Coming to Italy I had no idea what to expect. I knew that the people would speak Italian and that’s about it.
The Italian culture is much more than just a different language. It is so rich in history and tradition. Italians can trace their history literally about 2000 thousand plus years, it’s insane. In the early years of Rome, the people were very easy going and enjoyed their naps and their art. This tradition can still being seen today. Mid-day it is pretty much impossible to find stores open. From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. the local stores shut down and they just chill out.
Also back in the day, it was common for Italians to have long drawn-out dinners with lots of wine and lots of conversations. This is also a tradition that can be seen today. A traditional Italian dinner can have up to five courses, and last hours. Wine is cheaper to order with a meal than water here! Also dinner time is not at a typical “dinner time” in the states. Dinner here starts around 7:30 but that is even early!
The thing that stands out to me the most about the Italian culture is that it is so deeply rooted in its history. America is a baby compared to the years Rome has been around.
Something that is frustrating about Rome’s culture is that fact that they are so laid back. In America we are used to always going, going, going, and the fast paced lifestyle. Once you step into the Roman lifestyle you slow down about 10 speeds. For example, I am a naturally fast walker, and here everyone walks pretty slow and I am always passing people on the sidewalks. Also at the grocery store they usually only have one check-out lane for the whole store. That is simply unheard of in America. Another frustrating thing about the Italian culture is it is hard to find something to eat that is not Italian. In America we have so many varieties of foods because we are considered the “melting pot” of the world. Each day I find something new and frustrating about the Italian culture that makes my days interesting and fun!
Erika is a student at St. Norbert College studying at John Cabot University during the Spring 2014 term.