Hostility between Italy & France has always amused me. Through the centuries these two countries have been bound up with each other. Even if both nations don’t want to accept that openly, they are more relatives than neighbours.
A close cultural interaction goes back to the Roman Empire. Let’s remember that the Gauls were very peaceful (Asterix and Obelix’s village doesn’t count) and didn’t show resistance to the Romans. The future French allowed the Roman Empire to bring the civilization and knowledge in their wild lands, but the Romans themselves were always mocked there. For example, the Gauls never comprehended why the Romans wore tunics and shaved.
The Roman Empire fell and, by the irony of Fate, they were the French who moved the civilization ahead…not without a profound Italian influence, of course. The Italian culture and mentality had a serious impact on the French life in any century. The Italians brought to France a lot of their customs, they formed the language of the country that one day would be called French. It’s rather odd, but the French before 1789 sounded differently. All the words were read with endings and a fricative ‘r’ used instead of a nasal one. No matter an open hate towards the Italians, artists, writers and actors from the Apennine Peninsula were extremely popular in France. The French art itself has a profound Italian background. Most masterpieces were created under the guidance of the Italians or their art school.
Without saying the Italians have the historical right of being snobbish towards the French, as they ‘ve managed to conquer them many times without any gunshots. However this snobbism mustn’t overstep the bounds. No matter what they both think of each other, they will never turn from separated into divorced. They are tied for ever like an unfaithful husband and a shrew wife.