Italy from other countries point of view

Discussion in 'Politics' started by xavilqar, Oct 15, 2009.

  1. xavilqar

    xavilqar New Member

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    I know, there are probably more proper forums than lpsg to put the question, but I don't attend much of them, especially not much so international.
    So, I'm just curious to know what people from other countries think about the italian situation.
    I mean especially about our prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, who has a great attendance on international newspaper, but also about more general topics like internal and external politics, culture, tourism and so on.
    I'm especially curious because -maybe you don't know- Italy continues to lower in the ranking of freedom of speech and press, and for the largest part of us italian citizens what we hear from the world about our conditions is reported by our press, which is usually not much objective (it serves the parts of left or right wings).
    I'll appreciate every hint of what a common person could think about us and our politics, just to put things in perspective.

    Don't be afraid to say bad things, I'm afraid we're used to them by now. I'm not nationalist, and I'm the first detractor a lot of expects of our politics. This is just curiosity. I haven't a lot of opportunity to share opinions about it with non italian people :D
     
  2. B_mitchymo

    B_mitchymo New Member

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    As far as my knowledge goes.....i cannot comment on this one, i know nothing at all about Italian politics. UK media seem interested only in the politics of UK, USA and EU lest there be a conflict, coup, civil war or assassination happening.

    As a people tho, i think Italians are brimming with confidence and may be seen as ignorant or arrogant in extreme cases. Very aspirational people, family oriented.
    My mum who had an accident on holiday in Milan and experienced hospital treatment said the staff she met were polite, understanding and quick to treat. Here in the UK we have to wait anything up to several hours if it is busy and not life threatening.
     
  3. eurotop40

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    Italy ranks as having one of the best health systems in the world (I think #2 after France).
    The US ranks as #37.
     
  4. cdarro

    cdarro New Member

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    Other than Berlusconi's womanizing, which I read about in Maclean's magazine (Canada's equivalent of Time), Italy (and most other European countries) is not even on the radar. Domestic and American politics only, unless one watches BBC World News.
     
  5. SilverTrain

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    I heard this story on the radio news this morning:

    BBC NEWS | South Asia | Italy fury at 'Taliban pay' claim

    I hear about Berlusconi's womanizing somewhat regularly. I don't seek out Italian political news, and don't hear much of it in the mainstream USA media.

    I had a wonderful visit to Bologna, Firenze, and Rome some years ago. The family I met on the train took me into their home in Bologna for two days, fed me and showed me all the sights of the city. Firenze was magical. The Duomo and the David exceeded the hype. Rome was a fabulous summer party for several days. Stayed at the Piazza Navona, toured the sights during the day, nightclubs at night. Overall, I had a lovely time seeing the wonderful sights and interacting with lots of friendly people. Also ate lots of excellent food, including stracciatella gelato every day.

    I admire the classic Italian film directors, and Sophia Loren is one of the wonders of the world. I prepare Italian-style pasta cuisine in my home twice a week.
     
  6. HazelGod

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    Agreed...we did Firenze, Rome and Paris around this time last year, and we fell in love with Italy. I'm already planning a return trip, and have been dropping hints around my office that I'd be very interested in a 2-3 year stint as an expat.
     
  7. vince

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    I have a lot of respect for Italy, yet I am often pissed off at it! I really like Italian design and engineering. They are probably the world leader at the combining of technology and mechanics with art and beauty. Riva Yachts or Ducati motorcycles come to mind.

    But doing business with Italian companies can be really frustrating. They often don't return calls or emails. They rarely have spare parts. Delivery schedules... don't make me laugh! I've noticed that if a company is a leader in it's field, or god forbid they are the only ones doing a particular job, their service becomes worse and they can be very arrogant about it. Then there is the whole shutting down of the company for a month or six weeks in the summer. It costs Italian firms a lot in lost business, believe me.

    People in my business always look at Italian firms as the last ones we want to do business with. Which is too bad, because they make some great stuff.

    Italian politics I don't pretend to understand except that I know there is too much corruption and the Mafia has it tentacles in every aspect of business life. I'm really happy that the Constitutional Court stripped the prime minister of his immunity from prosecution. Now the two corruption trials against the 73-year-old billionaire media tycoon can resume.

    I love Italy and spend at least two weeks a year there. I have friends in Almafi and it is one of my favorite places. I also like Genova, which most people think is strange, but I like the seaside there for some reason. There's a great pizza place that we always go to in the Porto Antico!
     
    #7 vince, Oct 15, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2009
  8. Bbucko

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    There's a condescension on the part of many non-Italians toward Italy in general and Italians in particular about everything that has come from the peninsula since the mid-18th century except for contemporary fashion. I've found this to be the case growing up around Boston as well as my time living in France.

    Up until the 1980s, Italian cuisine where I came from meant burnt red sauce, rubbery cheese, deep-fried chicken or veal, mealy meatballs and limp, glutenous pasta or Pizza. The quality improved dramatically with the introduction of "Northern Italian" foods without the clichés mentioned above, and the introduction of grilled, seasoned meats and fresh vegetables and lighter sauces meant that I was suddenly crazy about eating Italian for the first time in my life. It was around the same time that Armani became the gold standard in menswear: at the peak of my 80s yuppy-scum persona, I had not only a closet full of Armani suits and blazers, but my prize possession was a Purple Label winter overcoat which I wore to death.

    I worked in the furniture/design industry for 25 years, where Italian product at its best is known to represent the highest level of quality both in design and manufacturing integrity. But it's obscenely expensive and subject to endless delay which most American customers find unacceptable. Bigger Italian manufacturers (Natuzzi, Cattelan Italia and Calligaris come to mind) have found ways of delivering special orders quicker, but generally through outsourcing to China. Italian kitchens and bathrooms are known to be luxurious and gorgeous but frequently impractical and require substantial modifications for domestic installation.

    One was always told that one must forgive an Italian's inability to control his/her temper, as it was simply beyond his/her capacity to do so. As a product of New England WASP heritage, I found that allowance both terrifying and strangely, provocatively, erotically alluring and liberating. I had a decade-long affair with an Italian bad-boy that wove through two more "mature and grounded" relationships that ended only with his succumbing to AIDS.

    Most Italian men I've met are terrible braggarts and loudmouths. The stereotype of the New Jersey Italian douchebag is lampooned endlessly on the website Hot Chicks with Douchebags. All that braggadocio always seemed to me to be compensating for something lacking in their pants, which experience has proven true with monotonous regularity. Italian sports cars are another excellent illustration of this trend. But I'm much more an ass-man than a cockhound and find that whatever's missing in front is more-than compensated for behind. It's a consensus among men and women I've spoken with that Italians are second only to Greeks in being complete Mama's Boys, even when compared to Latinos.

    Politically speaking, Italian governments seem to have come and go with incredible regularity (how many since WW2? 25? 30?). And the fact that both Italy and France had large, powerful Communist parties at the height of the Cold War was generally ignored or minimized and is still poorly understood by most anyone with casual knowledge of the era.

    It was always said that, for all his faults, Mussolini made the trains run on time. That terrible joke speaks volumes about the contempt people (including other Italians) had (and still have) for Italians; no one ever said the same about any other fascist, including Franco.
     
  9. buck_naked

    buck_naked Well-Known Member

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    im an american living in rome at the time being and im taking a class about italian politics and society, so maybe i would be a good candidate to answer some of your questions. it seems as though the whole government is somewhat fragile and a bit bigger than it needs to be, but understandably so since the whole system was set up after ww2 to prevent another dictatorship and more importantly another fascist government. yes berlusconi has had several scandals, but he is the only person to have a government last the full term in the history or italy since ww2, which is saying something since italy has had 60 different governments in the last 60 years. i have noticed that italian men are to forward with women and because of that italian women are very cold towards all men. yes the newspapers are biased, same with the television channels, but that is because they are owned by the politicians and they use them for their own benefit, which is fine but you just have to keep that in mind when you read the newspaper or watch tv. it may not be completely true or balanced.
     
  10. buck_naked

    buck_naked Well-Known Member

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    don't be so harsh, those are jersey guidos, not italian men

    there have been 60 governments in 60 years

    but the communist party in italy wasn't allowed to come to power because of the US until the cold war ended, which is why the government was such a blocked system because only the Christian Democrat party was allowed to be in charge. The US actually hurt itallian politics pretty badly because of the fear of communism.
     
  11. Joll

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    We (UK) like the Italians but are maybe not as aware of what's happening as we are about France, US, etc.

    We think you're passionate, fiery and good-looking - but maybe a bit eccentric and unreliable sometimes, like your cars (which are also beautiful, fiery, but unreliable, lol). ;)

    We admire your football teams, and beautiful scenery and architecture. Also, the feeling is that the italian/mediiterranean lifestyle (diet, family, good weather, etc.) is probably more healthy than our own.

    We think Berlusconi is funny - and also friendly towards the UK. Umm.. we also know we can rely on you to stick a spoke in the French/German EU motor from time to time, which we are secretly happy about. :D

    PS: We're not to keen on the Pope tho, I'm afraid. We don't wanna go back to the Holy Roman Empire or anything. :/
     
  12. Bbucko

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    I'm not harsh, just pointing out a richly-deserved stereotype of "Italian": extreme, sure, but not inaccurate. Someone's gotta aspire to buy a Ferrari, right?

    You should see me rant on WASPs or the French or Southerners or New Yorkers or Californians or anybody else. I find humor in the foibles of humanity in general. Though I really need to include more Emoticons of Immunity (TM) if I don't wish to be misconstrued :wink:

    I wonder how many generations will need to pass before the reality of living during the Cold war will be common knowledge. I'm not sure that it ever will be in the US. It certainly wasn't at the time.
     
  13. Jason

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    From the UK I don't think there is a settled view point on Italy.

    UK visitors to Italy tend to be the better educated looking for art, culture, maybe food and wine also. Additionally there are the pilgrims to St Peter's. Both groups tend to respect the traditional achievement of Italy and be willing to give a positive view of the present achievement.

    I don't think many people in the UK take much notice of Italian politics. The impression is that the government changes every two minutes, that there are lots of coalitions - and in the pre-Euro age we saw the enormous number of lira to the pound as evidence of inflation and economic missmanagement in Italy. I suppose we still tend to think in terms of a country politically and economically volatile.

    Berlusconi seems almost comic. His girlfriends make great pictures in the popular newspapers. More seriously there is some popular awareness that Vesuvius is a decade late and that the Italian economy has serious problems - basically the question is which one will go pop first? There might be some slight awareness of the regional affiliations of many in Italy and the aspirations of the Lombard league.

    I suppose most in the UK see Italian issues as a matter for Italians and wish you luck in solving them. They just don't seem to impact on us. But then of course we in the UK are not Europeans.
     
  14. Sergeant_Torpedo

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    Sadly, though few seem concerned, the formerly free media in the West is now rigorously manipulated by our rulers (politicians are in the pockets of media magnates and oil companies) and the Italian situation is a diversion. Let the Italian low life PM degrade your women, I am more concerned about his corruption that puts our children in risk of becoming slaves. I don't want to alarm anyone, but when the Eurocracy elite choose to promote war criminal and thief Tony Blair as European President then you should be worried. Burlusconi is in comparison just a dirty old man.
     
  15. eurotop40

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    I have built and furnished my new house with a lot of stuff bought in Italy from friends (such as a whole kitchen, sanitary appliances, tiles, heating stoves etc.) for very convenient prices. I had to be a bit patient but now I have a wonderful home.
     
  16. Qua

    Qua
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    I'm extremely happy Berlusconi's legal immunity was struck down as unconstitutional. Now the slimeball can be fairly tried for the corruption charges against him.
     
  17. JustAsking

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    xavy,
    I love all things Italian from the language, the food, the women, and the interesting history. My dream is to spend long periods of time in such places as Tuscany, Venice, Florence, and Calabria.

    I love refined Italian food and good back country Italian food. I grew up in Southern New England surrounded by Italian-Americans (probably mostly Calabrese) and Irish. If I wasn't such a WASP, I would try to convince people I was Italian.

    But given all of that, I am hopelessly ignorant of modern Italian politics. And sadly, I am willing to bet that most Americans are hopelessly ignorant of Italian politics as well. I am ashamed and embarassed to admit this, however, because it sounds to me like you are sincerely concerned about the political course your country is taking.

    Please tell us more about your concerns.
     
  18. tripod

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    I think a Silvio Berlusconi is a very a suntanned.
     
  19. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    I think Italy is wonderful.

    Italian tourists go about the rest of the world looking down their noses at everything. Absolutely NOTHING impresses an Italian about anything else. "In Italy, we have better." And they're largely right. As the Italians are very quick to point out, the most famous painting in France was done by an Italian. Italians have enormous pride in their country and we see that here in the US. When someone in the US says, "I'm Italian," you never suspect they're recently from Italy. It means they're of Italian ancestry and you immediately hope for a dinner invitation because they likely have some wonderful hand-me-down recipes from the old country you won't find in many restaurants. Italian Americans have a deep respect for their roots and many can tell you when their ancestors came here and from where. Italian Americans have been accused of being, "more Italian than Italians," just as the Irish Americans have with their country, and there is the entire mythos of the mafia hanging over them, but it really says something about Italians in America that the two most American films ever made and highly regarded as among the best films ever made, are about an Italian family in America.

    I think, "passion," is the word that best describes Italian anything. They are passionate about food, la dolce vita, about family, about art, about politics, about style, and about their careers. Italians have enormous respect for artistry and craftsmanship because they recognize these things as products of other passionate people. If deadlines aren't met, well then there's a reason for it. Social relationships (and I mean that in business and in private life) are more important to Italians than keeping schedules or adhering to rules.

    Italian politics are largely seen as a side-show, riddled with corruption and generally ineffective. Somehow the country continues to work despite all the ridiculousness at the top and that's what matters. How many countries, I ask you, elect a porn star to parliament? It's theater and so long as pretty much everything else gets done it really doesn't matter.

    I have to say, if anything represents Italy, it has to be the cars. Even the cheap cars look good even if they don't always run right. With the more expensive cars, dear God! They're the most beautiful by far and they have free-revving engines and to Hell with practicality. They're much like Italian women in that sense. They're temperamental, sometimes cranky, impractical, very sexy, high-maintenance, but on those occasions when everything is working right? They are a true slice of heaven that the Germans can't hope to match.

    It always amuses me to hear stories of people driving beautiful fast Italian cars on the autostrada. It seems that if you're breaking the speed limit in such a car that cops will frequently just let you go or, at most, pull you over so they can ogle at the car. Tickets seem to be very rare. That in itself represents a cultural respect for beauty and function you don't seem to find anywhere else. In other places, cops will usually pull you over and even arrest you. In Italy, the cops seem to be happy for your good fortune to have such a car. Of course, they may also assume that if you can afford such a car that you also can afford to have friends in high places who will tear-up the ticket so why even bother, but I think there is some of the former in there as well. It must also be noted, that in the cities that host the great car manufacturers, no tickets are ever given out to the factory drivers testing on public roads.
     
  20. D_Tully Tunnelrat

    D_Tully Tunnelrat New Member

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    Not entirely related, but enough. Besides I could not risk throwing it in.

    Heaven is a place where the police are English; the chefs are Italian; the car mechanics are German; the lovers are French and it’s all organized by the Swiss.

    Hell is a place where the police are German; the chefs are English; the car mechanics are French; the lovers are Swiss and it’s all organized by the Italians.

    What they forgot to add in heaven was that all the cars, and motorcycles were designed by Italians, but built by Japanese.

    Personally I love Italy, but it's not the easiest place to live. It still takes endless amounts of time to accomplish relatively simple things. However the people often make up for it. If the US ends up with endless wars, continually dysfunctional politics, and debt levels equal to 100% of GDP (just like Italy) then I'll move to Italy. The weather is similar, the art more refined, and the food fantastic. And even with the dollar weak against the euro you can find incredible housing bargains. As to Berlusconi, his dalliances pale by comparison with the transgressions of two 8 year wars under Bush. Besides it's almost 2010, and time for a new annual governing coalition, who will get to elect their Prime Minister.
     
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