Trying to learn something about a specific culture via YouTube can be tricky and dangerous: one might end up in a Dedalus of stereotypes and misconceptions that will lead to a faulty understanding of such a complex and beautiful expression of humanity. When it comes to Italy and Italians you actually know what's coming: thousands of videos about recipes and hand gestures and some very bad joke about how Italians do things.
As usual, we're here to help: this is why our team of social media engineers has performed a deep research on your behalf, trying to spot the most interesting/genuine/disturbing videos about Italians and Italy on YouTube.
Let's start with a milestone: Peter Griffin turning into an Italian. He actually already did it in the past, and with poor but yet hilarious results. This time McFarlane & friends seem to try setting the record straight, at least linguistically: the Italian-spoken part sounds very genuine, although the whole concept of the video is based on the usual stereotypes concerning more Italian-Americans than Italian-Italians.
In the past 12 months, Buzzfeed has almost literally bombed the audience with videos of people reacting to things or people asking other people silly questions. There is though one video that we can define accurate, and it shows a bunch of young Italians trying US "snacks". Now, we know we are kinda bitchy about our food, and that might be a flaw sometimes but... how can you call those things? I mean, seriously: pink chips?
On the same page, here's a very entertaining video showing Italian nonne tasting the (in)famous Olive Garden menu. Just two observations: there are, obviously, two intruders in the video and, dear grandma, merda means literally "shit", but we know you're too polite to say that.
Want some real Italian food? Fear not, the YouTube is packed with recipes, some of which are actually genuine.
For the person who's writing, this subject is kinda sensitive, and I must admit that YouTube results for "Italian music" didn't fail to confirm my prejudice: the idea that the whole world has of music coming from Italy is stereotyped, outdated and somehow offensive. This, needless to say, is also (or mainly) our fault, as we like to export bright examples of musical putrescence turning them into semi-global events.
Anyway, let's take a look to these top YouTube results regarding Italian songs and music: just don't hope for the best.
Music for an Italian Dinner: seriously? Some songs in this cheesy bunch of trite hits are not even Italian. Swing and crooning are definitely NOT part of Italian musical culture.
Best Italian Songs of the decade: "best" according to who? I understand some of these are quite big names in the Italian scene, but honestly Italian rock has much more to offer other than this depressing list copy-paste songs.
Fergie - Be Italian (from "Nine"): I would have gladly ignored this video if it wasn't for the stereotype of Italian kids confronting prosperous sexuality ad a very young age. Welcome to Italy, where everything is like in a Dolce&Gabbana commercial!
It turned out that Italy has actually produced some pretty famous YouTube stars and influencers. I honestly did vaguely know two of them, and as an Italian I have mixed feelings about how they export, let's say, Italian lifestyle.
Let's start with Marzia, showing up with this video in the first page of my YouTube search. She's the girlfriend of one of the most famous Youtubers in the world, Pewdiepie, and probably one the most famous italian Youtubers too. She seems like a very pretty girl and a pleasant person. I mean, I wouldn't dislike the world to think that "Italians" are this way. Btw the video is kinda fun at the beginning and then becomes boringly dumb.
Greta Menchi popped out of the YouTube world because of a controversy: she has been nominated as a member of the jury at the last Sanremo Festival, arousing the indignation of some web bullies who thought she was not skilled enough for the job (as if one needed to be skilled to take part to Sanremo...).
The late great Gianluca Vacchi is an Italian mystery: self-proclaimed viveur, he is actually CEO of a big firm and apparently spends his life on a boat wearing a pareo and dancing like a tourist resort entertainer. I kinda like the guy, although his videos carry an idea of "Italianity" that doesn't exist in real life.
And here we are in my area of expertise! Fear not, I won't bore you with Italian language tips or grammar. As a proof of my good intentions, here's a small introduction:
Simply the best scene EVER about foreigners coping with Italian language.
And here it comes the weird stuff: picking up speaking Italian. Apart from the fact that the guy doesn't even speak Italian properly, this technique seems to work fine, although sometimes he seems to slip into sexual harassment.
20 Italian words you are saying wrong: about time, finally our American and British friends will understand how to pronounce grazie correctly! :D
I wouldn't even dare to comment this: it's Monty Python, therefore it's amazing by definition.
Italian Hand Gestures
Interesting topic, isn't it? Although non-verbal communication is a part of every language, Italians seem to rely on that massively: this is why an Italian language students will definitely need some guidance! YouTube is actually packed with videos illustrating Italian gestures, so help yourselves. And yes, the first video is from Dolce&Gabbana, and it's superb.
Want some more? Check out our infographic about Italian gestures!
Sailing the sea of misconceptions about Italian culture I encountered two videos which seem to be encouragingly accurate, the first from an Italian Youtuber, the second from Tia, an half-Jamaican, half-Nigerian, American born girl with a lovely accent and a very fun attitude.
Yes, there are strange videos too. Like this first one, that shows Italian cops (presumably) trying out a bulletproof vest.
This is weird and I don't even know why it has so many views, especially considering that in Italy we tend not be that much into guns.
If you follow us, you already know the guy: Italian Spiderman, not really Italian and yet simply MAJESTIC.
Indeed, Kobe Bryant is amazingly fluent in Italian. Didn't you know that? He was born and partially raised in the Belpaese while his father, Joe Bryant, was playing for Italian teams.
And with this last firework ends our short playlist of YouTube videos about Italians and Italian Culture. If you liked it, please share and comment with your own suggestions!