This short paper is about the strange parallelism of two distinct discourses: one that describes the Italians face to the North-western civilization, and the other that represents the southern Italians in comparison to the northern ones. In spite to several differences, these two discourses participate of a same basilar grammar, one that defines what in a society is good and what is bad, what is normal and what it is not. In this sense, the label of familismo (very used to mark the negative specificity of southern Italian society) corresponds to particolarismo for the Italian society as a whole; and the tendency condemned as gattopardismo, (a sort of regrettable tendency to change political allegiance) is for the Mezzogiorno what is trasformismo for the Italian society. These are some of the labels used in the public sphere to define the culture and the character of the meridionale on one side and of the Italian on the other side. Two sides that appears to be more intertwined that once was believed.
Keywords: Southern question; National character; Cultural representations; Stereotypes.