Photo by Cristina Gottardi
Italian culture: customs & traditions
In love with Italy. Live the Italian life.
If you love Italy there are definitely some things you have to know about it! Besides the common highlights mentioned by tourists from all over the world, I want to give you a closer look into the Italian culture and habits. Trust me, you are going to love Italy even more!
I have to admit I fell in love with my own country when I started traveling so much. I started to miss Italy and all its beauties, habits and its culture. I created a list of the things I love most about Italy, then you will know exactly what I am talking about. Ready for it? Let's get started!
The smell of coffee, biscuits, creamed croissants and cappuccino foam ... How nice to wake up with these flavors and smells!
When I see foreigners preparing dishes of eggs and bacon in the morning at 8, I always wonder how they start the day so heavily, I prefer something light!
I find it extraordinary that I only need to travel a few kilometers to discover different places, to hear an accent (and sometimes a different language) and to meet people who are in some way different from me. Variety in all its forms, equal but different. From the sea to the mountains, from the hills to the cities: all in a short time. Large cities and small villages, the opportunity to choose whatever you like. Choose to escape a weekend and do what you want: spa, sea, mountains, city ... so you have everything within your reach!
3. Live today
We Italians do not plan months in advance, we live in the moment. If we want a beer, we call friends and organize a drink for the same evening. Abroad, people usually have to organize a drink days (weeks?) before.
4. The food.
Do I need to add more here?
It's nice to experiment and try new food when you're abroad, but after a while, Italian food is missing. Not just what we eat but also how we do it. For us Italians, eating is much more than just satiating hunger. It's a special moment, a meeting, a desire to feel good ... we have a real cult for food and everything that goes around it. My favorite Italian dish? Pizza and pasta, of course!
5. Love being together
The contact we have with family and friends is unique in the world. We are Italian mama's boys, but they are values that I love and appreciate. Being together, close, enjoyin Sunday lunches with the family or dinners with friends ... are things that, for example, in London, I found only with the Italians. We like being together, laughing, eating together, talking. We all live them as moments of celebration, even if there is nothing to celebrate ... except the simple, and wonderful, being together.
It is a consequence of the love of being together. Share a meal, even cooking together or allowing others to taste from their plate, share moments, ideas, smiles, time, their home, their city or simply meeting at the square. All that is mine is yours, and all that is yours is for everyone.
It's not like this in all the countries, on the contrary ... sometimes they take you madly if you talk about it!
Take things calmly, I miss this. Without too much calm as in some countries of South America, but not too in a hurry as in some Northern European countries. We have the right middle ground here and we know how to enjoy our precious time. We live.
A little 'this thing’ is being lost here, but how nice to greet smiling, look around and see people smile? Especially when you know that they smile despite everything.
9. The sun
This year is atypical, certainly. But usually, in Italy, the sun is there all year. A sun unlike any other place in the world. It heats you without burning. It shines without dazzling. A mild, warm, welcoming sun, the one that puts you in a good mood, that seems to embrace you and make every day better.
This contains all the things mentioned above. In the end we Italians, despite all our faults, we are this: a set of good food, love, smiles, and sun.
11. Family life
When I am abroad I miss my country so much! First of all, I miss some family-quality- time. You have to know that in fact, gathering the whole family around the dining table does not simply mean having a meal, but represents a privileged convivial occasion, during which we share the experiences of the day and stay with our loved ones. And it is especially in holiday days or on Sundays in the spring and summer that often happens to see large family groups in the restaurant or pizzeria for the pleasure of keeping "relationships" alive, frequenting as much as possible. This is the reason why I LOVE Christmas holidays and spending time reuniting with all our family members coming back home to celebrate and have some fun!
The family - often extended to relatives, at least the closest ones - still plays an important role in Italian culture and this is something missing in other cultures I encountered during my trips! For example in Italy, many young couples refer to their grandparents to entrust their young children with them, since both parents are often busy outside their home with their own working activity. Both in the large metropolitan cities and in the towns of the province and in the holiday villages, the square is the central meeting place of Italian social and cultural life. It does not matter how big it is; in the square, you will always meet people sitting or walking while discussing and conversing. The squares are also the main places where festivals, meetings, celebrations and political events take place. When I want to full immerse into the city I always get to the closer square and here it is: people, smells, colors…I love it!!
12. Do like the Italians do
If you travel to Italy you quickly understand it is a wonderful experience to get to know this amazing country and its incredible history. Another thing you should totally consider is getting to know Italian culture as well as it is one of the best things in the world! Connecting with locals would give you the chance to explore the country in a different way while marveling at their habits and their mindset. If you want to have an Italian eve for one day you just have to take some time, slowing down the chaotic frantic rhythm of your busy daily life and you will have the chance to catch glimpses of what being Italians really means. You will enjoy your time, from a coffee break to a small walk in the city center, strolling around and getting to know more and more people. What I love the most about Italian people is that they are an open, expansive and sunny people.
Written by Amber from Italy
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