Mike expected to be 50% Italian on his DNA test and was surprised to find it came in at 38%. So he got an Aunt to do the same test knowing that research had showed her to be from Italian parents on both sides for at least a century! Whoops! She came back as 25% Middle East/Caucasian. Now he is wondering who, among his ancestors was fooling around.
It’s not unusual to have unexpected results, especially from Italy. Italy wasn’t even a country until 1861 and before that was just a mix of principalities, kingdoms and fiefdoms fighting each other and outsiders for centuries.
This peninsular is right in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea and a perfect spot for a military base for making war on Europe, the Middle East and Africa. As a result it has been invaded by just about everyone. France, (Napoleon), Spain, Germany, North Africa, the Middle East, Albania, Greece, Yugoslavia etc etc. It is also volcanic and subject to earthquakes making it less desirable than other European countries so its original population would have been small at best. The Etruscans and the Greeks were among the first to settle in Southern Italy. There is an excellent article here that might help explain away those DNA results and give your ancestors the benefit of the doubt. http://www.naplesldm.com/ancient.php
Remember too, it was the religious centre of the Christian world since Roman times, attracting many Jews and others in pilgrimage, many of whom stayed. Slaves were also common in Roman times and many came from Egypt and the Middle East.
Often after a war, soldiers of the defeated armies as well as those of the winning side, stayed and married into the local population. Of course there were always the consequences of wartime when many women were raped by retreating or victorious armies. (see Sophia Loren’s film Two Women- based on true events)
DNA can be fascinating but please research the history of the area before you reject the results. My own DNA came in at 97% European with 38% Scandinavian. I was puzzled until I remembered the Vikings invaded England centuries ago. Obviously some of them stayed! Even I have a mysterious 2% Middle East which my son says comes from their invading Scandinavia!
I , along with my parents had between 15-17% middle eastern and we have no ancestors not from Italy back to the 1700’s. I believe most Italians have middle eastern blood.
This may be more true for those Italians from the deep south of Italy (Calabria and Sicily) as they were more likely to have been invaded from the middle east.