Category: italy

Most people think the pizzas they know and love – four cheese, pepperoni – were invented in Italy. But they were actually developed by Italian immigrants in the United
States, and then exported back to Italy. Syracuse University
anthropologist Agehananda Bharati calls this the “pizza effect.” Here are some other examples of when
elements of a nation’s culture  developed elsewhere and were then reimported:

  • Mexico City’s Day of the Dead parade was invented for the James Bond film Spectre and then adopted by the city.
  • American blues music influenced English musicians in the 1960s, who then exported blues-rock to the United States.
  • Adapted from India’s chicken tikka, chicken tikka masala became one
    of the most popular dishes in Britain before being re-exported to India.
  • Yoga became popular in India after its adoption in the West.
  • Salsa music originated largely among Cuban and Puerto Rican
    immigrants to New York in the 1920s and then spread throughout the
    Americas.
  • Teppanyaki, the Japanese style of cooking on an iron griddle, grew to prominence in America in “Japanese steakhouses.”

Sunday morning along the Arno River. A man fishing. A passerby casting a shadow, Italy, 1935. Photographed by Alfred Eisenstaedt-LIFE.

Serious American artists during the Early American Period (1789 – 1815) thought that genre scenes were too mean and lowly for
their talent. So major painters such as John Vanderlyn and Samuel Morse
scorned the depicting of ordinary folk – except, said Vanderlyn, Italian
peasants. With their lack of “fashion and frivolity,” Italian peasants,
Vanderlyn declared, were close enough to nature to possess a
neoclassical universality that was worth depicting.

Carmen in Florence, Italy, April 1964. Photographed by Ronald Reis.

Four young men in Florence, Italy, April 1964. Photographed by Ronald Reis.

Roma women on street, Naples, Italy, April 1964. Photographed by Ronald Reis.

Family picnic on the Via Appia, Italy, 1947. Photographed by Alfred Eisenstaedt-LIFE.

This is an ancient Etruscan bronze mirror! Though its not very reflective anymore. Said to be from an Etruscan tomb,
465-450 BCE.

Rome, Italy, 1964. Photographed by Bruno Barbey.

Sophia Loren in a scene from the film ‘Marriage Italian Style,’ directed by Vittorio De Sica, Italy, April 1964. Photographed by Alfred Eisenstaedt-LIFE.