“I imagine hell like this: Italian punctuality, German humour and English wine.” ― Peter Ustinov
If you ask ten different Italians to explain who they are, you will get ten different answers. Since Italy is diversity. It’s a beautiful country made up by many different regions and provinces – each one with its own distinctive dialect, culture and history. Hence to stereotype Italy and Italians is not only unfair, it’s also terribly wrong. Especially because, Italy is full of contradictions.
So, for instance, inter-regional mutual dislike between the North and the South, Milan and Rome becomes ever more acute during soccer matches. Yet, all Italians are totally committed to their national football team, namely The Squadra Azzurra. So, when the World Cup is being played, Italians do feel unite.
This is to say that nevertheless some Italian stereotypes are actually true, being an Italian takes a lot more than that. So, in addition to my previous posts, let’s have some more insight into Italianity…
All Italians Ride Vespa
That’s cute! La Vespa is probably the most well-known Italian bike, which has become one of the symbols of Italy worldwide. However, not all Italians ride a Vespa!
Italy Is As Well-Organised As Any Other Western European Country
Well… Rome may has shaped the socio-cultural map of Europe, but today it’s as chaotic as only chaos may be. Italy may be a piece of Art with its rich history, glamorous atmosphere and slow life mindset, yet nothing in Italy is well-organised or easy-to-use. Those who have ever been to Italy, know that well. If it’s your first time than a few advices may help:
First, don’t be surprised to see Italians jumping the queue to be served first at the coffee bar.
Second, don’t ever expect trains to arrive as scheduled – if you are lucky they can be just a few minutes late; otherwise, it may take an hour. Honestly, I have serious doubts whether that can occur on a regular basis in any other Western European Country. Who knows, may be it’s right here where the stereotype of Italian punctuality comes from.
Third, give up on hailing a cab: you can either call for it or grab it from taxi stand.
Fourth, don’t take it personally and keep calm whenever you have to deal with public employees – it’s the case that they will have to check twice any required information, make a several phone calls and consult the colleagues…just to tell you that they cannot help now, and that probably it’s better for you to address some other public office.
And God save you from being sued or suing someone – the case will be closed no sooner than in ten years. Or just before you’ll get pretty old and probably dead. It’s a slow life, after all!
But no panic, there’s a good news: Italy’s slow-moving and stressful bureaucracy has made Italian people ever more resourceful and creative! With all due respect to all human beings from whatever Western European country…
Italian Punctuality or Habitually Late
Italian punctuality is world-famous. However, this stereotype could not be more misleading.
While it’s true that in Italy everything happens on its own timeline (see above), this stereotype has nothing to do with work and business appointments. Especially when it comes to North Italians that strive to break the stereotype of Italian punctuality. However, the trains are habitually late even in the Northern part of Italy, hence…
As for dinners and any other kind of private appointments, it simply depends on person: some are habitually late, while others are habitually punctual. What to say? Being habitually late is viewed as a negative thing in any Western European Country and, probably, all over the world, but in Italy it is a reflection of Italian slow life (in addition to “slow food”).
Italian People Do Speak English
Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of Italian people doesn’t speak (fluently) neither English nor any other foreign language. Seems quite an issue in nowadays globalised world! Guess that’s all fault of the Italian educational system and slow life mindset. Or perhaps, because Italian is so melodic that no other language can sound as ear-pleasing… Or simply because Italians do prefer “body language” above all! And manage it very well!
Italians Are Very Loud
This Italian Stereotype is true! Italians speak very loudly in public whether they are on the bus, walking in the street or talking on the phone. Moreover, seem like Italians are pretty convinced that if they speak Italian louder to people who don’t speak Italian, it will improve communication! Don’t get me wrong, Italians are nether deaf nor crazy, it’s just the way they used to be! Passionate, expressive and energetic! They really are fantastic and resourceful!
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