7 Things I Love About Italy That Might Surprise You

1. Italy is a visual paradise in most places. Sure, some of the newer cities are kind of ghetto with lackluster architecture, but for the most part the cities are absolutely stunning. Old cement buildings with charming flower beds in windows, the cobblestone, the massive churches with well-preserved Fresco paintings, and greener than Crayola-green hills. If Italy was a person it would be a Victoria’s Secret model. Probably one of the transgender ones because their bodies are the most toned.

Florence Italy

2. The dramatic graffiti. There’s nothing like teenage angst and love to make walking the dog a poetic experience. There’s a freakish amount of graffiti in Italy which seems ghetto and sketchy until you can read it and it’s all, “Dear Maria, you’re an angel sent from God. I love you, for now, for always, your love, Giorgio.” I also love how they will have love letter battles, like one person will write his girlfriend something, then a few days later a different guy will write his girlfriend a poem directly over it. Ah, those teens in Italy, such rascals. And also? Didn’t their parents teach them anything about pens or paper or the beauty of a simple email (or a mixed tape….)?

3. There is never an impending feeling of doom, or the need to be productive whatsoever. People seem to do everything in slow motion, even at the emergency room. It’s like nothing matters, the world stands still, and we’re all just hanging out. Italy is possibly the most relaxing place I’ve ever been simply because the general demeanor of its inhabitants seem not at all concerned with anything. In public. This doesn’t extend to when you actually know people or see them in their homes. That’s when the crazy comes out.

4. Clothing. It’s the best place to shop on the planet if you’re into monochromatic color schemes, neutrals, black outfits, warm grays, and a look that screams, “Serious on the outside, fun on the inside!” Naturally.

Florence Italy Fashion

5. A different kind of “manly.” There is definitely a lot of sexism in Italy (let’s just call a spade, a spade, eh?) but the idea of “manliness,” is different. Guys have no shame when it comes to dressing well, taking incredible care of their bodies or clothing, and will give zero second-thoughts to cruising around in a suit on a bicycle of any color. Sometimes with a poodle in the basket and a baby strapped to their back. Men often carry their female partner’s purses around, and are not concerned with small banners of manhood. For example, Francesco had a work trip in the US with all Americans and during dinner one of the American guys actually said, “White wine is a woman’s drink.” And Francesco nearly lost his shit. He tried to correct him and say that white wine pairs better with different types of food but the men at the table stood firm that “red wine is for men.” Weird.

Man on bike in Florence Italy

6. Speedos and naked boobs. Look, yes, it can be a bit traumatic to witness two overweight Italian men with gorillia-like body hair wrestling on the beach in Gaeta. But, I love that there is a different relationship with the body in Italy. Women will occasionally pop their tops off at certain beaches, they don’t put swimming-suit tops on 4 year old girls (and seriously why would you? What are we covering?), and the guys proudly display their banana packages with no remorse whatsoever. I kind of like that. Not that I love to go to the beach to stare at semi-naked dudes…but, I like the confidence. Look, here’s my penis and all of my man-hair and potbelly for all to see, displayed triumphantly on the sand.

7. An extreme attention to detail. I don’t know if you’ve ever went into a chocolate shop in Italy to buy a gift for a friend but if you haven’t, do it. Even if you purchase four pieces, at any given store, they’ll spend 15 minutes making it cute for you. Paper, tags, ribbons, all of it. If you’re in a hurry it can also make you crazy but if you have time go check it out. They have an acute, almost manic, attention to detail that is probably unrivaled by anyone ever.

25 thoughts on “7 Things I Love About Italy That Might Surprise You

  1. These are great and so true. I think my favorite might be the last one – I just love how they make everything you buy look beautiful – even if it’s something really small. Makes it even more fun to go shopping for friends!

    • I had the same experience in Catania, Sicily, when I went on vacation to Italy some years ago with my daughter and granddaughter. We went to a store where we bought a few knick-knacks to take back to friends. You can’t believe the fuss the owner made with those trinkets! You would have thought he was wrapping the objects for the queen of England or something; he picked the pretties boxes, ribbons and paper and carefully wrapped everything individually. To this day my daughter often reminisces about that experience and that makes me very proud (I was born in Italy).

    • I can totally relate to #7. I was studying abroad in Rome a few years ago, and my friend happened to be visiting over her birthday. I stopped at the local flower shop on the way home from class to get her a little bouquet to celebrate, and though it cost all of 9 Euro the florist took his time to wrap it beautifuly with paper and ribbons. When he was done it was a small masterpiece! My friend was thrilled with her little bouquet🙂

      I also just wanted to say that I LOVE your blog, and I’m so happy that I found it becuase it provides a lot of good (and always amusing) insight into the culture, living in Italy, and cross-cultural relationships. I, too, am in a relationship with an Italian (who I met in the States 9 years ago while at University!). Thanks so much for sharing your stories.

  2. American guys that say “white wine is a woman’s drink” need to get out more. And re: the Italian guys in #6, I believe that they call that “presenting” in nature.🙂
    Love the blog, keep ’em coming!

  3. OMG my husband (whose name sounds Italian, Mario) would’ve been irate at the idea that “red wine is for men”!!

    Also I love how European men, especially Italians/Spaniards, dress well. There is nothing like a man in a suit that actually FITS!

  4. So true! All of these! So so true!❤
    Italy is my second home and i'm still gathering details on life there – I'll need every little detail when I move there next year😉

  5. Hello! I just found your blog by accident while googling😉 things about Italy. I’m (hopefully) starting a masters there in sept. and I have to say I loved everything you wrote! I’m from Brazil, but both sides of my family have originated directly from Italy, and while reading the post F wrote about being maried to an american I found it funny that me and your husband have the same last name! However, if I’m not wrong, the Rossi part of my family comes from Napoles. Or somewhere close! Thanks for all the tips, and distracting me during a super boring day at work!😀

  6. All true! The attention to detail can also drive you crazy if you are married to an Italian, haha, just kidding. It is one of the things I admire the most of Italians.

  7. This list says it all! All true!! I chuckled at #7, they do take pride with packaging your purchased goods. #4, I came back home trying to dress like them (black, grey, beige.. all monochromatic and neutrals). Needless to say, there goes all my Lilly Pulizter clothing, stuck in the back of my closet! #3 is why I want to go back and live there – do they even work? I want their jobs!

  8. I was nervous with my first beach trip here that I would be the only one who wasn’t a super model, hot Italian mamma or Russian mafia lord lounging on the beach – imagine my surprise finding PACKED beaches with 80 year olds in bikinis and men sleeping with an intimacy usually just reserved for bed! hahaa Love the post!

  9. Hi,

    Great list. I am surprised you didnt mention espresso ( which sometimes feels like sugared dirt water served in a really small cup🙂

    I agree with # 4 it is THE BEST dressed country on planet.


  10. Lots of good observations here; tell Francesco I’ve certainly got his back on the wine thing–there’s nothing unmanly about knowing how to friggen pair wines. James Bond pairs wines with food appropriately. Not sure why so many of us American men seem to think that ignorance is masculine, but man, we need to work on that.

  11. Pingback: Travel To Saint Vincent, Italy, For Poker, Hot Springs, And A Hot Time | Living In Italy.Moving To Italy. Loving In Italy. Laughing In Italy.

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