Someone recently recited to me the famous line, "Una faccia, una razza" (One face, one race).
No doubt Mediterranean history and civilization involving Greece and Italy is intimately intertwined. It's a matter of historical fact that the nations (Spain, Portugal, France, Greece, Lebanon, Israel to name a few) of the Mediterranean (including Arabs who introduced a form of pasta in Sicily) all share similar social and cultural traits.
However, speaking strictly from a North American perspective, Italians also share a tight common bond with the Irish. In fact, I wonder if the Irish-Italian axis is tighter than the Greek-Italian one. A voice with more authority would be needed here.
Despite a history that hasn't always been friendly, they do share many similar traits - religion, fighting spirit, artistic flair and general flamboyance. It's a connection I've observed. I could be wrong. Of course, it probably runs deeper than I'm treating it here.
I've made the same observations with the Jewish community. Which explains the phenomena of Jews playing Italians in pop culture. With Henry Winkler being one of the most famous as The Fonz.
Seriously, is there a more endearing rebel in television pop culture history than Fonzie?