Hollywood is notorious for casting actors in roles that don’t exactly coincide with their true nationality. A huge source of contention in The Sopranos series involved Iron Eyes Cody, who played Native Americans in a number of films but is most noted for his iconic portrayal as the crying Indian on the side of the road after witnessing someone littering. However, Cody wasn’t even remotely Native American, and was actually a Sicilian-American who made quite a successful career out of portraying Native Americans on film.
Not always known for its authenticity, Hollywood doesn’t seem to bother itself with accurate portrayals. A number of Hollywood blockbuster films have huge inconsistencies in the storyline. From The Patriot to Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the film industry has never let the truth get in the way of selling tickets at the movie theater.
The same can be said for the actors they choose to play different roles in film. Not really concerning themselves with the cultural backgrounds of their actors, movies often show Japanese and Korean actors playing in ancient China or even Latina women playing African-Americans. While certain nationalities have a distinct look, Italian actresses have the ability to choose roles that have a wide range of characteristics. From classic American to authentically Spanish, it seems like Italian women can play a diverse cast of characters. Check out 12 stunning Italian beauties in Hollywood that you may or may not know come from Italy, and see how diverse Italian women can look on the small and big screen.
12 Maria Grazia Cucinotta
Maria Grazia Cucinotta is an Italian actress from the Province of Messina, and has starred in a number of roles on both television and the big screen. One of her most memorable television appearances include a role in the HBO series, The Sopranos. Playing “Isabella” a drop dead gorgeous (and figment of Tony’s imagination) houseguest of Tony’s neighbor, she is the epitome of an Italian beauty that had audiences wishing she was real. Her film career includes commercial successes like starring opposite Anthony Hopkins in The Rite, and Pierce Brosnan in The World Is Not Enough. While not all Italian beauties exude the classic Italian look, Cucinotta is a prime example of how this exotic beauty translates to all cultures.
11 Monica Bellucci
Monica Bellucci is an actress that doesn’t shy away from the roles that would make other actors cringe. Specializing in highly sexual characters, Bellucci knows how to play up her looks for whatever role she embodies. There have been a number of super controversial characters she’s played, from the ultra graphic rape scene in Irreversible to the steamy sex scene with Daniel Craig in the Spectre Bond film. Regardless of what role she plays, Monica Bellucci is an undeniable beauty born in Città di Castello, Italy. From the deep Italian accent to the sultry eyes and pouty lips, it doesn’t look like Bellucci will be playing the part of an old lady anytime soon.
10 Valeria Bilello
Valeria Bilello is an Italian model and actress that was born in Sicily. She is a favorite at the Venice Film Festival, ever since she debuted in Giovanna’s Father in 2008. In 2015, she took home the ultimate win at the Venice Film Festival by being awarded the L'Oréal Paris per il Cinema Award. Her stunning good looks have helped land some lucrative brand endorsements, including a deal with Giorgio Armani in 2012 that led to a number of highly successful short films. Studying film in Milan, she isn’t afraid to get behind the lens even though the camera is facing the wrong way.
9 Martina Stella
While Martina Stella is an accomplished actress that has acted in numerous Italian films, she doesn’t have a long list of films released in the United States. However, the few films she’s appeared in for English-speaking audiences have introduced audiences to this Italian beauty. The highlights to her American film career include Ocean’s Twelve and the 2009 film, Nine. She doesn’t have the typical look of an Italian actress, but don’t let the flowing blonde hair fool you. She is a stunning Italian beauty that doesn’t mind partaking in risqué photoshoots, whether it’s a swimsuit shot or a topless spread.
8 Claudia Gerini
Starting her career at the tender age of 14 years old, Claudia Gerini has a long list of television and film features throughout her professional career. While she was born in Rome, she is an accomplished world traveler that immerses herself in whatever culture she inhabits. From learning French in Paris to Spanish in Spain, she is an actress that doesn’t pigeonhole herself into only Italian cinema. Her film career includes some controversial roles, including portrayals in the 2004 film Don’t Move and the 2015 film Getaway Of Love. However, she has shown diversity in her character portrayals, and even played in the highly acclaimed film The Passion of the Christ.
7 Francesca Neri
Francesca Neri is an Italian actress that has a film career filled with awards and accolades that span her entire career. She received numerous nominations for the Italian version of the Oscars, and branched out to include Spanish speaking films in the '90s. While excessive nude scenes, topless spreads, and ultra provocative photoshoots may cause quite a stir in America, it is just another day in European film. Taking her fame and prestige with her when traveling to America, she had a few well-known roles in U.S. cinema. Some of her more memorable American acting roles include the 2001 film, Hannibal, and the 2002 film, Collateral Damage.
6 Sofia Milos
Born in Switzerland, Sofia Milos has a mix of Greek and Italian heritage. Her signature curls, distinct accent, and exotic look has landed her some memorable roles in television. Some of the more memorable characters include a love interest for Chandler on the television series, Friends, and a recurring role on The Sopranos. Both roles helped to play up her stunning good looks, but the characters couldn’t have been more different. From the sex-crazed Friends character to the Italian mob boss in The Sopranos, Milos has proven she has the acting skills that coincide with her beauty to make for the perfect choice for those in search of an Italian beauty on screen.
5 Sonia Aquino
Sonia Aquino is an Italian actress who was born in Avellino, Italy. She has quite an extensive list of television performances in Europe, including numerous mini-series and soap operas. However, that hasn’t stopped her from including film work throughout her professional career. While most of her acting roles have been in Italian, she has received critical acclaim for her portrayal as the iconic Sophia Loren in the 2004 film, The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. She has the stunning dark features we love in Italian actresses, and was able to nail the younger Sophia Loren character by showing how beautiful she was in her youth.
4 Alessandra Mastronardi
Born in Naples, Alessandra Mastronardi is an Italian actress that has a girl-next-door quality about her beauty that is super appealing when portrayed on film. She’s starred in numerous shorts, television series, and films but many of them have been in Italian. One of her breakout roles in the U.S. was the Woody Allen flick, To Rome with Love, in 2012 wherein she received critical acclaim. She showed off major sex appeal in the 2015 film, The Tourist, and showed she could hold up her star power on the big screen. Playing the role of Stephanie, Mastronardi plays the perfect alluring local woman that made fans want to take her foreign language class just so she could be their sexy teacher.
3 Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta
Stefani Germanotta, better known by her stage name Lady Gaga, is of Italian descent even if she doesn’t quite fit the typical look of an Italian beauty. However, don’t let the meat dresses and dyed hair fool you. While she chooses to express herself through her outlandish costumes, makeup, and hair, she has recently started to show off more of her natural beauty in the public eye. Her recent performance at the Oscars showed how gorgeous she really is without all the pomp and circumstance, and it seems that love agrees with her since she never looked more beautiful after becoming engaged to Chicago Fire heartthrob, Taylor Kinney.
2 2 Natalie Guercio
When Mob Wives was first introduced to audiences, the show gained a huge fan base from the get-go. However, much of the cast involved heavily made-up women with a burned out look, and some not even having real mob ties. The show managed to keep a fan base since characters like Big Ang helped to hold the show together. Yet, producers knew some young meat needed to be added to the show, and in walked Natalie Guercio.
With a Spanish and Italian background, she had the spunky energy and spitfire temper that showed fans this dangerous mix of Latin firepower and Italian hardcore defiance. While she ended up leaving the show before Season 6 aired, she has managed to stay in the limelight due to some very ugly and public fights via social media. She has since used her 15 minutes of fame to help launch a plethora of different brands, from liquor to fashion, so it seems we haven’t seen the last of this Mob Wives hottie.
1 Caterina Murino
Caterina Murino is an Italian actress from Cagliari, Sardinia. She was first introduced to audiences as the winner of Miss Italy in 1996, but soon fell in love with acting. While she has starred in both television and film, her most memorable character portrayal was in the 2006 Bond film, Casino Royale, starring Daniel Craig. However, true beauty is more than what’s on the outside.
In 2013, Mandarin Oriental announced that Caterina Murino would be the latest addition to the global campaign, “He’s a Fan/She’s a Fan,” and to show their appreciation for her support, they made a sizeable donation to her charity of choice. Since she is a Goodwill Ambassador for Amref, she is extremely passionate about providing health care to impoverished areas in Africa. Often photographed immersing herself in the culture, and having a hands-on approach to her charity work, Murino is an Italian hottie who is beautiful both inside and out.