10 things I’ve learned by dating an Italian

Discovering a new culture is an amazing travel experience, one that is even better when learned from the one you love. I’m sure many of us can relate to this if you have met someone while traveling or have married into a completely different culture than your own. My English culture is completely different to the Italian culture my partner has grown up in, and overย the past 5 years, these are the 10 things I’ve learned about Italian culture…

1. You will eat pasta at least three times per week…mmm maybe four
Carbs! Unfortunately, something you can not avoid in Italian cuisine. Bread and pasta are two ingredients that make up an integral part of Italian meals and subsequently the reason I have gained weight since I met my partner in 2009.

Tomato Pasta Dish

2. Family meals look like this
Family meals back home were saved for special occasions or dining out. In Italy, it’s a daily occurrence, and one I quite enjoy.

Things I've Learnt Dating an Italian

Hmm OK maybe without the cheesy smiles and the posing but you get the idea…

3. Everybody talks with their hands
Something I have noticed I do more often than ever before. I wave my hands around while I talk like a native which leads me to Italian Hand Gestures 101.

Italian Hand Gestures












4. When speaking there are two volumes, loud and louder
Ever walked into an Italian restaurant and heard nothing but silence? No me neither! Italian’s speak with a passion and that passion sometimes comes out at a few decibels higher than the average person. But you get used to after awhile.

speak louder

5. Eating take away pizza is against the rules
Dominos & Pizza Hut is just a no.
















6. One Italian Family can populate a small country.
I always thought my family was large but it is nothing compared to an Italian Family. I am still learning everyone’s name…

natale2012 (121)

7. Children become wine and food connoisseurs from a young age
I wasn’t allowed to drink wine until I was way into my teens and I didn’t start learning to cook properly until then either, but children from Italian families learn this from a lot younger. Probably explains why they have the best wine and food in the world.


8. Special occasions means you have to find the comfiest seat
We all love a good excuse to celebrate a special occasion with family. Weddings, birthdays, baptism and Christmas are all times when the family gathers together for a meal. But I was not prepared. 9 hours later and 6 courses later I left my seat with a very achy bottom.

Or have one of these to hand!

Or have one of these to hand!

9. Italians have pride
The only time I experienced English having pride was during the World Cup or a royal celebration. But wherever you go in Italy you can see Italian’s have a strong pride for their country. Flags adorn balcony’s and shop windows, the football team can actually sing their national anthem and they will wear Italy merchandise whenever possible!

This is a picture I took in Verona

This is a picture I took in Verona

10. And most importantly…
Theย family knows everything. Even what you had for dinner last night…



  1. June 25, 2014 / 3:24 PM

    Ya know, seems pretty good to me. Hoping to move to Italy one of these days for a while. I just hope my Brit can handle it!

    • June 26, 2014 / 12:07 PM

      I think you’ll be fine. ๐Ÿ™‚ Italy is a lovely place to live!

  2. June 26, 2014 / 5:09 AM

    I lived for a year in Italy,and except for the insights into the family (which I unfortunately have no idea about), everything else is spot on! And the family stuff is rather similar to our Indian culture ๐Ÿ™‚ (Hmmm, is that why I love Italy so much?)
    I’m really envious of them though… So. Many. Carbs. And yet they’re all so slim and fit looking!! But then, people were ALWAYS out running ๐Ÿ˜› No matter what time of the day, that’s probably why ๐Ÿ˜€

    • June 26, 2014 / 12:08 PM

      I know!! I don’t get it…how they can eat so much pasta and still be skinny! I know people who do no exercise and still manage to eat what they want ๐Ÿ™

      • June 28, 2014 / 5:07 AM

        And then there is the rest of the world running all the time and still struggling to fit into last month’s clothes :/ ๐Ÿ˜›

  3. Dave Cole
    June 26, 2014 / 9:42 AM

    #7 is one of the reasons why I wish I was raised in an Italian family! Having that cooking knowledge from an early age really gives you a leg up on life. I grew up with a lot of Italian kids…so many of these ring true and brought back nice memories. Fun list!

    • June 26, 2014 / 12:12 PM

      I agree! I learnt to cook from my mother but only specific dishes…Up until I met my partner Spaghetti Bolognaise was made from a jar! Now it is prohibited. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. June 26, 2014 / 10:08 AM

    Agree with Dave – learning your way around a kitchen for an early age is fantastic. (And no Dominos or Pizza Hut sounds great.)

    • June 26, 2014 / 12:13 PM

      I agree but what if you get late night cravings? Would you really want to make a pizza from scratch? ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Christina
    June 26, 2014 / 12:07 PM

    ๐Ÿ˜€ Had lots of fun reading your article and itยดs sooooo true.

  6. June 26, 2014 / 12:09 PM

    You’ve captured some of the great things about Italy (especially eating pasta all the time!). When I’m in Italy I find myself waving my hands around much more than at home.

  7. June 26, 2014 / 12:13 PM

    haha this is brilliant!!! I’ll have to write one about dating a German..

  8. June 26, 2014 / 3:05 PM

    I absolutely love this – and am totally with you! I never dated one, but I spent a year living alongside Italians in Russia and these thigns are so true!

  9. June 26, 2014 / 3:07 PM

    By the way – I absolutely LOVE that “total followers” widget in your sidebar. Did you design it yourself or is there any way I could download it somewhere? SO handy!

    • June 26, 2014 / 6:30 PM

      Hey Sabina! I actually bought it as a plugin for $20 but I’ll email the file over to you. It’s a great plugin! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. June 26, 2014 / 3:12 PM

    I used to date a Roman (she got really huffy if I called her Italian! Haha!) And I know exactly what you mean! But I don’t mind pasta 4 or 5 times a week, there are so many different dishes you can do, and carbs are good for you! And yes, Italian families are mental! Haha!

    • June 26, 2014 / 6:29 PM

      Ssshhh I don’t think my Sicilian boyfriend has seen that I have called him an Italian either ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. June 26, 2014 / 3:31 PM

    Haha! This is hilarious! Thanks for making me smile early in the morning. Really cute post ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. June 26, 2014 / 8:39 PM

    This is so funny! Especially number 10!! All my family meals used to be like those Italian ones when we were younger (but then I have a stupidly big family!!) ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. June 26, 2014 / 10:02 PM

    Haha, I love the Italian people. I once had an italian roommate for a couple of weeks and whenever she was in the room, she would talk so much louder than me and with her whole body, she always got all the attention. But still you really had to like her ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. June 27, 2014 / 12:06 AM

    This is so great! No Pizza Hut ๐Ÿ™ That is tragic. I dated a guy from Roma once. It did not go well …. ha

    • June 27, 2014 / 10:19 AM

      Romans are a different breed of Italian much like a Sicilian – but in a good way I think! Very passionate people! ๐Ÿ™‚
      And I know! No Pizza Hut ๐Ÿ™

  15. June 29, 2014 / 1:58 AM

    Cool post. I love Italy and they very funny and interesting traditions and mannerisms. Nicely captured!

  16. June 29, 2014 / 2:03 AM

    Sounds pretty great to me, although I’m sure sure I could handle 9 hours of sitting either! Thanks for the insight. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. June 29, 2014 / 1:40 PM

    Are you talking about me? hahaha, that’s so true, and it’s coming from an Italian! I loved how you kept the post real and stereotype-free!

    • July 3, 2014 / 1:06 PM

      I don’t like stereotypes! ๐Ÿ™‚ But I found all of these things were true in almost every family/Italian and I hadn’t really noticed/acknowledged them until recently.

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