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Ten things I learnt from the Italians

10/02/2010

I moved to Italy when I was 20 and left when I was 37 so I guess you could say I became an adult there. I am sure that many defining parts of my character where finely honed by the Italian culture and here are some of the best bits I brought back with me…

  1. Food. I learnt to cook! Not that I couldn’t cook before. Mum is the best cook I know and my brother is a chef so the appreciation of good food runs in the family. However the Italians are very conscious of their food and adore telling you how their Mediterranean diet is the best in the world. I do like that they use genuine products that are in season and grown locally or at least in Italy.
  2. Wine. Young people do not HAVE to get blindly drunk to enjoy a Friday night…sometimes it happens but it’s not a necessity. Enjoying good wine and spirits is also part of the Italian lifestyle. Booze costs a lot less and there are no age limits in bars therefore underage drinking exists on a lot lower scale than here in the UK. Kids there don’t have to get trashed to prove they’re as big as the next guy.
  3. Art. Everywhere you go in Italy you cannot help but be in awe of the art surrounding you. Churches, town halls, villages with wall art and artists painting, sculpting or creating masterpieces in the village square for all to see. Every place in Italy, be it a tiny village or a city, has something to show.
  4. Fashion. Some of the greatest designers in the world are Made In Italy, every Italian is enormously proud of their standing in the world’s fashion stakes and this is so visible as everyone takes pride in what they wear and the majority look like models themselves. Makes it a damn sight harder to keep up with the Rossi’s I can tell you!
  5. Family. The Italians I had the pleasure to meet, all put family in first place. The elderly are looked after and respected by all. Italy is also VERY child friendly (almost verging on the extreme as some parents do take libertys with their kids on a day out making it hell for waiters and shop owners) but rest assured any holiday in Italy with children will be delightful as you can take them everywhere you go and people will stop to praise them.
  6. Con calma, or Take it easy… yes, there’s no rush, don’t go stressing yourself out, take your time and get it done properly. There’s always tomorrow.
  7. Whenever you wash your dishes by hand you MUST  always rinse them off. True! You wouldn’t  dream of leaving shampoo in your hair.
  8. Money – don’t get in debt. Pay as you go and go without if you can’t afford it. This makes for easy sleeping at night.
  9. Patriotic. They all share a deep adoration for their country, after all they’ve got it all, sea, sun, sand, mountains, skiing, lakes, beautiful cities and beautiful people. Their summer holidays for the most part are within their boundaries, Sicily, Sardegna, Puglia to name a few. Ski trips to Trentino, Courmayeur or Alto Adige, Weekend trips to Florence, Venice, Pisa…I could go on forever.
  10. The lingo. Of course, I came away bilingual. I struggle to write in Italian as their grammar is diabolical but I can read and talk till the cows come home.

Just don’t get me on their politics….

photo by kerben at Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/14290505@N08/2389432375/

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. 01/03/2010 8:57 pm

    So how do you compare it to England then? Better? Worse? Different?

  2. 02/03/2010 2:57 pm

    Tricky one to answer.

    Better in many ways. The food, the cost of living, the life style, the art, fashion. The close knit families, the sense of community.

    Worse – I don’t like their schooling where young adults can still be studying at university in their late twenties – it seems so complicated and boring. I don’t like the fact that the best jobs are difficult to get hold of if you don’t know someone who can help you. And their incredibly long-winded and useless bureaucracy is enough to make you want to take a gun to your head.

    Different because they are wonderful, chatty, passionate, friendly, beautiful people (they really are a beautiful race) Trouble is many of them know it and therefore are no longer beautiful if you know what I mean.

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