Like all peoples, we Italians have many habits and traditions that may seem absurd and bizarre in the eyes of foreigners, but for us they are absolutely normal! In this article, we will see the most interesting and fun ones! In the comments, then, you have to let me know if you have any Italian relatives or friends to whom you have seen doing these things!
Of course, before our Italian compatriots get angry saying that’s not true and that not everyone is like that and that these are stereotypes, I want to emphasize that yes, in this article we will talk about stereotypes and yes, stereotypes are based on a little truth. But obviously, they’re not things that are true for everyone. There are exceptions, as always! The aim of the article is to entertain our audience of foreign Italian students, to make them better know the Italian culture, also to watch for example all those movies that, let’s face it, are based on these stereotypes!
Habits and traditions in Italy
Generally, Italians care a lot about their appearance: you will hardly meet rude and messy people at the supermarket, at the gas station, at the post office or at the bank! Even to go to the gym, girls often wear makeup and boys carefully choose the sportswear to wear. If in other countries it is normal to go shopping in total comfort, even in pajamas and slippers, know that here we have style in our DNA!
Another thing that many foreigners make fun of is a kind of an unhealthy attachment to family. If in other States it is customary to leave the house where you grew up when you reached the age of majority (18 years), or shortly after, in Italy it is easy to know eternal Peter Pan of 30, 40 or even 50 years who still sleep in their bedroom, pampered, served and revered by parents. And even if they no longer live with the family of birth and find the courage to marry or live alone, the contacts are very frequent, whether “mommy” calls to know how they are, whether they ate, if there are news, or whether they are looking for “mommy” for advice, questions, opinions, outbursts, etcetera…
A curious fact that distinguishes us is our fear for indigestion: all, as children, we were terrified of parents, grandparents, uncles or cousins on “catching cold” after a meal. In particular, when you decide to spend a day at the lake or the sea, after lunch it is absolutely forbidden (by our family) to swim immediately! They need to pass at least 3 hours, before you can even dip your foot in water. Perhaps, all this terror comes from not really dietetic nor light lunches that we do not give up even in summer, on the beach, under the beach umbrella.
But in general, we Italians are very hypochondriac, and so we have so many other fears related to our health, things that we don’t do for any reason in the world, because they can cause a whole series of physical problems, for which, of course, We have very specific names. For example, we can’t leave the house with wet hair, because we might get a cold, a wrinkle, a flu! Or, we can’t go directly under the air conditioning, or turn on the air conditioning or the fan when we’re very sweaty, because we might get a “colpo della strega” (a backstrain), which is a sharp pain in any part of the back.
Let’s now turn to expressions of affection, both verbal and physical. For Italians it is more than normal to embrace a friend, to give two kisses on the cheek to everyone, indistinctly, even people who have just met, to take jokingly by the hand and even call themselves “love” or “treasure”. In other countries, this is definitely a no-no! Abroad, these expressions of affection are reserved for the family or a few close friends, but we Italians are very warm and “passionate”, we pat on the shoulder, we walk arm in arm, we exchange kisses and hugs, Even when there’s no love affair going on.
If in other States an appointment is fixed (especially for work) at 12:00, you can rest assured that, ten minutes before, those directly concerned are already in the place set. In Italy we are rather “elastic and flexible” with scheduling appointments: the midday meeting could slip to midday and a quarter, midday and a half… and why not turn it into an aperitif or even a lunch followed by coffee and coffee killer? In short, everything is possible!
In Italy the food is SACRED, especially the traditional one. Now, I’m not saying that in Italy there are no ethnic restaurants (in fact, there are!). And I’m not saying that Italians do not like it (in fact, sushi, tacos and exotic things are overpopulated, especially in recent times). But if there is one thing that Italians just can’t tolerate, that is the exotic transformation of traditional Italian recipes. Any example? The pasta with ketchup, the pizza with pineapple, the caffelatte during or after lunch, perhaps accompanied by salted foods, the overcooked pasta, the hot wine, the carbonara prepared with cream or watered down coffee. Well, even if not all Italians are professional cooks, these mistakes are unforgivable!
We conclude the article with a rather unusual Italian habit: I bet you had never heard this one! You should know that Italians, when they have to leave the house and be out for some time (hours or even days), leave lights on, radio, stereo or TV on and in operation (in their home). Even, there are on the market plugs with timers to program switching on and off of a lamp. The most curious thing? It is the police who give these suggestions to the Italians, to prevent thefts in the apartment.
Do you have anything else to report? Let us know in the comments, we are curious! And don’t forget to also read the article about Italian superstitions: it’s very interesting and funny!