Famous for the ‘Dolce Vita’, excellent food and elegant sense of style, the amazing country of Italy can teach its visitors a huge amount! It’s not tourists though who feel a profound sense of growth and change while visiting Italy because the Expat community is also massively influenced by the native people, the culture and the country.
When you move to Italy, or visit on a holiday, you’ll instantly be struck by the relaxed pace of life, the incredible food and the friendly, open society. It won’t take long for you to start feeling at home but it will take a while for you to learn everything that the country has to teach you. Many of your preconceptions about life and how to live it will be challenged but as long as you’re adaptable then you’ll have an incredible experience that will serve you well for the rest of your life.
It’s Easy To Meet People in Italy.
In most countries around the world the average person is fairly introverted and not open to striking up conversations with strangers and people they don’t know. In Italy though, nothing could be further from the truth! The people of Italy are wonderfully friendly and once you get to know them they’ll quickly treat you as though you were a member of their family!
This can be a little hard to get used to, particularly if you’re used to living in a major city like Philadelphia, where speaking to strangers is very rare, but once you get into the flow of Italian life it’ll soon become second nature to you too.
In Italy, it’s common for people to take a nice evening walk and chat with their neighbors and anyone they meet on the streets! This is one of the nicest parts of Italian life and so if you’re new to the community don’t be worried about strolling through the town in the evening and chatting to people you meet along the way.
Italy Will Teach You To Really Value Your Food!
Italy is well known for its incredible cuisine. This is not just because the people are good chefs but it’s also because they truly love and value their food in a way that few Americans do. Much of the Italian social life revolves around long, slow meals and so they really do take the time to focus on their food which takes on an almost sacred role in their lives.
Italian cuisine is also a lot more varied than you might have had first expected. Every region, and even many towns, have their own specialities and twists on the standard classics so if you’re not already a food buff it won’t take long for this to change after you arrive in Italy.
Time is a Relative Concept.
For most Westerners, life is a fast, hectic and busy experience with very little time to simply relax and watch the world go by. This means that when you first arrive in Italy you might find it hard to settle in because Italians really don’t rush around, shops are open for fewer hours during the day and even waiters might take a while to walk over and take your order! People are also quite often late for appointments as well which can certainly be frustrating but unfortunately you just have to learn to adapt.
However, for cultural and societal reasons the tradition in Italy is to slow down and enjoy the finer things in life. The concept of time, therefore, is very different to what you’re probably used to and to enjoy life in Italy you’ll have to change your usual expectations. That said, once you do adapt, you’ll never go back! In no time at all you’ll find yourself feeling far less stressed and happier as you slowly meander through your days, taking the time to really notice the beauty of life!
Learn To Go With The Flow.
One of the characteristics of Italian society is that people are generally less controlling and just allow things to happen on their own. Most people in the West are hyper controlling and plan their lives down to the fine details. Italians though, don’t take things so seriously and are more comfortable with seeing what will happen!
This can certainly be a little difficult to come to terms with at first but once you do you’ll feel less stressed and be more able to enjoy life’s random twists and turns. Once you begin to let things happen you’ll find more pleasure in the unexpected elements of life and what’s more, they’ll start happening more often as you plan less and allow serendipity guide you!
Celebrate Every Day!
Italians love to get together with friends and family and spend quality time together, and what’s more, they don’t need an excuse to do so! For many people, large family gatherings are saved for Christmas and Thanksgiving but in Italy it’s often a daily occurrence.
This helps to foster wonderful bonds and keeps families strong and happy. We could all learn a lot from this great Italian custom and can all benefit from spending more quality time together with our loved ones.
Try To Maintain a ‘Bella Figura’.
Italians are famous for their understated chic style and classy dress codes and this concept is perfectly summed up by the phrase, ‘bella figura’; which literally translates as a beautiful figure although it means much more than just that.
The concept of a bella figura in Italy is a whole way of life which includes taking excellent care of one’s body, health and diet while also spending a lot of time sunbathing and walking around outside getting plenty of fresh air. This helps to improve Italians’ complexions, keeps them looking young as well as happy, stress free and connected to the world around them.
As part of this ideology it comes naturally for Italians to dress well, even if they’re just relaxing for the day or dropping by to see their family. There is something almost artistic about the casual way that Italians manage to dress and behave in such a stylish way and if you can pick up a few tricks from the locals you’ll never regret it, and your friends back home are sure to notice the difference in you.
Italians Are Very Proud of Their Culture and Heritage.
One thing that you can’t help but notice is that Italians are extremely proud of their cultural heritage – and no wonder, they have an ancient history full of some of the most important events of the last few thousand years in the West! As you explore Italy, you’ll see the remains of Roman architecture but you can also find even older Etruscan sites that date back to the pre-Roman Empire. And of course, Italy was the home of the European Renaissance that produced some of the most famous artworks of all time!
While you are in Italy you should always be respectful of the nation’s culture and history, however, when you see it for yourself you’ll be so astounded that it might be hard not to feel a little envious of their magnificent culture.
Keep It Simple But High Quality.
Sometimes, particularly in America, when guests come round for dinner they go to great lengths to create a stunning dish however in Italy, sometimes, they just keep it simple! There are times when you’ll visit someone and they will serve a very basic pasta dish that is, nonetheless, made of the finest locally sourced ingredients.
You don’t always need to overcomplicate your cooking and in many cases it’s a better plan to keep it simple. However, always use the very best materials that you can to put together the meal, like using organic tomatoes and plenty of fresh herbs. Healthy eating is a central part of the Italian lifestyle and no matter where you are from, as an Expat, you can learn a lot from this excellent tradition of quality over complexity!
Italians Are Passionate About Life.
Italians are passionate and flamboyant people who love to express themselves to the very fullest! People use big expressions of joy and happiness with expressive hand gestures with all their energy going into what they are saying.
This is quite different to many other countries in the West where people tend to be far more reserved but after you’ve spent a little time in Italy you might find that their passionate view of life is quite contagious! We could all learn from the passionate lifestyles of the Italians and even if you don’t quite get to their natural expressiveness you can still pick up some of it to take back home with you!
Italy Can Teach Us All A Few Things That Will Improve Your Life!
There is nowhere on the planet that is quite like Italy. It is full of its own unique charms, quirky social traditions and wonderfully friendly, flamboyant and passionate people.
When you are in Italy, whether you are visiting as a tourist or living there as an Expat, you can learn an awful lot from the locals and the amazing culture that they have created through the generations of their ancient homeland.