What's true/what's false about us:
1. Italians have at least 5 children
2. Italian-Americans are like Italian
3. Family ties are important. We are crazy about Italian food (pizza, pasta, tiramisù, gelato and all the rest)
4. Spaghetti with meatballs is an Italian dish.
1. Totally false. The avarage is like 1 child (MAX. 2). we have one of the lowest growth birth on earth.
2. False!! We perceive them as sort of 'strangers', mixed up cretures that just speak two or three Italian words (or worse an old local southern dialect!!!) and do not have any idea of what Italy has become.
3. That's true. :)))
4. Whaaaaaat???? this is really offensive. I've never seen anything like that in Italy in 30 years. When I first saw that dish in the USA I almost puked. And also the ZITI: they are used in southern Italy (and I didn't know they existed till I saw them in the USA). The most common type of pasta is penne or spaghetti.
Anyway... the idea you have from Italy abroad derives mostly from southern Italian people, or what they were like 40 years ago (as you probably know there is a huge difference between southrn and northern Italy). Mafia does not exist in central and northern Italy, I know about it as much as an avarage American does.