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Italophile

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Italophiles in Argentina

An Italophile is an admirer of Italy and/or of its language, culture and people. The Antonym is Italophobe.

Characteristics[edit | edit source]

The term is used mainly in two basic contexts: in international politics and in cultural context. It is related to the italophilia in the world.

Italophiles in history[edit | edit source]

Italophiles historically appreciate Rome (the capital of Italy) and the Roman Empire, but since the end of Middle Ages the Italian peninsula is admired because of the Rinascimento created there.

Renaissance[edit | edit source]

Across Europe, various people and states admired the developments of the Renaissance in Italy and sought to replicate them.

There are many italophones in the USA, mainly between the Italian Americans, as can be seen even during the 2006 WorldCup celebrations of the Italian soccer team victory.

Francis I of France appointed many Italians to his appellate courts.[1] The powerful French noble family, the Guise were known to be Italophiles and held close family bloodline connections with Italian nobility and royalty.[2]

Renaissance Poland was known to have strong Italophile influences.[3] Famous Italian sculptor Giammaria Mosca was commissioned repeatedly by Poland to create sculptures.[3] The King of Poland Sigismund II Augustus requested Mosca in 1529 to construct his tomb: in 1574 the King died and was placed in the tomb made by Mosca.[4]

King John II of Portugal imitated Italian princely style, attempted to pressure the aristocracy to act in Italian manners, and sought to attract Italian artists to the country.[5]

The arts flourished in England under the Hanoverian dynasty and this attracted many Italian artists and musicians to Britain. All this developed in the United Kingdom a moderate Italophilia during late Italian Renaissance. The same William Shakespeare is said to show some italophilia in his many works related to Italy, like Romeo and Juliet and The Merchant of Venice: according to Canadian-Italian writer Lamberto Tassinari,[6] Shakespeare shared a "fascination" with Italy.

Age of Enlightenment and Grand Tour[edit | edit source]

During the 17th and 18th centuries, Italy was an integral part of the European Grand Tour, a period in which learned and wealthy foreign, usually British, German or American, aristocrats visited the country due to its artistic, cultural and archaeological richness. Examples of italophiles included Goethe, Keats, Lord Byron and Shelley. As a matter of fact, most nobles and royals at the time visited Italy as a part of their education. Keats said that the country was a "paradise of exiles".[7]

In the same centuries, the development of Italian music created many italophiles in western Europe. Indeed, Italian innovation in musical scales, harmony, notation, and theatre enabled the development of Opera in the late 16th century, and much of modern European classical music, such as the Symphony and Concerto.

The most renowned figure of late 18th century opera was the declared italophile Mozart, who began with "opera seria" but is most famous for his Italian comic operas, especially The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Così fan tutte, as well as The Magic Flute, a landmark in the German tradition.

The same Napoleon -because born in Corsica, an island that was part of Italy until the year before his birth- was a moderate italophile, who created the first "kingdom of Italy" and imitated the roman emperors.

Contemporary era[edit | edit source]

The Victorian era in Great Britain saw Italophilic tendencies. Britain supported its own version of the imperial Pax Romana ("Roman Peace"), called Pax Britannica. John Ruskin was a Victorian Italophile who respected the concepts of morality held in Italy.[8]

Germany under Chancellor Otto von Bismarck copied Pax Britannica and Pax Romana and sought to create Pax Germanica in Europe.

Adolf Hitler was an avid admirer of Benito Mussolini and Italian Fascism.[9] During the Fascist era, several leaders in Europe, including Hitler (Germany), Franco (Spain) and Salazar (Portugal), modeled their government and economic system on Italian Fascism.[10]

The admiration and imitation of Italian Fascism also became popular in South America and to a lesser extent Asia. The parties and organizations associated with these leaders also adopted the Roman salute. Perón's admiration for Mussolini is well documented.[11] Many scholars categorize Peronism in Argentina as a fascist ideology.[12] Carlos Fayt believes that Peronism was just "an Argentine implementation of Italian fascism".[12] Hayes reaches the conclusion that "the Peronist movement produced a form of fascism that was distinctively Latin American".[12]

After 1945[edit | edit source]

After WWII, Italy has enjoyed a huge economic development and is currently admired for many reasons. Between the most famous italophiles are the fans of Ferrari cars and the Italian design.

File:Ferrari-Logo.svg
There are millions of Ferrari fans in the world

The Italian fashion is admired all around the world: brands like Gucci and Benetton are imitated by many designers from China to Latin America. Indeed, many Italophiles in the world buy from major Italian fashion houses like Armani, Valentino, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Ferragamo, Trussardi, Versace and Fendi.[13]

A strong symbol of italophilia in the world is the appreciation for the Italian cuisine. The neapolitan pizza is ranked as the most universal food in contemporary western society: in New York (USA) and São Paulo (Brazil) one million pizzas are consumed every day.[14]

One of the best indicators of Italophilia can be found in the 44 millions of tourists who visit Italy every year. Many of them come to Italy because the country is home to 47 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, more than any other country in the world.

In the American countries that saw a huge Italian emigration in the last century there are many italophiles: Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Canada and the United States have millions of Italian descendants who promote in their society the love and appreciation for Italy.

Giorgio Silvestri (director of the "Assemblea legislativa della Liguria") has calculated that there are nearly 250 million italophiles in the world.[15]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Monter, E. William. Judging the French Reformation: heresy trials by sixteenth-century parlements. Harvard University Press, 1999. Pp. 9.
  2. Wistreich, Richard. Warrior, courtier, singer: Giulio Cesare Brancaccio and the performance of identity in the late Renaissance. Hampshire, England, UK; Burlington, Vermont, USA: Ashgate Publishing Limited; Ashgate Publishing Company, 2007. Pp. 53.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Schultz, Anne Markham; Mosca, Giammaria. Giammaria Mosca Called Padovano: A Renaissance Sculptor in Italy and Poland. Pp. 8
  4. Schultz, Anne Markham; Mosca, Giammaria. Giammaria Mosca Called Padovano: A Renaissance Sculptor in Italy and Poland. Pp. 1
  5. Jack, Malcom. Lisbon, city of the sea: a history. London, England, UK; New York, New York, USA: I.B. Taurus & Co. Ltd; Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. Pp. 42.
  6. Book of Tassinari about Shakespeare
  7. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=9332&st=&st1=
  8. Wilson, A. N. The Victorians. New York, New York, USA: W. W. Norton & Company, Ltd, 2003. Pp. 86.
  9. Fulda, Bernhard. Press and Politics in the Weimar Republic. Oxford University Press, 2009. p. 65.
  10. Carlsten, F.L. The Rise of Fascism. 2nd ed. University of California Press, 1982. p. 80.
  11. Eatwell, Roger (1999). Contemporary Political Ideologies. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 196. ISBN 978-0-8264-5173-6. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Peronism and Argentina By James P. Brennan
  13. Index of Italian Fashion Houses
  14. Sao Paulo é a segunda cidade em que mais se come pizza no mundo (in Portuguese)
  15. Italophilia in the world

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  • Barzini, Luigi. The Italians. Hamilton. London, 1987
  • Sells, Lytton. The Italian influence in English Poetry Allen &Unwin ed. London, 1955


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