The Italian lifestyle

lifestyle in Italy
Updated 2020-06-16 09:12

Family, gastronomy, arts, etc., are just some of the elements that describe the way of life in Italy. Here is a complete summary of the everyday life of Italians.

The Italian style of communicating

The image that foreigners have of Italians is that of people who speak very loudly while gesturing with their hands. Nevertheless, by getting to know them better, you will realise that Italians live their Latin identity with determination and passion. Also, Italians used two essential tools for speaking: their voice and the different parts of their body. If you come from a country where people are calm and reserved, you will be surprised when you stroll through the streets of the Italian cities and villages. There is absolutely no room for boredom.

Portrait of Italians

The way of life in Italy was shaped by the character of the natives. Also, Italians are world-famous for their frank and expansive character. They never hesitate to break the ice with strangers who are sometimes intimidated by so much warmth. Every day, once they have dealt with the constraints of modern life and its hassles, Italians crunch life to the fullest, whether through gastronomy, beauty, family, gatherings and celebration.

Eating in Italy

Italy has a well-deserved reputation as a gastronomic country. Thanks to the sun and the fertile land, they benefit from a wide range of produce which is also exported around the world. However, Italians know how to preserve their know-how and their culinary traditions.

Breakfast (colazione) is a festive moment, often taken at the bar. It's quite simple, but comforting, made up of coffee, cappuccino, tea or milk, as well as pastries (including the famous cornetto, a sort of croissant garnished with jam, chocolate or honey cream). Note that, according to the local tradition, you cannot order a cappuccino after 11 a.m.

You will usually have lunch (Pranzo) between 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. if you are in the north or the South. During the week, if you work, you will have a meal on the go. Seize the opportunity to try the trattorie, which are small neighbourhood restaurants with a family atmosphere and relatively low prices. However, having lunch with a traditional Italian family is a different thing. You will be delighted with three courses: pasta or rice, meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, and finally, a fruit and a coffee. On weekends, desserts will obviously be a little more elaborate, and Sunday is often reserved for a family lunch.

Between lunch and dinner, there is a tradition that the Italians honour since Antiquity, namely the nap (called pisolino in Italian). While it tends to disappear with the obligations of modern life, Italians living in the South keep on closing offices and shops for a little break, thus escaping the blazing sun in the summer.

Dinner (cena) is sacred in Italy. This meal holds a special place in homes as it is taken with the family. From the north to the South, you will have dinner between 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. The Italian dinner ends the day in style with salads, cheese, soups, vegetables and fresh fruit on weekdays. On weekends, it is usually more generous with pizzas, pasta dishes, meat or fish, etc. When having dinner at the restaurant, expect a coffee or digestives like Amaro, Grappa, Limoncello or other liqueur.

Life after the meal in Italy

Italians remain energetic even after a long day at work. There is a very pleasant tradition, called passeggiata, which consists in walking to the town or village square, just to get some fresh air, have a chat with people, or to have ice cream in summer.

However, you're not likely to do that with your formal clothes after work. Go home first and change.

The art of coffee

Coffee and Italy are two inseparable elements, and having a coffee is a real cult, just like having wine in France. Also, Italian baristas, unlike bartenders who spend the day serving drinks, is a real expert and is respected and appreciated by Italians. They will generally offer:

  • Espresso, 100% Arabica coffee, comparable to the absolute in perfumery
  • Cappucino, Milk Espresso, topped with a frothed milk dome
  • The Doppio (double) is a double Espresso
  • The Ristretto (reduced) is a small Espresso
  • Lungo (long) is a large Espresso
  • Macchiato is an Espresso accompanied by a cloud of milk, hot or cold
  • Caffè con panna (coffee cream) is an Espresso topped with a toupee of whipped cream
  • Caffé Freddo (cold coffee) is an Espresso with ice cubes, sugar, all shaken.
  • The Americano is an Espresso with hot water
  • Caffé Coretto is an Espresso to which the barista adds a drop of grappa, Sambuca or other liqueurs of your choice.

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