Mainland Italians against Sicilians

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.
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Mainland Italians against Sicilians

Postby siskojnash » 23 Mar 2010, 00:38

I guess this is a stupid question, but part of my Fiancee's family comes from the mainland part of Italy and the other comes from Sicily. Apparently, that's enough reason for some members of that family to dislike others. I just don't really understand exactly what that's about.
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Re: Mainland Italians against Sicilians

Postby liviomoreno » 23 Mar 2010, 08:07

It's the eternal fight between Northerners and Southerners...
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Re: Mainland Italians against Sicilians

Postby johnnyonthespot » 23 Mar 2010, 11:53

Which - Livio, correct me if I am wrong - can be summed up thusly:

1) Different roots. Northern Italians have their roots in Europe while Southern Italians have their roots in North Africa and the Middle East. This affects the two groups in many ways, the most obvious being physical: stature, skin tone, etc.

2) Culture. For most of history, Southern Italy has had a relatively poor and uneducated/illiterate populace and a rural, agrarian economy whereas Northern Italians were, by comparison, well-educated and cultured, and had a business-based economy heavy with foriegn exploration and trade.
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Re: Mainland Italians against Sicilians

Postby liviomoreno » 23 Mar 2010, 12:26

You are correct, however my statement was more general. In many countries, including the USA, people from the North dislike people from the South... Often it is just exaggerated local pride, some times it is more serious...
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Re: Mainland Italians against Sicilians

Postby misbris » 23 Mar 2010, 17:22

Don't you think the fact that Italy was not a unified country until relatively modern times plays an important role? The rivalry among the various city-states, the differences in dialect, the invasions by foreigners and the languages and cultures they brought with them, in addition to the prejudices of the richer North caused many of the problems.
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Re: Mainland Italians against Sicilians

Postby wldspirit » 23 Mar 2010, 19:41

It was my understanding that there was a time in history when the North basically raided the south?
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Re: Mainland Italians against Sicilians

Postby Julo » 23 Jun 2010, 03:14

wldspirit wrote:It was my understanding that there was a time in history when the North basically raided the south?


Exactly! When Italy became unified in 1861. Even before that the south wasn't exactly paradise but after the descent of Garibaldi, followed by the Piedmontese, the italian south (then the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies) was raided of their riches. Naples was then regarded as an european cultural center, had a mighty fleet, Calabria had flourishing iron manufacturing centers. The Italian north at that time was very poor, proof of this is the fact that up to that point in history, the great majority of emigrants to foreign lands were northeners. After 1861 in the raided south, taxes were ridiculously imposed on practically everything and the money stolen from southern banks were used to help build factories and the northern economy became flourishing, while the south was abandoned to his destiny.
That's how southern diaspora started.
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Re: Mainland Italians against Sicilians

Postby aliza24 » 23 Jun 2010, 04:06

Your question cracks me up because I had the same thing in my family. My GGM was from Sicily and her husband was from "way up north"- actually I later found out he was from Abruzzo which is not 'way up north...

But anyway- there was always fighting and they said a lot had to do with their differences of being "Northern" / Southern Italians.

When they wanted to REALLY insult each other they said "what do you know? You can't even speak Italian!"

Misbris is right- unification being so recent has a lot to do with it. And in my opinion, Italy was unified in name only. They still to this day identify themselves by their local area first and foremost.

I'd even go so far as to say that probably the only time when Italy is truly a unified country is when they're playing soccer in the world cup.
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Re: Mainland Italians against Sicilians

Postby Squigy » 23 Jun 2010, 09:35

I agree with Livio. Northern/Southern rivalry exist throughout the World, i.e. Northern and Southern Europeans, Northern and Southern United States.

For some reason it usually involves people from the South being seen as inferior to people from the North.

Aliza:

When my great grandparents would argue my great grandfather (Neapolitan) would call my great grandmother a "hot-headed Calabrese".
I think what region you're from is important to Italians.
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Re: Mainland Italians against Sicilians

Postby aliza24 » 23 Jun 2010, 12:14

Squigy-

You're so right about the regional stuff. None of the other regions cook as well as they do, they don't talk right, and so on and on.

And yes, the Calabrasi are another group that's always been ostracized, like the Sicilians.

The North- South theory is often right too but there are some exceptions- England being one of them, with London being in the south.
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Re: Mainland Italians against Sicilians

Postby Squigy » 23 Jun 2010, 13:00

aliza24 wrote:The North- South theory is often right too but there are some exceptions- England being one of them, with London being in the south.


Yes, that is what I was thinking, England doesn't seem to have that problem. Although Ireland does, that is bit more complex an issue.

Squigy-

You're so right about the regional stuff. None of the other regions cook as well as they do, they don't talk right, and so on and on.

And yes, the Calabrasi are another group that's always been ostracized, like the Sicilians


Exactly. Living in the US, I guess we could think of Sicily and Calabria like...Kentucky and Tennessee and Lombardy like Connecticut. Think of the differences between those!
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Re: Mainland Italians against Sicilians

Postby Julo » 26 Jun 2010, 02:12

In Italy, regionalism and parochialism is much more than simple joking around. Italy is a "young country", it only united in 1861. There's never been a sense of unity. Northerners have had other influences throughout the centuries (german,french, slavs) while in southern Italy the influence has been greek, moors, turks, spanish. Today hard feelings have kind of fizzled out but not completely.
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Re: Mainland Italians against Sicilians

Postby PeterTimber » 08 Jul 2010, 01:56

while the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies flourished, the french and Austrian dominated North and their associated northern nobility suffered much economic dislocations and social upheavals and migration to the then flourishing agricultural and animal economies of Uruguay, Argentina and Chile to a lesser extent blossomed to the point where these countries were well ahead of any country in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

When the rape and pillaging of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies by garibaldi et al, house of Savoy and northern nobility caused million of Southern Italians to fall into disease and starvation The USA was just coming out of the civil war and our industrial revolution was well underway. The need for millions upon millions of laborers to build roads, RR, dams, tunnels, piers and ports, city resevoirs, streeets, factories and foundries etc etc etc and Southeern Italian responded en masse and hence we are here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I for one am very happy about that turn of events. After ww11, Northern Italy spent billions to bring southern Italy up to par in an attempt to make Italy one economy. =Peter=



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Re: Mainland Italians against Sicilians

Postby Aether » 21 Jul 2010, 05:45

To: JULO!

Thank you! Finally someone that really knows history! Yes, Naples had the most important port. For centuries ships were built there. With and after Garibaldi - all went to Genoa. Banks to Milan. Famous Universities depts. from Naples ended up in Turin. Manufacturing all moved north. With the Savoia and the Sardegna conection all the great families of Naples were deprived of all titles, lands, etc.
And the Piedmonti became the center of all that was striped from the south.
To read a very good study: Risorgimento da rescrivire! Tells all in an extremely well documented text -- the real story of unification!
Who really was Garibaldi? At the end his mind was not very sound and he wanted to become a dictator with the King of Italy for a Front Monarchy.
Then of course rebellions against taxes from govt. and church. Poverty and brigantaggio, immigration,,,
The 'South' was culture and civilization! The Normans and Lombards????
Italian was the language of Tuscany, Venice had its own langage= Veneto, as Calabria, Basilicata, Lobardia etc. had theirs.
Do you +NOT JULO+ really believe that everybody in the north has education, culture, good manners, s speaks a correct Italian? Wake up!
Dialects are the cultural manifestations of each area - resulting from their ethnic background, exchanges with other cultures. Not all southerners are dark- many blonds and blue eyes.
As many in the north have very dark hair - even in Germany!!!
Today -Italian is the language of the "unification" To tell someone is stupid because speaks his own dialect identifies as more than stupid the one who says it.
Well enough is enough. Congrats JULO!
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Re: Mainland Italians against Sicilians

Postby Squigy » 21 Jul 2010, 11:11

Aether wrote:The 'South' was culture and civilization! The Normans and Lombards????
Italian was the language of Tuscany, Venice had its own langage= Veneto, as Calabria, Basilicata, Lobardia etc. had theirs.
Do you +NOT JULO+ really believe that everybody in the north has education, culture, good manners, s speaks a correct Italian? Wake up!
Dialects are the cultural manifestations of each area - resulting from their ethnic background, exchanges with other cultures. Not all southerners are dark- many blonds and blue eyes.
As many in the north have very dark hair - even in Germany!!!
Today -Italian is the language of the "unification" To tell someone is stupid because speaks his own dialect identifies as more than stupid the one who says it.
Well enough is enough. Congrats JULO!
A.


Might I say something. As soon as I saw a picture of my great uncle's wife, I knew she must have been Northern Italian. She had light skin, light eyes, and red hair. If you looked at her you would think she was Irish!! It turns out, her father came from Veneto. In the picture she was sitting next to my great grandmother, who had dark hair, eyes, and dark skin, and happened to be from Calabria.

I don't know why people get so offended by this, but generally, Southern Italians are darker (with darker hair/eyes), and Northern Italians are lighter. I'm not saying all, but in general.

As for the dialects, I agree with you on that. But, I do think people should know how to speak propper Italian, too.
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