Can I speak Italian to a Hispanic and hope to be understood?

No, I’m not one of those "ignorant Americans" who thinks that Spanish and Italian are the same language. In fact, I’m half-Swiss and German is my native language along with English. I learned Spanish for some time and then I took up Italian because I was inspired by a trip to Italy. I have noticed countless similarities between the two languages- similar vocabulary and similar grammar/structure. I like Italian better than Spanish but can’t learn them both because I’ll just confuse the two (which I’ve already done!). Besides, if I learn Spanish, that’s an invitation that all those illegal Mexican immigrants in the US are better than me (analogy: if a guy kills himself over a girl, then that’s an invitation that the girl is better than him). I’m actually hoping to move back to Switzerland, so Italian would be better. So, can the Hispanics/Spaniards understand at least the "gist" of an Italian conversation? I’d like input from native Spanish speakers, preferably.
OK, I’m sorry if I offended anyone with the comment about illegal Mexican immigrants. It’s just that I feel the US is being invaded by them and we’re learning Spanish to communicate with them since they don’t know much English. So, if I learn Spanish, those illegal immigrants will be happy and I’ll be forced into doing something I don’t really want to do. However, I should consider the legal immigrants as well, and I have used a little Spanish with them. On a slightly different note, Italy is a country I’d want to visit over and over, but a vacation to Latin America or Spain is the last thing on my mind in terms of vacation ideas.

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