9 Differences Between The North, Central, And South Of Italy

This list is the second part of another post. I’d recommend reading that one first: Northern Italians Versus Southern Italians: Are They Really That Different?

This isn’t an exhaustive list of differences and a lot of this is from my perspective as a foreign human. If you agree, disagree, or if I’ve forgotten something add it in the comments below! I’d love to hear your personal experiences as an Italian or an expat.

1. Religion. Most of the people we know in the south are religious as fuck. My mother-in-law is a bible teacher, one of our friends had an exorcism (not joking), and a lot of the people we know from the south wear a cross around their necks, do the church thing, and get really emotional when they see the Madonna (not that Madonna, guys). However, some of our friends in the south are also atheists. Our priest in the south scared the shit out of our dog with his intense energy, and refused to marry us unless I lied on a form and said I wanted babies (if you think I’m lying, ask my husband, he was sitting next to me). Also, once in Sicily they refused to give us the Morning After Pill because we were “old enough to have children.” Yep. In Florence it’s easy as shit to get the Morning After Pill. Our priest for our marriage classes (we married in Cassino but did our classes in Florence) was super progressive as far as priests go. He glared and shook his head at the super religious Florentines in our class. He told them that Francesco was exactly what Jesus would want (now THAT is scary) and that our relationship was what God intended for a good marriage (Yep, not even joking. ME and FRANCESCO). He was very open-minded and totally fine with the fact that I’m agnostic. However, there are still a lot of reaaally religious Florentines. Some of them were in our marriage class and they were very interesting, others were my former professors or friends. A lot of the Florentines I know are serious about Catholicism and they will cut a bitch. CUT. A. Bitch. Everyone that I know in the North from the Milan/Brescia area says they’re “not Catholic” but they were all baptized and some of them wear crosses. So I don’t know. Statistically, pretty much F-ing everyone in Italy is Catholic with a TEENY TINY percent of Jews, muslims and Christians and like 5 buddhists that the population ceremoniously sacrifices on good friday or something. I may or may not have made that up.

2. Racism. I’ve witnessed a ridiculous amount of racism in both Florence and in the South that just makes me want to stab the shit out of someone (a young fascist kid once tried to spit on me when he realized I was foreign and I would have beat him to death except I was holding two vodka’s and I couldn’t figure out what to do with them…i’m not going to waste vodka.). However, I’ve also witnessed a lot of kindness in Florence and in the South regarding immigrants. We have a very good friend who works with immigrants to help them in Cassino, and in our area of Campo in Florence, all of the shops and business people are really friendly with me and the other immigrants who sold things on the streets. They helped them, were kind, and treated them like everyone else. Then we have the Northern League in the North who are some racist, awful, disgusting, mother-fuckers who have attacked Italy’s first black government minister by saying “she should be raped,” and calling her “an orangutan,” and have even thrown bananas at her. However, as The Guardian pointed out, “The Northern League is, admittedly, a minority party, usually gaining only between five and 10% of the national vote. And other political parties have expressed solidarity with Kyenge. But anyone who has listened to Italian political debate, or worse, stood in an Italian football stadium, knows that Italy simply isn’t as tolerant of a place as it should be fore being 2015. This is a country where a recent prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, thought it hilarious to joke that Obama had a decent suntan. The racism isn’t restricted to right or left, old or young, rural or urban: it is noticeable everywhere.” Italy is obviously not the most racist country in the world since there seems to be a lot of racism everywhere but that doesn’t matter. Who cares if other people are also racist? How about we go ahead and say that any racism is a lot of racism and fuck that. (http://www.theguardian.com/world/shortcuts/2013/jul/30/italy-racism-cecile-kyenge-esterofilia3). 

Education. Some of the smartest people I’ve ever met in my life are from the South. The South, historically, had the education fund of an inner city school in Detroit, so anyone who has rose from that has kicked as in the face of some serious adversity. However, economically now the south is given the same amount of money as the north but bad budgeting seems to be ruining it for everyone. Regardless, some of America’s Ivy League professors came from Italy’s South, famous restauranteurs, and business owners from small to huge conglomerates.  Northern Italy has produced just as many brilliant minds, and the northerners do well in every industry in every country because the north is more developed and fast-paced than the south. Let’s not forget about the “central” people of Florence, Rome, and the many other cities in between. There is more opportunity in the north and the northerners kick ass and take names. Italians, when they have the opportunity, are brilliant people. Unfortunately the economy and in some ways the culture in southern Italy has prevented a lot of people from living up to their potential. Like every country, there are brilliant people and then some people who it’s shocking that they haven’t accidentally died somehow. 

4. Mammoni. I’ve read about weird mammoni issues in both the North, Central, and the South. I think that “over mothering” happens in every region in Italy. Sorry y’all. Nobody wins here. Especially not the dude that some mom is trying to re-womb. RUN! RUUUUNNN!!!

5. Women’s Issues. Okay, this one is complex. The number of women killed by partners, husbands, etc., is highest in central/northern Italy. Yes, that’s right, I was surprised, too. One time in Florence I saw a Florentine couple arguing (they were speaking Florentine) and the man slapped the woman across the face in public, in daylight, and all of the people standing next to them (including police) just minded their own business. Nobody said anything. That was insane. But that was a one time thing and I’ve never seen it since then.

I’ve seen a certain type of sexism in the South that I don’t see as much in Florence and have never witnessed in friend groups in the North. In the South the sexism if very open, and sometimes it’s like walking into a Lucille Ball clip. There’s this unspoken (and sometimes spoken) gist of, “Hush, ladies, the men are speaking,” or, “You have a vagina so I’ll sit here and wait until you get me a drink of water,” or, “all of us with penises will sit here looking confused while the women do everything for us.” You don’t see the exact same institutionalized sexism as blatantly in Florence among our generation like ever (I can’t speak for older people). And the North is much closer to the US in terms of sexism which is still a huge problem but it’s in less of a 1950’s kind of way. Now, this doesn’t mean that ALL southern men my age are like that. Most of our friends are very progressive, very open-minded, and my husband isn’t like that at all. He’s a feminist (GASP!?) and he certainly doesn’t love the common southern dynamic rampant among some groups.

6. Food. The food quality in the south is epic. The produce is literally farm to table. So good. However, regional cuisine is delicious everywhere, and let’s be honest, Italy is a tiny country, it doesn’t take long from fresh produce to travel from the south to the north.

7. Polite behavior and general way of being. This is the largest difference between the North of Italy and the South from what I can tell and in a lot of ways it’s very similar to the differences between, say, New York and backwoods Mississippi. What is considered okay versus what is impolite seems to be really different. In the South it’s totally fine to scream at your friend from one balcony to the next whereas in Florence that would be kind of weird. There are more rules for the South in terms of conversation and how or when to talk with people. The general rule being: Even if your wife is in labor, stop in the middle of the street for twenty minutes and talk with your father’s friend because otherwise you’d be “rude.” Whereas in the North it would be  rude to actually inconvenience other people when you can clearly see they’re busy but it seems like the norm in the South to totally inconvenience the shit out of everyone. Clearly, I relate more to the North because I’m a city person and stop talking to me when I’m doing shit. Damnit!  When I’m anywhere South of Rome I don’t know how people expect me to act and I don’t really understand any of it because I didn’t get the secret memo about “ways of being from here down.” I still haven’t figured out what exactly is expected of me. I do know that me speaking frankly is really not cool to most people, sarcasm doesn’t work, and I’m supposed to really like “girl things” and I get pushed into “conversing with the women” as the two groups often split up. I don’t get southern culture at all. I mean I get it but it’s totally not my thing. I like central Italy which is a nice mix of the North and South. Really, what I’m describing in a lot of ways between the North and South of Italy is very, very similar to small-town southern USA, and New York, which is very much similar to the differences between Milan and like Puglia.

Something I have noticed that is a large difference is that they seem a lot more hospitable in the South of Italy, just like they are more hospitable in the South of the US. This isn’t to say that people aren’t hospitable in the North, but Southerners seem to take it to a new level. If they make lunch or dinner it’s going to last for 5 hours and they’ll give you all of the food they’ve ever grown in their life in that one meal. They’ll also practically hand you the clothing off of their back if you say you like it. Careful on your compliments, people have tried to give me all of their things before. Kind of cute. A lot of people say that southerners are more “warm,” or “welcoming” but I don’t know if I’d say that. I haven’t noticed a huge difference honestly. I don’t think that warm and hospitable are the same thing. When I think “warm” I think open and easy but I don’t feel like “open” describes most people in Italy. They’re a very private people in a lot of ways and getting to know even the basics of someone can take decades.

8. Public displays of Jealousy. I’ve seen this in every region to varying degrees of crazy from Northern Italy all the way down to the very south. I mean, seriously, wouldn’t it be easier to go up to your partner and say, “Hey, what you’re doing it making me have icky feelings of insecurity and jealousy. Please stop that.” Isn’t that easier than puffing up like a rooster and stomping around like a lunatic? You’re not a monkey (are you?). You don’t need to throw doody to prove your love. Doody love. Ha. Although, I will say that people are less tolerant of jealous outbursts in the North and Florence than they are in the South. Friends will roll their eyes and be like, “what the shit, dude?” in the North and Florence but in the South they’re like, “Oh dude, of course you just ripped off your shirt and beat your chest right now and peed on your girlfriend because that’s what you do.”

9. Fashion. People are going to be really pissed right now but in my opinion, Milan, and Florence are the better dressed cities. This is not to say that EVERYONE dresses well in Milan or Florence or that in Rome and Naples everyone is dressed bad. No. That’s not what I mean. There are always exceptions. But, from what I have seen, Rome is very casual and the Naples, Cassino, south of Cassino area is waaaay too flamboyant for me. I prefer men in fitted clothing, I like well-dressed men, but WOW. Walking around Cassino half of the time is like a gay pride parade on meth. Sparkles, rhinestones, fake crystals, bright colors on the women, and then gallons of hair gel, shiny suits, and parrot outfits for the dudes. Who has time for that!? And also, my eyes, you make the burn.

Let me know if you agree or disagree below! What did I miss? What would you add? What’s your experience?

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67 thoughts on “9 Differences Between The North, Central, And South Of Italy

  1. Pingback: Northern Italians Versus Southern Italians. Are They Really That Different? | Living In Italy.Moving To Italy. Loving In Italy. Laughing In Italy.

  2. Fashion and the north south thing. OK so I lived in Venice for three years and I generally thought people dressed very casual, so I would just think its the norm for Italy and got used to being ‘over-dressed’ for Venice. Then I go south, way south to stay with my mother-in-law in Lecce. The sunday evening walk is huge there, like you can’t move in the centre of town, and low and behold my usual over-dressedness is now: wow I feel like a tramp. Now its not like everyone was in suits or black tie, I just thought crap I really need to make an effort here.

    RE: Womens Issues, a bunch of us expats met up before I left Italy. The subject of TV arose, or the fact none of us can stand to watch it for the shit quality and the sheer amount of shows where a woman is infantised by production or worse ridiculed by a usually much older male co-host (I use this loosely, as the near fossil of a male on screen is usually with a just reached age of consent girl with hair extensions, short dress and padded breasts. Host will ridicule the girl for the audiences amusement). Really not OK.

    Also a minor bug bear for me… is more than once I have felt assaulted by household detergent advertising or promotions in supermarkets that because I am a man I shouldn’t be interested in doing my own laundry (This was actually said to me by a promoter, she wanted to know why a female neighbour hadn’t offered to do it for me).

    N.B. I generalised a lot for the sake of brevity, its not my blog after all so nobody jump down my throat over it ok.

    • Curtis, I laughed out loud reading this partly because I’m going crazy but also because it reminded me of my life. A lot. Your detail paints a really accurate picture of Italy with the nasty old T.V. hosts and their pre-pubescent models they’re molesting. Plus the added, “wanted to know why a female neighbour hand’t offered to do it for me…” My in-laws once screamed at me because my husband’s shoes were dirty. My response was, “That’s not my problem. He knows how to keep his feet clean, he’s thirty!” They stopped talking for a minute before screaming, “NO! NO! NO! You’re the wife! You must make sure he is cleaned!” Fascinating. I mean, really. Would you want some woman “cleaning you” into manhood? “Curtis, darling, come here so I can spit shine your shoes. Can’t have you going out looking like that, now can we?” I’m pretty sure that England and the US are similar in this area, you’d probably think I’d lost my fucking mind and would run for the hills.

      • haha.. my mother in law is more of the school “I pity you, I had him under my feet since he popped out of me and now he is your problem, I look forward to him driving you crazy leaving the fridge open, lids off jars, the milk out…” but from the same woman comes this:

        My first visit down there, I kept my stuff really neat (I’m not that tidy but I’m OCD when it comes to cleaning, but English level OCD, not this scrub until your knuckles bleed that some Italian housewives seem to practice, but then with TV being so bad, what else is there to do? or maybe its the anger that TV produces they take out on the floor? anyway..) I kept my dirty laundry hidden in my suitcase. Me and Massimo go off out one day, we get back just before dinner. My underwear, socks, shirt and trousers have all been washed and PRESSED, not just ironed. I don’t even iron my socks and underwear, whats the point?! I could barely eat dinner and face his mom without thinking “yeah so shes just handled your dirty underwear, washed it, and taken an iron to it.” Also I had some panic over how she might be judging me to be a bad match because I don’t do these sort of things for her son. Then of course I come to my senses and realise because I have a life, I value my time and relationship with a bottle of wine and he is lucky I wash them at all. (Seriously, if he has been working away I half expect his underwear to walk out the door of its own accord once it hits the bathroom floor).

        And yes if you as a neighbour or whatever said “Curtis, darling, come here so I can spit shine your shoes. Can’t have you going out looking like that, now can we?” I would try to have you sectioned under the Mental Health Act or at least inform social services.

      • “This is the largest difference between the North of Italy and the South from what I can tell and in a lot of ways it’s very similar to the differences between, say, New York and backwoods Mississippi…. The general rule being: Even if your wife is in labor, stop in the middle of the street for twenty minutes and talk with your father’s friend because otherwise you’d be “rude.” Whereas in the North it would be rude to actually inconvenience other people when you can clearly see they’re busy but it seems like the norm in the South to totally inconvenience the shit out of everyone. Clearly, I relate more to the North because I’m a city person and stop talking to me when I’m doing shit. Damnit!… Really, what I’m describing in a lot of ways between the North and South of Italy is very, very similar to small-town southern USA, and New York, which is very much similar to the differences between Milan and like Puglia.

        Something I have noticed that is a large difference is that they seem a lot more hospitable in the South of Italy, just like they are more hospitable in the South of the US….”

        Why don’t you like American Southerns? What’s with your jab at us? Yes I’m smart enough to understand that you’re tried to make a jab at us; we aren’t all backwoods people..

      • I actually love southerners. But the culture is very different and I’m not used to it. So it’s less of a jab than me saying southerners are more chatty than northerners. It’s not a bad thing but it’s not what I’m used to.

  3. It’s funny for an italian reading about your list… and find out that almost everything it’s true! 😄

    About italian religion, in my opinion things are slightly different from your description:

    Almost all italians are baptized, of course… it’s a really strong tradition. The difference is how religion is practiced:
    In the North Italy you have a higher number of adults who decide to refuse religion and become atheist or agnostic. However the ones who keep to practice religion are quite committed, so you can see that parishes are dynamic, well organized, usuallt full of activities.

    In the South people live religion as a superstition, but they usually aren’t diligent practicing catholics.

    So for example they ask to the saints protection against “malocchio” and other curses, they usually keep good luck talismans and stuff like that.
    They often offers candles and flowers to receive protection, or special favours for specific issues… as a sort of magic ritual.
    Parishes are also less frequented (mainly by women; southern men don’t go to mass); they don’t even receive the confirmation sacrament untill they are going to be married (because without confirmation they can’t be married in church); north catholics instead receive the confirmation just after primary school, as the catechism requires.

    As you said, Central Italy is quite in the middle, they are less committed and dynamic than north, but they aren’t also so superstitious as in the south

    • Jacopo! Thank you! That’s a really good addition to the post. I’m glad you commented. I’ve actually noticed this myself. You’re totally right (I didn’t realize the difference between the North and South as you pointed out) but I have noticed that in the South some of our religious friends are VERY religious but most of them are more superstitious, or they simply follow the religion so that everyone doesn’t judge them. I guess there is more of a social pressure in the south? My husband is one of those Italians who conveniently follows things only when he needs to so that his family isn’t embarrassed, otherwise, he’s “not Catholic”. LOL. Also, my husband’s grandma used to do a lot of things that sound like magic to me. Very interesting stuff!

  4. Agree with everything you wrote here. It’s all true! Married to a Sicilian who was born and raised in Milan (sadly recently, is no longer with us anymore) had its fair share of drama, not only from him alone and not to mention his older sister who’s the only sibling, but from his so called Northern friends too that I found such bigots (but granted, they are the older generations italians). However, I was told by a younger generation Italian man when I protested why don’t they look me in the eye when I talk or why do they talk over me that annoys me each time (yet, I’m Asian but very gutsy) – one explained that to many men here, women are like fish. Cut the head off, throw it back into the sea. In other words, women are not supposed to have a brain. They’re only after the body. That explained it all.
    Been through racist treatments. I, who grew up in London, lived in Singapore and Los Angeles – when my husband, then boy friend came to Indonesia to especially pick me up to bring me to visit Italy, he warned: “you must understand, some will feel defeated.” This given that he was an eligible bachelor and an Engineer at that (you know how titles here are revered greatly).
    And so, I was treated with contempts from women more – and from men also but those who had partners (influenced by their women, it was obvious). They would tell me, or even my own husband would utter to me – the woman whom he professed to love – that “I have found America.” Meaning, I have never seen such a luxury in life prior to coming here to Italy. That made me realise how narrow-minded the people really are and from that moment on, I understood their perceptions of foreigners.

    Today, I have assimilated myself into this culture, but guardedly so as I keep myself to myself to have my own world with my own choice of friends that are International minded only (and this has kept me sane living in this country for 29 years and 6 months to date) and know when and how to be Italian whenever it is called for.

    Yet, even 2 months ago, at a shoe repair shop right here in front of my building, being an older generation, the man yelled at me: “go back to your fifth world country” – third world country is too nice to say evidently…hahaha… only because it was raining and I had an umbrella opened, stopping by at his shop, I asked him to just pass me the shoes I left to repair and paid already, to me at the door to avoid dripping all the water into his shop. But his ego took over and said: “No, you come in here and get these shoes inside!” So trivial yet became the Greek tragedy that day. And that’s what I am sad about this country, of people as such.
    Fortunately, this doesn’t happen with the new generation anymore.

  5. Agree with everything you wrote here. It’s all true! Married to a Sicilian who was born and raised in Milan (sadly recently, is no longer with us anymore) had its fair share of drama, not only from him alone and not to mention his older sister who’s the only sibling, but from his so called Northern friends too that I found such bigots (but granted, they are the older generations italians). However, I was told by a younger generation Italian man when I protested why don’t they look me in the eye when I talk or why do they talk over me that annoys me each time (yet, I’m Asian but very gutsy) – one explained that to many men here, women are like fish. Cut the head off, throw it back into the sea. In other words, women are not supposed to have a brain. They’re only after the body. That explained it all.
    Been through racist treatments. I, who grew up in London, lived in Singapore and Los Angeles – when my husband, then boy friend came to Indonesia to especially pick me up to bring me to visit Italy, he warned: “you must understand, some will feel defeated.” This given that he was an eligible bachelor and an Engineer at that (you know how titles here are revered greatly).
    And so, I was treated with contempts from women more – and from men also but those who had partners (influenced by their women, it was obvious). They would tell me, or even my own husband would utter to me – the woman whom he professed to love – that “I have found America.” Meaning, I have never seen such a luxury in life prior to coming here to Italy. That made me realise how narrow-minded the people really are and from that moment on, I understood their perceptions of foreigners.

    Today, I have assimilated myself into this culture, but guardedly so as I keep myself to myself to have my own world with my own choice of friends that are International minded only (and this has kept me sane living in this country for 29 years and 6 months to date) and know when and how to be Italian whenever it is called for.

    Yet, even 2 months ago, at a shoe repair shop right here in front of my building, being an older generation, the man yelled at me: “go back to your fifth world country” – third world country is too nice to say evidently…hahaha… only because it was raining and I had an umbrella opened, stopping by at his shop, I asked him to just pass me the shoes I left to repair and paid already, to me at the door to avoid dripping all the water into his shop. But his ego took over and said: “No, you come in here and get these shoes inside!” So trivial yet became the Greek tragedy that day. And that’s what I am sad about this country, of people as such.
    Fortunately, this doesn’t happen with the new generation anymore.

  6. My family comes from Ponzano in Northern Italy. I grew up in Canada tho. My whole life we have been taught little jabs towards Southern Italians, even tho we live in another continent. Since a young age I can recall being told how much more civilized Northern Italians are then Southern Italians. Also Southern food is constantly made fun of, that its bad, that the recipes are from generations of poor people who couldn’t even afford meat blah blah blah. That Southern Italians speak a language closer to Croatian rather then Italian. (mind you I have relatives that can only speak Northern dialect that is just as retarded). That Southern Italians are little ugly people, that all the women look like round little nonnas and all the beauty is in the North. My whole family are Catholics who are Atheist haha. Ive never seen my father step foot in a church other then a funeral, wedding or baptism. He openly speaks of his hatred for organized religion yet wears a cross everyday of his life and was baptized etc. My Nonna was the same, I am too. Although I have a Aunt who didn’t baptize her children because she see’s the hypocrisy in the whole system and the whole family looks down on her and her kids. So I think Catholic Athiests fits us. Its almost more superstition and tradition that drives our religious pursuits rather then actually caring about religion.

    We are encouraged to date other people whose families are from the North and if we date anybody whose family comes from the South the failure of the relationship will be due to the fact they are from the South and we should have known better then to date someone from there blah blah blah. I have a Zia who married my Zio from Naples and my family hates his family and says they are all Camorristi and immoral people. lol

    As for Italian families in North America and there children etc. Usually IMO its very easy to tell what part of Italy someones family is from. Lots of people whose Lineage is from Southern Italy here tend to be very loud and obnoxious, they lean more towards belonging to the cast of the Jersey Shore. They announce they are Italian after every breath and do it in a almost tacky way. Its a completely North American Italian phenomenon but its funny. They are far more blatantly Italian (even tho theyve never stepped foot in Italy) and in your face about it then anybody whose family comes from the North. My family would say they are making a bad impression for Italians to the people of North America.

    With all that being said tho, living in Canada I have friends who come from all over Italy and we all bond over common traditions and morals and tend to think of ourselves as far better then any other nationality. So I don’t think we are that different from eachother in the end. Even tho we love to point out how we are.

    Sorry for writing a novel in your comments.

  7. To your point in the first post about bigotry between the north and the south–my wife and I spent our honeymoon in Northern Italy back in 1995. Through my father-in-law, we were introduced to a wealthy Italian physician from Milan who was now working in the United States. I told him that we were thinking about going down to Rome, and he said “Why would you want to go that far south–down with the terroni.” I spoke some Italian, but not colloquial Italian, and I asked him what “terroni” meant. He said “Dirt people–they are Africans.” I couldn’t believe it. Like he was pure Italian but the southerners were mongrels. I tried to shame him by telling him my grandfather was from Potenza and my grandmother from Sicily, but he could have cared less who he was insulting…

    • Jeffrey, I used to have friends from the Brescia area and when I started dating my husband (who is from south of Rome) they went crazy. “He’ll beat you! He’ll chain you to the kitchen! He’ll never be able to take care of himself! Terroni! They are monkeys!” It was shocking. Even a few of my professors said similar things when they found out that my husband was from the south. Crazy.

      • You are one of the most racist people I’ve ever read comments from and you still feel free to accuse others of racism. Worst than a northern, that’s what u are

  8. HI,
    Your blog cracks me up.=)
    I haven’t lived in the south, traveled, but not lived. My own personal experience with racism in Italy is that there are 2 categories of immigrants. Those that come from western countries and the rest. When I had to go to the questura a few years ago, i was blantantly treated differently then the others around me. On that particular day I was the only white person. I was also 8 months pregnant with kids number 2, may have also helped. But there were families and women with babies waiting and the tone of voice and the amount of politness used with me was not the same for them.

    • I’ve noticed that too. In our area in Campo people were very sweet with the immigrants there (even the illegal ones) but only in that area. In other areas I was always shocked by how poorly they were treated. Especially by tourists (the real shocker).

  9. Love the list Misty. Sooo true! Having a boyfriend originally from Puglia, who has lived all over Italy and over 10 years in Bologna, I’m of course very aware of the differencies you mention. I have to add that fortunately he likes to be as far away from his mother as possible 🙂 and is his own grown-ass individual who can take care of himself. In the beginning of our relationship he did ask me if I cook and would I clean, but then he said he was joking, when i said if he would like to be poisoned. Sure enough, now he cooks, with me occasionaly busting out a dish. What I would bring to the list is that they’re very superstitious in the sense that people think they can give people il malocchio, and that freaks me out. Then there is quite a lot of religious/church fanatics, who are really loud in saying the prayers in churches (we are both baptized and go to church only for art). Being a blonde I get stared at a lot. Especially in rural areas. The other day I was grocery shopping in a tiny market in tiny town and got stares from 10-year old girls. Fashionwise, a certain percentage of people from the south are as tamarri as they can get and girls are still into black platform pumps with spikes… ouch. They are obsessed with tanning to the point that my boyfriend who is pale, is ashamed to be seen on the beach. They are convinced that Italians are inventors of everything, and that they are superior to other cultures and countries. Adding to that, that i’ve seen a number of public displays of jealousy and think the Italians can be quite jealous…. I will never forget the first time I witnessed a couple fight on the first floor of the palazzo in Verona one summer. Me and my boyfriend having romantic dinner al fresco and them shouting at each other with windows open and breaking glass. Then the other things that bugs me is that the young don’t really want to know the difference between giving you buongiorno/buonasera and ciao. I’m over thirty, but look younger, and every store I go to, the young commesse always give me ciao – and that really bugs me. I also learned that if you deal with really pushy shop assistants, just speak english and they will leave you alone in no time 😀

    PS And to answer L Pizzo, who says that southern dialects are closer to Croatian – well, they have nothing to do with Croatian language, apart from one pocket of croatian in Molise, but that’s another story (I’m a linguist), more so with Arabic, due to all the historic invasions. There are many jokes about southerners speaking italian in such a way it sounds arabic….

  10. Ahah, Misty, you’re quite spots on and crack me up! As an Italian born in the South, with Sicilian parents but who spent most of his life in Bologna and now living in Germany, I can see what you mean, although people, even Italians, forget too often, that yes, there is a North and a South, but between them, there is also something called Central Italy!

    Religion: you haven’t taken into account the countryside vs big cities divide. The South is def more religious than the North, but devout people abound in rural Northern Italy too. Piedmont, Liguria and Emilia Romagna are not that religious, while Veneto, Friuli and much of Lombardy have considerably more devout Catholics ( I would say bigot Catholics, which is also why the Northern League has its strongholds in those regions, but I don’t know if I can be politically incorrect here 😛 ).

    Racism: maybe it’s the influence of my left wing region of Emilia Romagna, but I would say that racism is mostly confined to the centre right and extreme right parties. You will find people who vote for the left saying that they despise immigrants, but IMHO they’re marginalized, especially in the so called red regions ( Liguria, Emilia Romagna, Tuscany, Umbria and Marche). Logic says that Southerners should be less inclined to racism, since they experience(d) racism first hand , but having met a Sardinian man complaining about immigrants in Germany, I see that it’s impossible to use logic with those assholes ( oh well, I’ve also heard African Americans ranting against faggots, so I shouldn’t be surprised).

    Politeness and way of being: when it comes to hospitality and politeness, Southerners tend to be a lot different than Northerners. I have most of my family living in Sicily but consider myself more of a Northerner, especially when I go visit them. The whole shebang they stage when relatives come visit is a tad too much to bear, bordering overbearing. As a guest, you are supposed to visit all your relatives one by one, accept a dinner invitation ( even if you barely speak with them) and enjoy a 5 course meal ( and by enjoy I mean eating whatever amount of food they serve you). All of this while they force their company on you. While I understand that most people mean well and would go the extra mile to ensure that you have a nice stay, maybe I find the Northern Italian way of dealing with guests a bit more relaxing.

    Food: there are actually things that you will only find in the South and not in the North and vice versa. A producer of buffalo mozzarella told me that no matter how you transport it, buffalo mozzarella will not have the same taste in the North. Being an ultra fresh cheese, the day that takes to transport it up north will change its flavour and taste. Also there are veggies, like red eggplants or purple cauliflower that you won0t find in the north Italian markets.

    Women issues: Spots on. My granma still needs to process the fact that I live on my own with no female help and don’t want to get married any time soon ( and I never told her that I don’t want children or that I’m gay ), but this hasn’t deterred her from giving me a ring that will belong to my future wife. Seriously, never laughed so hard when I hang up after she told me. But things are almost the same amongst the youngest generations now, no real difference between north and south, except social pressure from family and friends.

  11. I guess this applies to all Italy. I just hate the way Italian women are portrayed on TV. Eye candy in the talk shows and every time I watch a commercial I have to ask my wife if that was an advertisement for a bordello or a bar of soap!! Italy really needs to advance into the modern era regarding sexual equality.

    • Marti, I couldn’t agree more. It must be very frustrating for your wife, and Italian women in general. I know that my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law seem like they’re about ready to pop sometimes from the many expectations of them to always be “pretty,” and to accompany their husbands like a dressed up handbag. You’re wife is probably very relieved to have a husband who “gets it.”

    • Oh! And Marti, how did you two meet! I’ve managed to put together pieces from your comments but I think your situation is so interesting I’d love to hear it sometime (if you feel like typing it out). 😉 Of if you’d like to do an interview sometime for the blog. 😉

  12. This is such an interesting topic, and can be a little touchy. Good on you! In my experience Southerns are very hospitable and friendly, I’ve noticed the religion thing….but I’ve also really noticed the attitude towards women—in general (of course every person is different). However, one distressing thing is actually reading online newspapers from the south, and when there is a wife or girlfriend murdered by their significant other, many comments under the article place the blame on the dead woman. “She shouldn’t have provoked him” “She should have just shut up.” “Why did she insist he leave his amante?” I don’t find this mentality as prevalent in the north/central-north. Also, many southerners have told me it is considered very ‘odd’ for a woman to go anywhere alone….even for a walk around the shops. “puttana.” I’ve also heard of various instances where a man will have his amante move into his home with them…..and the wife must accept it. Something that took me aback was the man-woman age gap seems to be much more generous in the south. And by that, I mean, it isn’t odd for a 16 year old girl to get with a 30 year old man, as she is intended to be his future moglie. So many of my Sicilian students have told me about this commonplace occurrence and usually shrug and say “in these small villages, there aren’t many people to marry.” They then mention their mom, age 45/50 and dad who is like, 70.

  13. Cassino is now TOP of my list of places to visit when in Italy!

    • haha! That’s great! I just interviewed a few Cassino friends on what to do in Cassino! I’ll be posting it this week. 😉 He’s even agreed to host tourists in his home for lunch/dinner. His name is Sergio and he’s lovely. I hope you’ll go see him if you’re ever in the great land of Cassino 😉

  14. My experience has been that people from Southern Italy are rather BETTER educated than their Lombard or Veneto counterparts for the simple reason that a kid with a high school education could find a job in the industrialised North and wouldn’t bother going on to college. In the South, you weren’t going to find anything without emigrating, so you spent time getting an education. This may be changing with the economic crisis. As far as Southerners being more religious, I would have said “more superstitious”. I have had college grads engage me in perfectly serious conversations about “the evil eye”. And racism, unfortunately, yes. My middle son married a girl from Mauritius and she has to deal with a lot of ignorant behaviour. My son has been asked “Where did you find that whore?”. My DIL puts up with a lot of leering from the men and cold stares from older women.. I must admit that when they get to know here, they usually embrace her totally as “one of us”, but you still hear comments about my granddaughter being a “cioccolatino”, said, strangely enough, in a doting tone of voice. I really think they don’t REALISE the inappropriateness of how they act. Racists tend to defend their dumb remarks with a “You have no sense of humor!”

    • I am Sicilian through and through and my family hates the northerners because they crapped on Sicily from the very beginning; we (not me, I’m third generation American) spoke a different dialect, we were poorer, plus we weren’t exactly European… but everybody in my family (including me) is a Catholic, and most wear a crucifix, and the women cook and clean and don’t even let the men do anything… and everybody in my family feels that that is the way it should be. My grandma is the matriarch, grandpa smokes cigars, we grow tomatoes… haha. Yeah and everybody is from the little village of Racalmuto, Agrigento… and the Gambino half (that’s right, Gambino as in one of the five families) is from Palermo.

  15. In response to L. Piuzzo

    Very confused attitude there L. You seem to be listing the racism of your northern family the South and then you do the same, putting shit on children of Southern Italian immigrants in your country.

    “Lots of people whose Lineage is from Southern Italy here tend to be very loud and obnoxious, they lean more towards belonging to the cast of the Jersey Shore. They announce they are Italian after every breath and do it in a almost tacky way. Its a completely North American Italian phenomenon but its funny. They are far more blatantly Italian (even tho they’ve never stepped foot in Italy) and in your face about it then anybody whose family comes from the North.”

    I am the daughter of southern immigrants to Australia and all I have to say to that is: not all of us, or even most of us, act like the people on Jersey Shore. You notice them because they are loud and in your face, however, most of us are leading quiet lives going about our business.

  16. In response to L. Pizzo

    Very confused attitude there L. You seem to be listing the racism of your northern family the South and then you do the same, putting shit on children of Southern Italian immigrants in your country.

    “Lots of people whose Lineage is from Southern Italy here tend to be very loud and obnoxious, they lean more towards belonging to the cast of the Jersey Shore. They announce they are Italian after every breath and do it in a almost tacky way. Its a completely North American Italian phenomenon but its funny. They are far more blatantly Italian (even tho they’ve never stepped foot in Italy) and in your face about it then anybody whose family comes from the North.”

    I am the daughter of southern immigrants to Australia and all I have to say to that is: not all of us, or even most of us, act like the people on Jersey Shore. You notice them because they are loud and in your face, however, most of us are leading quiet lives going about our business.

  17. I just died. This was such a hilarious synopsis of how foreigners view Italians and their differences between the South. I myself am a foreigner (half Czech half American) and am currently in Milan for studies. I have also visited other places in Italy, all the way to Sicily and completely agree with the 9 points of differences. Especially the clothing in the South.

  18. Pingback: Making Mixed Babies: Ranting About The Obvious Difficulties Of Raising Multicultural Children | Living In Italy.Moving To Italy. Loving In Italy. Laughing In Italy.

      • And there, in a nutshell, is why I left (sh)Italy, hopefully for good. Especially in the South, pieces of work like Retardo here are virtually ubiquitous, and I just couldn’t stand it anymore.

        Not even having long hair was something I could get away with scot-free. There always had to be some moron asking me questions like “Are you a woman?” and permutation of the same concept (which irked me to no end particularly because I never understood what the actual fuck is wrong, to some people, with being a woman).

        Also, I like to joke to people. Apart from very basic slapstick humour, in the South, that’s basically impossible without getting into even violent arguments. Once I was offered free pizza by some dude I helped out of a tight spot before – I refused, joking that “by the time I get home, it’ll be virtually the same as if I bought frozen pizza”, which started a 30-minute tirade at frozen pizza and anything it stands for. 50 shades of yawnsville. Let’s not even mention sarcasm: people just don’t get it, it’s an excellent way to get into physical confrontation.

        Finally, when I saw the media tycoon version of Pacciani being elected over and over again I just surrendered and fled the country, some 12 years ago. Maaa[…]aaan, best decision of my life. After so long, every time I’m back on holiday or to take care of business I realise how intolerant I have become to the media, the sexism, the “this is how you do it” mentality, the ethnocentrism, the lack of sense of public, the constant dramatic attitude, the exploitative job market, the Mussolini-apologists, the Che-chic commies, the crassness, the loudness – the whole thing, basically apart from food and landscapes.

        Sorry for the rant, Zvono here made me bust a vein.

  19. I love your observations, they are so spot on! My husband is from the south too (Naples area). You’re right about the super religious element in the south, and your stories are hilarious. My husband was telling me that when we have a baby, we can’t give him/her the name I want because they won’t baptize him/her without a classic Italian name (i.e. one that is associated with a saint). So all of the people in the rest of the entire world who baptize their kids only use Italian names? Also the mammoni thing is so true. I’ve dated guys from different parts of Italy and it makes no difference. Once, this Roman guy I was seeing changed his mom’s name in his cell phone from “mamma” to her first name because he said an ex girlfriend was bothered when “mamma” kept calling. Uhhh, if it get’s to that, maybe you call each other too much.

  20. Another great piece! I visited the north including Milan, Novara, Vercelli, Parma and Genoa. And yes, I stuck out like a sore thumb being I am Chinese and American. A Genoese once said to me, “And you do not have an accent at all. You speak English so well for a Chinese”.

    I also made several visits to the south. Rome, Sicily and Sardegna. During my stay in Palermo, a young Sicilian boy shouted to me, “Kon’nichiwa”. So I responded with, “Sayōnara”. It was fine being Japanese for few seconds 😁

    I guess my hope with finding a Buddhist temple in Italy is slim to fucking none.

    Yes, you are right. North and south are so different….with cuisine, tradition, way of life, and yes, the men.

    But I love Italy. And there will be many more trips back to the country I fell in love with.

  21. I’m italian, I live in the north but my family is from the south so basically every summer I go back to spend time with my grandparents. A few years ago, I was on the beach and a cop asked me if we saw people coming with a ship from africa, illegally. It was scary ’cause we found out that these people stole cars and wallets in town. Now, a lot of people in Italy don’t like foreign if they come illegally. I know that there are people who are racist in general (and I hate that ’cause I love traveling and spend time abroad) but in the south they are scared since most of the people who came tried to make money stealing from people who were in the way instead of asking for help..

  22. I guess it’s just a matter of history, wealth & education. North is welthier thus people are generally more educated and low profile.
    Then there is the weather: south is hot half the year, sun shines a lot, life is laidback….. thus people are lazy and often unreliable. But we do enjoy life. My Canadian friend used to call us the negroes of Europe :D. I take it as a compliment of course.
    Up north they are a but more discrete and generally honest. Down south we are survivors and grew up having always ‘to watch our ass”…. we are kinda tughest. Life is beautiful but ain’t no time for bullshit 😉
    BTW most average educated southerns aren’t over religious (unlike those brainwashed americans), neither dress like Guido’s.
    Actually down south there is a fine sense of style & luxury: the most authentic italian elegance is made in south.
    Seems like u girls have been looking more for stereotypical italians rather than the cool ones 😀

  23. Planning to visit deep south of Italy sometime. I am of African descent, female and travelling on my own….sort of sabbatical. I am excited. The people in south Italy sound lovely but a little fearful. I hope I could put their fears to rest. Cheers everyone!

  24. I know I’m commenting on a year old article, but it had me in stitches, I really like your delivery.
    Also, I think there’s more to be said about the history of the whole north-south conflict, so here’s hoping I won’t bore you to death, because I think it’s actually quite relevant.

    Historically the South, particularly Napoli (capital of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies) was quite prosperous, having more resources and better infrastructures (like the first railway ever to be built in Italy) before getting eventually annexed by the Savoyards (based in Turin) which other than being how Italy came to be as a single country, is also at the root of the phenomenon known as “brigandage” (more info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brigandage_in_Southern_Italy) which then evolved into assorted drama such as “Our Thing” (aka the Mafia), the Italian Diaspora, the financial ruin and exploitation of budget resources first by the Piedmontese and later by organised crime in the South which persists to this day and which I think partly explains the often rather explicit mistrust and contempt between the North and the South.

    Still awake? Congrats! Haha. Thanks again for your entertaining, insightful post.

  25. I was born and raised in a coastal Sicilian town, my father’s family is from an inland sicilian village(coastal and inland can mean a world of difference in Sicily), and I lived “up north” for about 4 years. When I was younger you could definitely notice some differences between girls and boys, for example in the evenings girls would suddenly disappear from the streets around 11-12 PM, which for us boys meant the fun was over and only weed and beer was left to ease our adolescent pains. This said, I’ve never personally seen any guy hitting any woman in Sicily. You just don’t do that. Once I saw such a scene in Turin and off all the people around I was the only one to literally take of my belt and promise to crush it in the guy’s face.
    We definitely have a problem with Italian television(the Tits and Ass tv programs where brought to us by Silvio Berlusconi, a coughnorthernercough), I cannot imagine how any woman can watch it, be it italian or foreigner, without feeling the need to reach into the tv-set, grab whatever old guy’s running the show, bring it out and punch him senseless…

    About religion. I’m guessing “Catholic atheists”(as previoulsy stated) might well be the best way to define us. I myself am one, and that should not be surprising. As a largely monoreligious country, most organized pass times for kids are linked to the church. From Agesci(the biggest italian org. of scouts and guides, catholic) to soccer practice, to spending the saturday morning outside of your church playing with your catechismo class buddies… This means that being a catholic becomes more of a social act of acceptance or better yet, of being accepted in the community, than a religious feeling. This is also common in other monoreligious countries like Spain.
    Nowadays more and more young italians are becoming atheists or agnostics more for hatred towards the Vatican’s politics(though Pope Francisco’s election has slowed this process) than for spiritual change.

    Superstition… How can I believe that a virgin gave birth to the son of God and not believe that some people can give you the evil eye? I mean, when does it stop being superstition and start being religion?

    Fashion: Italians generally know how to follow their style, whatever it might be. This means if you’re a punk chic from a village of the south you’ll spend time and money looking exactly like a punk chic in London, or even better. And it goes on like this. Unfortunately in the south one of the leading styles is the one of the Tamarri, which is a “style” probably invented by some blind dude.

    i’d also like to point out though that Sicily is quite different from the continental south, and this is not only my opinion but one that is shared by many other italians, from the north as well as from the south.

    Sicily and Puglia are also the only regions in Italy that have known gays as governors… Oh and they are also both communists(kind of).

    In Lombardia they did have a closet gay as a governor for more than a decade but he was right wing and “very catholic”.

    And I have litterally spent HOURS on this blog -.-‘

  26. I was born in Livorno, in Tuscany. Perhaps the least Tuscan city in Tuscany. My father was a U.S. serviceman and my mother a Livornese of many generations. I think the blog’s author has made a great attempt to explain Italy, but comparing the regional differences in Italy to the regional differences found in the U.S. is not helpful.

    I went to work in Sicily for the building of a U.S. cruise missile base in the early 80s. Italian (Tuscan) and English are my mother tongues having spoken both since I could could speak. I could not understand the language in Sicily (the Ragusa dialect) when the locals were speaking among themselves. I understood nothing, nada. The locals could, of course also speak Italian. I can go to New Orleans (in the U.S. I live on Maryland) and understand everything.

    After a year I could understand the language, but never learned to speak it.

    The differences in Italy between the regions is far more acute than in the U.S.

    As a Tuscan, I find Romans very different in their demeanor and although I understand them perfectly, but they behave quite differently than Tuscans. And, Lazio borders Tuscany.

    As central Italians, (central Italy is Tuscany, Liguria, Umbria and Marche) we probably represent a middle ground of Italy. Lazio is central but has had so many people from elsewhere settle there it is different from the rest of central Italy. Lazio seems more southern Italy than central Italy. Ligurians may deny they are culturally central Italians, but they are.

    As far as the north, the Emilia-Romagna border with Tuscany is the change from olive oil to butter. Liguria makes the best olive oil in Italy, better than our own Tuscan olive oil. Unfortunately, they can’t make enough because the olive trees in Liguria grow on steep terraces facing the sea and they are difficult to cultivate.

    The “polentoni” as both the central Italians and the southern Italians refer to the northern Italians (because they eat polenta/cornmeal) are as different to the central Italians as they are to the southern Italians. The thing about southern Italians is that they have tremendous differences among themselves. A Neapolitan has almost nothing in common with a Sicilian, for example. Sicilians are a very serious, proud, direct people, while Neapolitans are the opposite.

    Of course, this is Tuscan’s point of view, and most non-Tuscan Italians have a love-hate relationship with Tuscans. There is a famous novel called “I Maledetti Toscani” (the damned Tuscans) that claims only the Umbrians do not hate the Tuscans.

  27. “This is the largest difference between the North of Italy and the South from what I can tell and in a lot of ways it’s very similar to the differences between, say, New York and backwoods Mississippi.”

    “There are more rules for the South in terms of conversation and how or when to talk with people. The general rule being: Even if your wife is in labor, stop in the middle of the street for twenty minutes and talk with your father’s friend because otherwise you’d be “rude.” Whereas in the North it would be rude to actually inconvenience other people when you can clearly see they’re busy but it seems like the norm in the South to totally inconvenience the shit out of everyone. Clearly, I relate more to the North because I’m a city person and stop talking to me when I’m doing shit. Damnit!”

    “Really, what I’m describing in a lot of ways between the North and South of Italy is very, very similar to small-town southern USA, and New York, which is very much similar to the differences between Milan and like Puglia.”

    Such ignorance… In the South of the US of A we don’t want to inconvenience you. If you are busy, like say your spouse or anyone close to you is in labor, then we won’t demand a conversation. You clearly no nothing of southern small cities. We want you to be polite and greet us when we greet you, but we won’t stop you from doing something important. We won’t “inconvenience the shit out of you” oh special, smart, wise northern; it’s not the norm.

    Also nice touch on the backwoods thing to describe Southern small towns…

    • I think you’re taking the blog a little too seriously, since it’s a humor blog and I make fun of everyone…mainly myself. I have a large following of southern readers who I adore. And who get my sense of humor. It’s not a malicious attack on the south. If it’s not your thing then that’s totally ok, my humor isn’t for everyone, or even most, but nobody is forcing you to read the blog honey.

  28. Scusa, ma gli americani non hanno nulla da insegnare sulla tolleranza agli italiani… non credo esistano o siano mai esistiti paesi più razzisti e classisti di quelli anglo-sassoni, con l’aggravante che si sono sempre proclamati difensori della libertà. Please…

    • Cris, don’t even get me started on Anglo Saxons (which I’m not, by the way, although I did grow up partially in the culture). But this blog isn’t the one where I complain about the US. I do that on another blog. This blog is about Italy so I focus in Italy. The good and the bad because it would be silly and dumb to
      Make Italy sound like Disneyland when in fact it’s a three dimensional place like any other.

  29. Precious Southern Gal did not get it, I think… That is Okay. I love this blog! I am a Californian American who moved to Texas and has lived here for 10 years now… and I recently married a Northern Italian from Pavia. Let’s just say, the stereotype Italian is like the Southern Italian, so he is so different than what my friends expect… and he finds Texans “interesting” and kind of like Southern Italians. ha ha ha

    We are having fun working out the kinks in our marriage. See my husband is quiet and reserved, not loud and boisterous (talking with his hands and shouting and getting excited over everything). That would be me – the Valley Girl from Southern California… He thinks I am a city girl, but I have the loudness of a Southern Italian.

    I had a good friend from Pisa and I must say that his accent was very thick. My husband’s accent is not as heavy for some reason. I have to meet more of his friends from his city though to see if maybe it is just my husband and he speaks English very well. My husband is an Architect-Engineer and he was a professor at the University of Pavia, so maybe his English is more refined. I don’t know.

    Another funny thing is that my husband has never used a washing machine in his life. Sometimes when I am really busy, or like when I just had a baby, my husband had to “help.” No matter how many time I show him how to use the washing machine (step by step), if he needs to use it again, I have to show him again. It really defeats the purpose of him helping. I wonder if this is actually a battle of the wills and a ploy to just get me to give up on him helping with that. Oh yeah… and I do not iron, unless absolutely necessary. I sure as hell do not iron or press undies and socks. (He does not seem to care though, as long as I don’t ask him to help. ha ha

    My husband and I are both Catholics. However, I am more religious and knowledgeable of Catholicism than he is. He also finds it really annoying that American Catholic Churches follow every thing to the “T.” They want our son’s Godparents (his brother and sister) to take a baptism class. This is unheard of in Italy. Just baptize the baby for crying out loud! lol

    This can go on and on… But at least my husband says he will forgive me almost anything because I am a good cook. I think all my husband really cares about it sex and food. He does not mind if I am loud or that I may wear yoga pants and T-Shirt to the gas station, which he thinks is “sacrilegio” by the way. this man puts on slacks and a button down shirt, just to put gas in the car. Oh and he forgives my “flip flops,” but only around the house. I can’t be out with him in public wearing them. I really look forward to reading your other blogs now. This was a good laugh and it is even more funny because it is pretty true. 🙂 lol

  30. About number 5, that same general idea is here in the States as well. I was born and raised in Pennsylvanian liberal city. A lot of people in the north, specifically liberals, think that Southerners are all sexist, misogynists that don’t let women be empowered. But most of the domestic abuse and divorces are in the North.

    My theory is that, the Southern United States and Southern Italy apparently, have old fashioned, traditional values. Much like most of Eastern Europe and South east Asia, the women are more submissive, and the men are the dominant ones. The men go out and work to put food on the table and the women take care of the kids.

    Hell, Romania has lowest divorces rate in all of Europe at a 27% and feminism doesn’t fly there at all, the Romanian woman don’t let that bullshit western ideology of “female empowerment by showing nipples and rape culture” fly at all. Relationships seem to work better when it’s a more traditional relationship, I’m not saying the man should tell the woman flat out, “Woman, shut your mouth and make me a sandwich.” but I am saying that each person in the relationship should know their place and role in the relationship to have a symbiotic relationship in which each party is benefiting. Having two dominant people trying to work out a relationship, is like having two horny bulls in the same barn, they’re both gonna fight for dominance and “mark their territory.” If that makes any sort of sense at all.

  31. My own experience……I am 55, spend half of the year in Florence, the other half in my native “country” California. I am blonde, I am tall, educated, friendly and outgoing. I go almost everywhere by myself and as hard as I try-I still stand out. I could give a shit if anyone here appreciates my sense of humor, my American-ness or my down to earth sincerity. I don’t take myself very seriously and laugh a lot more than maybe I should. Almost nobody “gets” why I am living here away from my family as a single woman. It’s not interesting nor adventurous to them, instead they are suspicious of me. Yes, I have had many trippy experiences, But mostly have learned about my own vulnerability and resilience. I am single, but have an older Florentine boyfriend. We are Lucy and Ricky all the way. I choose not live with him as I don’t want to fall into the expected roles. He agrees that it probably would not work any other way. It’s just too late in life for me to change. He cannot expect much because, of course….I am an Americana! All of my Italian girlfriends are educated, young women that understand a man is not a life goal. Overall, I think I get away with a lot because no one expects much out of me. I will never be a good wife nor the perfect Italian Donna….and that makes me the winner! My independent spirit and nature will never allow me to assimilate-I will always be a foreigner and so I enjoy the beauty and novelty without joining the club. I don’t think an older American woman could ever tolerate life in this country if they had hope of fitting in or a need to be accepted. My success is in not entering their game at all-not imagining that I am worthy to penetrate their bubble. It also really helps to respect the culture and not constantly compare it to my own. After all, there are flights leaving for the U.S. every day of the week (with a connection of course)!!!!

  32. About your marriage, according to catholicism it is valid only under certain conditions, e.g. it has to be consensual, etc. Among them, there’s also the clause that you aren’t physically or psychologically sterile (the second, in your case). That having been said, no one forces you to get married in God’s name. If you consider those conditions futile, you can simply get married in the civil way.

  33. Thanks for your comment Jigga. All in the north are racists- I see you are racist to us in the same way.
    With the nickname you have chosen u probably see racism everywhere.
    Regards

      • Italy is a peninsula shaped like a boot! Haha! That fits and figures! INTERESTING ADVENTURE THIS HAS BEEN.

  34. Assuming it’s true that the number of women killed by partners, husbands, etc., is highest in central/northern Italy, it’s just because 70% of Italian population live in central/northern Italy. btw a good amount of Italians living there are of southern Italian ancestry.

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