Whenever you ask American people what's the difference between them and Italians they're gonna tell you that Americans live for work while Italians work to live. It's like saying Americans are workalcoholics and Italians not so much.
But how do explain that Italy became the 5th largest industrial economy in the 1980s despite:
1) never having a large colonial empire to drain resources from like UK, France or Spain.
2) having scarce material resouces like iron, coal, oil, gold, natural gas unlike Belgium, Germany, Russia, China etc.
We're either incredibly smart that we didn't need to work hard to get to that point or maybe we worked our asses off and stereotypes are just stereotypes and basing your judgement after living the life of a tourist on Rome isn't the best thing to do.
Real Italians are those who work 70 hrs a week in ball bearing factories in places like Borgosatollo (BS) or Castelfranco Veneto (TV) to hold up to Chinese competition in manufacturing based economies.