As a nation state, Italy has emerged only in 1871. Until then the country was politically divided into a large number of independant cities, provinces and islands. The currently available evidences point out to a dominant Etruscan, Greek and Roman cultural influence on today's Italians.
Livio when the southern italian immigrants immigrated to the USA some of them disappeared for years and never came home and once in a while they would write or send some money home when their conscience bothered them or they wanted to come back home. So the wives inItaly would accept the excuse that "Il Sale del Mare si fa dimenticare" made their husbands forget about Italy and his family. giving him his dignity.
This is the same thing about a straying husband who leaves his wife and family to cavort with a puttana and after a while who decides to return home offering the excuse that he was "drugged" by this scheming woman and under her influence took him away and kept him from comingback to his family but one day she forgiot to give him his drugs and he suddenly woke up and realized he had been kidnapped and escaped to come home.
This saved the wife's face and dignity inthe town and gave her husband the excuse to return home so that could all resume family life. The women in the town fed each other the myth. =Peter=