People are proud of what they are, know, and like. Personally I find Italy to (North, Central and South) to contain a number of proud and even perhaps egotistical boosters of the history, culture and food. Given that I've been there 4 - no - 5 times (I count Corsica as culturally and gastronomically Italian) I guess my vote is clear. I love England, Spain, France, Croatia, Norway, St. Maarten, San Francisco, etc. too. But, Italy is #1 - for me. OTOH I'm a dog guy - red brindled bullmastiff if you please. Except for Bose 901's, the political situation in the US, and a certain headphone, I've pretty much let go of overt criticism of anything. If someone is too overbearing for you - you won't change them, might as well focus on some other aspect of the person or walk away in peace. RIght now I'm sitting in an outdoor cafe in Bologna... I wish.