The greatest Frenchmen of all time… are Italians

Published in: News 19/04/2014

Yves Montand, Emanuel Ungaro, but even Jean-Paul Belmondo and Émile Zola, the greatest Frenchmen of all time, have an Italian heritage. Click and listen their Italian surnames pronounced with a French accent.


Jean Alesi, the French Formula 1 racing driver, is the son of a Sicilian mechanic who emigrated to France.


Michel Piccoli, award-winning French actor, has a last name that immediately gives away its Italian origins. If he were one hundred percent French, he would be called Mr. Michel Petits.


Michel Platini, French former football player and president of UEFA, was born in the Lorraine region, but his mother, Anna Piccinelli, was originally from Belluno and paternal grandparents from the province of Novara.


Daniel Pennac, was born in Morocco to a family of Italian descent.


Loris Azzaro, big name of the French fashion industry, was born in Tunis, under the French protectorate, to Sicilian parents.


Emanuel Ungaro, the famous French fashion designer, inherited both his name and talent from his father, a tailor from Apulia.


Jean-Paul Belmondo, one of the most famous actors in France, is the son of Paul Belmondo, a sculptor born in French Algeria to a Sicilian father and a Piedmontese mother.

Georges Brassens, the most important singer-songwriter in France grew up in a modest family with a French father, Jean-Louis Brassens, who was a construction worker, and an Italian mother, Elvira Dagrosa.


Pierre Cardin, the most representative of French fashion designers, is one hundred percent Italian. He was born in 1922, in Sant'Andrea di Barbarana in the province of Treviso, and his real name was Mr. Pietro Cardin.


Paul Cézanne, the Post-Impressionist painter, born in Aix-en-Provence, has Piedmontese roots: his family was originally from Cesana Torinese, near Turin.


Yves Montand, French actor and singer of great charm, was actually born as Ivo Livi, in Monsummano Terme, in the province of Pistoia.


Émile Zola, one of the greatest French writers, was born in Paris in 1840. Sure we know that, but his father, Francesco Zolla, was an Italian engineer.


Napoléon Bonaparte, the "Emperor of the French", was born in Ajaccio, Corsica, shortly after the Treaty of Versailles, in 1768, which legitimated the transfer of the island from the Republic of Genoa to France. Therefore Napoléon Bonaparte was born in Italy.

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