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  1. #1
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    What do italians usually look like?

    An italian once told me in Naples people usually have black hair, brown eyes and olive skin. But from the North it can be anything, there is more variation.

  2. #2
    larissa
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    It depends on the genes, I suppose. In the south, I have noticed, you do tend to get darker Italians, but with that said. I know some Italians from the south and they're quite fair.

    People always describe Italians - dark hair, eyes and skin. Italians do usually have naturally dark hair, skin tones can range anywhere from a 'golden summer glow', to being very dark and eyes range from all different colors too.

    That's my two penny's anywyas.

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    Living in a city that houses the 2nd largest Italian population outside Italy after New York, I can tell you that, northerners tend to have blonde hair/blue eyes and southerners (sicilians) are usually darker.

    There's a scene in the movie 'True Romance' between my favorite Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper. It's very vulgar (the 'N' word's used) but I thought the scene was friggin intense.
    (obviously it's an urban myth)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIzHOfC0cMU
    People think it's democracy, but it's not, it's a dictatorship - Jeremy Clarkson on the 'cool wall' - applicable where possible

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    I have been to Italy maybe 3 or 4 times. Every time in North Italy. Most people have dark hair and brown eyes, but there are some exceptions too. Some men there are even shorter than me! That is Mediterranean for you...

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    I wonder, could the lighter features of northern italians due to mixed ancestries? If I remember correctly, germanic tribes (of ostrogoth branch) had invaded italy numerous times, and I believe they played a big part in weakening the roman empire during its last days. I could see how southern italy, surrounded by ocean, was less exposed by direct land invasions from the north and thus can afford to be more isolated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dupre View Post
    I could see how southern italy, surrounded by ocean

  7. #7
    Xenzu
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    I guess one way of solving this type of conundrum is to look at these places not in national terms but as geographic regions. If you have a good knowledge of the movement of peoples in historic and prehistoric times then you can fill in most of the blanks yourself.

    In historic times, southern Italy was a crossroads of many diverse (easternized) cultures including the Etruscans, Carthaginians and Greeks and also later Eastern influences such as the Egyptians and the Persians (whether or not Eurocentrists like to admit it or not).

    Sicily was also shaped by later interlopers such as Vandals, Moors, Normans and others.

    The composition of northern Italy is quite diverse because the northern regions were disputed between the various Italian states, France and the (largely Germanic) Austro-Hungarian Habsburg Empire. Especially in the Tyrol region. Which is why there are blond Italians. They are basically Germans who have been absorbed into the Italian cultural sphere.

    BTW, the thread itself is kinda stupid. You can find these questions yourself and find more reliable answers by just Googling.
    Last edited by Xenzu; 04-26-2007 at 08:27 PM.

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    Well, Italians, Koreans, and Somalis are among the most ethnically and culturally homogenous peoples on the face of the earth.

    And I find that Italians often look alike, regardless of pigmentation- because of their similar facial structures, IMO, so all this talk about "variation" would really be more accurate for some other ethnic group.

    I've met an Italian with pale skin and blonde hair, and another with "olive" skin and dark hair, but they both still look almost exactly alike to me. And so, I think facial features tell more than pigmentation, which is sometimes us here in North America still struggle with...we think we can tell where people are from by skin colour alone.

    And for any of us Canadians on this board will know Melissa DiMarco, that flamboyant personality from OMNI TV. She's got blonde hair, light skin, and blue eyes...BUT she still looks VERY Italian, because she has this unique facial structure that is so Italian...I can't explain it.
    Last edited by Le Anh-Huy; 04-26-2007 at 09:35 PM.

  9. #9
    Xenzu
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Anh-Huy View Post
    Well, Italians, Koreans, and Somalis are among the most ethnically and culturally homogenous peoples on the face of the earth.
    Really? I find that very hard to believe.

    I would tend to think that those are mythical beliefs based on the wishful thinking of people who've been invaded on too many occasions. If you take a closer look at where those nationalities are located, they are all situated on geographic crossroads and would have seen many, many invasions and other forms of people movement (along with resultant genetic and cultural cross-pollination).

    The Korean Peninsula is the cultural and genetic Gateway between China and Japan (and also Siberia and the Pacific); the Italians are all about cultural diversity (see, eg: the cf between Tuscany and Sicily, Calabria, Rome, etc); Somalia lies near the Horn of Africa which was a crossroads for prehistoric humans to cross between Africa and Asia and thence into Europe.

    Where ethnicity is concerned, you can find all manner of novel and whacky notions, eg the poster here who thinks that Taiwan is culturally and genetically distinct from Mainland China, which is a load of intellectually dishonest garbage.

    When you factor in common sense, none of it adds up at all.
    Last edited by Xenzu; 04-26-2007 at 09:57 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xenzu View Post
    Really? I find that very hard to believe.

    I would tend to think that those are mythical beliefs based on the wishful thinking of people who've been invaded on too many occasions. If you take a closer look at where those nationalities are located, they are all situated on geographic crossroads and would have seen many, many invasions and other forms of people movement (as well as resultant genetic and cultural cross-pollination).

    The Korean Peninsula is the cultural and genetic Gateway between China and Japan (and also Siberia and the Pacific); the Italians are all about cultural diversity (see, eg: the cf between Tuscany and Sicily, Calabria, Rome, etc); Somalia lies near the Horn of Africa which was a crossroads for prehistoric humans to cross between Africa and Asia and thence into Europe.

    Where ethnicity is concerned, you can find all manner of novel and whacky notions, eg the poster here who thinks that Taiwan is culturally and genetically distinct from Mainland China, which is a load of intellectually dishonest garbage.

    When you factor in common sense, none of it adds up at all.
    Sure, but maybe I should have clarified. I didn't mean ethnically or genetically homogenous...there's no such thing as that...of course every group is ethnically mixed in the end, genetically.

    What I meant was that those three ethnic groups are culturally relatively homogenous, in that any regional variations within those groups are typically material differences, and don't interfere with a greater sense of a one-nation.

    Yeah, a lot of Taiwanese like to say that not only the indigenous natives, but also the Taiwanese base (Fujianese and TW people) are somehow racially-distinct from mainland China, are simply trying to make any excuse for a two-China discourse.
    Last edited by Le Anh-Huy; 04-26-2007 at 10:01 PM.

  11. #11
    Xenzu
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Anh-Huy View Post

    any regional variations within those groups are typically material differences, and don't interfere with a greater sense of a one-nation.
    Italians hate each other with a passion.

    The most obvious manifestation of that is the regional/club soccer club rivalries, eg between Milan and Rome, Sicily and Naples.

    Another is language, see: the very distinct dialects of Tuscany, Umbria, Naples and Sicily.

    Also another is regional cuisine. A native of the Veneto would puke before he would even consider eating a Bolognese dish on the grounds that the dish contains too much parsley and not enough sorrel (or somesuch other fucking nonsense).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xenzu View Post
    Italians hate each other with a passion.

    The most obvious manifestation of that is the regional/club soccer club rivalries, eg between Milan and Rome, Sicily and Naples.

    Another is language, see: the very distinct dialects of Tuscany, Umbria, Naples and Sicily.

    Also another is regional cuisine. A native of the Veneto would puke before he would even consider eating a Bolognese dish on the grounds that the dish contains too much parsley and not enough sorrel (or somesuch other fucking nonsense).
    Is Friulian a separate language within the Latin family? Because it seems that linguistic and material-cultural variation is only prevalent in the south...

    But a lot of these divisions are also politically-motivated and denial based. For example, Maltese people are in denial that their ethnic base was Levantine Arab and North African, and that their language is actually a creole based on a crude, undeveloped version of Arabic spoken to the likes of that spoken by a toddler (as my Arab friends always like to say... ), superimposed by Italian.
    Last edited by Le Anh-Huy; 04-26-2007 at 10:31 PM.

  13. #13
    Xenzu
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