In a country where scantily-clad hostesses star on television and the Prime Minister enjoys notorious 'bunga bunga' sex parties, you would think a mere reality show would be greeted with nonchalance.
But despite the exploits of Silvio Berlusconi and the downmarket nature of some of the broadcasting output, it seems Italians can still be shocked.
The advent of U.S. reality show Jersey Shore has been greeted with dismay and even outrage, with one MTV Italia website viewer commenting: 'When I see this, I wonder whether Bin Laden had a point.'
The antics of Snooki, The Situation, JWoww and the rest of the cast of - in some cases - dubious Italian heritage have attracted a growing fanbase in the U.S., and are now set to film the fourth season in Italy.
But far from giving a Latin shrug of the shoulders at the escapades of the tanned and toned stars, commentators have lambasted it as 'noisy and superficial', 'blundering and frivolous' and - possibly most hurtful for the cast who seem inordinately proud of their Latin background - the 'worst stereotypes of Italians'.
A columnist in Corriere della Sera, one of Italy's biggest newspapers, sneeringly described the cast as having 'slicked hair, exaggerated narcissism, boundless love for the family and outlandish eccentricity'.
Columnist Roberto Del Bove wrote in Rome newspaper New Notzie that the show's stars 'embody the worst stereotypes of Italians, multiplied by thousands and Americanised'.
Common Sense --- 2017
4 hours ago