Written by Clara Vedovelli, graduated in Language Education from the Ca' Foscari University of Venice. She received her bachelor's degree from the University of Bologna in foreign languages and literatures. During her masters, she collaborated with the Ca' Foscari School for International Education and she interned at the Pedagogical University of Cracow as a tutor of Italian. Clara is aspiring to gain hands-on experience in a professional environment outside the classroom, and she is focusing on creating active engagement on the ILF's social media platforms. Being born in the Italian Alps, Clara enjoys hiking and spending time in nature.
As an Italian who has always had a deep interest in American society, I’ve always tried to dive into the culture through TV series, blogs, YouTube videos and books. Just by watching Italian TV shows, it is impossible to deny the impact of American culture on the Italian one. For example, Late shows have never been popular here, and now there are (at least) 2 of them. One of the hosts, specifically said that he looks up to Jimmy Fallon. I grew up watching Disney Channel and Michael Scott from The Office is one of my favorite TV characters. I believe that young Italian generations are so fond of American culture that they think they know it all. They know everything about proms, tv shows and Thanksgiving, even though they have never experienced it first hand. However, there is more to it, which we were not told about.
In the last few years, Francesco Costa, an Italian Journalist showed a different side of American society. He made America accessible to those Italians who couldn’t access it because of the language barrier, and he provided deeper insights on its structure and functioning. He also traveled to the U.S. many times, and shared his adventures on social media.
Francesco Costa is one of the most famous Italian journalists writing (and talking) about the US under different perspectives. He has written two books, he hosts podcasts and he is often invited by other podcast hosts to discuss American culture, society and politics. His most famous book “Questa è l’America. Storie per capire il presente degli Stati Uniti e il nostro futuro” (translation: “This is America. Stories to understand the present United States and our future”) sheds light on American society as Italians have always known it. Before the book, his podcast “Da Costa a Costa” (Translation: “From coast to coast”, the name of the podcast is a play on words) first touched upon different subjects: politics, minorities, contemporary societal issues and famous personalities.
“Da costa a costa” was first started in 2016 and the last episode of the fourth season was released in December 2020 (and a special episode was published on January 30). Francesco Costa managed to become an Italian “US-expert” both thanks to his curiosity and thanks to the deep support of his online community. In his articles, books and podcasts Costa claims that the US is so much more than the TV shows Italians are used to watching. In my opinion, he managed to talk about the major differences and sensitive topics existing within the country, providing an authentic representation of the culture and society.
Additionally, Costa proved himself to be an effective storyteller. Even though there are many Italian scholars who write about the U.S. culture, society, economy and politics, Francesco Costa has a direct connection with his audience, as shown by his huge following on social media. He is able to communicate effectively on social media filling the gap between the wide audience and the traditional journalists. Costa does more than the reporting of events, he narrates the story and investigates the background of what is happening in the U.S., which will eventually reflect on Italy.
Even though Francesco Costa claimed that for now he’s not planning to move to the U.S., he will keep portraying the events happening in today’s American society through Italian eyes and sharing them online for his italian readers.