10 Italian People Features & Stereotypes (What They Look Like)

Italian people features stereotypically include olive skin, dark eyes, and a pointed nose. Of course, Italy is a diversifying country, meaning these stereotypes are being diluted over time.

Living in a country with a rich and colorful history has made the Italians a unique and interesting bunch.

It is no wonder, then, that there’s more than a handful of world-famous Italians, including Christopher Columbus, Julius Caesar, Galileo Galilei, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli, and Bernini, who each made significant contributions to the world in their own right.

The Italians have made huge milestones in their 3,000-year history, such as the establishment of the world’s first bank in Genoa, the first casino, and the first public opera house in Venice.

They are also credited with some of the everyday things that we enjoy today, such as the programmable calculator, battery, confetti, cello, eyeglasses, and pizza.

As if these credentials are not enough, the Italians have introduced some of the world’s fastest and most expensive car brands, including Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, and Alfa Romeo.

What do Italian People Look Like?

Note: These traits reflect history, averages, and even stereotypes, and may not reflect or be representative of the diversity of the nation today.

1. Olive Skin

Like Greek people and Spanish people, Italians generally have darker skin tones than their neighbors from Central Europe and Scandinavian countries.

Their complexion is often described as olive or Mediterranean skin, with a tan or light to moderate brown hue. This skin type does not burn easily and instead tans gradually.

However, there are some differences in skin color depending on the region. People from the southern part of the country are typically darker than those from the north.

One reason for this is the climate, but heritage also plays a role because the northerners have more Germanic influence while the southerners have Arabic influence. 

2. Natural Glow

Aside from their olive skin tone, Italians are also known for having glowing skin.

This is due mainly to their healthy diet rich in minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.

They are also famous for being quite picky with their ingredients, showing a strong preference for quality ingredients that are fresh and locally sourced.

3. Dark Eyes

The most common eye color among Italians is hazel or brown, similar to the brown eyes of Portuguese people. However, this again varies quite significantly depending on the region.

The darker eye colors can be found in people who live in the southern part of Italy, whose lineage can be traced back to the Moors who once invaded the country.

On the other hand, northern Italians have Celtic, Gaulic, and Germanic heritage, which gives them their fair-colored eyes.

According to a recent survey, around 14% of Italians have blue eyes, most of which can be found in the north.

4. Pointed Nose

Italians have such prominent nose structures that there’s even a globally-recognized name for it: the Roman nose.

It has a high protruding bridge followed by a pronounced hook or downward curve at the end, which becomes more prominent when viewed from the side.

Because of its curved tip, the Roman nose is also sometimes referred to as the “aquiline nose”.

This term is derived from the Latin word aquilinus, which means eagle-like, comparing the nose shape to the curved beak of an eagle.

5. A Sharp Face

Italians are known for having high cheekbones and a strong jawline, giving them sharp-looking facial features.

Coupled with their dark hair and eyes, plus their auquiline noses, Italians can give off an imposing aura when they wear a serious expression.

Stereotypical Character Traits of Italian People

Note: These traits reflect history, averages, and even stereotypes, and may not reflect or be representative of the diversity of the nation today.

6. Fashion Obsession

Considering that Italy is one of the fashion capitals in the world, it is not surprising to see fashion being religiously observed by the Italians.

The country is also the home of some of the biggest global fashion brands like Versace, Armani, and Prada.

Most Italians are sharp dressers and won’t be caught looking sloppy even when doing simple errands or grocery shopping.

However, it will be hard to pinpoint a specific fashion style because Italians are individualistic when it comes to fashion and are likely to come up with their personal style rather than follow the trend.

7. Gesticulating all the Time

Italians are very expressive when communicating, and this includes their body language, especially their hands.

It is common to see Italians moving their hands in different directions while talking to someone. They use hand gestures to emphasize a point or to convey emotions.

They have been used to doing this all the time that it happens naturally whenever they speak.

One could say that it would be more unusual for an Italian to speak without gesticulating all the time. Some gestures also have their own cultural subcontext that only a fellow Italian can understand.

8. Pasta and Pizza Lovers

Another famous stereotype about Italians is their tremendous love for pasta. To a certain extent, pasta has become a symbol for Italian culture and its people.

In Europe, Italy has the most pasta consumption, with almost 24 kilos consumed by the average person every year. Surveys also show that more than 60% of Italians eat pasta every day or almost every day.

Aside from pasta, Italians are also most commonly associated with pizza. If you combine all the pizzerias in Italy, they would be producing around 2.7 billion pizzas annually. Of course, this is not just for the locals, because tourists also love them.

They even have special celebrations for pizza. World Pizza Day is observed on January 17 in Italy but is recognized on February 9 in the rest of the world.

This festival, also known in Italy as Giornata Mondiale della Pizza, is also the feast day celebration of Saint Anthony Abbot – or Sant’Antonio Abate to the Italians, and the patron saint of pizzaioli and pizza makers, as well as the protector of animals.

9. Romantic and Affectionate

Another stereotype associated with Italians is that they are passionate, romantic, and affectionate, and it is easy to see why.

After all, the classic Shakespeare “Romeo and Juliet” was set in Verona, Italy, and some people consider the Italian language as the language of love.

Italians also do not shy away from expressing their affection in public, and it is common to see lovers embracing and kissing on the streets.

Even two male friends can openly express affection through physical touch, like holding each other’s hands, and no one would bat an eye.

10. Crazy Drivers

Many would say that Italians are probably some of the worst drivers in the world, and this is partly true.

They have some unconventional and even reckless ways of driving that would be scary if you are not used to it.

For example, they tend to blast their horns, switch lanes very quickly, or stop at random places to talk to a fellow driver.

Italians themselves don’t deny this title, as a previous survey once showed that almost 60% of Italians agreed that they have dangerous drivers on the road.

They even poke fun at this themselves, with a famous quote that goes, “In Milan, traffic lights are indications. In Rome, they are suggestions. In Naples, they are nothing more than Christmas decorations.”


Italy has a colorful history, and it is no wonder it has produced interesting people over the years.

Italians are passionate about many things in their lives, including fashion, food, cars, and love. Their passion also reflects in the way they communicate, as they tend to wave their hands and make all kinds of gestures while talking to each other.

Physically, many Italians have olive skin, dark hair, and dark eyes, but a small percentage of the population were found to have blue eyes due to their Celtic, Gailic, and Germanic heritage.

The most famous Italian feature is their nose. Their nose shape has become an iconic image for many that it even got its own name and was dubbed the “Roman nose”.

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Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

1 thought on “10 Italian People Features & Stereotypes (What They Look Like)”

  1. I like your article, but you did ot mention that Italians are great architects , and they have great masters of art such as Michelangelo Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Bernini, Modigiani etc., and the Roman invented the aquaducts, and the famous roman bridges, which are still standing due to their structer, they also building the first city in the Ocaen in Egypt and they invented the type of cement that can harden under water.

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