In its Aug. 23, 1963 issue, which featured Frank Sinatra and Frank Sinatra Jr. on the cover, LIFE decided to pay homage to the men of Italy. The story presented photos of men in a variety of situations and circumstances—a father giving away a bride, a farmer tending his goats, workmen on a lunch break, a mountaineer reaching a summit, a goofball clowning on the beach.

This tribute to the Italian male began with these words:

In whatever he does, from quietly combing the hair of a girl friend to loudly showing off at the swimming pool, the Italian man is the most natural of men. His spontaneity and his self-confidence are unequalled. He knows the girl will sigh with bliss, that there will be water under him when he comes down. He treats fleeting moments as if they were the most important in his life—because they are. As his country—and his spirits revived, the world has become better acquainted and even fascinated with his engaging qualities. For his candid enthusiasm and sensuality have helped fill the world with music and art, laughter and love and a particular kind of triumphant masculinity.

While making generalizations—even positive ones—about the male population of an entire country can be a dubious enterprise, in this case the idea is justified by the results, which are outstanding. The photos for the essay were taken by Paul Schutzer, a prodigal talent who became a LIFE staff photographer at the age of 26, and whose most famous images came from the big stages of history; Schutzer would die while on assignment in a combat zone, covering the Six-Day War in 1967.

But in his essay on the Italian man, it’s clear how much he was inspired by the opportunity to capture something about everyday life. Look at this run of pictures and you can practically hear Paul Schutzer saying “Oh, that guy is amazing. And that one. And that one.” Over and over and over. The original essay ran for six pages in magazine, but Schutzer took thousands of frames, enough to fill an encyclopedia. Roaming the cities and the countryside of Italy, he couldn’t stop shooting—which is as true a form a tribute as can be.

A man combed a woman’s hair, Italy, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian man, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian man, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian male, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian male, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian man, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian man, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

Photo essay on the men of Italy, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian male, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian man, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

A father, soon to be overcome by emotion (see next photo), walked his daughter down the aisle.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

A father broke down while walking his daughter down the wedding aisle.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian male, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian male, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian male, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian male, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian male, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian male, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian male, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian male, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian male, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian male, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian male, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian male, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian male, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian male, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian male, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian male, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian male, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

A farmer tended his goats, from an essay on the Italian male, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian male, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian male, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian male, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian male, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian male, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian male, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian male, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian male, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian male, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian male, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

An Italian mountain climber lifted his hat in salute after reaching a mountaintop, 1963.

.Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

From an essay on the Italian male, 1963.

Paul Schutzer/Life Pictures/Shutterstock

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