We all know Italy is a known place all over the world. Even looking at Google Maps, Italy is a place that will take your attention. Everybody knows that Italy is famous and particular because of all Italians who live on it and away from it.
So these are 10 things that I am pretty sure will shock you. You didn’t know this about Italy, did you?
1. No pizza with pineapple
Don’t even try to order it in a pizzeria. They don’t eat that. It is NOT ITALIAN. Imagine me the first time I went to a pizzeria, looking for that pizza on the menu. Luckily for me, I was there with Italians, and they stopped me doing a “figura di merda” (screwed it up). Neither the spaghetti with meatballs. That’s not Italian, even if you thought they were.
2. They are very loud
The more South you go, the louder they get. To be communicative, they think they have to be loud. They don’t even talk, they shout when they talk. For my surprise, in the North, they speak very lowly.
Privacy is not a word they know. You can realise if your neighbour has broken up with his girlfriend if the woman on the bus wants to buy a blue, red or maybe yellow dress without asking anything. They say it out loud.
3. Italian concept of time
“You show up when you show up”. Italians normally say, when preparing for meeting up, let’s meet around 19h. That means they are not going to be there at 19h exactly. They will be there around 19.30. However, I have to say that high-speed trains are normally on time. They have a more relaxed concept of time.
4. Shop hours
Believe or not, Italians shops have very strange opening hours. Stores are opened in the morning, but that doesn’t mean they will be opened the whole day. There is normally a break at midday (it is very rare to find opened stores at midday). Moreover, most of them close at 19h at evening.
5. The tourist hordes from around the world
Italy is fantastic to visit. It is indeed a small country but it has so much to offer: Rome, Florance, Syracuse, Pisa, Trieste, Genova, Turin, etc. From the South to the North of the country, you will find everywhere tourists from all over the world.
If you want to visit a masterpiece like the Coloseum in Rome, the Duomo in Florence or the tower in Pisa, do that in advance so you won’t be in a queue for a couple of hours.
6. They serve different dishes at different times
In Italy, going to a restaurant to have dinner or lunch takes time, and here there is why: There are normally first dish and second dish. Let’s say I take a first dish (normally pasta) and a friend of mine takes a second dish (normally fish or meat), I will eat first while my friend waits until I finish to receive his dish.
If you don’t ask the waiter to give you both first and second dish at the same time, they will serve you at different times. Moreover, remember to ask for the bill, if not, they won’t bring it to you (Italians normally stay very long after eating: talking, having a coffee, etc).
7. Football is like a religion in Italy
This is serious. In Spain, in Germany, in England football is also very important in the country. But I had never seen so much love, passion and concentration to one sport like I’ve seen football in Italy. However, this can be a bit dangerous.
When Juventus played against Barcelona (I am a Barcelona fan), I went to a pub to watch the game. At one point of the game, Barcelona almost scored a goal. I raised my fist to celebrate because I thought it was going to be a goal. It was not. But: right when I raised my fist, all the “Tifosi” (Fans) of Juventus started insulting me. There is not a “clean” rivalry in Italy.
8. How friendly Italians are
Even if they don’t speak English, they will communicate with you. Asking for directions can end up having dinner at some Italian’s house. They know how to be communicative 100%. They have, apart from Italian, another language: gestural language, which gives them a high level of communication.
However, in big cities like Milan or Turin that is rarer to happen.
9. Differences between North and South
Italy is a very young country. It is indeed less than 200 years old. Between North and South of Italy, there are many things that are different. Italians in the North are more work-motivated, in the South, it reigns the “Dolce Vitta”.
Moreover, on the North, it gets quite cold in winter, while in the South the temperature is quite more elevated than the North part. If that were not enough, Italy is full of dialects. There are many people who don’t speak Italian as we thing they do. There are up to 150 dialects!
10. Coffee is everywhere
Our body is 70% water. I doubt that percentage is the same in the Italians’ body. They drink coffee day after day. They can even drink 4 or 5 coffees every day. But: coffee here is good. I had never drunk coffee until I came here.
Every day, Italians have a coffee. And they don’t spend a lot of time drinking it. An “espresso”, a normal coffee in Italy, is normally drunk in a minute. Around Europe people, normally, to drink a coffee, sit and talk. Italians drink a coffee very quick.