This article will be about anything Italian-related I can think of. It was inspired by the many memes I’ve seen these days.
I’d like to start by sharing some personal info: I was born and bred in Central Italy (Marche is my region). The first time I travelled abroad I was 14, that was my first flight. Pretty late, right?
At that point most of my friends had already visited quite a few countries, both in Europe and Overseas. I don’t think this affected me at all, I believe there is a proper time for everything and things shouldn’t be rushed. Long story short: that first flight was followed by many others. So far I’ve visited 8 countries and I really hope to extend this list in the near future. I am fully aware that I’ve seen only a minuscule part of this planet.
Having said this I’m very fortunate to be born in Italy. I have to admit that I have bittersweet feelings towards my Country and in particular my hometown. I do believe though that recognizing its flaws means I care and I want the best for Italy and Italians. I think that pure ‘blinded’ patriotism is not real patriotism. In order to love your country you need to know its history and its mistakes, this is the only way you can make sure they won’t be repeated.
So let’s get started with some stereotypes:
1)BODY LANGUAGE & GESTURE: just a couple of days ago I taught some international friends some ‘secret’ gestures, it never occurred to me that they weren’t universal. So yes, we do have a ‘national set of gestures’ but the famous hand gesture present in every meme is not really part of it; in addition to this I notice more and more that most people’s body language is quite articulated even though they are not Italian. I guess it’s just a human thing to do!
2) ACCENTS & DIALECTS: Italy has 20 regions and each one has its own accent and dialect (sometimes more than one). Even though I do not talk in my dialect I still have a regional accent while talking in Italian, which is more related to pronunciation and rhythm than anything else. This does affect second language pronunciation as well, so the stereotypical Mario’s accent might be true for some people whereas others have a different one, or completely mask theirs.
3) FOOD: Italians definitely do not eat pizza everyday, some might eat pasta regularly though. Generally I would say that most people follow a Mediterranean diet, however there are many exceptions e.g. Vegetarian, Vegan, Macrobiotic etc.
It also varies from family to family, as in any other part of the world.
Fun facts: I consider pineapple on pizza a crime and I’ve never eaten Mac ’n cheese or Spaghetti meatballs.
4) EDUCATION: High School in Italy is way more difficult than in other European countries, as well as in the USA or Australia. At least this is what I’ve seen from my experience. I’m not saying that it is better than others, but it definitely has different priorities. The no.1 priority in Italy is PURE THEORETICAL KNOWLEDGE. Quite often this means an additional 6 hours of individual study at home to the 5 hours in school. Pretty tough if you ask me.
Of course this depends on the type of school, personal abilities, goals etc.
Other countries prioritize practical knowledge,social skills and overall lifestyle choices.
Again from my experience I would have rather had a better quality of life at the time than a broad knowledge (that unfortunately quite often is not internationally recognized) but Italy had other plans for me😅
5) LAZY PEOPLE?: this is linked to the previous point, I have the feeling that Italians are associated with 24/7 party-goers. Well this idea is far from the truth. Most people only go out during Weekends, which by the way are limited to Saturday afternoon and Sunday.
6) EXPANSIVE: it depends on your personality, not all Italians are expansive! e.g. I’m quite reserved and I really need my personal space (and respect others).
I would say that this is enough about Italy for now, next time I’ll tell you my favorite places in Italy!
See you soon! X