Pieces Of Italy You Don’t Always See: A Visual Journey

When you say, “I live in Italy,” everyone imagines gorgeous men and women, pizza, and wine. The men and women are relatively attractive and often dressed well. The wine is great, and so is the pizza, but there are other aspects of Italian life that are weirder, sadder, and more entertaining.

First we’ll begin with this trailer, a documentary called Italy, Love It, Or Leave It. I interviewed the directors recently and they were awesome (I was weird and awkward as usual). It’s a story about real Italy, their problems, and the incredible amount of human shit in their water. Yep. You read that right (it’s the reason it’s illegal to swim in most lakes and river).

Then there is this: It’s supposed to be a mop but is actually just a dirty rag you push around on the floor. I don’t know why anyone still uses this. My mother-in-law was PISSED when I wanted to buy something else. I get tradition, but mop traditions? Seriously? WTF!?


This is a medieval device for torturing women. Rather than clean, it pushes the dirt and hair around on the floor, until the user it so frustrated they just give up and hire a maid.

This is a medieval device for torture. Rather than clean, it pushes the dirt and hair around on the floor until the user it so frustrated they just give up and hire a maid.


A lot of people peeing in the streets. I’ve done a fair share of drunk peeing in Florence alleys, so I’m not judging anyone. But seriously, Florence, maybe a few public bathrooms would be nice?


“Accidental Viewing Of Florence Italy” By Fine Art By Kelly Borsheim


This woman screaming on a bus. Italians consider Americans to be loud but Italians really know how to scream when they’re upset about something (or really excited about food).

These women, a fist fight, nudity, a gladiator, and a vespa getaway (I can’t even make this shit up guys).


And this ad. Whenever I write about Italians screaming or being a little dramatic I always get at least once comment  from people swearing that it’s a “cliche” and even if I experience it regularly with my own eyes it doesn’t actually happen. However, Dolce & Gabbana seem to view the culture the same way that I do. Here is what my in-laws kitchen looks like during holidays. No shit. Let me also add that I don’t actually think that being expressive is a negative thing. I’ll take screaming and yelling to serial killer silence any day. PS. Francesco promised to buy me one of these dresses when I finish my book. I’m not letting you off the hook FRANCESCO. Better start saving.


And this. This has nothing to do with Italy but LOOK AT HIM! LOOK!

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13 thoughts on “Pieces Of Italy You Don’t Always See: A Visual Journey

  1. Ha! That’s funny. The other day I wanted/needed to mop but I didn’t have a mop. I asked my husband: “can you tell me a way to mop without a mop?” he said, just put a wet rag on top of the broom, that’s how they do it in Italy. (He’s 100% American but was stationed in Italy in the Navy.) And then I realized that I have seen that in Mexico too. That’s also what they do in Mexico, and I’m Mexican, how could I forget?
    So I mopped with a wet rag.

  2. My family is American Italian but the rag mop. It hits home and cracks me up!!!! So many things that you write are true even for the old time American Italian. Love it!!! I was wondering, How did your in laws feel about your tatoos. You must have a great story!! BTW I have my kids reading your blogs.

    • hahaha. Good question! They obviously hate the tattoos. My father-in-law screams “SING SING PRISON” everytime I walk into a room if they’re visible. It’s not that new to me though, my own father nearly died when I got them.😉 Thank you for sharing me with your kids. I hope they’re enjoying. I hope the story is interesting, I’m currently writing a book about it and it’s a lot of stress wondering, “why would anyone care about this?” WHY WOULD ANYONE CARE!? Then wine. Wine helps. Also, getting awesome feedback from followers helps. So thank you for helping me push through.

  3. I think people at the Tram I am at the moment here in Munich must think Im crazy, because I laughed so much reading your post! I loved it! And believe me, things arent so different in my home country Brazil, especially the mop part and the expensive clothing!🙂 wish you a good day!!

  4. 1. Most importantly, the picture of Dwayne smiling made my day.
    2. I totally peed outside in Florence last year. I’d walked out to Piazzale Michelangelo and there wasn’t a bathroom to be seen, not anywhere, so I used a bush. Here in Denver, if you’re caught peeing in public you can be charged as a sex offender- even if it’s 3am and you’re hidden behind a dumpster in an alley! Which I’d like to go on record as saying can only dilute the pool of actual sex offenders, because while I don’t care if my neighbor was once drunk and peed behind a dumpster, I’d rather not live next door to a rapist or child molester. (In New Orleans, oftentimes they offer you a choice between a ticket or doing 100 push-ups over the puddle, assuming if you’re drunk enough to pee in public, you’re drunk enough to fall into your pee before doing 100 push-ups, but I’d never make it sober.) But anyway. There I was, peeing beside a bush in Florence thinking about how I hope it’s not a sex-offense in The Land of Caligula… and afterward, on my walk back to the city proper, I passed 2 different people peeing far more publicly than I had done.

  5. 1) The mop, yes. When I was 5 months pregnant (over 11 years ago) I bought myself a Moccio Vileda because I was pregnant and having trouble bending over the stupid bucket every two minutes to wring out the floor rag. Well, my mother in law had a fit and told my husband that those don’t get the floors clean….you need the rag to do it properly…yada yada yada. Not once di she say “You lazy git, your wife is pregnant, YOU should be mopping the floors, not her!” Figuriamoci.
    I still have my Moccio and WILL NEVER GO BACK TO THE SLAVERY OF THE RAG!
    2) The peeing in public thing, my ex (Italian) risked getting arrested because he went against a pier in Santa Monica. He was so used to, and greatly enjoyed, al fresco weeing that he didn’t even think that other countries might have a different opinion.
    I myself have had a wee in the bushes in front of the Grand Hotel in Rimini – it was a group girl wee and we were all falling down drunk. I kept expecting the Carabinieri to pop out any second and drag us all in for public indecency.
    3) The screaming. Oh Lordy. I have been absorbed into the Borg. I am one of those crazy-eyed screaming mammas in public whenever my 11 year old gets on my very.last.nerve. He does it often. My husband, though Italian, pretends he doesn’t know us. My son whines “mamma, you’re EMBARASSING ME!” with perfect pre-teen angst pitch.

    4) I really, really enjoy your posts. Keep them coming!

    • Her SON mop the floor with a dirty rag!? What kind of man would he be? No, no, the pregnant, uncomfortable wife should do it. On all fours.

      hahahahaha! That was a fun comment to read. Thank you.

      These would surely be the sentiments in my family as well. We have a lot of “cleaning” issues because I also stay away from harsh chemicals. I’m a baking soda, non-toxic girl, and that makes them CRAZY. Your house will be FULL OF GERMS! Mixed with the air conditioning, all will perish.😉

      • Oh God, the A/C, yes! We couldn’t install a unit until we bought our own house and had the tubes and stuff put into the walls in 2007, we were renting a flat in a building built the year I was born until then. My mother in law would alternately complain of the heat in her house (110mq), wouldn’t install A/C and had a ceiling fan (butt-ugly Vortice) but wouldn’t turn THAT on because of fear of the very Italian “hit of air” and “cervicale”. Then 2003 came along with 40°C plus temperatures from May to September. She got the A/C installed. She hardly uses it though, because”they” say it is “dangerous to the health” to have the inside temperature more than 5° C lower than the outside temperature.
        They are all bonkers, I grew up in southern New Mexico where the best part of going grocery shopping was having your sweat freeze dry on your arms the second you walk into the supermarket.

  6. I just totally love, love LOVE your blog. Stumbled across it a few days ago and have been in stitches ever since. Don’t even ask what obscure google search got me here, that would be a whole blog entry all by itself….. Do you take guest submissions? Want to hear about the mad German female who packed a Springer Spaniel and a Birman cat and whatever else could not be sold on eBay or given away into an old Jaguar and drove from North East Scotland to the South of Italy in February to start a new life, remembering just before Paris that No, the Alps don’t stop in Switzerland and there was a Mont Blanc between her and the promised land and it was snowing? Who finally arrived in a town she had chosen from the internet and found that the female neighbours lock up their husbands after dark when a single female moves into the neighbourhood? About a first date involving an Italian, an English speaking German, and a voice translation App malfunctioning in spectacular fashion on an iPad on the table between them? I can so relate to what you are writing about and just love the way you write it. I adore life in Italy, with all it’s quirks and stuff, and can’t think of any place I would rather be. But poking fun at this life we have chosen is a charming way to share it so don’t be put off by those who suffer sense of humour failures…..

    • Petra, thank you. Yes, I do take guest posts for my expat essays page. If you’re interested email me something with a photo and a bio. Your experience sounds batshit crazy, like mine. I’m into that😉

  7. Pingback: 10 Surprising Ways That Studying In Florence, Italy Will Change You | Living In Italy.Moving To Italy. Loving In Italy. Laughing In Italy.

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