Home stories 18 Differences Between Living In Italy And The United States

18 Differences Between Living In Italy And The United States

written by M.E. Evans December 27, 2013

The US and Italy are at polar opposite ends of pretty much every spectrum and floating between the two worlds is like hopping back and fourth in time between planets . I often say that if you could simply combine both countries you’d have a nearly perfect system (you’d basically have a fashionable and less pervy version of Germany).

P.S. I’m about to generalize. For the rare few who get really freaked out by this:  I’d recommend skipping this post and watching this video of a Capybara instead. If you continue reading it anyways and then leave a comment saying, “not everyone is like this” you’re an asshole. Because it’s a generalization and in a generalization it’s obvious that it’s in general and that I’m not writing about every single human being in both countries. There are many, many, many exceptions. 

1. Eating. In Italy you’ll find people who love food so much that it borderlines on fanaticism and idol worship. They spend an unhealthy

two nuns buy meat by a butcher in Florence.

two nuns buy meat by a butcher in Florence. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)amount of time talking about recipes, cooking, and eating. I once heard three old men in Florence talk about their wives cake recipes for over one hour. Americans love food too but they basically just like food quantity. They don’t really give a shit what they’re eating as long as IT IS A LOT OF IT.

amount of time talking about recipes, cooking, and eating. I once heard three old men in Florence talk about their wive’s cake recipes for one hour. Americans love food too but they basically just like food quantity. They don’t really give a shit what they’re eating as long as IT IS A LOT OF IT.

2. Feelings. Americans pent up all of their emotions (even small, petty ones) until they eventually snap and lose their minds (often resulting in a homicidal streak or at minimal weeks and weeks locked into their Nintendo simply pretending to murder people). The US is an angry and frustrated place and probably one of the only places in the world where people kill each other for driving slowly. Italians cannot keep any of their emotions inside. If they feel something the entire vicinity is going to know about it in one way or another in the form of screaming, crying, slapping, or at minimal dramatic hand gestures, pouting or glaring. Honestly I prefer the latter. The venting is probably good for you (though I could skip the feet stomping, guys, come on.).

3. Using an “inside voice.” Most Americans are quiet speakers in closed public places. If you’re in a restaurant in the US it’s unlikely that you’ll hear any one voice standout from the the crowd. In Italy, you can easily hear a conversation that a woman is having about her yeast infection two restaurants down.

Fontina cheese.

Fontina cheese. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4. Food quality. The food quality (what you can buy at a normal store) in the US is so abysmal compared to Italy that I actually feel guilty feeding anything to my dog. “Oliver, I’m sorry, please forgive me, here is a radioactive carrot.” The only upside of the US supermarket is that there isn’t an entire pig head sitting on a counter somewhere randomly. I can do without that, Italy.

5. Sugar Coating. Americans fucking love euphemisms. “Is that a cold sore on your lip?” They might ask, a little embarrassed for you. In Italy there is no euphemism for anything. “Oh! You have the herpes on-a your-a face. HERPES. RIGHT-A DERE. DOES EVERYONE SEE HIS-A HERPES!?” Nobody has time for bullshit. They’re totally calling you out on being gross.

6. The skinny on fat. Weight is a really sensitive subject in the US where in Italy it’s something that is talked about all the damn time. “Did you see Francesca? She’s so thin! Francesca! You look like you’ve just escaped a work camp! Pietro is so fat! PIETRO! HI! YOU’RE SO FAT!” It’s insanely common for friends, family, (and even strangers) to comment on weight. Once I was walking down the street and a woman stopped me to say, “You need to eat more. You’re too thin. Also you’re dog is too thin. EAT MORE and feed this poor dog!” In the US if I told my friend, “Oh! You gained a little weight!” She’d punch me in the mother fucking face with her new chubby fist.

7. Pace. When I moved to Italy the very first thing I noticed was the pace. Life in Italy is slow. The Milanese right now are like, “No! Not even! Nuh-UH! Us Northerners are fast!” And I’m like, “that’s cute.” To be fair they are faster than the rest of the country but they still don’t compare to an average New Yorker. The south in the US is slower but the south of Italy is so slow that one could possible spend the better part of a decade waiting to send a letter at the post office. In the US people are so worried about efficiency and pace that they pretty much die before they even realize they’re alive. I vote that both countries meet halfway in the middle. Somewhere between lightning speed and the slow zombies from Walking Dead.

8.  Mother. Fucking. Efficiency. “When in Italy doubt” should be Italy’s catchphrase. When you move to Italy you have to unlearn everything you’ve ever known about things happening in a common-sense sequential manner and you have to learn the new system of nobody knows how things work, when, or why. It’s fascinating. Absolutely nothing is common sense and you can’t figure stuff out without asking people.

9. Job Security. Nobody can be fired in Italy because of the unions so you pretty much have to assume that absolutely NOBODY is interested in actually doing their jobs. At the post office my husband will ask the employee over and over again, “So you’re sending this to IRAN right. IRAN. I-R-A-N?” And I’m like, “Leave her alone she’s not retarded!” And then she’s all, “Yes. I’m sending it to IRAQ. I UNDERSTAND.” And my husband is like, “Mother. Fucker!” That shit happens every day. On the contrary, in the US people can be fired for walking funny or smelling weird so we spend every second of every day terrified that our boss hates our outfit and is going to throw us into the streets and our kids will starve to death.

The Three Eldest Children of Charles I (Charle...

Spoiled Children  (Charles, Mary and James) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

10. Children. I read a study that said children in all first world countries are becoming more and more pampered and spoiled and I’ve definitely seen that a little bit in both countries. However, I’ve frequently seen seven year olds being pushed in a stroller in Florence. I’ve never seen a seven year old in a stroller in the US unless the kids legs didn’t work for some sad or terrible reason.

11. Style. If you go to New York or a few of the more “fashionable” cities you’ll find well-dressed people in the US, however, most of the US seem content putting no effort at all into what they look like from day to day. You can see the biggest difference in small towns. In small town USA you’ll frequently see people shopping in sweat pants and you’ll see the occasional pair of overalls on a grown ass man. In Italy I’ve seen some horrible outfits but for the most part there is a good amount of effort that goes into appearance even in teeny tiny hillbilly villages.

12. Pets. Italy is pretty dog friendly. Florence is a heaven-sent city for dog owners. Oliver is always treated like part of the family and he’s allowed to go anywhere (including nice restaurants). The downside is that there are many stray dogs living on the streets in the south of Italy. People simply let their dogs “run free” if they don’t want them anymore and the common attitude is that “free dogs are happy dogs.” Which I totally don’t buy into because, guys, dogs are pack animals. They don’t give a shit if they’re able to run around free if they’re alone. The US is archaic and sterile when it comes to pets. Dogs aren’t allowed inside anywhere because of the US hysteria for hygiene and lawsuits. There are also hundreds of thousands of horrific animal cruelty cases reported every year in the US and most apartments don’t allow dogs. It’s really not the easiest place in the world for FIDO (or Oliver) in some ways. In other ways it’s nice with doggie daycares, incredible positive dog trainers, K9 schools, and massive dog parks in larger cities.

13. Family. The differences in culture really shows in family situations. In the US independence is one of the our most valuable qualities. A “needy” person or person who “asks too much” from a partner or family is considered bad. In most Italian families, independence isn’t really pushed at all. Everyone is an extension of the family and “needing” ones family is normal and healthy. In the US we tend to put career and finances ahead of our spouse, children, siblings, and parents, whereas for most Italian families, family comes first no matter what.

14. Age. In Italy here isn’t a lot of expectations that come with age in terms of what you “should” be doing anymore. It’s similar to New York in that regard. People of all ages go out, go drinking, and stay in motion and active. Outside of New York and California you don’t see that very much in the US. People seem more tied to their age and give in to the dull expectations of what a 40 year old should or shouldn’t do which is usually kind of lame.

15. Gender. Gender roles are really different between the US in many, many ways. The dynamic between men and women is in such a way that it can seem like women rule the nest in the Italian homes but the truth is that the expectations of the two sexes is very different. In the US the expectations are a little more equal in terms of career, child-rearing, and household responsibilities. Many parts of Italy still hold true to the belief that housework is only for women and regardless if women have a career or not they’re usually expected to do three times as much as men at home. They generally do nearly all of the cooking, cleaning, and tending to the children while balancing a full time job. Women are not taken seriously on an intellectual level and it’s expected that they maintain appearances all the time and domestic violence is statistically high in Italy (mostly in the South). However, in a way women are respected a lot too. I know, it totally doesn’t sound like it, but in a way they are. While the sexes are getting more and more equal in the US there is a lot of hateful, blind resentment towards women in American culture. Violence towards women is extremely high in the US and more often than not there is a lot of victim-blaming which shows the dark underbelly of the confusing “equal but hated” mentality of American culture. Both cultures really have a long way to go in terms of their treatment of women.

Romance

Romance (Photo credit: PIXNOIZE)

16. Romance. Italian culture reeks of romance. The music, the movies, the attitudes about relationships are very romantic and lofty. The idea of courting a woman is still pretty big in Italy and guys are sweet even with girls they have no real interest in. The wining, dining, flattering, is common in both countries but Americans tend to be a little more practical (you can see it even in films) whereas Italians are more sort of lofty, emotional, but non-comital during the initial process.

English: Photograph of Ponte Vecchio at night....

English: Photograph of Ponte Vecchio at night. Florence, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

17. Space. The US is enormous so it’s no surprise that Americans are accustomed to space. Big cars, big houses, big yards, and about two feet of space between themselves and other people all the time. Italy is not gigantic and in most cities the people live packed into a smaller apartment. They don’t require the same personal space. One of the first things that I noticed the first time I went to Italy is that strangers touched me all the time and nobody bothered to say, “sorry” or “excuse me.” At first I thought it was because the entire country was full of assholes but then I realized later that it’s because there is simply nothing to be sorry for. Sometimes you touch other people. And? And nothing.

18. Levels of neurosis. Italian culture is so calm compared to American culture. In some ways it’s annoying as hell because nothing ever seems like a big deal. Things that would send a typical American into cardiac arrest usually won’t get more than a shrug from an Italian. For example, bad dinner service. If an American has to wait more than ten minutes to order he’s going to burn down the restaurant. In Italy? Psssh. Calm down! The waiter will get here eventually (after twenty five minutes). It’s the same with chaotic driving or an array of other things that seem like the end of the world to Americans. Italy really understands the concept of taking things in stride and choosing what you get up in arms over. It’s probably why they live so damn long and why they have a much lower number of people on mood stabilizers.

Bonus: Freedom. The United States are always boasting about how “free” they are. Corporations have a lot of freedom but I feel much, much less “free” in the US than in Italy. In Italy you don’t feel watched constantly and you know that if you make a little driving mistake or something it’s not going to cost you your life. Sometimes in the “land of the free and the home of the brave” I feel like I’m living in a police state. It’s unnerving and stressful. I can do without being constantly tracked and watched, ‘Murica. Thanks.

Can you guys think of some other differences that I forgot? I’m sure there are many.

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92 comments

ciondolino December 27, 2013 at 9:14 am

So yeah, I’m in Italy for the holidays and already three people (like, friends and family) have pointed out how enormously fat I got in the past year.

Every point in the list seems to make sense, the only one I’m dubious about is number two. I wouldn’t be so sure Italians are so keen on expressing their deepest emotions…we just like to rant a lot ^^

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M.E. Evans December 27, 2013 at 5:19 pm

hahaha. When my husband and I were at his parent’s house people told him that he got fat about 20 times per day. The emotions thing? My Italian family sucks at talking about their deep feelings too, but they are much better about expressing feelings than a typical American. Americans don’t even talk about basic feelings like, “I’m annoyed with the waitress.” Nothing. It’s just people pretending to be “fine” 24/7. Kind of scary actually.

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Jennifer Avventura December 27, 2013 at 9:57 am

Hilariously spot on!

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maxine monaco December 27, 2013 at 3:52 pm

This picture of the cheese is the one you like at my house.

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Jessica Turner December 27, 2013 at 5:54 pm

Love. It’s the past 5 years of our lives balled up into one 18 part article.

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Roberto Freato December 27, 2013 at 6:16 pm

Not everyone is like this!

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M.E. Evans January 2, 2014 at 4:48 pm

Bastardo! 😛

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LaForte January 20, 2016 at 3:26 pm

Lol Bastardo

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Pippa Pirrip December 27, 2013 at 6:29 pm

Unfortunately, I’ve been seeing A LOT of elementary school aged kids in strollers over the past couple years, but since I work as a nanny I happen to be out in kid-friendly places most days, so I think I get more exposure. Last year, I was nannying for 2-year-old twin girls & they were totally capable of walking all over the zoo (added bonus: better naps!) but we were constantly seeing kids who were 5, 6, 7, 8 years old getting pushed around in a stroller. Eff that noise! People would ask me how my girls were so well behaved & not tearing around like maniacs, but when I’d say it was because if we were out somewhere & they acted up, we left & went home immediately, the parent would say something about how they just couldn’t do that to their precious pookie-kins, the 8 year old monster screaming & kicking his demands for candy from the throne of his stroller. Ugh.

Something I think Italy has on the US is that I just feel beautiful there. Men calling you carina and just being attentive in the most polite way with age not being an issue. Men old enough to be my father or grandfather were just so doting & flattering! You see it some in the South here, I’ll admit, but for some reason (maybe because I’ve lived in the south & only visited Italy?) in Louisiana, it just feels friendly, where as in Italy it makes me feel beautiful.

The other thing is when you eat. I’ve been to Italy 3 times & I always forget about restaurants being closed from, what is it? 4-7pm? It never fails that I’ll have one day in which I’m staving off starvation with gelato & a left over pastry until the restaurants open for dinner. And even when I remember, I’m still the first person in any restaurant for dinner pretty much always. I can’t help myself, my Americanness shines through at breakfast when I want more than a pastry & thimbleful of coffee & dinner when I’d rather eat around 6 instead of at 10 (when I’m likely in bed because I’m a morning person.)

On another US expat in Italy blog I used to read, the author talked about how annoyed she was with men in Rome always asking her what she made for breakfast, as a pick up line. She hated it so much, she started responding with, “Eggs!” which apparently horrified the dudes into wanting nothing to do with her heathenistic American breakfast practices.

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Bellavia December 27, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Nail on head! Nail on head! Although I slightly disagree about the last one. It infuriates me that in Italy people get away with a ton of BS they’d actually have to pay for (literally and figuratively) in the US. Freedom to park on the crosswalk? every.fecking.day. No thanks. Freedom to not pay taxes (or take open glee in hiding income as if they won some game show). Well, no thanks in the long run. etc etc. Freedom to steal and know the po po are often to lazy to look at reports or even encourage people no not even file a denuncia? Hail no.

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Emily December 27, 2013 at 7:07 pm

Italy taught me what food is, definitely agree on that point. My biggest observation about the difference between Italian and American culture is summed up in my reaction to a children’s book we read in my illustration class, in which a family of mice is preparing for winter. All the mice are working except for one who is remembering the sounds and smells and sights of the summer, so when winter comes he can lift everyone’s spirits. The lesson was something about how it’s okay to be an artist and we need these people too, but all I could think was…that damn mouse is a freeloader, soaking up sunshine isn’t work! Because I have Protestant work ethic instilled in me like no one’s business.

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jan January 17, 2015 at 5:53 am

OMG, I thought the same thing when I visited Italy. I’m hoping to make a transition even though I don’t speak Italian.

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Wendy July 11, 2015 at 6:40 am

I want the name of that book, Emily! I, too, have the Protestant work ethic deeply ingrained, but I’m trying to train myself out of that. 🙂

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Mani (A New Life In India) December 27, 2013 at 9:15 pm

Brilliant and hilarious.

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littlesarahbigworld December 28, 2013 at 12:47 am

FOOD OPTIONS. I agree that European produce (and dairy, and meat) quality is inherently better, without paying Whole Foods prices, and without the big fuss. But I feel there is so much more variety in the US. As an almost vegan, this is a big deal to me. Basically, in the US, you can eat whatever you want whenever you want, which can mean a double down from KFC as your fourth meal…OR it can mean vegan pho in a city as small as Salt Lake. Every time I go home, I go to the grocery store ASAP. It’s my American happy place.

Also public libraries with books in English.

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Elydia January 2, 2014 at 4:10 pm

Totally agree with you there!! In the US my family always ate/eats very healthy. No soda in the house, not a lot of sugary things but tons of fruit. Almost everything organic or locally grown from the markets. I know it’s not the norm in Italy and this article was a mere generalization but the only thing different that I really see in the quality of the food here in Italy is that there is a ton of the SAME SHIT!! You can NOT easily find restaurants and supermarkets with good, healthy ethnic or vegan alternatives. The fact that I only have 30 minutes for lunch and therefore can only get a greasy slice of old pizza or a greasy panino (unless it’s a caprese) within that time frame is not my idea of healthy. Where is Fresh City when you need one!?! I have to go to McDonald’s just to get a fricking salad!

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M.E. Evans January 2, 2014 at 4:45 pm

That is definitely true. It’s pretty difficult to eat out and eat healthy in Italy. You have to pretty much make everything from scratch. I was only referring to supermarket quality of food. Since being back I have yet to see a red tomato anywhere (Not even in the speciality stores. Even the organic stores are pretty sad right now).

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Matteo January 16, 2015 at 2:58 pm

Hey man
If there’s a place were you can eat anything it’s Italy. It doesn’t matter if you are vegan, vegeterian or not you will always find something new to eat. The only thing that you can not say is That American food is better than Italian food. THATS FALSE AND RIDICULUS

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Tracy December 28, 2013 at 5:11 am

In reading this I have just discovered I am Italian missed place in Texas

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Julio December 28, 2013 at 7:12 pm

Love you!

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blanche December 28, 2013 at 8:00 pm

I find Italian graffiti (which is everywhere) to be much more romantic than in the USA. Here it tends to be lurid or aggressive. There I see much more heartfelt yearning and expressions of undying love spray painted on walls and bridges. . .along with padlocks chained to railings with the lovers’ initials or messages.
What you said about inefficiency and lack of common sense was spot on. How about letting others get off the elevator or train before jamming yourself in? Italy frustrates me when I’m there, yet when I’m away I feel such incredible longing for it. Funny how that works.

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M.E. Evans January 1, 2014 at 5:57 pm

I really love both countries a lot. I wish somehow that I could jam them both together so I could have everything I love in both places.

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Michael August 16, 2016 at 1:06 pm

I am an american living in Italy and one thing that you did not say that I would like to point out is conviences are much different. What I am talking about is this example -in the U.S.A if you have a graving for ice cream at 9 pm on a Tuesday night you can drive drive down to the grocery store or ice cream parlor. Not so in Italy, it is much harder to go find a place to get ice cream or anything for a convenience. If anyone complains about not being able to go the local drug store at 9 pm on a weeknight, well I have seen vending machines outside the drug store with everything that you would need to run to the drug store late at night for.

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manfrys December 28, 2013 at 10:00 pm

Reblogged this on manfrys and commented:
18 differenze tra vivere in Italia e USA.

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mjbardwell December 29, 2013 at 12:47 am

About #18…a couple of months ago we were on the “local” train from Siena to Firenze when it stopped at a very small station not on the schedule. Seems the conductor was hungry and wanted to get off and get some dinner…we all just waited for half an hour. Fun, but not going to happen in the US!

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Tiana (@TianaKaiMiami) December 29, 2013 at 12:12 pm

I agree whole heartedly! Food, kids and family. I’m all for teaching your kids about consequences, which I don’t see much of here.

I’m not a mom, but have heard of many expats pissed off about how teachers get mad at them for speaking english in the house…so maybe Italian schools are more zenophobic when compared to American schools who pride themselves on teaching three languages to an eight year old!

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Davide Cuda July 7, 2015 at 5:12 pm

I have to admit every time I go back to Italy(I currently live in Spain) I’m shocked at the poor level of education and manners of most kids. When I was in school if me or any of my classmates would do anything stupid we’d get our asses handed over by the teachers who would then pass on the (verbal)beating to our redfaced parents who would then apply their own punishment on us(my parents never hit me once). Now if a kid does something and gets in trouble with the school, the one who risks a (phisical)bashing is the teacher(by other redfaced parents). What the hell?
THis said, I’m quite surprised about what Tiana said… The fact that I’m bilingual never was a problem for my teachers and thanks to the Italian public school system I studied 3 major languages(plus Latin… Ok, that was quite useless) that I keep speaking to this day with few flaws. I don’t know how many american schooled kids know any other language than their own, but I’d bet they are much fewer in comparison to italian kids.

This language thingy is common in all English speaking countries though, and has to do with the fact that English is the most spoken language in the World(just don’t tell that to the French, some of them still don’t know).

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jensen May 20, 2017 at 5:01 pm

You think italian kids have bad manners? Here in the states if one of our kids is in a bad mood he goes home gets a gun and goes postal on the whole school. Happens almost every month. Talk about Italian kids having bad manners lol

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M.E. Evans May 20, 2017 at 6:12 pm

I’m not sure that murder and being screamy in public are the same thing. But, also, Italian teenagers kill people too. Femicide, for example, isn’t exactly uncommon. With that being said, who gives a shit if Italian kids are allowed to be more annoying in public? I’m stating an observation, not saying that Italian kids are shitty people. This isn’t a negative judgement. Just an observation, MY personal observation. And yeah, Americans are flawed as fuck in their own ways. That doesn’t make Italian kids any less loud at dinner tables.

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Marliina December 31, 2013 at 8:32 am

Such a great post! I am Swedish and I lived in Milan for four years and I bet that the differences are even bigger between Sweden and Italy actually… 😉

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sofi January 1, 2014 at 6:43 pm

ahahah i’m greek and i live in Italy,this article is very funny i completely agree…

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sofi January 1, 2014 at 6:44 pm

happy new year 🙂

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M.E. Evans January 1, 2014 at 6:45 pm

Happy New Year Darling!

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Valerie January 2, 2014 at 9:42 pm

I laughed out loud about 10 times reading this!

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SB January 9, 2014 at 9:42 am

Good article, it irritates me that even to this day lots of Italians and English people seem to think that America is a wonderful, free land where they’ll be able to make their fortune and live well, completely ignoring things like lack of free health care, gun violence and all the other problems that countries have!

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M.E. Evans January 10, 2014 at 1:22 am

That’s true. The money is a lot better but you have to give up a lot to get it.

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BC November 4, 2014 at 11:49 am

not really…. I make a bunch of money and do whatever I want… I don’t care about free health care, nothing is ever free. If anything I spend too much on healthcare… for some lazies to live off my dime. I work for what I want and that gives me all the freedom I need. I think it would be the same in a lot of other countrys, the lazies will always complain about what they don’t have but they will never be willing to fight for what they want.

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Jim February 8, 2014 at 5:01 pm

Yup, this is spot on! When I see a woman texting while riding a bike with an umbrella you know you are in the Veneto. Men talk for hours on how to make Risotto…do not disagree with their mother’s recipe!

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beemk February 11, 2014 at 6:04 am

This sounds dreadful! Thanks for the heads up that my personality does NOT fit Italy.

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Jo Cavagnis February 13, 2014 at 11:45 pm

This list makes me laugh or proper laugh as my sister would say! I married an Italian 8 months ago and moved to Italy 6 months ago and was nodding along to most of these. The only one I would disagree with is point number 2. I am British you see and us Brits think that Americans talk a little too much about their feelings 😀 As for Italians and theirs….well….it’s a learning experience 😉 Great blog, loving it! I am considering starting a blog but will see how things go.

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Capt Jill February 22, 2014 at 7:43 am

I love you list! My fathers side of the family is Italian and my grandmother definitely shows a lot of the traits you mentioned. I’ve never really spent any time in Italy but your article really makes me want to go. I laughed out loud at your #9!
Something I found that surprised me recently. I was watching a utube about a livestock carrier and it had a woman captain and chief mate from Italy. It’s still very hard for a female in the US to earn that high rank, so I was surprised to learn that they had been able to get there in Italy. I always thought the Italians were more restrictive then we are. Lesson learned.
And you know something else, we DO live in a police state in the USA. 🙁

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M.E. Evans February 23, 2014 at 6:28 pm

The women’s issues in Italy are really complex. Women are still very traditional in a lot of regions but many are breaking away from that. The military does have high ranking women and you often see a lot of women in governmental positions and police positions. In corporations there are not as many women in high positions but it’s growing fast as women are out educating men in Italy.

You should definitely visit at least once. It’s a crazy country but it’s definitely gorgeous and interesting. I think most people would like it temporarily. Long-term is another story 😉

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Capt Jill February 24, 2014 at 6:31 am

I’m glad to hear that women are making progress. My grandmother was italian and very headstrong. She grew up in NYC and was the first woman pharmacist in the state of NY. I think I inherited her stubborn-ness. 🙂
I would love to visit Italy and spend some time there. I was actually there on a ship a couple of times. Once to Trieste, which is where my great-great grandmother was from. A couple of times to Civitavecchia. I never had the chance to get off the ship and stay. I hope one of these days.

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Andrew Rai April 13, 2014 at 5:31 am

I choose italy any day! Aaah man what am I doing here in America

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Matteo M. D. April 13, 2014 at 7:48 pm

Very funny post, complimenti!

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What To Wear In Italy In The Summer | Living In Italy.Moving To Italy. Loving In Italy. Laughing In Italy. April 25, 2014 at 10:13 pm

[…] 18 Differences Between Living In Italy And The United States […]

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gregoryearls April 26, 2014 at 8:29 pm

This was a great read. My wife was born and raised in Milan. She’s going to love this. Thanks!

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gregoryearls April 26, 2014 at 8:30 pm

This was an amazing read. My wife was born and raised in Milan, she’s going to love this article. Ottimo!

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M.E. Evans April 26, 2014 at 8:31 pm

Grazie! I’m glad you enjoyed it 😉

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Angelle May 15, 2014 at 11:57 pm

Sometimes I miss Europe so much. Northern Italy was one of the most beautiful places my family has ever lived.

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Ale May 23, 2014 at 8:00 pm

Italian here! A great read. I so agree with the space issue. I live in NY and I constantly hear about “invading my space.” What silliness. I traveled once with someone that would not ( for the whole 3 weeks) hug or kiss anyone because of her space. How sad I thought. I love that in Italy you can be touched by a total stranger and it is okay. It’s so human. The human touch. It’s beautiful and it should not be a big deal when this happens. Someone is not just going to come up and touch you, for goodness sake. It just happens. And it is okay. Thanks for the laugh!

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Javier Noperi May 30, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Awesome article 🙂
I live in Arizona in the U.S. I’m hispanic. Some day I really want to visit Italy. The culture seems a lot better than the U.S. I want to try out the foods and explore the city. I think it would be helpful to learn some basic Italian. I only know Spanish, and English.

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Judith A. Greenwood May 31, 2014 at 1:11 am

I would add that Americans are more courageous about heat, cold and breezes. It’s kind of a shock to hear even Italian MDs talk about getting sick from a little draft. It’s puzzling when in spring you see everyone in a quilted jacket when you are cozy in a T shirt.

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Lynda October 9, 2014 at 12:08 pm

This is hilarious and so true! 🙂

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Viviana October 13, 2014 at 11:49 am

Humph! Sorry, I’m Italian (from Milan) but I swear that in my entire life I have never seen in Italy a child of 7 year inside the stroller O_O
And American men are unrepentant womanizers as Italians. I remember particularly of a Texan guy that I met in Turin: he was more sticky of glue…. lol:)
You have failed to mention that in Italy health is Public, also a bum have right FOR FREE of to be hospitalized at the hospital and to live … In America if you want to heal you have to use your credit card!
Ciao;-)

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Davide Cuda July 7, 2015 at 5:26 pm

With the current level of Italian Public Health, it might be more correct to say that: “even a bum has a right to be hospitalized and risk being poisoned, FOR FREE!!!”

Ok, things are not THAT bad, and I definitely prefer a public health system to a private one, but the Italian one sucks.

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Kristopher Candamil December 1, 2014 at 6:23 pm

So I have a presentation to give tomorrow in my Global Citizenship class on cultural differences between my own personal culture and a foreign one. So I googled “cultural differences between the us and Italy” and your page is the first link that showed up, and man can I say I am glad it did! This whole thing was so spot on, and had me cracking up! I studied abroad in Florence last school year for 9 months and I am seriously struggling with being back in America. This post def made me think back on my time spent abroad and brought a smile to face, so thanks for that!

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M.E. Evans December 2, 2014 at 5:25 pm

Thank you Kristopher! I’m glad you’re enjoying it.

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CY January 22, 2015 at 2:39 pm

Thanks for the post! I shouldn’t have read this during work because I couldn’t control my laugh. Appreciate your honesty and humor. I am a corporate lawyer here in California and going to take on a new job in Bologna. If everything works out, I will be in Italy for a long….time…. I traveled there a couple times and can’t really describe how I feel about moving there. Of course I am very excited, but at the same time I don’t want to be super excited so I don’t get super disappointed once I am there. Your blog definitely helps me in preparation, especially the dog section. I am bringing my four years old (giant 10 lb ) Yorkie with me to Italy and I am very glad to hear that people are generally friendly towards dogs. I lived and worked in India for a year before and people were just so annoyed with me talking about my dog like a family member. The laughed but what they really wanted to do was to slap me. But people in India do share a lot of the points you mentioned here, especially with commenting on your weight and family dependence. The only thing I am worried about living in Italy is the gender issue. Of course I have experienced sexism in corporate America, probably one of the most sexism places in the US till today, but the culture is changing and I get a lot of support from other independent and educated women. I don’t know how is it there and how men treat women in business world. And the scaring question that always hang in my head, will I make friends? Anyhow, things will work out and I am going to read more of your blog. Thank you !!

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Marco April 17, 2015 at 5:02 pm

nel mondo degli affari, cosi come nella vita privata, la questione non è come gli uomini trattano le donne, è che tipo di uomo ti troverai davanti.
per gli amici penso che te li farai , ci vorrà tempo magari …. buon viaggio

in business , as well as in private life , the question is not how men treat women , is what kind of man you face .
for friends i dont think you will have problem , it will take time …. good trip

ps : i wrote italian, sorry for my poor english, but in this way you can practice

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M.E. Evans April 17, 2015 at 6:18 pm

Thank you Marco.

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maddiehart February 6, 2015 at 1:27 am

100% accurate.

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Ale February 25, 2015 at 12:31 pm

I find this to be mostly true. Another category is driving. In USA, everyone is aware, always letting everyone go in front of them, and everyone drives an automatic. Italy, it’s every man for himself, and everyone drives a manual. Italy, by the way, is not very dog friendly compared to the USA. In the suburbs of US, almost everyone has a dog, they have pet resorts, etc. In Italy, no one has any pets of any sorts. My family lives in Piemonte region, in Cuneo, and no one has a dog. No. One. Cats, maybe. But absolutely no dogs. The only reason Florence is dog friendly is because they know the tourists want what they want, and they want their dogs. Florence is just a big tourist town, like Rome. Drive a kilometer or two out of town, and you can find the real Italy.

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Giordano Avanzi September 12, 2015 at 12:13 pm

emh, I live in a small country of italy and a dog is a part of family, if the people haven’t this is for problem of space or
because a dog is expansive

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bob4 January 17, 2016 at 7:29 am

Cazzo, se non ci sono cani in Italia… Your family is only a 1/5 000 000 of the italian families and you pretend to represent all of them 😊 ?

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Laura Eide April 30, 2015 at 10:27 pm

Ahhh, che nostalgia!!! Thank you for the stroll down memory lane. I found you by googling ‘moving to Italy’ to check on cargo rates. My Italian son lives in the province of Pisa. I married a Florentine man years and years ago and lived there for 30 years. I love your take on the culture, the food, the language and the unique perspective of a much younger American woman starting out in Italy. I’d love to have a chance to chat with you!!! You are terrific! Tanti auguri per il futuro e complimenti per il blog. Brava! Bravissima!

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Matteo May 31, 2015 at 1:47 am

Ciao!!
Very funny article!! 😊
Another difference between U.S. and Italy is to get married… Another one is politics!!
Tanti saluti da Padova!!

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Davide Cuda July 7, 2015 at 5:37 pm

Hah, the food!!! Whenever I meet other Italians(where i live it’s packed with italian expats) the discussion might start about all kinds of different subjects, but it will allways end up talking about our regional food, so much that usually if there are other nationalities present(like 99% of times) at some point their mouths will start wathering and eventually they’ll politely ask us to stop it(or else be clubbed to death).

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Sara August 20, 2015 at 1:16 pm

Going to Italy to study in a week!!! This post was awesome and is sure to help me a lot! Thank you :))

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elena October 21, 2015 at 7:23 pm

Fantastic article. I’ve always appreciated Italy’s slow paced culture. My family is from Sicily and whenever I visit I absolutely love it but know as a woman I would never like to live there. I’m moving soon and hope to in Florence or a northern city — with many visits to the south 🙂

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Daniel Love January 29, 2016 at 9:18 am

I really enjoyed your blog. Your observations seem to be educated and non bios. I also agree with you on a lot of your views. I would be interested in reading other things you write about. If you’re okay with this, please send me the link to where you may have other blogs. Thanks.

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18 Differences Between Living In Italy And The United States – haidenmorgan May 26, 2016 at 1:40 am

[…] Source: 18 Differences Between Living In Italy And The United States […]

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Emanuela August 10, 2016 at 12:52 am

Are you crazy or What????? Completely nonsense. 7 years in stroller???????
Stray dogs in the streets in south of italy are one of our biggest painful problem. Sincerely, you get nothing on my country. Tooo bad

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john September 28, 2016 at 1:26 am

usa food good??? what safeway, etc. sells is 80-90% gmo, which will over 20-40 years make you sick and kill you

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M.E. Evans September 28, 2016 at 7:21 am

John, I don’t know where you’re getting this from. My post doesn’t say that America has amazing food quality. Also, you can find high quality food. If you shop at Whole Foods or farmers markets the food is organic. Our non GMO food is labeled, and I only buy non GMO products. However, I do think that anyone thinks that the food quality in the US is higher than Europe. You CAN eat well, but you’ll pay more $$$ in the US.

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Brandilynne Young November 8, 2016 at 2:33 pm

I loved your article! Everything you said was right on the nose in comparison between America and Italy. I long to go back to Italy and I actually think I will be moving there as soon as I am able.

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grnidrl2005 January 5, 2017 at 8:33 am

I have to disagree with a portion of your Gender comment. Women in the US still have to do 90% (if not more) of the stuff at home as well as have jobs. My ex-husband expected it even though I left for work before him and got home after him. I still had to cook, clean, take care of him, do the laundry, etc. I know many women in the same situation (my mom, sisters-in-law, friends all over the US). Also, the pay gap in Italy for women in the same profession as men is less than that in the US. It Italy it’s 6-7%, whereas in the US it’s 19-24%. That is not gender equality.

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Brenda January 10, 2017 at 3:10 pm

Thank you very much for your post. I have traveled to Italy, (briefly ) but enough to want to live there. How do I get in touch with other expats ? Is it difficult to find a job? Please respond
Rancharizona@yahoo.com

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Brenda January 22, 2017 at 7:38 am

I’m ready to go!

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Brandon March 20, 2017 at 6:22 am

Love this!

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Edoardo Santi April 27, 2017 at 12:10 pm

I really really liked this! I’m italian btw and I’m an exchange student in Tennessee and I would have just added how patriotic are people here like forreal, chill, we all know america is awesome but CHILLL.
Really good topics that you choose! that’s all very true plus you write super well ahah

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M.E. Evans April 27, 2017 at 12:35 pm

That is definitely something we should add. Americans can be way too patriotic. Especially in Tennessee!

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Suzanne April 30, 2017 at 7:37 am

One’s fsmily. You forgot the apostrophe. 😊 othersise awesome article. Wish I could join you on Italy. I cried the morning I left Florence.

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