Italy: Values & Belief Systems                                    

Italians are generally considered to be:

  • Family-oriented
  • Loyal to the family
  • Relationship oriented
  • Majority Catholic (even if not actively practicing)
  • Respect tradition
  • Proud and patriotic
  • Respect authority (hierarchical)
  • Patriarchic

Q:        What do you think patriarchic means?

A:        A patriarchy is a social system in which the father or eldest male is head of the household—having authority over women and children. Patriarchy can also refer to a system of government by males, and to the dominance of men in social or cultural systems. It is worth noting that this is changing in younger generations.


  • The family is the center of the social structure and includes aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, and honorary relations such as godparents and close family friends.  
  • People get strength and stability from their family.  
  • Often the family provides financial and emotional support.
  • In southern Italy, it is common for extended family to live together. This means that grandmothers and grandfathers may live in the same house as their children and grandchildren.

How Some Italians View US Americans:

  • Obsessed with time and deadlines
  • Think they know everything and are always right
  • Live to work
  • Have too little respect for people’s feelings and for relationships
  • Are only really interested in money
  • Have too little appreciation for elegance and finesse
  • Are very modern, innovative and advanced
  • Are always rushed
  • Are very informal
  • Are naïve
  • Are rich
  • Are friendly
  • Are happy
  • Don’t value family

Vatican City

  • Vatican City is a landlocked sovereign city-state surrounded by Italy. 


  • The Holy See, in Vatican City, is where the Catholic Pope lives and is the seat of the Roman Catholic Church.


  • Vatican City’s territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, the capital city of Italy.


  • Vatican City has an area of approximately 44 hectares (110 acres), and a population of just over 800.
  • Vatican City is distinct from the Holy See, which dates back to early Christianity and is the main Episcopal see of 1.166 billion followers around the globe. The two entities even have distinct passports: the Holy See, not being a country, only issues diplomatic and service passports; the state of Vatican City issues normal passports. Very few passports are issued by either authority.


  • Today, about 90% of Italians are Roman Catholic. Of those, about one-third actively practice the faith.


  • Saint Peter’s Square  is in front of Saint Peter’s Basilica.