek, German, French, and Croatian. We have spoken about how we communicate multiple times in this class. In chapter seven we learned about verbal codes, specifically direct and indirect communication. Direct communication is defined as when a person is speaking with clear intention. Italians show a direct communication style. They are just such a culture of open communication, during the course, I could speak to a person from the Italian culture. I was able to confirm that Italians are very open with their communication and they will show you and tell you how they feel when they feel it. Another communication concept I can tie to the Italian culture is intercultural conflict. Intercultural conflict is the emotional struggle between people and different cultures. Being that their many different ethnicities in Italy, there is some intercultural conflict. Some ethnicities are very standoff and most of the Italian culture is very close and open.
America is a very conservative country, and not open to speaking their full emotions. Whereas Italy is very open, and they will tell you exactly how they feel. Like Americans Christianity is the common religion in Italy, America has no religion that is over the other. Some difference between America and Italy is gender roles. In Italy women can be independent, not only allowed but are encouraged. The women are known for the confidence they exude. In America, and in some cultures women are sub-servants to men, they are confident but not in front of men. Like in America, the man is the head of the household and is the primary money maker.
In conclusion, the Italian culture reminds me much of my culture which is the African American culture. Like the African American culture, the Italian culture is open and has a direct style of communication. You will know how they are feeling when they feel it. Italy is a very diverse country with a not so much diverse culture, the country is full of over five different ethnicities but in Italy, there is only the Italian culture. Families in the Italian culture are very close and have open communication. They are raised by other family members and the children grow up to be family and very good friends. There are three different power structures in the Italian family which include, decision-making, power authority, and interaction. Decision-making includes the oldest person in the family making the decisions for the family. The power authority means that the oldest person holds the most power in the whole family. The interaction structure is how the family interacts with other individuals in the family. The Italian culture is filled with lots of art, communication skills, and beauty, it also reminds me a lot of my culture which is why I chose to write about it.
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