Yes Joe, dead right about it being the fault of the Italians!
I've never really liked the "stop and strum" technique, although I've heard it used very effectively, much preferring to pluck the strings like a harp.
I feel, without having done any particular research, that the "stop and strum" presupposes the use of modern chords and that troubles me a little. Of course, we simply don't know what they did - there are no records - I presume they had a power cut or something, or the video tape ran out on the day they played them.
I'll sort out a photograph and send it on to you,