Are Northern Italians really as “German-like” as they are portrayed?

My experiences when I was actually in Italy did not quite fit the stereotypes. We were embraced by the owners of a Florentine trattoria the way I would have expected in Sicily; and the Passeggiata in Desenzano del Garda was pretty much the volta I remember from my upbringing in Greece.  Taormina, on the other hand, was stuck up enough to be in Tuscany (modulo the rustic beauticians).

Then again, as a colleague from Palermo pointed out to me a week later, “You were not in Sicily. You were in Taormina.”

On the other hand, my experience of Italian jazz fit the stereotype beautifully.

Maybe a decade ago, I attended an Italian Jazz festival, right here in Melbourne town. There were two acts in the  Italian Jazz festival.

The first act was a second-generation local boy and his trio. He was from down south. Like most Italians here, because it was the poor Italians that felt they needed to migrate. The exception are the Italians from the Veneto. Because they too were poor.

The first act made sure you knew he was from down south. He was voluble and emotional and casual, and he was having a lot of fun with his act. His last number was a Tarantella, for God’s sake. A Tarantella. In a Jazz festival.

Then the second act came on.

The second act were from Trieste.

The second act looked like Dieter and the Sprockets (Saturday Night Live)

They also pretty much sounded like it.

They introduced their set with:

Ve play vot ve used to call Northern. Italian. Jazz. Ve now prefer to call it Central. European. Jazz.

And I’ll tell you, that’s exactly what they played. No Tarantellas in their set.

Other than that: what everyone else here said.