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Italian Family Fun Facts

Updated on October 1, 2012

Italian Family Fun Facts or What Every Kid that grew up Italian Knows

Italian Culture has a lot of humor in it. At least now it does, now that we are grown up. Every family, regardless of their heritage has some kind of special humor. What we, I say we because it would be nice to have others contribute, are going to do here is make a list of all the funny, strange but true ways of the Italians...with all do respect of course.

Sharing Italian family fun facts is truly about what every Italian kid knew growing up. There are sayings, Italian rituals and beliefs, favorite quotes, and remember those Italian "dirty" sayings that you didn't dare repeat, yet you knew what they meant. We all have family history and the Italian family has its share of fun family facts.

Proud to be Italian

Proud to be Italian American

I am an Italian American

My roots are deep in an ancient soil, drenched by the Mediterranean

sun, and watered by pure streams from snow capped mountains.

I am enriched by thousands of years of culture.

My hands are those of the mason, the artist, the man of the soil.

My thoughts have been recounted in the annals of Rome, the poetry of

Virgil, the creations of Dante, and the philosophy of Benedetto Croce.

I am an Italian-American, and from my ancient world, I first spanned

the seas to the New World. I am Cristoforo Colombo.

I am Giovanni Caboto known in American History as John Cabot,

discoverer of the mainland of North America.

I am Amerigo Vespucci, who gave my name to the New World, America

First to sail on the Great Lakes in 1679, founder of the territory

that became the State of Illinois, colonizer of Louisiana and Arkansas, I


Enrico Tonti.

I am Filippo Mazzei friend of Thomas Jefferson, and my thesis on the

equality of man was written into the Bill of Rights.

I am William Paca, signer of the Declaration of Independence.

I am an Italian-American; I financed the Northwest Expedition of

George Rogers Clark and accompanied him through the lands that would


Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan. I am Colonel Francesco Vigo.

I mapped the Pacific from Mexico to Alaska and to the Philippines, I

am Alessandro Malaspina.

I am Giacomo Belinimi, discoverer of the source of the Mississippi

River in 1823.

I created the Dome of the United States Capitol. They call me the

Michelangelo of America. I am Constantino Brumidi.

In 1904, I founded in San Francisco, the Bank of Italy now known as

the Bank of America, the largest financial institution in the world, I am

A.P. Giannini.

I am Enrico Fermi, father of nuclear science in America.

I am Steve Geppi, founder of Diamond Comics, the largest

distributorship of comics on the planet.

I am the first enlisted man to earn the Medal of Honor in World War

II; I am John Basilone of New Jersey.

I am an Italian-American.

I am the million strong who served in America's armies and the tens

of thousands whose names are enshrined in military cemeteries from

Guadalcanal to the Rhine.

I am the steel maker in Pittsburgh, the grower in the Imperial

Valley of California, the textile designer in Manhattan, the movie maker


Hollywood, the homemaker and the breadwinner in over 10,000 communities.

I am an American without stint or reservation, loving this land as

only one who understands history, its agonies and its triumphs can love and

serve it.

I will not be told that my contribution is any less nor my role not

as worthy as that of any other American.

I will stand in support of this nation's freedom and protect against

all foes.

My heritage has dedicated me to this nation. I am proud of my

heritage, and I shall remain worthy of it.

I am an Italian-American

50 Italian Family Fun Facts

The list begins!

1. The Real Boss of the House is Mama

2. Papa could tell by "looking" at you if you were drinking

3. Papa could tell if you're lying just by looking at you

4. Even if you weren't drinking or lying you were still wrong since Papa can't be

5. Papa could look at a wild attacking Italian Bull Dog and make him run

6. Mama would not waste time looking at the same dog, she would attack it

7. Papa was the toughest man alive outside the house

8. Mama was the toughest woman alive inside AND outside the house

9. No ONE can cook like Mama. Never think anyone can and most important NEVER SAY ANYONE CAN. YOU WILL REGRET IT FOREVER!

10. No One can cook like Mama. Never think it and most important NEVER let Mama hear you SAY it! You will regret it for life!

11. Papa could make you "shut up" with "THE LOOK"

12. Never try to out stare Mama or Papa, you will lose or get hurt

13. It's true Mama will hit you and your friends with the spoon

14. Papa will refer to your friends as "Hoodlums" sooner or later

15. If your friends are at your house at dinner time, Mama and Papa will make them eat

16. Mama is the only 24/7 original cook

17. Mama's gravy is the Best in the World

18. Papa will never teach you about sex, he figures every male is born knowing this

19. Mama will teach her daughters about sex, in her way, to either wait or "I'm Telling Papa"

20. The only people who Mama and Papa are afraid of are Nonna and Nonno (Grandma/Grandpa)

21. You will hear the word "respect" thousands of times

22. Make no plans for Holidays except to be with family, you will never hear the end of it

23. Unless you're in the Armed Service or in jail, never miss Sunday dinner

24. Papa will tell you "they can't hit harder then me" if you ever back down to a fight

25. Papa will smile if you have a black eye but Mama will baby you

26. Papa will smile if he knows you've been"with a woman" Mama will call her a Puttana

27. There really is an "Italian Curse"!!!!!!!!!!!

28. Never would you find a "Jar" of Gravy in Mama's house!

29. Everyone would steal a just fried meatball when Mama was not looking

30. Everyone dipped bread in Mama's gravy when she wasn't looking

31. It's GRAVY not SAUCE

32. Nonna protected you from Mama and Papa

33. It wasn't called a "dish towel" it was called a "Moppine"

34. Every Italian kitchen had a "Cast Iron Pan"

35. You will hear the phrase "If It wasn't for the Italian's" thousands of times

36. In an italian Neighborhood you go to everyone's funeral even if you didn't know the departed out of respect

37. Italian's make "The Sign of the Cross' when passing a Church

38. Every kid had a Saint Christopher medal

39. Italians didn't need cell phones, they just yelled out the window

40. Stiletto did not refer to ladies shoes

41. Bleach (aka Clorox) was called "beongoline"

42. The phrase "Somana Beach" meant " Son of a Bitch"

43. Gravy was made early morning every Sunday and simmered for at least 7 hours

44. Gotta have the Pork

45. You can smell Sunday's in every Italian area

46. No one can cook like Mama. Never think anyone can and NEVER say anyone can. You will regret it forever!

47. Italian parents know what you're thinking, even if you're not thinking it

48. Italian parents know what you're gonna do, even before you do it

49. Get used to hearing " You Gonna Break Your Mamas Heart"

50. When you marry an Italian you're married to their entire family


Our Italian Gang

Whether you're Siciliano, Calabrese, Napolitano, Toscano or Abuzzese

I am sure for most second generation Italian American children who grew up in the 30s, 40's, 50's & 60's there was a definite distinction between us and them. We were Italians, everybody else, the Irish, the Germans, the Polish, they were Americans.

I was well into adulthood before I realized I was an American. I had been born American and lived here all my life, but Americans were people who ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on mushy white bread. I had no animosity towards them, it's just I thought ours was the better way with our bread man, egg man, vegetable man, the chicken man, to name a few of the peddlers who came to our neighborhoods. We knew them, they knew us.

Americans went to the A&P. It amazed me that some friends and classmates on Thanksgiving and Christmas ate only turkey with stuffing, potatoes, and cranberry sauce. We had turkey, but only after antipasto, soup, lasagna, pasta, meatballs, sausage, pork, caponata and salad!

In case someone came in who didn't like turkey, we also had a roast of beef. Soon after we were eating fruits, nuts, pastries and homemade cookies sprinkled with little colored things. This is where you learned to eat a seven course meal between noon and four PM, how to handle hot chest nuts and put peaches in wine. Italians live a romance with food. Sundays we would wake up to the smell of garlic and onions frying in olive oil. We always had macaroni and sauce.

Sunday would not be Sunday without going to mass. Of course you couldn't eat before mass because you had to fast before receiving communion. We knew when we got home we'd find meatballs frying, and nothing tasted better than newly cooked meatballs with crisp bread dipped into a pot of hot gravy (not sauce).

Another difference between them and us was we had gardens. Not just with flowers, but tomatoes, peppers, basil, lettuce and 'cucuzza'. Everybody had a grapevine and fig tree. In the fall we drank homemade wine arguing over who made the best. Those gardens thrived because we had something our American friends didn't seem to have. We had Grandparents.

It's not that they didn't have grandparents. It's just they didn't live in the same house or street. We ate with our grandparents, and God forbid we didn't visit them 3 times a week. I can still remember my grandfather telling us how he came to America when he was young, on the 'boat.'

I'll never forget the holidays when the relatives would gather at my grandparents' house, the women in the kitchen, the men in the living room, the kids everywhere. I must have fifty cousins. My grandfather sat in the middle of it all drinking his wine he was so proud of his family and how well they had done.

When my grandparents died, things began to change. Family gatherings were fewer and something seemed to be missing. Although we did get together usually at my mother's house, I always had the feeling grandma and grandpa were there.

Its understandable things change. We all have families of our own and grandchildren of our own. Today we visit once in a while or meet at wakes or weddings. Other things have also changed. The old house my grandparents bought is now covered with aluminum or vinyl siding. A green lawn covers the soil that grew the tomatoes. There was no one to cover the fig tree, so it died.

The holidays have changed. We still make family 'rounds' but somehow things have become more formal. The great quantities of food we consumed, without any ill effects, are not good for us anymore. Too much starch, too much cholesterol, too many calories in the pastries. The difference between 'us' and 'them' isn't so easily defined anymore, and I guess that's good. My grandparents were Italian-Italians; my parents were Italian-Americans. I'm an American and proud of it, just as my grandparents would want me to be. We are all Americans now... the Irish, Germans, Polish, all U.S. citizens.

But somehow I still feel quite a bit Italian. Call it culture... call it roots... I'm not sure what it is. All I do know is that my children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews, have been cheated out of a wonderful piece of our heritage.


Do you know what this Italian Saying Means

"Mia moglie ha sempre ragione?

(keep reading to learn)

16 Italian Name Meanings

Italian Family Facts...Names for Boys & Girls

There is more to naming a child than simply picking a baby name, and the old Italian families are said to have always chosen names with a significant meaning. Here is a short list of some Italian names with their meanings and gender. Naturally there are many more Italian names for boys and girls, but 16 Italian name meanings is a good start.

Angelina means Little Angel (f)

Benito means Blessed (m)

Carmine means Song (m)

Dino means Little Sword (m)

Enrico means Ruler of the Household (m)

Fabiola means Bean Grower (f)

Guido means Forest Guide (m)

Leonardo means Like a Lion (m)

Mario means Sailor (m)

Natalia means Born on Christmas (f)

Primo means First Born (m)

Rufina means Red-Haired (f)

Salvatore means Savior (m)

Tino means Small (m)

Umberto means Color of Earth (m)

Vera means Truth (f)

Source: Name Meanings

The Italian saying...

"Mia moglie ha sempre ragione?


(my wife is always right)

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How True Is This?


Your comments are very welcome here. If you would like to contribute to our Italian Family Fun Facts we will add it to our list with your name alongside of it.

Feedback and Comments - Readers Contributions

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    • profile image

      Martine 2 years ago

      mischeal Leavelle - OMG, You should be very proud of youlresf, this is done so beautiful and you have been blessed with a wonderful talent. I'm a friend of Loraine's and these boys are just so cute. and I'm sure you will be very successful. and if I ever need a picture taken or know of any one that's looking. I will save this web site and pass it on. Good Luck Mischeal Leavelle

    • theallin1writer profile image

      theallin1writer 5 years ago

      Such a nice lens, thank you for sharing and making me smile!

    • Carashops profile image

      Cara 5 years ago

      This is a lovely lens.

    • Deadicated LM profile image

      Deadicated LM 5 years ago

      I really loved your Lens, brought back many of my own families memories.

    • gypsykitschpres profile image

      gypsykitschpres 5 years ago

      Wonderful lens. An Italian lady once told me, "the man is the head of the house but the women is the neck that turns the head." Always makes me smile. I love everything Italian.

    • nyclittleitaly profile image

      nyclittleitaly 5 years ago

      Fantastic lens. Thank you.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      You have a wonderful lens. I enjoyed my visit here. Now, I'm wanting a big Italian meal!

    • LTPParents profile image

      Tracy Gibb 6 years ago

      I'm not Italian but some of my friends are 100% Italian and this fits them and their families perfectly!

    • profile image

      charity7 6 years ago

      Great Lens! I can relate to most of it growing up in an Italian Family. My grandparents came from Italy and they spoke very broken english. But boy could they cook great meals. It was always Sunday gravy in our house.

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Apart from the Italian words, the Family Fun facts could be from my family - an Irish-Australian family.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      Indeed, they really were fun. Too bad we didn't have any Italians on our family tree. I didn't taste spaghetti and meatballs until I was grown up. Blessed by a squid angel and featured on the lens

    • TapIn2U profile image

      TapIn2U 6 years ago

      Great! Didn't know and expect that there are a lot of new facts that we can learn from Italian.