Things you probably don’t know about Italy – Not the usual list
Hi everybody! This is the second part of my The world through Italian eyes project.
WARNING – A small but still remarkable percentage of readers found my previous post 10 things I don’t understand about Canada (and Usa???) offensive, and commented “You’ve been very insulting to a country that has welcomed you with open arms”. Replying that I have been talking about cinnamon and air-conditioned, and of course my post was ironic – like thousands for readers understood and wrote me about – I have to warn you. This post may contain humor that may not be suitable for an audience with unexpressed anger, lack of a sense of humor, lack of self-criticism, and serious disposition for conspiracy.
This list has been made with the only intention to let you know unusual aspects of Italian culture that you may not know. It would be too easy for me to fill the blank with beautiful things about Italy and Italian people.
Instead, things you probably don’ know about Italy.
- We don’t have cranberry in Italy, so don’t ask me for the translation.
- Salad is a side dish and not a starter.
- In high school you have only one class – your class – with about 20 people who share with you the same room 5 hours per day. The teachers come into the room for the different subjects.
- If you find toilet paper in public restrooms, consider yourself very lucky. In fact Italian women always keep a small tissue pack in their purses for this reason.
- Italy has two big islands – Sardinia and Sicily – much bigger than Capri and Ischia!
- Lunch is a meal. It’s not a sandwich or a salad to go, it’s a meal. That’s why we need to go home for lunch and close all stores and offices between 12:30pm and 3 or 4pm. Do you want to shop at lunch time? Too bad!
- Every day about 3,000 Euro are thrown into the Fontana di Trevi in Rome and collected at night to be given to a charitable organization.
- Italy is one of the most crowded nations in Europe, that’s why we have to talk loud.
- Family is very important, and if we decide to kill ourselves, usually we kill our family first.
- America is for us U.S.
- If you decide for some unknown reason to drive in Italy, be aware that motorcycles, scooters, and bicycles share the road with cars. Be ready to see them zipping by on your left and right on a one-lane road. Be also ready to hit the throttle as soon as the light turns green: if you don’t, somebody could come to knock to your window with a rod that is usually in a car for all eventualities. No right turn on red! Also, if you see somebody moving his hands towards talking to you, DO NOT STOP your vehicle: that is not Italian gesture, it’s Italian threat! Good luck with the road signs!
- Almost four-fifths of Italy is either mountainous or hilly, perfect for scooters!
- A scooter can sometimes be good for 2 or 3 people + kids.
- Pedestrians risk their life every day! They are actually a species threatened with extinction since everybody with a driver’s license owns a car. Too bad for you if you don’t have one, nobody is going to let you cross the street, no matter if it’s raining, if the light is green, or if you are old and with a walking stick.
- Italians suffer more earthquakes than any other Europeans and no other country in Europe has as many volcanoes as Italy.
- From early age, you have to wear designer clothes to be socially accepted, which makes the whole society pretty superficial and judgemental.
- We could rip you off at any time if we really want to… and usually we do. That’s a….. skill (?)
- Bread it’s good for you, and when I say bread I mean white bread. We buy it every day, and while in North America mothers say “Finish your vegetables” in Italy mothers say “Finish your bread”. The average Italian consumes half a pound of bread a day.
- Italy is history, art and traditions, but our own Minster forgot that saying art does not feed you. Somebody answer saying art makes you grow!
- Soccer it’s a very big deal: if you wear your soccer t-shirt in the wrong city you are clearly asking to get beat up. Do not go to the stadium with kids. Do not – EVER – say that a team is going to win or score before the end of the match: that’s considered bad luck, and people will really believe it’s your fault no matter what happens. Italians are all soccer coaches: they know better than everybody else who should play for their team.
- We do not go to church every week (or every month, only for weddings) and if we have a cross on our neck it’s probably just a fashion statement. Soccer it’s our religion, and sex is our salvation.
- Women watching is a national sport, the most important after soccer, and before eating. They look at you in a persistent way no matter what, and who is with you.
- If you go out for dinner, enjoy the food. Keep in mind that tipping is not required. In fact, tipping people you personally know it could be considered offensive: the attitude toward tipping is that you can’t buy a person off. Taking home the leftovers is not an option, and leaving food on the plate is frowned upon, so MANGIA!. Portions are pretty large, but people still manage to stay fairly skinny.
- People are warm and welcoming. No matter how fat you are, they will always refill your plate saying you need to eat more, and refill your glass saying it’s good for you. Again, MANGIA!
- There are things you are expected to be able to do by your 10th birthday: swimming, riding a bike, drinking grappa and play soccer (if you are a boy) or know your dream is to marry a soccer player and dance naked on TV (if you are a girl).
- If you are ready to dance naked you will get on TV in no time. We do not care about information. We cannot talk about politics, it’s just not nice to criticize somebody else’s womens….I mean work! It’s not nice! So if you watch TV you will see naked women and sexy commercials. Not that violent garbage you bad guys have in North America!
Italy is just a lot of stuff. It’s true, I did leave my country, and from time to time it disappoints me from time to time, but It’s my country. It gave me the “Italian glasses” that raised me and made me become who I am.
Read my controversial post 10 things I don’t understand about Canada.
Don’t miss what I learned in Canada about Italian people (coming up on my blog).