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The Italian Lifestyle

What makes Italians so different? (They always seem to not have a care in the world, they love their mammas, they love to talk, they love to eat, and looking fashionable is always a top priority). Understanding the simplicity of the Italian culture will only help you enjoy your trip even more and want to adopt their ways.. at least for the short time you may be there.

Italians have coined the phrase "La Dolce Vita" which means "The Sweet Life". La Dolce Vita begins in the Piazza and ends at the table.


From the biggest cities to the most rural of villages, one thing is common. The piazza is the central meeting place of the Italian culture. No matter how big or small a piazza may be; you can be sure there will always be a crowd of people walking, talking and interacting with one another. Piazzas are usually the sites for festivals, gatherings and political events. To really understand the Italians, spend some time on a bench in any Piazza and observe.

The only times during the day that the piazzas around Italy may be deserted are around 12:30-2:00 and 7:30-9:30. These are the times when Italians are home enjoying their favorite past-time... eating. Eating is a very serious topic in Italy. The half hour "eat-and-run" lunch is only done by the tourists. To the real Italian, lunch is a 1½ to 2 hour affair with two to three course meals. That is why everything halts for two hours during the day. Stores shut down, banks close, and the streets are empty. At around 2 o’clock people start to emerge from their houses and populate the streets again until around 7:30 when it is time for dinner. Dinner is usually a little bit less to eat but a little bit fancier. After dinner it is usually off for a stroll around the piazza to work off the meal. Unlike the U.S. Italians are not big on watching T.V. There are only about 12 regular television stations and the programming is not very captivating, that is, unless you are watching an Italian film.

Next to soccer the national past-time in Italy is fashion. Italians have always considered themselves to be in the forefront of today's fashion world. They are all very proud of their famous designers and are the first to create the latest trends. Any Italian will tell you they will happily sacrifice a degree of comfort in order to look good.

Travelers often get upset at the perceived lack of effort or service, but all that is really going on is the Italian relaxed lifestyle. Once you understand that Italian people think they will live longer because they don’t have the same stress as the rest of the world, you’ll start to appreciate their lifestyle a little more.

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