Happy Columbus Day, you lucky people who get Monday off from work! The Italian explorer Christopher Columbus braved the murky Atlantic Ocean in search of silk, spices and other wonders of China and India (the countries he was attempting to find). Instead he landed right smack into the Bahamas, a happy accident that eventually resulted in the “discovery” of the good ol’ United States. In honor of this national holiday, Scandalist is exploring Columbus’ homeland and the goods Italy is infamous for — its women.
Which hotties are hopping into Sophia Loren‘s Italian leather shoes and taking over her title as Italy’s prima donna? Peep the pics below and let us know how well we’ve rated these Italian hotties after the jump.
Though she’s taken up kabballah and adopted a posh British accent, don’t be fooled: the Motor City mama was born Madonna Ciccone, and raised in a strict Italian-Catholic household. Which may account for some of her rebellion.
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20. Aria Giovanni
You might be familiar with this Penthouse pet and adult film actress from such films as Alabama Jones and the Busty Crusade or Aria. And though she’s not entirely of Italian descent, she certainly is 100% hot.
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19. Carla Gugino
The Entourage hottie got her start opposite another one of our Italian hotties — Alyssa Milano, on Who’s The Boss? The raven-haired fox has brains to boot with that hot bod: she was her class’ valedictorian.
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18. Jenna Jameson
Born Jenna Massoli, the adult film actress (who took her surname from her preferred brand of whiskey) has become the most famous porn actress in the world, but the spicy meatball will be hanging up her … uh, G-string. Pregnant with twins, she’s vowed to never step foot in the adult film world again.
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17. Alyssa Milano
Since the dawn of her career, mega-hottie Milano’s capitalized on her Italian roots. She got her big break playing Samantha Micelli (the paradigm of ’80s hotness) on Who’s the Boss?, and most recently starred in Wisegal. So much for type-casting.
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16. Drea de Matteo
Born into an Italian-American family in Queens and growing up on the Upper East Side, this actress got her break as mob wife Adriana on the Sopranos. We were crushed by HBO’s decision to whack her character in 2004 and we disagreed when NBC cut Friends‘ spin-off Joey, in which she played the naughty big sister. Thanks to FX, Drea is back on the air: this time playing Wendy Case in Sons of Anarchy.
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Though she’s more famous for her truth-telling hips than for her Italian roots, Shakira comes from a multi-ethnic family. Fluent in Italian, the 31-year-old is a world famous pop star with a brilliant intellect and a smoking bod. It’s tough to know which part to claim as Italian.
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14. Antonella Barba
Though you might not immediately remember her name, it only takes the photos to remember the American Idol cutie who caused a whole lot of controversy with some topless shots that leaked on the Internet. As if she weren’t hot enough –– she’s also a proven Duke basketball fan.
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13. Gwen Stefani
The No Doubt singer made like her ancestors and discovered a new world of pop music, then dominated it in her solo career. She shares more than a mega-successful chosen profession with another lady on this list — she’s Madonna‘s cousin.
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12. Brittany Murphy
Born to Angelo Bertolotti and Sharon Murphy, Brit changed her name after her folks split, but would never shake her Italian heritage.
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11. Eleonora Pedron
This former Miss Italy winner once posed practically nude on the cover of Maxim. She’s spicier than penne arrabbiata!
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10. Marisa Tomei
Perhaps most famous for playing quintessential Italian-American princess Mona Lisa Vito in My Cousin Vinny, her lifetime of preparation paid off when she won the Academy Award for the role.
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9. Liv Tyler
This fiery actress gets her good looks — and her Italian heritage — from her pop, Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler. She even starred in the video for his song “Crazy,” which is how her beauty makes us feel.
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8. Monica Belluci
This gorgeous model and actress was born in Umbria and once posed nude on the cover of Italian Vanity Fair magazine while pregnant. Grazie, Monica!
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7. Rossella Brescia
An Italian personality and ballerina, Rossella’s nude shots have attracted fans across the globe. Italy looks good naked!
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6. Jennifer Aniston
What, you didn’t know the Friends star was Italian? She’s beautiful, rich, well-dressed, and constantly courted by hotties. What’s more Italian than that?
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5. Asia Argento
Asia was born in Rome to a showbiz family and began acting while she was still a kid. By the time she was 16 she had filmed her first nude scene. She’s like a nice tall glass of Chianti — sweet, spicy and easy to drink!
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4. Sophia Bush
This dark-haired beauty from One Tree Hill was a Greek in college. She may have pledged Kappa Kappa Gamma at USC — but her good looks are all Italian.
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3. Lindsay Lohan
Don’t let her red hair fool you! LiLo’s half Italian, and has the words “La Bella Vita” tattooed on her lower back. Translation: the beautiful life, something Lindsay certainly has.
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2. Rachel Bilson
The cutie from the O.C. is the daughter of an Italian-American sex therapist. She’s a California girl, but her beauty’s straight outta Italia.
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1. Federica Ridolfi
This bangin’ Italian TV actress may not be famous in the U.S.A, but in Italy she’s considered a national treasure. A well known TV actress in her homeland, Federica’s a star of various soccer-themed variety shows, so it’s only fitting that this hottie is engaged to famous soccer stud Giuliano Giannichedda. Italy may be known for wine, but we’d rather have a glass of Federica instead.
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