By Žikica Milošević
It is difficult not to fall in love with Italy providing you don’t have a huge problem with wanting to control everything in your life. Beneath this dynamic and playful side to the country, there is a clear-cut organization and system put in place in Italy. However, what is on the surface cannot be compared to any country in the world since Italy truly is “Il Belpaese” – “A beautiful country”.
BECOME ITALIANIZED AND LOVE IT!
As we have mentioned before, Italy might not look like the most organized country in the world at first glance, and this is particularly true further south you go (if you have ever used subways in Rome and Milan, you know what we are talking about), when it comes to clothes, food and beautiful architecture, this is the place to be. Everything has to be top notch here! There is an extremely popular Yugoslav film from the 1960s called ‘Love and Fashion’, which was inspired by Italy, of course. In the 1960s, the freshly regenerated Italy won its rightful place in the family of economic giants, so it came as no surprise that Italy, and not any other European country, became the ideal when it comes to good living, and a good role model to imitate. The relaxed life and new products, which were widely used by families across the world (Yugoslavia included), like Vespas or Toppolinos (known as Fića in our country), paved the way for falling in love with this country. The Yugoslav textile producers imitated Italian design which wasn’t that complicated. All they had to do is go to Trieste, and buy a few of local pieces of clothing there. Music festivals started to emerge in Yugoslavia and they all resembled the San Remo Festival. And you know what? The former Yugoslav republics have never left this Italian „cultural embrace“. Other countries, like Albania, Bulgaria, Romania and the former USSR, joined in too.
Yes, American films are to blame for everything. After the Second World War, the United States suddenly became the most developed country in the world, not only gradually, but also seriously. What I want to say is that the US became much wealthier than, let’s say, the war-exhausted countries like Great Britain or France, or the destroyed ones like Germany, Italy and the USSR. The dictatorship regimes in Spain and Portugal were also stuck somewhere in the middle because the strictness of Franco’s and Salazar’s rule was not that suitable for the adventurous Americans. Italy was a whole different story. From the Amalfi coast and Sicily, all the way to Rome and the renaissance towns in Northern Italy, everything was a treat for filmmakers. ‘Roman Holiday’ was probably the cornerstone for budding love of everything Italian. If you remember how a British-Italian director, Anthony Minghella portrayed the 1950s Italy in his film ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’, from Sicily and San Remo all the way to Rome, than you can probably remember how you fell in love with the clothes, buildings, espresso, pasta, pizza, Vespas, building fronts, and even jazz clubs of the then Italy, the latter ones frequented by the Italians that wanted to become americanized just like the Americans wanted to become italianized. This is what the song “To vuo’ ffa l’americano” talks about – it humorously mocks young people from Naples who desperately wanted to emulate the Americans. As much as the Americans helped Western Europe financially and have conquered the world with their culture thus having many nations imitating them with their films, supermarkets and motorways, the most beautiful thing is that the whole world has become Italianized. By default, most restaurants resemble the Italian ones, the fashion in faraway countries like China looks like Italian, and the design world looks up to Italy too. You know what else? If you think that America has really conquered the world culture-wise, than you know that they failed to do that with food. You know what is the most popular fast food in the world? It’s not the British sandwich, or the American burger, or the German sausage, or the Spanish tapas, or the Mexican tacos. It is pizza! The world is truly Italianized, and we all know why.