25 Things I’ve Learned About Italy

I’m often asked to compare Italy to the United States to give people an idea what it’s like living here. Obviously, a lot of these things are generalizations, things I’ve heard from my husband or our Italian friends but written in a humorous and exaggerated way for my own amusement. The statistics and stuff I read in  books or articles, and many of them are linked. It’s titled, 25 Things I’ve Learned About Italy because it’s things that I’ve learned from others and a few things that I’ve observed through an expats eyes. It’s not 25 opinions about Italy. That list would be a lot different and probably funnier and more offensive. So, it might sound like I’m trash talking, but that’s just because I was blessed with an incurable tendency to be ironic. Also, it’s also good to keep a mental note that this is a humor blog where I freely make fun of pretty much everyone (Myself, Italians, Americans, and sometimes Poodles.) It helps to have a good sense of humor before approaching anything that I write. If you’re offended easily, you should watch this instead.

1. The mother-in-law is one of the top cited reasons for divorce.

2. The infidelity rate is in the 60% range, yet divorce is only 11% [Italian society of divorce lawyers]. So, basically, the majority cheats and either doesn’t get caught or people do not divorce for cheating. Cheating has long been known to be a part of Italy’s culture and is often encouraged, rewarded, and approved by peers. Bro’s before Ho’s y’all!

3. Mammoni is a cultural phenomenon where the mother basically breast feeds the children into their forties. After they stop breast feeding, they send liters of their breast milk to be used as coffee creamer or in cereal. Mostly.

4. On average people do not marry until their 30′s, and they don’t move out of their parents house until they marry. This is mainly due to economic issues and more recently, Mammoni.

5. People don’t clean up their dogs shit. Ever. If you’re in Florence, you should always keep your eyes on the sidewalk. On a different note, everyone in Florence seems to love dogs and they spoil the shit out of them (pun intended, hey oh!). Oliver’s head gets rubbed down and molested every four feet while we’re on a walk.

6. Most of the apartments, restaurants, etc are COLD in the winter (compared to the US). Heat is very expensive and nobody uses it as much as we do in the US. Seriously, things are expensive here. Keep whining about your 4 dollar per gallon gas people, it’s like 4 dollars PER LITER here.

7. Everyone says they are Catholic, and Athiest at the same time. This confuses me.

8. It seems that everyone smokes and it’s the only place I’ve witnessed three generations sharing a smoke together: Grandma, Mother, And teenage daughter. It is also legal to smoke and drink as a teenager.

9. Coffee is a big deal and Italy has great coffee, however, everyone drinks it like they’re throwing back a thimble of gasoline. Sitting down to have a nice, big, cup of coffee is not common. Stand up, chug espresso, then go smoke.

10. Friends and family members do not share “personal information.”

11. Florence is full of Neo-Nazis and Fascists. Yes, seriously. If you see someone who looks like a skinhead, they are in fact a skinhead.

12. Graffiti is used mostly for love. “Dear Angelina, my little star, I will always love you,” is what most of the spray paint around the city says. Yes, seriously. It’s not gangster at all, it’s pretty much bad poetry. Or rascist.

13. Italy has one of the lowest ratings in Europe for women’s rights.

14. Northern and Southern Italians don’t like each other, or rather, they generalize heavily about one another. Why? Typically, the north is industial and educated while the south is still stuck in the 1920′s. This is actually kind of true, but not entirely and it has a sociological/economical explaination that I’m too lazy to get into right now. My husband is super intelligent, and hard-working, yet he is from the south, however, I have noticed that really traditional southern Italians are really sexist and super Yee-Haw. Also, Florence is considered “the south” according to my friends in Brecia, yet Florentines consider anything south of Rome “the south.” Also, Florentines are some of the laziest people I’ve ever met in my life so…generalizing is stupid unless I’m the one doing it. To give you an example of north vs south reasoning, it’s common to hear these things, “Oh, she’s from Milan so she’s probably really rich and snobby,” or, “Oh he’s from the South so he probably beats his wife and doesn’t work.” And no I’m not exagerating. People say these things.

15. Italians are really under-paid. An Engineer, for example, is likely to make only slightly more than someone who works at a cafe. It is creating a brain-drain where the smartest people in the country are leaving in search of higher wages. Way to go Italy, you totally just lost the new Di Vinci by being cheap.

16. Education is mostly free in Italy. The only downfall is that there is no real incentive to go, since it’s unlikely you’ll make a lot of money. Also, it’s not uncommon for people to spend 10 years  earning a bachelors degree. And when you ask someone “how is school going,” the response is often, “really, really difficult.”

17. Italian men are pretty romantic culturally compared to American men. However, lying is also a large part of the culture, so enjoy the shit they say but know they’re lying to you.

18. If you want the morning-after pill, you’ll possibly have to go before a panel of assholes who will tell you that you’re plenty old to have a baby so, no, you can’t have the pill. Then you’ll threaten to ship your baby to them if you have one and they’ll just stare at you like you’re the asshole.

19. The food is amazing. While Americans have the reputation for food obsession (and being chubby), these people are actually obsessed with food. In my husband’s region, a birthday dinner lasts around 4 hours. Yes, eating the entire time for 4 hours. Yes, you do want to kill yourself after, and yes, I do sometimes sneak my food to the dog under the table who then pukes on the rug.

20. Americans have a horrible reputation here for being loud, slutty, stupid, and trashy. I can actually see how that opinion formed. I am all of those things. But seriously, most of the tourists here from the US are really old, middle class Americans who haven’t travleled much. They often complain a lot, demand too much, and say really odd things to the locals. The other group here are 18 year old college students who are spending a semester abroad. They are suddenly allowed to drink and have no social obligations to act like a normal person so they go crazy, drink, dance, and try out European men like ice cream flavors. In the US these are the same good christian girls who often go to Tufts, Yale, and many, many good schools. Lady in the US, topless dancer in Europe.

21. Europeans are not circumcised and so all the dudes have elephant trunks in their pants. Americans are the “weird” ones who chop their willy’s up. This reminds me of a story from art school. The nude model came in and two different girls leaned over to me and asked, “what is wrong with his weiner.” I mumbled, “uhm…he’s not jewish?” For the record, it does seem weird to me to cut up your junk.

22. According to my Italian friends, making new friends is hard. Even Italians don’t often make friends with other Italians past their teens. Basically, the friends you have in your teenage years are often the friends you have for your entire life. Going out with an Italian person 200 times in mixed company will not result in you going shopping or having coffee together. Unless they are trying to have sex with you.

23. Italians have weird boundaries. I’ve heard this story from a lot of female women here. “My mother-in-law keeps inviting my husbands EX GIRLFRIEND over to have dinner with us!”   Because all that matters here is “bella figura.” Which is, a good impression. So, regardless of the inappropriateness of a situation, how people see you will always be more important than anything else.

24. This one is good for tourists who think that a tube top, booty shorts, and flip-flops constitutes an outfit. Italians in Florence do not go out with bare legs until June. No, it doesn’t matter if it’s hot, they do not care. You’ll notice that they’ll wear tights under their shorts even in death heat. Why? Bella figura, Bitches.

25. Liking your wife seems to be weird. I’ve never heard an Italian say anything nice about their wife or partners. In fact, I’ve heard men outright talk about wanting to have sex with other women. A man who likes his partner will be teased for acting like it. Because it’s not cool to think your partner is awesome (this is much stronger in the south where Machismo is still a thing). Italian couples often seem like two people who just ingested battery acid together. I read a study that said it’s because  Italians do not always marry for friendship or even love since there is still a strong tendency towards tradition (making family and having children)(http://www.acop.com/press/2010/10/married_couples/.) They often marry to “produce children” as is required by the Catholic church. In fact, if you marry without producing children, the church does not recognize your marriage (At least that’s what our priest told  us). Kind of like how my mother-in-law doesn’t recognize our marriage because she hates me. Actually, that’s not the same at all but I just wanted to whine about it. My husband and I hate each other. We totally got married to split rent. Now I only pay 50%. Everyone wins!

So anyways, now you know what Italy is like: A porn stars vagina. Famous, reputable, disloyal, cold, dark, shaved, and covered in graffiti and yet everyone desperately wants to be near it.

Welcome to Italy!

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198 thoughts on “25 Things I’ve Learned About Italy

  1. Pingback: Things I’ve Learned About Italy | Dirtyfilthythings's Blog

  2. Love this post! I’m hoping to move from the US to Italy (preferably Florence) for grad school in a little over a year and yours is one of the best blogs I’ve read- Thank you! Since it looks like you went for a similar reason, I’d love to ask you a few questions if ever you wouldn’t mind.

      • All totally legal… to the best of my knowledge ;)

        First, obviously, if you have any suggestions, I’ll take them. I’ve moved all over the US, but this is new territory to me! I’m planning to apply directly to schools instead of using an exchange program. I’m going for psychology (research, not clinical), and applying direct is a matter of saving several thousand dollars a year (student loan money I plan to live on– hey, I’d be using it here, anyway, right? Might as well go into debt to live the dream AND get educated.)

        Did you get your dog there or before you left? I’m definitely bringing my dog with me and I’ve looked into the procedures, which seem simple enough, but reassurance would be nice! And I know Italians love dogs, so is it easier to find a dog-friendly apartment? I’m over a year away from moving, but I look at apartments online sometimes and have yet to see anywhere say whether or not pets were allowed, so I’m curious.

        This is a strange one. I’ve been planning to change my last name, I don’t speak to my family for various reasons and had been considering taking my adopted grandfather’s name. However, the last name I was born with is Italian and the potential new name is Jewish, with a W and a K in it (though my first name has a Y, so it’ll be obvious on paper regardless that I’m not native.) Anyway, in my dream world, by the time I finish my MA & PhD, I’ll have found a way to stay in Italy. Do you think it would serve me better to have an Italian last name? Or am I making an issue where one doesn’t exist? (I over-think things sometimes.) This became especially curious for me when you mentioned Neo-Nazis. I happen to look more Calabrese than Jewish, but I’d still prefer not to get lynched- it’s a life-long goal of mine.

        I can’t really think of anything else, I’ve been reading your blog all day and it’s really great! You should publish!

      • Honestly, I would keep the Italian last name simply because it will make things easier for you. They tend not to check anything if it’s Italian (passport, etc). It’s not that difficult to stay in Italy. There are many Americans here who did exactly what you’re doing. There are a lot of neo nazis here, but they tend to target immigrants more than the jewish population so I think you’ll be fine. :) Did you already find a program you’re interested in? Pets are allowed in pretty much every apartment in Florence. I’ve never had a landlord say, “no pets,” so far. I would simply tell them you have a dog when you’re inquiring about the apartment. Should be easy.

      • Thank you so much for answering! I read your whole blog yesterday like some kind of insane stalker (I swear I’m not, I’m far too lazy. Especially when it’s married ladies across the Atlantic. But I’ve had the flu and have nothing to do but read weblogs.) I’m glad I haven’t started the proceedings on the name change yet, I had a feeling it might help.

        I’m going for Psych Research and the only school in Florence that has a program is UniFi, so as much as I want to be in Florence, it’s likely I’ll end up somewhere else. To be fair, most of the reason Florence is the object of my affection is because I would live IN the Uffizi if I could. I sent out emails to every school with a PhD program in Psychology last week asking questions about the program, tuition and suggestions for things that would improve my admittance chances, but from what I remember of Italian Standard Time, it could be May before I hear back from anyone. I also heard that since I have impeccable grades and American student loan money, schools will be tripping over themselves to admit me, so my hope is high.

        I love how dog-friendly Europe is! I would probably glue my dog to me if I could, so the idea that I can bring her everywhere after we move thrills me!

        I’ll be in Rome, Florence and Venice for a quick visit next month, no time to look at schools, but at least it’ll remind me what Italy is like before I commit myself to living there for the next 5-7 (or more) years.

        Thank you so much, I really genuinely appreciate it. Normally I’d offer to buy you a ‘thank you’ drink (I live by the International Currency of Booze), but it’s such a long way out, I’ll have drunk that drink by then ;)

  3. Found your blog today and it’s wonderful. I just returned from Italy this month; spent six months teaching English, kind of. I made so many great friends and had my first killer sud seven hour Christmas eve, day meal. I told my friends that ” Americans can eat, but Italians love food” . They don’t fully agree but it’s true.
    Anyway, I really enjoy your blog and plan to keep reading. Good stuff.
    buona fortuna con la suocera!

  4. Pingback: First Time On Surviving In Italy? | Surviving M.E.: Living In Italy

  5. Thanks so much for cheering me up. This is a really funny, honest, insightful post! Ha, I was having such a bad morning and hating everything and everyone Italian…Mostly I love them but not today! I’ve lived in Rome for just over one year now and I’m still taken aback by how rude people can be at times and yeah I get frustrated with all these stupid Italian customs (not all of them are stupid sorry!) and rules that nobody explains! I want so much to stay here and I’m part Italian and feel that I should be accepted more easily but they treat foreigners kind of oddly, like we’re a whole other breed. Anyway you have pretty much covered the lot!

    • Thank you Luisa! Yes, it’s true, Italians do treat foreign people differently. They’re not used to diversity yet. They also don’t understand the concept of being “part” or “half” Italian. Where you were born dictates what you are to them. If you’re born in the US than you are American, and that’s it, and it doesn’t matter if your mother or father were born in Italy. There isn’t a deep understanding of embracing your heritage like we have in the US. With that said, I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog. It can be very frustrating to be here sometimes, trust me, I totally get it. lol.

      • I’m Scottish Italian and some of them really Know nothing about Scotland and that can be amusing. They ask, do we also speak English?? So yeah funny sometimes. I grew up with a mad Italian dad or at least what seemed mad to us…he’s just Italian and proper old school. I hope to stay here I don’t want to be a quitter. It is getting easier now. Anyway thanks again!

      • Well, the fact that “italians do treat foreing people differently” depends on a lot of things. On WHERE in Italy you go to, on WHO you meet, and on HOW you yourself behave.
        I talk for myself: I’m italian, and i met a pretty huge amount of people from all around europe while travelling. I can tell you: if you had me or some of my friends while staying in our country, you would have felt like home.
        I do agree with many of the things you wrote on your blog, and itade me laugh. But pay attention not to generalize too much: many people would be really able to make you see that things can be completely different from how you paint them.
        Anyway, cheers and good luck with everything!

      • Of course Silvia. LOL. There are different people in every country. I have Italian friends who are super awesome and I adore them. That doesn’t mean that 99% of people I meet aren’t weird because I’m American. Most Italians, as one Italian man on here put wisely, get their information about American culture from T.V. (and most Americans get information on Italian culture from T.V. too) so when I meet them they have already decided what I’m like, how my family is, and they act accordingly to what they’ve assumed. That’s how most people are in every country. There is a large group of ignorant people, and then there are people who are “different” and more open-minded. It’s the same everywhere in every country.

      • that people treat people differently depending on their expectations often formed on television is true for everybody.
        it also reminds me of an anecdote from back in my school days.
        I’m half dutch and half italian, lived for years in holland and england but have been for most of my life in italy.
        I was on a school exchange thing in france, in the city of tours.
        the family I was staying with was multi-generation in that I was staying with the grand-parents (the only french people I know who were crap at cooking). in the other portion of the house lived the daughter of said grandparents, with her husband, her daughter and a japanese exchange student who was there on a ballet school.
        the japanese girl’s family came to visit: parents who only spoke japanese, elder daughter who spoke pretty good english. none of the french spoke english. the exchange student spoke no english and very little french.
        net result was that conversation flowed as follows
        japanese translated by the elder daughter into english, translated into french by me.

        the relevant bit of this anecdote was that I spoke both french and english..so the fact that I was half italian was discarded by the japanese parents as an almost impossibility.
        but I was also told that I did not conform to the japanese stereotype of dutch people: tall, blond, blue eyed and very clumsy.
        I am none of those things (well.. ok, I can be clumsy).
        but yeah.. that’s stereotypes at work.

    • One thing I think Americans and Australians especially are unaware of, when they think of their Italian heritage, is that this is in fact a *local* Italian heritage. In my experience, what you perceive to be a national cultural heritage is actually regional and will very probably have little meaning for most other Italians. Many Americans and Australians (but also fellow-Europeans) consider Italy as a single nation, but in fact local cultures are widely diverse and in extreme cases have literally nothing to do with one another (that is also why there is such intense rivalry between regions). Italy was actually not one country until 150 years ago, so it is in fact 100 years younger than the US.

      • I know. When I’m not writing funny posts, I’m reading. Also, I live in Florence, my husband is from the south, and we have many friends in Brescia. I spend a lot of time in various regions. But most importantly, this is a humor blog. It’s all meant to be sarcastic and ironic.

      • This was meant as a reply to Luisa, but of course I guess it can apply to you, M.E. . Both you and Luisa raise an interesting poing about national heritage and what it can mean to Americans. You see (Luisa especially), to an Italian it is quite normal to consider national culture linked to the place of birth. We simply do not understand how anyone can have an attachement to a country they have never lived in and – in many cases – never even seen. Luisa, you refer to yourself as Scottish-Italian, but am I making a wild guess, when I say that you actually found both Italy and Scotland strange compared to the image you had of these places/cultures?

  6. Hilarious and totally, utterly, true…I’m moving to Torino this month but already know it very well as it is my partners city, we have a little girl and another on the way…I came across you in my early search for ex-pats, I’ve pretty much shared all your experiences and thought this approach to find like minded Brits (me) and Americans might be my ticket to pre-longed sanity abroad…:) Looking forward to following your blogs now I’ve found you…thanks!

    • Janie,

      Thank you! Welcome to the land of crazy! We’re glad to have you. Let me know if you have any questions or anything, though it sounds like you’re already pretty familiar with Italy. And congrats on the baby!

  7. i’ve lived in mexico for half of the last 10 years and almost every one of your comments applies to mexico also. even the north/south thing. but really, almost all of it. thanks for the fun read.

  8. Moved from China to Mexico recently and can already see the similarities with what you wrote about Italy. In China people live for the future whether as teenagers sacrificing every waking moment to score high on the test for college or as adults forgoing any adventure until they retire. Only big thing in the present is shopping and buying expensive crap that gives you “face”. Mexicans. like Italians, seem to be much better at living in the now and letting the future take care of itself. On that note, I think I’ll have a beer.

    • PS. Also, from everything I have heard the supreme role of the husband’s mother could not be trumped by the Italian one. In Thailand, where I lived before China, it is the wife and her mother that have the supreme relationship. The husband occupies a level of priority somewhat below the goldfish.

      • Ah, I’ve heard this. We were in Thailand in May (we fell in love with it) and had a long chat with our tour guide one day. She mentioned that men were not all that important in Thai culture in a lot of ways. I found it to be very interesting and a little refreshing in comparison to Italian culture. It would drive everyone nuts for me to launch into a huge rant about gender roles, etc in Italy, but it’s sadly unbalanced. I’m not really a proponent of either sex being “better” but I do think “equal” is important for a society to suck less. LOL.

  9. Oh my god I never was in Italy before but I love this post! I just moved to Ireland and have to get used to a new cultur but at least I didnt marry someone and have to like it ( ;
    Awesome text, laughed my ass off! Love your style.

    • Thank you! We’re happy to have you here! I love Ireland. I wrote a blog post about it at one point (somewhere on here) called how I ireland. It’s really a wonderful country. :)

  10. Hi, I realize that I could sound like an old southern Italian patriotic woman who loves her country, but, really, you are generalizing A LOT:

    1. I love my mother-in-law and she loves me. And, really, this is actually quite a normal thing so I’m not jus a lucky girl.

    2. Not completely untrue but some men just boast about their infidelity but they’re actually their wife’s slave. Personally, my fiancé doesn’t cheat and neither do I.

    3. Quite true, but thankfully my mother-in-law never sends us parcels full of homemade jam, tomato sauce or extra virgin olive oil (although I would appreciate it sometimes…). My mother is too busy and/or lazy to do any of that stuff so when we visit she just buys us a nice dinner in a restaurant.

    4. True, but mostly for economical issues.

    5. True. Personally, I always used to clean up my dog’s poop but, luckily, my mum taught me good manners. I have a cat now and have to scoop up a ridiculous amount of shit everyday… lol

    6. True.

    7. My friends and I might be weirdos but it seems to me we’re mostly anti-clerical. I can’t say I don’t believe in the existence of some kind of god, but the catholic church definetely doesn’t represent me. Atheists are atheists, those who say they’re also catholic should seriously consider psichological treatment, according to me…

    8. True.

    9. True, although the American fashion of carrying around a large cup of watery coffee is spreading through the teens. Personally, I enjoy sipping my capuccino lazily during a nice chat with a friend but I spent most of my life abroad so this might just be me…

    10. I didn’t quite understand this one…

    11. Sadly true, not only in Florence, and not only dressed as skinheads.

    12. Sadly true… I’m quite ashamed…

    13. Mmmm… Yep, but Italians deserve what they get, women included.

    14. Quite true, but, really, people mostly joke about this…

    15. True.

    16. True, but IT IS difficult… I don’t want to start a debate on where schools are more worthy to be attended, but most students have their reasons…

    17. Italian men do tell a lot of crappy lies but that’s part of their game and women from all over the world fall for them, no matter how smart they think they are.

    18. I got a morning after pill quite easily…

    19. I totally agree.

    20. Again, I totally agree.

    21. I guess Italian men are too attached to their willies to give up a part of it. It doesn’t really bother me and I don’t think circumcision really helps to achieve cuteness although I agree it has its positive aspects. It’s a penis, girls, don’t fuss. As long as it’s clean and satisfies your needs…

    22. Yikes… I don’t find it that difficult to make friends… But I’m just 25.

    23. My mother-in-law would never do that but I agree with the “bella figura” part… I quite hate that.

    24. Mmmm… I’m not too sure about that… Anyway, if I’m hot I let the ladies out. End of story.

    25. I love my fiancé and he loves me. We’re not afraid to show it and most of the people I know act the same. But I can see what you mean when you say that a lot of couples look like they could kill eachother but have you ever thought they might be unhappy for other reasons other than being with eachother? And, really, the crap about getting married to “produce children” is the craziest thing I’ve ever read. People get married because they love eachother and don’t get a divorce because their husband burped during a family dinner…

    Don’t get this wrong, I quite enjoyed your post, I just felt you had to see parts of it in a different way.
    I hope you’ll enjoy reading my comment as much as I enjoyed reading your post.
    Angela, 25, born in Rome, with a huge amount of sicilian blood, now facing unemployement in Milan :)

    • Hello darling! Thank you for the read and comments. :) Actually, in the first paragraph I wrote that I was generalizing a lot. Most of my posts are intended to be humorous or as a view of an expat in a foreign place (which is not always nice) but this was one of the rare ones that I based on Italian news, social and psychological research that I’d read that week regarding Italian society, infidelity, and divorce.

      1, 2, 3, 4, 13, and 25 were based directly on the studies that I had read (I should have included them). Oddly, 25 was a study where an Italian research group in Milan interviewed thousands of Italian couples throughout Italy and the majority of them marked that they “married for economy” or “married to have children.” When they were asked if they enjoyed sex or quality time with their partners the majority wrote, “no.” Another study showed Italy as the people with the LEAST happy marriages. http://www.acop.com/press/2010/10/married_couples/.

      The catholic church thing was something I was told by two priests. One in Cassino and one in Florence. I said I was unsure if I wanted children they both told me, “if you do not have children we do not recognize your marriage.” Ask your priest. I was shocked (and so was my husband). Then I looked it up online and the official stance of the catholic church is that marriage is for procreation, and if you don’t procreate the church doesn’t recognize the marriage. Kind of sad, right?

      Sadly the economic crisis pushed most of our friends from Italy and they are mostly in England/US now. I hope that they can fix it so the young people will be able to stay. It’s sad that all of the young people are being forced to leave for better work. Good luck love!

      • Thanks for posting my comment and for appreciating its irony.
        Actually, point 25 really surprised me! I guess they must have interviewed elderly couples because, really, these things don’t happen anymore. Or, at least, that’s what I see. As per asking my priest, I don’t go to church and I’m seriously considering a laic wedding. Having a religious one would really just mean making “Bella figura” with my old Sicilian relatives and pleasing my mother, but it would mean quite nothing to me and my fiancé.
        Anyway, I realize your posts are mostly ironic (or you wouldn’t have married an Italian guy!), but they might sound frightening to some and offensive for others. I’ll take some time to read your blog and give you a more accurate opinion but, if I were you, I would consider using a softer tone.
        Thank you for your wishes of good luck! I really hope I’ll be able to stay in Italy because my fiancé has a safe job, but the situation is really bad.
        Looking forward to read more!
        Best wishes to you for a lovely life in Italy

      • Ah yes, Bella Figura. That’s what we did for our wedding (we married in the church for my husband’s family, both my husband and I are agnostic). It was a rather massive deal to everyone. lol. I know that my posts can be offensive and/or scary but I’m okay with that. I also spend a lot of time on the blog making fun of myself and the fact that I’m American (I make fun of Americans a lot too). I think most of my readers know that it’s an equal opportunity place for being teased. lol. But really, the world is ridiculous and so is everyone in it. Why not? Congratulations on being married! I hope to see you here more often (there are plenty of posts about how lovely are Italians and Italy too, I promise). I hope for Italy and Italians that the government will figure things out and fix the country. It’s such a shame that a place like this is struggling financially (and the citizens are suffering). Best wishes to you too!

      • Hello there, as a native from the tuscany i feel the urge to specify that “Bella figura, bitches” really caught me off guard. I’m still laughing

        BUT

        That’s not an italian general habit. Mostly a Florence/Tuscany one. Tuscany people tend to consider themself always as “old nobles” of the Italy and so they act as the appearence count over anythings.

        I’m living in Rome since 2009 and the people here are totally different just as an example.
        They tend to be friendly, informal and very focused on the pratical things instead of “Bella figura” :P

      • Hello! Thank you for stopping by! Actually, I think my friends from the south of Italy (Cassino and below) are much more concerned appearances than my Italian friends but I can see what you mean. Florence is a proud city, understandably. It’s by far my favorite city in Italy.

  11. 24. That’s why Americans have no style at all. You ever dress like you’re going to disco o to the gym, or both at same time.

  12. Nice post, but:”6. Most of the apartments, restaurants, etc are COLD in the winter”.

    It’s funny because I live in Florence and often see people from USA wearing flip flops and t-shirt in january! :-)

  13. So… i was born and i’m living in a porno star vagina! Wooow!

    As you said in the introduction your decription about Italy is a generalization and, imho, sometimes it could be rude, but there’s always something true in your thoughts. And you don’t even talk about mafia!

    So, i hope your post could help Italian people understanding these problems and try to fix them. In the meanwhile i keep dreaming about a future life in the U.S.or in the U.K!
    Good luck in your Italian life! :D

    • HAHAHAHAHA. Thank you love!

      Sorry, yeah, that line was just for humor. :) This post was mostly taken from a bunch of articles that I had read the week that I wrote it and from listening to my husband’s friends talk. I like to joke about things. I spend a lot of time making fun of Americans too (it’s pretty easy to make fun of Americans. LOL). Thank you for stopping by. :)

  14. Hello darling!!! You really made me smile with this post! And you’re definitely right!!!! I’m Italian, born and raised near Milan, mother from Bergamo, father from Sardinia, what a mix! ;) and now I live in Bologna, because my husband is from here… I’m pretty sure I completely agree with your generalization. I’ve read too that the mother in law is the first cause of divorce. And sadly I’m pretty sure it is. I’ve seen many couples in this situation. And mine unfortunately is completely in line with it! ;) Seems like here in Italy, this is what I feel, mother in law feel a competition with their son’s wife. It’s really nonsense and stupid. But so it is. And after they have suffered from this by their same mother in law, they don’t understand and do exactly the same! I hate it. Anyway, fortunately not all women are this way. About heating, I don’t feel cold most of the time, when I’m at home or out for dinner. But for sure I feel too hot when experiencing heating in USA!!! ;) So, maybe it’s just a matter of being used to such a temperature… And, I’m 36, married from 6, no decided children yet, but I’m still married! ;) Hope the Pope won’t ring my bell tomorrow asking for a little boy… :-D
    Love your blog! M.

    • Thank you Marta! Yes, I had a very difficult time with my mother-in-law at first. It took a long time for us to get along and it was definitely as you say, it seemed to be a competition. lol. Yes, I think the heating is just different for me because in the US heat is much cheaper so people use it way too much. My mother keeps our house at 80 degrees F, so compared to that the houses are very cold here. :) My husband and I have been married for 1 year. I told the priest that I didn’t want children for sure and he told me, “Well, then we won’t recognize your marriage!” HOLY CRAP! Luckily I don’t think they check or else you and I are both going to get a baby check visit one day. hhahaha.

      • eheh! You fell into a trap… One of the rules of a Catholic marriage is that you will have children. Answering “no, I don’t want children” is enough to make the marriage void. You just play by the rules, say “yes” and … done! They do not check afterwards, but the priest could have refused to celebrate the marriage, and your husband could ask that the marriage is deemed “void” by the Sacra Rota (the Vatican tribunal, oversimplifying) (which is different from a divorce – I know, silly rules…).

  15. Hi, I am your specular opposite (Italian, and living in the US). I will not go point by point, but there are a couple of things that I’d like to point out (I do understand the spirit of the post, don’t worry).
    First, “coffee”: “Nice” and “big” should NOT be in the same sentence! :-) Half-kidding here: I cannot really get used to your behemoth servings, I’d rather have a tea instead. However, while it’s true that people do scarf down their few milliliters of Espresso quite quickly, a “pausa caffè” can last a good hour, so it’s not entirely true that coffee is a moment that Italians do not enjoy to the full.
    Second, making friends. The same exact thing that you said about Italians not making friends after college, I am experiencing here with Americans. Even after almost 10 years, I have a hard time getting locals to open; and I cannot just call someone up in the afternoon to do something that night, as I would in Italy, but need to plan a good month ahead. Most of my friends to this day are either Italian or at least non US-born, and the only Americans that I manage to see on a regular basis are people from my two rock bands. I am wondering if the fact that I am in Boston and you are in Florence – both cities not known for the friendliness of their residents – may account for our experiences.

    • Ah, I spend loads of time on this blog making fun of Americans (even more so than I make fun of Italians). The friends thing was actually something that my Italian friends always say. One from Rome, and two from Florence that “culturally we’re very closed to making new friends.” Very little of this post was from my personally observations, most of it was from articles I’d read (which I inserted links to) and other stuff was from listening to my Italian friends complain about Italy. I’m not an American nationalist by any means. I have plenty of complaints about my own country. Also, I write a lot of good posts about the beauty of Italy, however, as beautiful as it might be it’s not perfect (and what nation is perfect?) I’m glad that you got that the post was meant to be light-hearted. I’m surprised that you’re having such a hard time meeting people in the US, although, you’re right, Boston is not known for being friendly. You should move to the west coast! But then you’ll have to deal with surfers. And probably sharks. Florida? :)

      • I’m in the same page as SBBoston when he talks about being friends with Statetians. Not even in the West Coast you can make real friends. It is something truly USA! People in the West Coast are just superficially nicer. You can’t really enjoy something spontaneous with anyone here (and I’m in the nicest part: SF Bay Area.) People schedule literally everything. It is insane how repressive they are.

      • That is true. Americans are pretty obsessed with schedules. And lists. I really like lists. You guys both need to move to Utah. The people are kind of weird there (and mormon) but they are really nice. You’ll have loads of friends in a few days. You’ll probably also be stalked by missionaries.

  16. You talk about true things, not all confirmed, but why did you speak only about shit of our country!?!??!
    WELCOME TO THE USA where people don’t know why it is called AMERICA (Amerigo Vespucci who discovered it) and I’m not talking about middle class or poor people but really everybody doesn’t know this.
    WELCOME TO THE USA where you protect military soldier who killed 20 Italians when they were playing with their molitary jet.

  17. I’m from Turin and I won’t defend my country.
    I know most of the things you wrote up there are right, but many of them are also quite wrong.
    If you want to see another (Italian) point of view, you can contact me.

  18. I hope this entire post is ironical, because otherwise you didn’t understand nothing about Italy and italian people and you’re just posting the same old stereotypes

    Cheers,
    an italian guy

  19. “However, lying is also a large part of the culture, so enjoy the shit they say but know they’re lying to you.” is by far my favourite one. it made me laugh out loud.
    Point 22 just describes so much about italian society and its habits. so freaking true. It’s one of the reasons why i don’t like living there.
    And no I am not pissed at all, you pretty much tell the TRUTH here. I only disagree on a couple minor things. Italians who can’t accept the irony and can’t see the underlying truth of this funny and well written article are just pathetic.

    Another Italian guy.

  20. Excellent, I had to chuck out my Italian boyfriend as his emotionally incestious relationship with his mother drove me mad. Always make sure they have had an ‘umbilicalectomony’ before you invite them to move in, otherwise the mother will turn up with her suitcase and pasta machine!

  21. I usually avoid blogs especially expats in Tuscany or anywhere in Italy but this is great. I have been here since 1989, came on an internship and ended up with 2 Italian husbands and 3 kids. You nailed all of it. Great job!

  22. Hi! I think you misunderstood some things.. Actually, for example, just one out 1000 is racist, fascist, neo-nazi or hates the south or the north, that’s just a little bunch of idiots who the rest of Italy considers absolutely ridiculous. Then, I don’t know what kind of men did you hanged out with but we respect our women, we don’t have lying as an usual attitude, we don’t coomonly wear anything under pants except for normal underwear, we enjoy our coffee (which has to be short to be good, I think you experienced the excellent taste, ah?), we don’t have dinner with our ex-girlfriends.

    Can you reply, please?

    • Hello darling! So, let’s start with me saying that this blog is all (mostly) me joking. In this particular post I read a bunch of articles about Italy and then I wrote this post for the purpose of citing things that I’ve read, or things that my friends (who are Italian) or things that my Italian husband tells me, and then I wrote it in a way that is amusing for me. I realize that not everyone in the world has the same sense of humor as myself (although they should because I kind of crack myself up). So I’ll answer your points. 1) There are actually a growing number of neo nazi’s and fascism in Florence. There might not be millions but there are many more than there used to be. 2) Italy has one of the lowest ratings in all of Europe for the treatment of women. Mostly because domestic violence is so high. If you click on the links that I provided you can see the articles that I was referring to. 3) I am very happy that you wear underwear but I was actually talking about women wearing tights under short shorts (and I was mostly making fun of Americans and how they wear very little clothing). Yes, the coffee is good and tiny, which was also my point :) The “ex-girlfriend” thing is actually pretty common. My friends (from many countries including Italy) have complained about their families having weird relationships with their ex’s after they break up. I don’t think that you realize that this blog post was not my opinion about Italians (entirely) but referencing articles, social research, and conversations with my Italian friends. I’m only relaying the information (in a way that I find funny). My husband is Italian. He reads everything that I post and finds it very funny. It’s not supposed to be taken seriously. You’ll also find that I make fun of myself a lot here. And Americans too. Also, if you’re still upset you should watch this: http://youtu.be/kphn5611P-o it will surely brighten your day.

  23. Thanks for such a fun-filled walk down generalization lane! All true…All true…

    As for the naysayers…She didn’t write about the USA since:
    1) about 3.43 trillion posts per second trash Americans – you can start with peopleofwalmart and work your way down from there and
    2) she doesn’t live there!

    Poking fun is okay, believe me. Italians do it all the time.
    Go watch Totò, read Pirandello or turn on Zelig or even Striscia la Notizia.

    As for a culture of lying…(well, let’s just say a culture playing fast & loose with the truth…) It’s one of my X Commandments of Life in Italy.
    Ask a friend who’s husband is cheating on her how life is treating her…”Tutto bene!” or Get nearly run down by an SUV at an intersection and see who flips whom off first.

    Francesca Maggi, Author
    Burnt by the Tuscan Sun
    @IrreverentItaly

    • hahaha. Thanks love! Everyone that I know makes fun of Americans. I find it funny. I find it very strange when people can’t laugh at how silly their own cultures are (or even stranger when they are unaware of their own social problems). I also find it funny how literal some people took this post. I am married to an Italian, who reads this blog (and thinks it’s hilarious), so how much can I possibly hate Italy? Maybe they think that I wrote this from a place of blind American ethnocentrism? I can’t say much for the US right now, I mean, America gave this to the world: http://youtu.be/J3q7NqQLDNs. Also, where would humor be without generalizations?

  24. great article, I’m italian, you generalize a lot but it was really funny reading this. especially when you talk about gas price, coffee, graffiti, food and…”elephant trunks in their pants” xD

  25. “They often marry to “produce children” as is required by the Catholic church. ”

    This is not accurate at all. The only true thing is that a husband (or a wife) can complain if her wife (or husband) doesn’t want to have children: in this case, the Church can say that the marriage is invalid, because having children is a very important thing. But a marriage can be declared invalid even if a husband or a wife hides something from their spouse – something really serious such as having an affair at the moment of their wedding.
    So, it is not true that if you marry without producing children, the church does not recognize your marriage: otherwise sterile people could not marry in Church.

    Other things are unaccurate – interesting article, though. ;)

    • Hello Stefano! Thanks for the read and reply! As I’m sure you can tell my blog is mostly a humor blog. However, that point about the Catholic church was something that our priest in Italy told us, both in Cassino and in Florence. I know because I am unsure if I wanted children, and they both said, “the purpose of marriage in this church is procreation. If you don’t have children the marriage doesn’t exist.” I was actually really pissed off by that. Ask you priest. :) As for the part about people not marrying for love, did you read the link that is attached to the article? It’s from a study here that rates Italy as the lowest for “happily married” couples. Also from another article from an Italian psychologist in Milan. :)

  26. italy is this, as much as In America there’re only fat idiot, as in london it’s raining all years long, as in cuba they only smoke cigars, as in arabs contry there’re only terrorist.

    • This list is acknowledged as being mostly “generalizations.” It is actually true that American has a large problem with obesity. In fact, before this year I was about 650 pounds. Pizza pretty much removed all of the excess weight so that I could be a more chic version of myself. Also, you’re seemingly ignoring that a lot of the things on this list are from research reported by your own country. So really, you should thank me because I’m just showing you how much against Italy, Italy is. That country is rude. You should write your government!

  27. I was born in Brescia and I lived for almost two years in the States.
    I was a touring musician so I had the chanche to see and “live” almost
    every part of your country (Utah too :) SLC and Ogden).

    Your culture is different.
    Americans have the bright side and the dark side like every ethnicity,
    but you really live the two extremes.
    In Pennsylvania I saw people shooting each other in the middle of
    the street (I’m not joking) and two blocks away a man was smiling me while
    opening a Starbucks door.
    Everything is totally cool or completely fucked up, but I actually prefer
    your native country because of its opportunities and its open minded approaches.

    I agree with almost everything you wrote, I find you really smart and I like
    the way you analyze things and aspect of my country.
    But please, don’t generalize over relationships between men and women.
    Yeah, I know, lots of Italian douchebags like to brag and talk, it’s so sad,
    but not every man is like them.
    You actually married one of the good ones, aren’t you? :)

    I saw American girls (LOTS of them) who wanted to fu*k me “just because” I’m
    an “Italian stallion”, but this doesn’t drove me to think that EVERY
    American girl is like those ones.

    I totally understand you wanna emphatize some bad aspects but sometimes
    your post sounds like “be careful about Italy, this is a hell on earth”.
    I think we’re not just history and arts, we must improve lots of things about
    Italy and I’m gonna teach it to my future children :)

    • I think the fact that I am married to an Italian man (who, loves this post and my blog in general as do most of my Italian friends) makes it kind of obvious that I don’t think Italy is an evil place. Nor do I think that the US is the greatest place on earth. The point of this post, as I’ve said a painful number of times (even in the intro paragraph), was to (in a comical way) list a bunch of stuff that I had read that week in the news, in Italian articles (written by Italians) and from conversations amongst my Italian friends. So, really, this is what Italy thinks of Italy. I’m just posting it because that’s what I do. There are a number of blogs who talk endlessly about how perfect is Italy, which I find funny, because no nation is perfect (and it’s very scary when any citizens within any country cannot laugh at their shortcomings). Being offended by this post is like me being offended that people say to me, “Wow you’re American!? But Americans are fat!”, which happens at least once per week in Italy for four years. Many Americans ARE fat. So saying that many of them are fat isn’t being mean and picking on America. It’s the truth. Also, many Americans are mentally unstable (given the statistics on the number of mood altering prescriptions given out yearly). Does that make me mean to say that? No. It’s simply stating a statistical fact. As with most of this list, it was taken from statistical research, other articles, or from listening to my Italian friends complain about Italy. There are plenty of links in this article that refer to the sources. ;) Also, this is a humor blog. The point is to make fun of Italy, Americans, and myself. :)

      • I was just clarifying I’m not offended at all, I got the sarcasm/comic side of your post :)
        Actually..I kinda hate my country haha
        Good luck with your blog! (in the meanwhile I read almost every post)

      • Lucaorio! Thank you! I hope to see you around more often. Also, I take essays from people who want to contribute. If you want to write something on how you viewed America (and Americans) I would like that. :) Let me know!

    • Also, many American girls DO want to sleep with Italian men. I think it’s kind of obvious why. :) I obviously did. :P Also, I have to practically beat hoards of skanks off of my husband with a broom. Back off skanks! Sigh. The difficult life of being married to an Italian man. :)

      • LOL :D Did you have to fight against Italian or foreign ones?
        Before my departure I was so scared about being recognized as a “jersey shore” dude, and I’m so happy that native Italians aren’t categorized under that stereotype.
        Btw I’d love to write something..I’m not a good writer (and I make lots of grammar mistakes) but I can try :)

      • A few Italian girls but mostly just Americans. Evil sex monsters! write something, send it to my FB. :) No, most Americans don’t associate Italy with Jersey Shore. LOL. Ah, America, how weird that those people exist. Sad, sad days. :)

    • Well Peter, let’s start off with, I didn’t say that I didn’t like Italy. No country is perfect (mostly because I’m not Queen of anywhere) and all nations have flaws. I make as much fun of Americans and myself on this blog as I do Italians. Life is funny. You should take it less seriously (and drink more wine. It’s cheap here). By your logic, if I say that many Americans are overweight it means that I should have to leave America. That’s just silly.

      • Maybe I’m a little too sensitive, but your considerations seemed to run a touch deeper than simple, neutral observation. As I said elsewhere, I recognize the *intention* of the post was ironic, but somewhere in the process the irony seemed to peter out and be replaced by a dash of H2SO4, but I guess living in Florence does this to people :-). Just my 2 cents.
        PS: I prefer to stay away from the cheap wine. :-)

      • Peter,

        I’ll grow on you and then we’ll be friends and you’ll be like, “remember that time I yelled at you?” And I’ll be like, “it’s okay Peter.” And then we’ll get drunk. Or you’ll stab me in the eyes. :) Also, for me ALL wine here is cheap. Italian wine is SO EXPENSIVE IN THE US! HOLY SHIT!

  28. Hey yankee, if MY wife would have written all this crap about MY country, I’d have divorced for sure.
    No idea how your italian husband agrees on this crap. Tante belle minchiate che hai scritto…

    • Hello! Thanks for posting! So, my friends in the US do demonstrations against the KKK all the time, it doesn’t mean that the KKK doesn’t exist. It does. Sadly. A protest against fascism doesn’t prove it doesn’t exist, it just shows that there are a lot of people who are against it. I know a lot of fascists in Florence. I don’t think that they would agree that they don’t exist. LOL.

  29. I guess this post was started with the intention of being ironic, but turned quite sour early on.
    Unfortunately the result is patronizing and rather acidic and in certain points even somewhat offensive.
    Since I took the trouble of going through the tedious process of reading it through, here are a few point-for-point considerations:
    1. Maybe
    2. This statistic seems wildly underestimated – as far as I know, divorce rates are around 50% like any other western country. The point is, divorce takes a long time to go through and is expensive, so many people simply go for legal separation, a de facto divorce without the hassle.
    3. Quite true, but varies subject to economic condition
    4. True but again related to economic condition
    5. Unfortunately true
    6. Define “cold”. Americans have a very skewed internal thermometer. The average apartment is heated to 23°C and the average aircon is regulated at 23°C. We prefer not to suffer temperature shocks when we walk into or out of a building
    7. Catholicism is a political orientation in Italy and has nothing to do with faith or even religion, so here’s your explanation. At least we do not *actually* believe that god created the earth in *literally* six days like many bible-belters do
    8. Not true, smoking is at an all time low. However it is true that we are not nicotine talibans, so we will consider a smoker human and not a pariah
    9. What Americans think is coffee, simply isn’t.
    10. And why should they? I am not interested in my lady friends’ PMT nor in my men friends’ prosthate. It’s called being discreet
    11. Unfortunately true, but then Florence is not all of Italy.
    12. Sometimes it is also gratuitously vandalistic
    13. Quite true, compared to Northern Europe
    14. True. We still haven’t got round the idea that we are a single Country
    15. Scandalously true, unfortunately. That’s why most people can’t wait to get the hell out of here
    16. Education is not free at all. What’s true is that public education still has a decent level of quality
    17. Romantic Italian men are romantic, all the others are just ordinary guys
    18. There is an unfortunate plague of “conscientious objection”, but it’s not as bad as you describe it, at least not in Northern Italy (which Florence is not, btw, it is Central)
    19. Food is indeed the best trait this Country has
    20. You said it yourself.
    21. We really see no point in mutilation. Personally I think circumcision is just as barbaric as infibulation. It is just superstition
    22. You must have very reserved friends, because it is simply not true. Or it may be true in provincial towns (such as Florence), where peer groups tend to be small and rather static
    23. The mother in law in question is plain weird.
    24. Again, not true. But we certainly do care about appearance.
    25. No comment.

    • I find it funny that you basically told me that I’m full of shit (I mostly am) and then wrote “true” next to most of the points. Your response is long and I have wine to drink. But I will try! 1) this was reported by the association of Italian lawyers. I totally didn’t make this shit up. 2) That is your national statistic. 3) This was taken from the many articles I read about Mammoni written by an Italian psychologist in Milan. She’s a dick. You should tell her to move out of Italy. 4) I was stating a national average and it wasn’t a criticism. I didn’t marry until I was 31. It’s actually better to marry later in terms of having a healthy marriage. 5) There is a lot of dog shit on the sidewalks here. 6) I wrote (compared to the US) right next to it. Did you not see that? 7) There is a division between catholic culture and catholic religion. I have a degree in sociology so everything that I think is science. EVERYTHING. 8) I wrote “It seems” which would imply that I’m not stating it as a fact. 9) I wrote that Italy has great coffee and then made a joke. Because jokes are funny. 10) Italian society is pretty damn private. Again, refer to 7. 11) Florence is considered a communist city HOWEVER it doesn’t mean that there is a magical blanket that keeps out fascists. I know many, many fascists personally. 12) I find it cute. But this isn’t a blog for cute things. Otherwise there would be a picture of a puppy here. I like puppies. 13) This is a national statistic and has been in Italian news a lot lately. One woman is beat to death by her partner every day in Italy. But you also said it was true. So yay. Winning! 14) I know. We both agree on this. 15) It’s very sad because Italy homes many great minds. 16) I said it is “mostly free.” Which means that a lot of it is free. Not all of it. 17) I wrote “compared to Americans” and trust me, you cannot be less romantic than American men. It’s not possible. 18) This was jokingly based on my own personal experience because that shit totally happened to me. It was also obviously a joke. 19) We agree on this. 20) I’ve dealt with a ridiculous amount of generalizations, daily, since moving here. I feel like the silly assumptions go both ways, which is why I feel comfortable teasing Italy. 21) I wrote, “i find it weird to cut your junk” which meant, “i think circumcision is weird”. So… 22) As I wrote in the first paragraph of this post and you clearly ignored, this post was written from articles I’d read and from listening to my Italian friends talk. I have plenty of friends (mostly because I pay them to hang out with me) but my ITalian friends complain that it’s hard to make friends here past high school. 23) This strangely something that I’ve heard from a bunch of various friends, that relationships with even ex’s are often maintained to avoid seeming “rude.” I haven’t experienced this. 24) This was intended to tell Americans to wait until they walk around nude in the city. 25) You’re calling my priest a liar? Because my priest told us this. I then checked it on the Catholic website. So, you’re welcome, now you know more about the catholic church.

      I need a Mcnugget. This shit was hard.

      • I understand English well enough, so thanks for some explanations but they are really not necessary. While I agree with many of the words you write *literally*, it is the para-verbal tone which I found patronizing and which I took exception to. Now that you have made it clear that you are a sociologist, I realize this is probably part of your professional outlook, so I guess I was kind of over-reacting.
        However, I do believe there is more to living in a country than consulting statistics (which, as your great compatriot mr. Twain said, are associated to “lies” and “damned lies”) and reading articles. Point 23 in particular is something I have *never* experienced, but then I do live in a bigger city that Florence, which you’ll have to admit is provincial in the extreme.

      • Totally. But, I was joking about the sociologist thing. I mean I DO have a degree in sociology but I was being sarcastic. LOL. Of course larger cities are different. NY is totally different from Wyoming. But, again,this list doesn’t summarize everything that I think about Italy. The title is, 25 Things I’ve Learned. Which, means, 25 Things that I learned from reading or from other people. It’s not 25 Things I think About Italy or My entire Italian Experience Summed Up IN 25 Points. That would be a much difference list.

      • Re your last post and the joke on not working as a sociologist, in that case I can only conclude that you *are* patronizing. Oh, and I am totally calling your priest a liar; have you ever met a sincere one? :-P

      • I obviously need a new sense of humor. Honestly I don’t know many priests. However, I also checked the Catholic website and it seemed to back up the baby making rule. Babies for everyone!

  30. Hi! This blogpost is going really viral and as I’m in your opposite situation (I moved to Pennsylvania 4 months ago) I must clarify some things.
    2. Cheating is NOT encouraged, rewarded, and approved by peers. Never happens something similar to me. NEVER.
    3 and 4. Sadly SOOOOOO true
    5. People DO clean up their dogs shit. You should have come to Italy 10 years ago. The situation has completely changed.
    6. That can be true. Same in US during summer. The air conditioning killed me this summer!
    7. All of us in catholic (because your parents will baptize you when you’re 3 months old) but then we don’t practice much.
    19. The only thing that I hate about US is the food, but how you eat more than what you eat. If you’re in restaurant I’m always surprised to find every kind of food from pizza to seafood to ribs. In Italy we tend to have “specialized restaurant”. And what schlock me more is that with your plate you get your check. And no espresso after dinner. JUST SIT, EAT, GO!
    24. If we are not going with bare legs until june is probably because we haven’t shaved them yet or because we feel fat. Btw, I was born and raised on the Adriatic coast and we go to the seaside from may, wearing bikini.
    25. We don’t get marry just to produce children and you don’t have to have children to be recognized (never heard something similar)!

    This is my post where I talk about the differences between Italy and Us

    http://crostoliecheesecake.blogspot.com/2013/10/12-lettera-cuore-aperto-che-invidia.html

    It’s only in Italian, take a look and enjoy Florence :)

    • Hello darling! Thanks for your post. I commented back to a lot of these already and my fingers are tired but you should read the other comments about 25) specifically. If you want you should write a funny post about being an Italian expat in America for my blog. I’d like to have more posts from Italians (you can make fun of Americans. I’ll laugh).

  31. Hey there, I read your blog and all the comments (nasty and nice) and I have to say that I understand where you’re coming from. When you move to another country it’s sometimes hard to adapt and understand the local culture, and some things that in that country are normal sound completely crazy from your point of view. For example, as an italian, I don’t think that streets are filled with dog poop because I’m used to the way things are here and to us it’s normal to see maybe 2-3 dog poops every kilometer or so, but I do understand that from an American point of you that’s a lot of poop. Honestly, I never thought about dog poop in Italy until you mentioned it! So basically I think that very often what’s normal custom in a country is really weird for a foreigner, and that’s completely normal. When I first moved to London I was shocked to see my American flatmate eating 2-3 eggs every morning (I was always told to eat 2-3 eggs a week tops) and she tought I was weird because of the amount of espresso and carbs that I used to eat!
    Just please, allow me one comment: I understand that two priests told you that without kids your marriage won’t be valid, but priests in Italy have some freedom of choice: the former priest in my little town didn’t want to baptise me because my parents didn’t get married in church whereas the new priest is marring people who had children out of wedlock and gives communion to divorced people. Clearly though you can’t expect any priest to be totally fine with it when you tell them in their face that you want a catholic wedding but you don’t want any children! Having children (or at least trying to have children) when married is catholicism 101. If you don’t agree with that and you want to be coherent with yourself, don’t marry in a church. If you want the church wedding because the background is nicer than a sad room in town hall and/or to please your husband’s family do like most italians do: play along and pretend to be a good catholic for one day. Is that lying? I’m not sure. Oh and by the way, I’m atheist and if I do get married one day, it will never be in a church.

  32. actually really Terrifyingly accurate :/ Naturally my long distance italian boyfriend thinks its a bunch of bolognia, but i completely agree, particulatly with #3 #6 and find #22 to be a major problem

  33. I’m Italian and I’m living abroad since several years now. First of all congratulations for the post, I have lot of fun in reading it. Secondly, I want to say that only when italians live abroad can realize all these things listed by you. Most of the times, looking from outside give you a “better” vision of the things! Bye Andrea

    ps I disagree only with the point #24 that i consider not totally true. :)

  34. Nice one! I really don’t understand all the bitching about this post, I mean, we Italians should learn to make fun of ourselves like the Brits do, and not see stereotypes as an offence! Generally speaking, we just lack in self-irony, that’s the point.
    By the way, are you enjoying your stay here in Italy?

    • Davide! Yes. Who doesn’t love Italy? Obviously, I love it here, since I married an Italian man and have lived here for nearly 5 years. I make fun of it the same way I do the US. I think that it’s important to laugh at yourself. It makes life less heavy and more interesting. PLUS! IT’S FUNNY!

      • Totally agree with you, there is nothing better than a good laugh while getting through the hard times that can happen in life! ;)

  35. 17. Italian men are pretty romantic culturally compared to American men. However, lying is also a large part of the culture, so enjoy the shit they say but know they’re lying to you.

    What actually is really really sad is that you are american and managed to figure this out.. most of the italian girls who were born here are still struggling to accept the fact!! =)

    Anyway, i’m italian and i had a very good laugh with your post! =)

    • Nero! Thank you! I’m so glad that you were able to see the humor in this. My husband is italian, so obviously, I love Italians very much. :) However, I also like to make fun of things.

  36. 99% of them are stereotypes but mostly true, or not surprising, or typical in florence so yeah, u surely know their habits better than me. i’m from the north of italy and i’m not familiar with some of the most southern traditions and boundaries, as u defined them.
    1% is false. the last one. it is true that marriage without children is technically invalid but that’s not the reason why ppl marry, and mothers-in-law never like their son’s wives because they see them as if they stole their babies. no more mum’s breast milk in their cereal. but even aftr marriage men will still like their mum’s cooking better. am i wrong? ;)
    oh and #24: its not “bella figura” or “being nice” but anti-fat dance. italian genetics is not nice to our cellulite. sad story.

  37. No 9 has been and still is ocassionaly a very big problem for me…all my italian friends have a big problem with the fact that it can take me even an hour to enjoy my coffee, just like I can’t get why you drink it if you don’t enjoy it :))))) maybe is the same with sex for them, the faster the better and efficient

  38. This article made me smile!

    Most of what you said is basically true (even though obviously generalised and ironically exaggerated ) but you should consider that Florence and Tuscany in general are already way different from other parts of Italy.

    Like, the part about making new friends could be true if you’re talking about Firenze, but in my hometown (which is just 4 hours further north) people are extremely open and really really friendly! Same as Turin and Bologna for example.
    I lived in Florence for 4 years while I was in high school and I still have some good friends there. And yes, Tuscany is a bit more ‘narrow minded’ when it’s about to meet people that are outside your little ‘crew’, they could look a bit snobby cause of that.

    Also, in my hometown it’s very common to sit in a cafe with an espresso and a glass of water and somehow stay there for few hours. That’s actually the only way to meet up with our friends during the day, because most young people still live with their parents, as you said. Now that I’m living in England I could easily stretch that time up to 4 hours because here I usually get a latte (I had to adapt my habits).

    I find this blog really funny. It’s interesting to read what people from other countries think about my culture. Also cause most of my friends are not Italians and my boyfriend is Australian, so now I sort of wonder if that’s what they think of me ahah.

    In my opinion, people don’t get married just because they want to produce children, it’s mainly because they think that that’s all you should do in life: have a family. Which in my opinion is not true and at the opposite, a really sad way of thinking. They sort of scared to loose their chances if you know what I mean.
    But I think this happens everywhere not just in Italy.
    Sometimes it could also be for the ‘bella figura’. It would be a bit old school though

    Ah and houses in Tuscany are generally cold because they usually older. In Florence and Siena especially! No fancy isolators in the walls I can tell you that.
    Otherwise it could be cause of the crisis yes.. we are poor as at the moment! I sadly swear, in London isn’t much better.

    PS- As I’ve already said, it’s really hard to judge Italy by living in just one city. It’s such an old country and at the same time we weren’t an unique nation until (roughly) 150 years ago, so every little area has different roots. Sometimes two towns in the same region are completely different worlds.

    Enjoy your time there and keep writing!

  39. You framed Italy perfectly, especially the graffiti and the dog poop which… ahem… really “shine” down here in Rome. Questa si che è bella figura…

  40. Those are my comments for all the 25 points (or the ones I have understood). It does not reflect me in all of them but is just what is my opinion regarding the average italian behaviour.

    1. The Mum is Mum! Your wife comes second, or third if grandma is still in life.

    2. Sex is an italian obsession, does not mean your partner does not satisfy you, is just a race where you need to score the more points you can! I would add that is not the sex itself the main addition of italians, rather is the seduction… seducing a partner is the considered one the most satisfaction you can get from your life. It gives confidence in yourself and some Macho feeling!

    3. Mammoni, yes, and proud of being that!

    4. Same as above! :D

    5. Never go against the nature, your dog shit is a good fertilizer!

    6. That’s why I am scared to go home for Christmas! In my bedroom I can feel the draft of air hitting my face and got an insane low temperature and humidity during the night! My mother uses to put plastic bottles of hot water under my sheet few hours before my sleep.

    7. I am officially catholic, in practice I do not give a crap!

    8. In my town I know probably 2-3 persons who does not smoke out of 5000! In my house we use to smoke everywhere (I mean every room of the house) and whenever (morning, day, night)!

    9. I am so annoyed when I am abroad and I go to a cafeteria (italian bar equivalent), I order a cup of espresso, I need to specify I just want to coffe and not coffe + water, then they give to me a plate with a cup of coffe on it and I am supposed to bring to a table, sit down and drink. It takes 3 seconds for drinking an espresso, why such overhead?

    10. I do know what exactly meant, but in the south the word privacy has been erased from any dictionary. Some times I talk on the phone with my relatives and they tell me stuff about me I have never known about!!!

    11. Is not just Florence, unfortunately the Mussolini’s fanaticisms are still alive. We need them so that we have one reason more to bless how stupid are our compatriots when we are abroad!

    12. Art and sentimentalism is in everyone’s blood! :P

    13. Unfortunately yes, but this is typical of all the countries near the equator latitude.

    14. North and South will always be an hard challenge, they are different populations with different history and different culture. I do not say what is better or worse, is just different. In my opinion, I see northern italians are more european (due to the neighbor countries), while the south has been more conservative due to the geographical isolation.

    15. This is true and getting worse and worse due to the financial crisis but I think is also part of the culture. In the south the translation of work/job is “fatica” that means fatigue. We are used to think that your employer is a generous person that nobly gave you the opportunity to work for him and have some money to feed your family. Moreover, it is extremely rare to quit your job for better… for the majority of italians the first job is also the last job! If the italians would rebel and do not accept underpaid salaries, I think the situation might go better.

    16. If you finish your bachelor in only 10 years your actually very good! :D I am kidding… but it is true, is a common conception that university is a place where you start and you will eventually finish when everything will be done. No one plan how long might take and if your goal is to finish your university in “exactly 5 years” you are considered are f**g genius that should work for NASA or similar. It happened to me when I graduated in my bachelor after the regular 3 years and everyone one praised me as I was a national hero… this lack of ambition is very disappointing!

    17. As I mentioned in 2, seduction is an obsession… I do not think they really lay, sometimes they just really feel… the problem is women’s behavior, italian men they are very romantic, passionate and can feel in love very easily. But italian men are extremely jealous and want to believe that their woman is only their woman… if you (woman) make their game too easy their passion will shut down (even in one day)… but if a man really wants you, he will never give up! I guarantee you, italian men in love never and I say never give up… the harder is to conquer your heart, the more fun the game is and the more true love will be.

    18. I have not got the meaning here :D

    19. Never try to debate about food with any italian. We are (I am) very convinced and proud to have the BEST food in the World. Do not get offended if an italian does not appreciate your cousine. Is just a psychological thing implanted in our brain that ITALIANS DO EAT BETTER! You can even make the most delicious food in the World, but Italian Pizza or a dish of Spaghetti will be still considered the unbeatable ones! If you really want to offend an italian, just complain about our eating habits. I actually argued and very regretted afterwards with a friend from Bangladesh studying in Turin because she was joking that she was sick of having pasta everyday, lunch and dinner. I was just really struck by my pasta pride!

    20. Although the apparently conservative culture and the presence of Vaticano, Italy’ new generations are very liberal and not ethic-conforming. Good and bad points here.

    21. Do not get here.

    22. Hmmm… here is extremely different in which area of Italy you are, north/south, coast-side/mountain. In the south there is a strong community sense, the rule is to be always welcome and help other because probably you will need help from the community later. North is more cold. I say cold because I think the main reason of this different behavior is just matter of weather, in my opinion.

    23. Appearance and good impression is always the most important thing. It does not matter you hate some one, it matters how good and kind you appear… so that in case of dispute, you will gain the public opinion in your favor. Really, in Italy gossip is everywhere and your life is strongly affected of what people think about you! Keeping good relationships is a must if you want to have good time in this country.

    24. I remember to argue with my ex-girlfriend always about that it is not acceptable to go to the beach on May/September or wear some winter shoes or clothes in October or April! Italy has the four seasons, all of them, and you should understand that we do not feel comfortable when we do something that break the tradition. Do not get surprised if people laugh at you if you go around Rome with flip-flops when is April and there are 25 degrees, it is not yet Summer!

    25. There is this internal desire to marry, make a family and have children as soon as possible so that you can then feel you have accomplished the duty of your life. What a lot of italians do not realize is that premature marriage often will condition your life and make you unhappy for the rest of your life. That’s why children are so loved my parents, divorce rate is low but cheating is very high! Unfortunately :(

    I hope to have been useful! ;)

    Remember Italy is and will always be an unique “Bel Paese” (beautiful country)!
    Ciao

    • hahahaha. I think your comment is one of my favorites. You’re hilarious! Yes, Italy is a beautiful country with (mostly) wonderful people. Your comments made me laugh out loud. Thank you. :)

  41. As an Italian I am quite used to this kind of satire against my culture, especially from the Anglo-American media that historically hate Latin people, but it is very sad when it comes from a person who has come to live here.

    • Filippo, how did you figure out that my blog is a conspiracy against the latin people? I hoped it wouldn’t be so obvious. I hate them so much that I united myself with one for the rest of my life. You know what we say in the US? Keep your friends close, but you’re enemies closer.

  42. You’re right about the most of things you wrote. I’m Italian but not proud to be it, I’m fuc***g tired to live in this stupid, old, creepy south. I don’t give a damn to do “BELLA FIGURA” but you have to if you want a job. Where you come from? Ah…mhm…Napoli, well, are you sure you’re not a thief? This is what they used to ask me when I was looking for a Job in the North of italy. I’m fu***ing tired to live in a place where nobody understands you, nobody recognizes your rights and you’re skills, where you can’t go on but with your own arms and brain because if you hope that somebody will help you…hell no, fu*k it, you can die down in the street, they don’t give a f*ck bout you. You can’t have a family, a house, a car, a regular life just working hard. You can work hard all life long, you’ll be always poor. We pay a lot of taxes, life is cheaper in the north europe then in south Italy. But if you keep in contact with people who rules, with stupid ignorant gangsters, with people in government (we call them political), you’ll be on the right way. I’m 37, I live with my woman, she lost her job, I get 800 euro/month (about 1.084 US dollars), we didn’t get married because we don’t have enough money to do it, we would like to have a baby, but it’s impossible at the moment. I speak english but in Italy they don’t care about it. And last thing: the 2nd of November some thieves came into our house and they took away everything: Tv, money, notebook and other things. the Police can’t help us, they just say: shit can happen! What the f*ck!!!! You know what: fu*k Italy, fu*k south italy (in my case Napoli). This is not life, this is a prison! I think it can be better to live in the Quenns or Bronx or Detroit or even In Iran but here…well, this is italy, this is south side, so if you come to Naples take care, you’ll like it, but try to see how people live here, they don’t live, they survive! Believe me.

    • Hello darling! Yes, I live in Florence but my husband is from near Napoli (Cassino). I’ve been to Naples a few times, it’s a very beautiful city. I know the crisis has had a very strong impact there. I’m sorry to hear about your struggles with the economy and work. I’ve heard the same stories from many of our friends and most of them have been forced to leave Italy for work. It’s a very hard time for Italy. I hope that soon the “politicians” will realize that, and fix things so Italy can be a rich country again.

  43. Nice 1 you nailed it! I’ve been in Rome for 6 years.., from 1998-2005.., many things have changed.., but yet Italy is still Italy :)

    Il mio secondo paese ;)
    Una nazione pazza che sa come si vive hehe

  44. Perhaps one of the funniest things I’ve ever read. As an expat living in Europe for the past 12 years traveling & working , this kind of humor is my favorite pastime. I also prefer the non-chopped weiner, but, the best part are the “that’s not true!!!” Italians. It’s awesome. LOVE.

  45. I really loved your post, you’re very funny. However you did one of the most terrible mistakes you could ever do in Italy: you criticized mothers, society and coffee. Mostly the coffee part, eh. :P
    People here have a quite absurd relationship with their country: while it’s very common to hear an Italian talking shit about his country, region, governement, local council or even neighbourhood, if a foreigner tries to criticize their country, Italians will get immediately super-nationalist and will deny them any right to comment on their country. Really – the same people who may have told you Italy is as corrupted as any third-world dictatorship just twenty seconds before will slay you if you talk about mafia, nationalism or fascism. [yes, there's a lot a fascists in the bigger cities. Fortunately we have also a strong tradition of extreme left-wing political movements who counterbalance the neo-nazis/extreme-right shit]

    On the subject of coffee: I really am curious, I’ve been to the States and I still can’t understand how can you drink such behemoths of coffee and water. :D

    • Thank you for checking out the blog and for your comment! Yes, I think that many people in every country have a difficult time with other people criticizing. But there are people who can laugh at themselves too. I hear American criticism all day from my Italian friends (so your parents kick you out at 18? Americans don’t love their children? LOL) and I laugh but other Americans might get mad. It really depends on the type of person for sure. I don’t like nationalism in any country so I find it kind of funny. I think it separates humanity and is dangerous. As for the American coffee, I don’t know but I love it! Everything in America is gigantic though, the food portions are HUGE, the coffee HUGe, the people…well, they’re are a lot of huge people too. Big cars (big waste of fuel and very stupid). I actually don’t understand their obsession with “big” things. Except for the coffee. This I like. :)

      • Oh.. I LOVE esperesso and I LOVE america coffee.. the HUGE one! I love them both; they are just … different! :) They should name them differently, so people does not get so pissed up about the difference!

  46. GoodGod! It’s always the same, Italians can criticise themselves and their country in any way but if someone else from abroad do the same thing, even in an ironical way, they feel offended. It’s the 26th thing, I think.
    Really nice post! Kisses from Tuscany. :)

    • So true! I second that, it’s point 26 in the list. You as an Italian can criticize your country and other Italians as much as you can, but if someone from another state does it…

  47. hi, i found you post funny, though what you say is not always true. i’m a 39 years old italian living in paris since years and i understand how the foreigner’s view can be maybe wrong or influenced by stereotypes or just wrong informations given by the wrong people. so i think some comments may be useful to explain some more or maybe to understand what’s wrong. for example, you sometimes said things that are true or not depending on the cultural level of the italians you’re talking about.

    1. i don’t know if it’s a huge cause of divorce but i can say that i know a lot of people not going along with their mother in law, that can sometimes be too present in the son’s or daughter’s life.

    2. i’m not married and never been, i don’t know how much people cheat in italy but there’s a catholic influence in culture and all days life and i think that’s something keeping people from divorcing, mostly amongst less educated people.

    3. in italy we are attached to our family in general, not only to our mother. i see a big difference with frenchies. for example, i call my mother every day, we just talk 5 minutes, i just want to be sure she’s going well since she’s old and lives alone. my brothers do the same, but we all live far from home, here and there in italy or europe (yes, i have a lot of brothers). i don’t call my father because he’s not there anymore, but i’d probably do. but it’s true that the mother is the center of the family and she cares about sons and daughters and is always there, that’s a social fact.

    4. that’s true but not because we’re “mammoni”. i’m an architect, i had my degree a little bit late since i worked and studied and architecture schools in italy are quite hard. then i could not really earn enough to have a room or a little apartment. i had to go to paris to live on my own. a lot of people with a degree can’t earn enough or can’t find a job. contracts are done to keep you in an instable situation, we are a generation of “precari”.

    5. that’s true depending to where you live. and i can say there’s a lot of poo on sidewalks in paris too.

    6. yes, houses and restaurants and every other places are colder than in the us, and yes, oil is cheaper in the us, that’s true. but that’s a reason for overconsuming. i travelled a lot in europe and i can say it’s quite the same wherever you go. having 20° in a building is considered good, architects and engineers and laws consider 20° a right temperature. actually i think we’re not the weird ones this time.

    7. a lot of people consider them as catholic but never go to church, they have sex before marriage and do a lot of things catholics shouldn’t do. never heard about catholics and atheists at the same time. but having the pope in rome allows him to have a strong influence on people and politicians, that’s why i consider italy a theocracy. atheists in italy are the toughest you can find, and i’m one of them, because our freedom is constantly under attack.

    8. mostly true. in europe (not only in italy) people smoke a lot more than in the us. in italy you can’t buy cigarettes before 16 and “normally” you shouldn’t drink before 18, but people do that before that age.

    9. true.

    10. true in my family, i don’t know if it’s true in general. it also depends on what you consider “personal informations”. i don’t think that’s true when it comes to friends.

    11. i don’t know about florence in particular but there are more and more neofascists in italy and in europe, sadly.

    12. true, but it’s not a big deal to me :)

    13. mostly true. but we could talk for hours about this and this is not the right place.

    14. that’s no longer true, unless for quite ignorant people. northern people used to be racist and southern people didn’t like northern people (that’s not the same). the same goes with the stereotypes you talked about. the problem is that there are a lot of ignorant people (cfr. lega nord and things like that). i never had problems with my northern friends, in italy or elsewhere (here in paris i have friends from the north and they love visiting my region, but again, we’re talking about people who studied and travelled a lot), but we sometimes joke about these stereotypes.

    15. totally true. come to paris, it’s full of italians with a high education working and being apprecieted for their skills. as an architect, here i’m paid enough to live decently. when i was in italy i had to live in my parents house (see above).

    16. university in italy is cheaper than in the us since we have public ones, but it’s even cheaper elsewhere europe. people still get degrees even knowing that would not give them a good job and a lot of money. the thing about “10 years to graduate” used to be true, it’s changing in recent years, but it’s true that universities are tough in italy, and that’s also what makes italians researchers and graduated being apprecieted abroad, but that’s my opinion.

    17. i don’t know american men, that may be true about being romantic, i wouldn’t speak “in general” when it comes to lying.

    18. true. see above when talking about the church’s influence.

    19. true, and i think enjoing the food is one of the biggest pleasures in life. what you say about dinners (mostly christmas and things like that) is true but we do that less and less. also marriage parties don’t last as long as in the past. anyway.

    20. mostly true. can you please tell americans not to shout in the métro? i’m trying to read while going to work.

    21. true (in europe in general except for jewish men). i’m not circumcised and i don’t know people who are, why should we?

    22. not totally true. i still make a lot of new friends (in paris and in italy) and i find it easy (easier in italy than in paris, anyway). at the same time i keep friends from my childhood or school or university. my best friend is an architecture school fellow. we seldom meet but still i call him and consider him my best friend. he’s getting married next year and i’m his best man.

    23. i think you met weird people…

    24. well, we should talk about how americans use to wear, in general. the issue is mostly about them i think, more than about how italians use to wear.

    25. about “machismo”, it depends on education again. the less educated the easier you can find a machist guy (but that’s talking “in general”, so that’s not necessarily true). i don’t know where you found this thing about “not liking their wives or partners”. never heard about that.
    “I read a study that said it’s because Italians do not always marry for friendship or even love since there is still a strong tendency towards tradition (making family and having children)” (and the following statement): you are describing italy, but as it was in the 40es or the 50es. these things no longer exist. but getting married for love is not a guarantee for being “happily married” anyway.

  48. I’d add another point to the list: Most of us clearly see the shortcomings of our society and we whine (a lot!) about it, but we don’t accept foreigners to criticize us. It’s like we turned blind when a foreigner criticizes an aspect of our culture.

    About the “love lies”, I think the problem is different. They aren’t really lies, we don’t know that we’re lying, we really feel what we say. The problem is that our feelings can change in a matter of hours, so maybe we should be more cautious!

  49. Hilarious and controversial. Actually, mainly just really funny. Well played, well written and super appreciated by this American living in Rome (with my Tuscan boyfriend!).

  50. Ahahahahahaha !!! I’m from Italy and this is soooooo funny (… though many things you pointed out are actually true!) !!! You made my day! :D

  51. This is hilarious. Most points are so true (but Italians won’t ever admit it, because it’s not “bella figura”). I’m Italian-American, so I might know (I was born in Italy, grew up in the US to “half” Italian parents, and my family moved back to Italy during my high school years).
    Try living in Trieste: you get all the above, plus the “Bora” (wind) and the fact that no, your experience or cv don’t matter much if you’re looking for a job, you land a job on the sole basis of knowing people who know someone who is offering a job. So you’ll end up with a Ph.D. in physics and working as a cashier – if you’re lucky. But then again, most “triestini” don’t feel Italian.

  52. As you may have notice, you got linked by an Italian blog (and then FB) in the last few days…
    I’m glad I found your blog. It’s lovely. And this post is hilarious! :) Unfortunately (….or not? :) ), most of what you say is true… Oh, only a minor correction: “It is also legal to smoke and drink as a teenager” not really; it is illegal to smoke till 18, and to drink till 16 (18 in some regions) but unfortunately no one respects or checks this. So, it is illegal, but anyone does it anyway. (Just like dog shit: you are supposed to clean it up or you will be fined, but I have never ever seen anyone do it in Florence!)

    • Why? :)
      I find it amusing, not sad.. Come on, it’s a great post IF read like it should be read (with a light heart, and ready to laugh to yourself). Of course, many of these things are points we should really work on, but that’s true for every country in the world: there are weak points and great points. After all, the blogger married an Italian guy and she is living in Italy ;) there should be good things too!
      I’d love myself to have a country that is like Italy for living, like the US for working, like Germany for government efficiency, like Dubai for econimical resources and like Sweden for healthcare… but they still have to invent it!

  53. Ciao! I am from Florence and moved to North-America years ago, so I decided I am totally arrogating myself the right to comment! :P
    I laughed a lot about your article, and immediately forwarded it to a bunch of friends. The comments have also been enlightening for a variety of reasons. Since I don’t want you to type once again ” I understand, but this blog is humoristic in nature” (I would have cut and pasted the shit out of that) , or tell you about my relation with my mom (which nobody cares about, really), I would like to spend two words about the “italian heritage”, which you and one of the commenters touched upon. Countless times here in Montreal, I’ve run into people who literally BOAST “Bro, me I I am italian like you, my great-great- grandfather is from Campobass’ “. I look at them and I am like “Oh yes, of course”. But my initial thought is “Ahahah, not really”. It’s something in our DNA, I believe. For us, you gotta be born in Italy to be Italian, and honestly, why would anybody boast to be from our old, dying country?! You should be instead be proud of being north-american!. But then I try to see it from their prospective, and Canada and the US are so massive and EVERYBODY’s family moved from somewhere else, that an heritage is integral part of one’s being, no matter where your family is from. On top of that, what kind of balls it takes to leave your HOME, and move far far away to a colder land where nobody speaks your language to have a future? So yeah, props to the people who moved to North-America. But easy on the waxed eyebrows, dudes ;)

  54. Simone, non mi piace ma non me la prendo. Loro hanno i loro difetti, noi i nostri. E poi e’ satira, e’ fatta per ridere (magari anche amaramente, e di se stessi), non per umiliare.

    (Simone, I don’t like it but I don’t feel upset either. We have our faults, they have theirs. And in the end it si satirical, it is made to laugh -maybe even a bitter laugh, but a laugh nonetheless- not to humiliate a whole population)

    Oh and btw, it is totally different from what it’s posted here!

  55. Hi! First of all, great post, it’s my first time here and I love your irony, want to read everything soon :)

    I’d like to share my opinion, because I feel like most of the people commenting the blog, as well as you, come from or live in big cities (someone called Florence “a provincial town”…What??)
    As well as small towns are concerned, and I mean REALLY small and provincial (about 20 to 30 thousand people) the stuff you wrote is even truer, starting from the Mammoni thing (lots of families actually feel torn apart from a 15km distance) to the growing xenofobia.

    You’re true about friendship in here: me and my ex girlfriend (luckily) broke up after her friends started to advice her against me, ignoring the fact that what she basically did was always complaining about how infantile and narrow-minded they were….they’re still friend, by the way.

    Basically I am enraged by the stuff you wrote, because I feel like everyone in the world looks at Italians like “those funny ignorant people that doesn’t have any respect for themselves”, and they are true!
    I’m strugglin to become a musician, not only because it’s hard, but because here it’s not even considered a real work!
    I’m strugglin to learn the English language because I feel it’s a fundamental thing to know in this world, but no mandatory school has helped me further than “the cat is on the table”
    I feel like a lot of important things, vital for people’s well being, are ignored in favor of food, so called “love” and regional heritage..

    And what do Italians are able say? “You Americans are bad too, you don’t complain when it’s up to eating Amatriciana in Rome, huh?”………………..

    Sorry for the rant, and the bad English :)

  56. Hi, I’m Sabrina -15 years old- from Milan.
    Yes, what you have written are unfortunately true, and it isn’t all.
    I’m going to an art school, and I have only 2 hours of english at week, so, I apologize for my bad english.
    My dad is french, and I grew up with a different culture (luckily) and I don’t feel italian.
    A lot of italians are approximate, passive, timewaster.
    They have fear to lose their strength (is crazy, I know).
    The problems are many: here there is Church, Pope, Berlusconi and politicians. TV has lobotomized all people with a culture of sex, money and greed. If you bum the next, you win. If you have big boobs, you are a great woman! But Church and Pope pretend to teach the opposite (fake as Berlusconi because Church have many territories, houses, buildings, money etc…). So, there’s a “compromise”.
    In italy, if a thief enters your house, and you hit him, you are a bastard, because thief is a poor person.
    In italy, if you wear a skirt at 2 am, and a guy molests or rapes you, you are bitch because you have instigated the boy.
    the average Italian, don’t talk.
    If you call police, police don’t arrive.
    If you eat near a church, mulct.
    If you do simply things, mulct.
    If you think, please, go abroad!
    If you have a dream…. no, please, don’t say rubbish.
    Take mulct because you parked where you don’t have, but there isn’t signs about this. Every thing goes in this way.
    You don’t want to have problems? show tits.
    Italy is a constitution based on the work of others.
    but the average Italian does not complain.
    I have iPhone and my son doesn’t have toilet paper at school… it’s ok folks! everyone pretends not to see.
    the average Italian doesn’t claim.
    And finally: free Sardinia, recognize it as a state, stop destruction of art, hambient and education!
    here are all mad.

  57. This is all brilliantly funny. You’re a genius! Anyone who is offended by this simply doesn’t understand you and your lovely sense of humor. Clearly.

  58. These are qualities..and is a little bit strange u talk about are defects. Are not! these things u describe make us special. all 25 points (not the number 18) are true. don’t be surprised if when u walk around here u see things made around 50 D.C or B.C. tradition is something related to an old old country.

  59. “Most of the apartments, restaurants, etc are COLD in the winter”.

    So why we often see people from the USA wearing flip flops and t-shirt in january? :-P

  60. about nr 7
    unless like me you’re part of a religious minority, chances are, in Italy, that both your parents are Catholic.by default, they’ll want to cover the basics and will have you baptised.
    once you’re in, the Catholic club is a very difficult one to leave.
    so it doesn’t really matter if you then go on to become an atheist, or agnostic, or just woefully ignorant on the subject, which is what most people really are in Italy.
    they teach “religione” in schools, but you can opt out or sleep in class (well.. you’re not supposed to sleep in class.. but you know…). there is no conflict between creationists and darwinist. creationists are mostly looked at like they’re dumb… and a lot of people tend to shy away from the overbearing presence of the Church.. especially so if they have a bit of schooling.
    I’m guessing that most of the people you meet and interact with belong to the “well informed” ones, which equates with non-religiously minded.
    so they’re not religious, probably heavily disagree with the Church, but will still marry in one, if nothing else, to make their mothers happy.

  61. I think being Italians abroad is awesome, and being foreigners (tourists) in Italy must be awe-inspiring. Living in Italy, however, slowly grows unnerving and eventually you hate the place, especially how none of the country’s historical weaknesses and problems never even slightly improves, whether you were originally Italian or foreigner.
    Still, great post :)

  62. So true… I study in Florence for 3 years now and i find Florentines cold and introvert (Specially young females) and you always have to be the one who starts a conversation.I mean no disrespect but that’s a fact.They don’t seem to be able to communicate with strangers.I don’t want to generalize but the majority part of this city’s population (and lots of other cities in Italy) are no different from what you said.A few weeks ago on the street a lady who was passing by with his husband and two children pointed at me and my friend and actually called us “Nazis” just because we had short hair and a black leather jacket on :D The difference between people from north and south is notable here but to tell the truth i find southerns warmer and kinder.They always argue about who speaks the correct Italian (Who gives an F after all… ?) You need to be so outgoing and strong to survive in a tourist spot with ice cold locals where actually no long-term relationship is guaranteed.The rest, you said it beautifully…

  63. hi, i am Simone from Brescia, (as u know…the working north ah ah ), i really enjoyed your post, and i have to sadly admit that some points are really true! we are still very far from the rest of the world that is running so fast, and the economic crisis is just the mirror of a old-ignorant-lawless-disrespecful-corrupted society.
    But i really hope that you had good experiences as well here, ’cause we can my pretty bad, but sometimes we are super cool ! Anyway , it’s rare that people come to visit Italy and can speak Italian, and that would change defently the impressions and the time spent here…Anyway very good post, it’s always good to have a feed-back about what other people think about us, and you’re point of view cranked me up!

    • Simone,

      Hello love! Thanks for stopping by! I have a friend from Brescia (or Germany :P) and so I’ve been there a few times. It’s a very nice city. Of course I had fun here too, lol, or I wouldn’t have stayed for nearly five years. Sometimes I write about having fun in Italy, but honestly, that would be a very boring blog. “And today was amazing like yesterday and tomorrow would be amazing too.” I try to write about my good and bad experiences as well as stuff I read in books, or opinions my friends have, or things I see in the media frequently. I’m glad that you got my sense of humor. More than anything my blog is meant to be amusing (not to be taken that seriously all the time). I hope to see you around more often love :)

  64. wow how long-suffering and patient you were with that anally retentive Peter de Marchi guy! He thinks he has enough command of English to grasp tone, or sarcasm or even the humor in satire. God help him , he just proved that he is typical in trying to fare bella figura,yet proved hes a nitpicker.
    Damn I agree with every word you wrote and I would add even more. I long ago gave up any notion of leading a horse to water.No you cant. Anyway good for a laugh and keep up the writing!

  65. OH MY GOD!! This is sooo true! ahahah
    I am Italian, I lived in London for 1 year and reading this posted it made me so happy, can’t stop laughing ;)
    We are quite weird sometimes (love the point 17)!!
    I will read more about your blog ;)

    Hope you like Italy and the crazy people who lives here ;) x

  66. 18 is not true: they do give you the morning-after pill. Other issues arise with the abortion (within 90 days after conception) because there are doctors who refuse abortion.

    • Hello love! Actually, 18 is just a joke about my own experience trying to get the morning after pill with my husband in Sicily. A panel of four doctors told me “no, you’re old enough to have a baby, you don’t need it.”

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  69. Love it!!! I just came across your blog by accident, I’m Irish and live in north Italy. My boyfriend is from here so I moved here one year ago to be with him….now we have a baby! I agree with everything,this country is nuts! I’m a little bit luckier with the in-laws though,they love me and thats the problem,they love me too much! I gave them the first grandchild and the first great grandchild….I cant hide from them! One day I ignored the doorbell to pretend I wasnt home and my mother in law opened the door with her own key….oh don’t you just love it ha ha

  70. Really enjoyed it, laughing all the way, only read it cause my girlfriend works in Rome, so glad I did, very enjoying thanks. Ian from London

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  72. Funny and so true! I’ve been living in Italy since 2004 (Torino). It’s almost impossible to describe Italy to someone who hasn’t lived here, almost another planet…..maybe that’s why we like it so much? Expat from Santa Cruz, Ca.

    • I had heard this way before I married my husband and I just didn’t believe it. It sounded like stereotypical BS to me. However, I found out pretty quickly that there was a lot of truth behind the stereotypes. Obviously, there are huge exceptions to the rule, but if 10 expat friends of mine are in a room, maybe 1 of them didn’t have the same semi-traumatic in-law experience. Tell your friend to just lay down some boundaries and laugh. You really have to laugh (or it’s possible to ax murder someone). ;)

  73. Ciao, I have just found this blog and is so funny. And it is funny that I left Italy a few years ago, so I guess I am pretty much used to living amongst different people…..living in Toronto ;)
    Anyway I found most of the points quite true, a bit disturbing to admit though..and I am from the south, my mother is from the very south, and she LOVES my non-Italian wife so much that if she ever sees my wife not smiling, she thinks I am responsible and I get scolded so much….even via Skype :D! …..go figure…..

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  75. Hi! I found your blog through your interview with Rochelle del Borello and I love your description of Italians!
    I lived in Milan years ago and now I live in Sicily (ten years so far). A few of the things you say realyl remind me of what I hated about the north of Italy – Mainly the ubiquitous overt racism and the blatant infidelity.
    Whilst I could compose a long list of other gripes about Sicilians (indeed I often do on my blog) I have to give them credit, Sicilian men love their wives and frequently, proudly tell you so. It’s very sweet. Men who betray their wives or womanise get talked about in severely disapproving tones.

    Oh and yes, trying to get the morning after pill – been there. Have you tried enquiring about abortions though? they say “OK, fine, there’s a 9 months waiting list.” Seriously.

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