Well, this one looks much easier, doesn’t it?
The history of both the Italian country and its language were probably unknown to you, but the lifestyle must sound really familiar to you, right?
I mean, you already know that we love pasta and pizza, that we have some really nice, world-known brands, be it clothes, cars or food.
You also heard about the dark side of the country: the Mafia, corruption, an overly conservative approach on certain topics.
I mean, you know us in details, right?
Well, let’s see. Let’s dig deeper than the obvious.
1. Hygiene. Not just a shower.
Before I moved to London, I thought that other countries abroad – beside the Third World ones – had more or less our own hygiene levels. I had travelled abroad before, but in mid level hotels, and these experiences led me to believe that hygiene was the same everywhere.
The Italian attention to hygiene is at least as high as our focus on clothes and looks. I mean, people in London do take showers everyday (most of them) but what is really shocking for us is the difference in the housekeeping. We like our houses to be tidy and shiny, and we do invest a lot of time in cleanings. And not just the women.
2. Food. Beyond stereotypes.
As we said, when people think about Italian food words like pasta and pizza always come out. Sure, they are both Italian creations and real pillars of our cuisine, but, get ready for this, we don’t eat pasta everyday – pizza even less!
Nowadays our needs changed. We don’t need a lot of carbs like our ancestors did, because we no longer work as farmers or bricklayers. Most of us, expecially the immigrants, are white collars, so we need a different diet. We do love pasta but we know that we can’t keep eating it everyday, unless we like to be obese.
The same goes with breakfast. The traditional Italian breakfast – including milk, carbs like bread or biscuits, coffe and other sweet foods – is no longer the only type. People are getting more and more open to different approaches, while doctors keep saying that a rich breakfast is important for our body. We do prefer a sweet breakfast, but that doesn’t include just an espresso, as some believe.
Also, the younger generations are really open to foreign food. The American one became popular through movies, and now Asian food is on the rise, expecially sushi. Modern days, buddy!
3. Italian families. In 2020.
No, we are not talking about those families. I know you. You do love The Godfather, don’t you? Such a masterpiece. Set right after World War 2. Like…75 years ago?
Well, a lot of things changed since those days. And not just in the Italian American Mafia, as shown in the HBO series The Sopranos.
Italian families have the reputation to be really large and close-knit, even clingy. Well, maybe they used to be, but in 2020 families are much smaller (our population is steadily decreasing due to low birth rate and emigration) and there is a lot more attention on work, expecially because our economy is fragile and it doesn’t guarantee a decent life to everyone. Often this leads to a forced cohabitation between old parents and their now adult children, which is not at all dued to the mama-boy stereotype but to economic difficulties.
Basically Italian families in 2020 are still more close-knit than the average family abroad, but this is due mostly to necessity than clinginess. And of course they are getting more and more open to mixed marriages and LGBT rights.