What Is the National Costume of Italy?

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Although many regions within Italy have traditional clothing reflective of that area’s history and traditions, there is no official national costume of Italy. This is possibly because Italy, as the country as it is known now, is relatively young.

Prior to unifying as a nation in the middle of the 19th century, the country known as Italy was comprised of several different city-states. The traditional dress of many of the regions of Italy reflects those individual histories rather than a unified national history.

Because there are certain elements that the regional traditional costumes share, they are often merged to represent a single look. Most regional costumes, for instance, are comprised of brightly colored skirts, a corset over a white blouse or shirt and an apron made of lace or embroidered fabric, which is indicative of many parts of Italy. Accessories, such as head pieces or shoes, may vary slightly from region to region. Many depictions of traditional Italian costumes depict the country’s famous red, white and green national colors. After the country unified, the South was slower to modernize than the North. Its agrarian traditional dress is a bit of a contrast from the more elegant, refined images of Venetian costumes. Images from the early years, in which Italy was a first a united kingdom, may be a reflection of national pride.