What do Alexandra Shipp, Alexis Skyy, Chiara Ferragni and Melissa Satta all have in common? They’ve all got themselves inked with statement tattoos that are close to their heart. If you look carefully at Alexandra’s wrist, you will find delicately entwined the words “Vivere per sempre,” which translates as “living forever.” Alexis on the other hand has her shoulder tattooed with “La vita è bellissima” — life is beautiful. Chiara’s tattoo runs along a similar theme, reading “Ode to life.” Tattoos in Italy are a common sight, like our grand hand gestures, they are a way of expressing how we feel about life, love, and the universe.

How many people have tattoos?

Tattoos are extremely popular in Italy – a recent survey found that 17% of Italians have at least one tattoo. Surprisingly, there are more women with tattoos than men. 13.8% of women have got themselves inked, in comparison to only 11% of men. If you are considering getting a tattoo, it is worth considering however if you are going to love your tattoo for the rest of your life. Will it still look good when you are older? The survey found that 20% of tattooed Italians actually regretted getting one done, so much so that 4% of these people underwent procedures to remove their body art. If you are thinking of getting a tattoo done, make sure that you pick a design that is extremely meaningful to you.

The most common tattoos

Italians are generally proud of their country and of their heritage. It will therefore come as no surprise that one of the most common tattoos is of the unique shape of Italy. The Italian flag is also popular, as is the horn of Italy— something many Italians wear as a necklace. Just like Alexis Skyy’s tattoo, quotes such as “life is beautiful” are common, along with phrases like “love thy country,” or “trust in God.” Tattoos are often used to memorialize friends and family, as a way to pay tribute to them. Many Italians also choose a tattoo that is representative of their faith. A cross is quite common, and so is a representation of Jesus.

Tattoos of the future

Looking to the future, getting body art is unlikely to go out of fashion. However, it will be interesting to see how designs change as inking technology improves. 3D printers are now being utilized to create incredible tattoo designs that fit the contours of the body perfectly. Disappearing tattoos are also predicted to be popular — they fade after a while, so your tattoo doesn’t have to be a permanent commitment. Still, when it comes to classic designs, Italians are still going to opt for tri-colored flags and meaningful quotes. After all, life is always going to be beautiful in Italy.

Tattoos are important in the Italian culture as a way to show the passion and meaning in our lives. Just be careful what you choose for your own tattoo design though because “si vive una volta sola” —you only live once.

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