Alessio enjoys vintage Italian TV & music. He also enjoys listening to Chinese POP music.
The 1980s in Italy
A general happiness and economic wellness characterized the 1980s in Italy.
Most people who have grown up in those years remember the wide variety of television programs and the stunning commercials that used to tell stories rather than merely promote the product while emphasizing the importance of staying with family.
Another thing that marked the 1980s was the popularity of weird snacks and toys, which many have never forgotten. This article will focus, in particular, on these, highlighting some of the most bizarre toys and foods that were popular in Italy in those years.
11 Weird Foods and Toys From the 1980s in Italy
- Piedone: The Foot-Shaped Ice Cream
- Animillo: The Magic Worm
- Billy: The Orange-Flavored Juice
- Soldino: The Dollar-Shaped Snack
- Uao: The Biscuit That Teaches You English
- Palicao: The Biscuit That Turns Your Cup of Milk into Chocolate
- Doctor Strabik: The Multifunctional Ice Cream
- Pat Bon: Alphabet-Shaped French Fries
- Ice Cream Maker
- Toy Oven
- Cristallina: The Powder That Carbonates Water
1. Piedone: The Foot-Shaped Ice Cream
"Piedone" was a famous foot-shaped strawberry ice cream. Many children have grown up with it, which achieved popularity both in Italy and England, where it was sold under the name "Funny Feet".
2. Animillo: The Magic Worm
"Animillo" was a popular plaything most children grew up with during the 1980s. It consisted of a worm-shaped toy with a tiny thread on the back, which an adult had to move secretly to make the fake worm wander everywhere. To the eyes of an innocent child, this was magic, provided that nobody disclosed the secret behind it.
3. Billy: The Orange-Flavored Juice
"Billy" was one of the most popular orange-flavored beverages in the 1980s. According to some stories, it was not a natural fruit juice but a soft drink, the taste of which was reproduced with aromas and additives.
This drink was not maybe the best of healthy eating, but according to many, it was delicious and thirst-quenching: in the end, nothing different than most carbonated drinks widely consumed today.
4. Soldino: The Dollar-Shaped Snack
"Soldino" is the most iconic snack symbol of the 1980s in Italy. The name means "small buck" and refers to the small coin-shaped chocolate that tops a sponge cake covered with chocolate.
The snack has achieved such great success that Barilla, behind it, managed to sell it again in 2010 and 2021 for a limited time in special custom gift packages available only through the official website.
5. Uao: The Biscuit That Teaches You English
Italy is not exactly the first country in Europe for English knowledge. At least, in the 1980s, there was a funny way to start learning English words: eating "Uao" biscuits. These featured funny illustrations made with caramel, the Italian word describing the drawing, and its English translation.
6. Palicao: The Biscuit That Turns Your Cup of Milk into Chocolate
Many love to soak biscuits in milk. But what if, doing it with a cocoa biscuit, it melts instantly and your cup of milk suddenly becomes chocolate? It happens that you live in the 1980s and are eating Palicao. These biscuits remained famous for this fact, even if you could munch them too.
7. Doctor Strabik: The Multifunctional Ice Cream
Doctor Strabik is a further example of how imagination was so fervid in the 1980s in Italy that there was no limit to creativity.
These were the peculiarities of one of the weirdest and funniest foods in the 1980s in Italy:
- The ice cream, as the name suggests, should imitate squinting eyes (the Italian word for "squinting" is strabico);
- Two chewing gums were placed on the ice cream to reproduce the pupils;
- Doctor Strabik had a forked shape, and the stick could quickly turn into a sling after finishing the ice cream.
8. Pat Bon: Alphabet-Shaped French Fries
Most children love French fries for their taste, but why not make them funny too? A frozen food company tried it in the 1980s by launching a new line of alphabet-shaped fries. Like in the commercial above, children found it funny to compose words before eating fries, demonstrating again that food, in those years, was more than simply something to eat.
9. Ice Cream Maker
Many Italian children grown in the 1980s were particularly curious about adults' life, so they enjoyed playing with simulation toys. For example, many girls of the time were delighted by the toy cash register, which made them feel like clerks.
Another popular toy was the ice cream maker, a simple machine promising to prepare delicious ice creams in a few minutes with just some sugar and special powders.
Of course, a toy couldn't work miracles so that the result could have been better, but this did not matter: in the 1980s, there was no need to be perfect at all costs; the most important thing was to have fun.
10. Toy Oven
Like the ice cream maker, Dolce Forno (literally "sweet oven") shows how children in the 1980s enjoyed imitating their mothers and fathers. It was a miniature oven featuring an incandescent lamp, hot enough to cook small tarts and pastries. This toy oven made it easy to feel like a little chef.
11. Cristallina: The Powder That Carbonates Water
In the 1980s, it was rare to find sparkling bottled water in supermarkets, while products like Cristallina and Idrolitina were popular alternatives. These consist in specific powders that carbonate the water as soon as you add them to the bottle. Both Cristallina and Idrolitina still exist in Italy, even if bottled sparkling water is now much more popular.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Alessio Ganci