There is such a thing as Italian time. I don’t know if it’s common knowledge, but the Italians’ timeframe and daily routine is completely different from that of Americans. This took a lot of getting used. You don’t drink cappuccinos after 10 (life’s all about breaking the rules, right?). Siesta is from around 1 to 4pm, meaning 90% of stores are closed, so just stay in. Adjusting, means finding the places that stay open and also being patient and taking that time to relax. Also, lunch and dinner is much later. Lunch is typically around 1:30 pm and dinner around 9 pm. Some restaurants don’t open until about 730/8. This always leads to me grabbing some gelato, because I can’t eat at 5:30 pm (yes, I’m a grandma) like I normally do.
In Sorrento, stray dogs and cats are not uncommon. Word on the street is that people do not purchase animals, they just take in the strays. Also, the Italian people take their dogs EVERYWHERE. I mean everywhere. Recently, I was visiting Florence and I saw a man take his dog into Gucci. As shocking as it may sound, this is not odd, or even frowned upon.
The first thing you notice when you get to Italy, and a lot of European countries, is that the people drive much smaller cars or mopeds. There are many minor roads in the Italian towns, so their vehicles must be of reasonable size to fit. From the outside, these roads look like the width of a sidewalk, but Italians have mastered the art of driving down the narrowest roads with immense amount of grace. They even drive down these roads fast. Have I seen any wrecks in Italy? Nope. Also it must be noted that about 98% of the cars are stick.
So far, none of the Italian cultural differences have shocked me beyond belief. I have learned to finish everything on my plate, dryers are not necessary, and being 5 minutes late means that you are on time.
Brooke is a current student at University of South Carolina studying at Sant’Anna Institute in Italy during the Sprig 2015 term.