As a follow-up to the student profile in our last newsletter, I asked Alessio Caselli what the real Italy is, not the stereotype, and if he could tell the people of SMU and Winona anything about Italy, what he would say. He responded with the message below:

“The classic Italian stereotype is the fact that we talk using hand gestures. Of course, a stereotype comes from a real fact, and in this case, it is true that we implement hand gestures while we talk, but it is not something that happens often. Most of the time we use them to signal people that can’t actually hear us or if we don’t want to be heard by everybody. … Italy is so complex in every detail, like every other country, of course, so it is almost impossible to think about something in particular in a situation like this. To the people at SMU and in Winona, I would definitely ask them to try actual food or experience parts of culture from Italy, but since I’m not a good cook, I can only suggest they listen to Italian music and watch Italian movies, with translations of course. I believe that when people think about Italy in the past, the only thing that comes to mind is how Mussolini joined forces with Hitler. Basically, everybody knows what happened during that war, but the greatness of the Roman Empire is unknown to a lot of people, or it’s just forgotten.”