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In an episode of "The Sopranos", the protagonists and his entourage (Italian Americans from Napoli and Sicily) react strongly to examples of Italian achievement which happen to originate from northern Italy. One of the characters, and actual Sicilian, comments that he doesn't like Christopher Columbus, since he's Genovesi.

Is that actually true? Can one offend e.g. a Neapolitan by praising Milanese culture or vice versa?

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closed as off topic by HaLaBi, Rory Alsop, Marcel C., Flimzy, Vince Jun 23 '13 at 20:01

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Sorry, this seems way off-topic for Travel.SE. Maybe history.SE is a better place –  MeNoTalk Jun 23 '13 at 16:54
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I think it's borderline on topic since local customs are of utmost interest for travelers (hence the local-customs tag) –  Geeo Jun 23 '13 at 21:07
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I think this is on topic. Similar to how some northern Irish / Irish can be upset about certain topics due to historical animosity, it's useful to a traveller to know these things, to avoid saying the wrong thing, and also to understand more about where they're visiting. –  Mark Mayo Jun 24 '13 at 1:16
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maybe it could be rephrased to clearly show that the goal is to have the correct behaviour when travelling, not to get a history lesson. –  Vince Jun 24 '13 at 15:16
    
If it was written as a question a traveller would ask, rather than merely asking about an interesting topic, I'd support it. For example, mention whether you're Italian, or look like someone from a nearby country, or look like a total outsider. –  Andrew Grimm Jun 25 '13 at 2:45

2 Answers 2

There's some sort of "animosity" between people from northern and southern but not like the kind you described in your question.

Northern Italy is considered more developed and there is, unfortunately, always be a somewhat large part of people living in the north that thinks that Italy could be a way more advanced country IF they would get rid of the south. This feeling is basically originated from these factors (most of them are just prejudices):

  • the south is less industrialized
  • the south is "governed" by Mafia
  • people from the south don't want to work as hard as people from the north
  • less education

In the north there is a derogatory term for people from the south: Terroni. It's actually impossible to translate in English but it refers to the fact that they "work the land" and are somewhat uncivilized.

See also Lega Nord which is a party aiming to separate the north from the south and in recent times it managed to reach 15% on votes in some elections.

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To answer the travel related part of this question:

NO, there is no problem for you as a tourist

If you want the historical reasons for the animosity, History.SE is the place :)

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