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