Seven things I learned by Italians in Italy

Italy cappuccino lunchIt looks like my latest post about what I love and hate about Italy was a great success. Happy to entertain you.
So I’d like to share with you what I learnt from Italians since I’ve been here in Italy.

1) Religion is a serious (national) matter.
Everybody is Catholic in Italy. The Pope rules. God is everywhere. Crucifixes are in every public space and atheists complain about it all the time. Some towns literally stop when some Mother Mary of – fill the blank – has to be celebrated with processions and Masses involving the whole town, streets and population included.

2) Superstition is a serious matter.
You think that religion will rule over the superstition? No way. It seems that the more you’re religious, the more superstitious you have to be.
The most famous bad luck scenarios must be avoided at any cost: salt on the ground (and I learnt how to fix it, eventually), no black cats crossing your way, no walking under a ladder, no broken mirrors, and most of all avoiding to live and breathe on Fridays the 17th. Yes, I found out that number 17 brings bad luck in Italy. Wasn’t the 13 unlucky, was it? Nope, in Italy it is different.

3) Pet’s poop is for the brave only.
You’re allowed not to clean your pet poop on the pavement. Well, you’re supposed to do it, but people don’t care. There are hefty fines if you don’t clean up after your dog, however I’ve never seen anyone being fined. I always clean my neighbour’s dog poop when I walk him just because I don’t like sidestepping on the pavement, so I guess others don’t like too. What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others, very Christian.

4) Digital lacking is the normality.
Even though some Italians are really techie, the majority of the population doesn’t know how to buy stuff on the internet. Lots of middle aged people can barely read emails. What astonished me the most is that lots of digital natives can’t run a blog, download an image or manage multiple social networks. I’m not a hacker, however since I’m writing this blog I can say I am able to teach something to Italians.

5) Kids can smoke/drink.
When I was a young cop in London one of my very first assignment was to check the age of the youngsters at malls and pubs to see if they were allowed to drink or smoke. If I caught someone breaking the law, the responsibilities would be both of the guy and the seller. In Italy it doesn’t matter what the law says, kids can buy cigarettes and alcohol, no one will address them. I see with my eyes parents smoking and drinking together with their minor sons. What I learnt from Italian kids is that they can control themselves, somehow. If I had been a kid in Italy I would definitely had been dead now. Cirrhosis I guess. God save the Queen.

6) The electricity consumption is a delicate, calculated process.
The first time I put my feet into my own home in Italy I managed to cause a blackout. I turned on the washing machine and cooked something in the microwave whilst using the hairdryer. BOOM.
Basically, using home appliances in Italy is rocket science. Take and combine two random electric appliances you got in your house and you will cause a blackout. I’m still trying to figure this out.

7) Food is sacred and everything revolves around it.
Food would deserve another blog, however I will summarise what I’ve learnt so far in few points:

  • Once you live in Italy, your perception of the food will change forever. You won’t appreciate any Italian restaurants outside Italy.
  • Mothers are masters of food, always. Grandmothers are goddess of food, always.
  • Even the most awkward Italian is able to cook something which is way better than your most supreme (and delicious) effort.
  • Cappuccino is something they drink only at breakfast and never after 10.30 am. They won’t accept you as a peer as long as you don’t get it. Bad habits died hard.
  • Never – ever – put cheese on pasta with fish/seafood. You will gain the disrespect of every Italian, especially if they come from the coast.
  • Last but not least, they eat horse in Italy. OMG. Yes, you read it. The first time I saw it I was shocked. I mean, to me it’s like eating a DOG! Italians who eat horses will gain my disrespect, so if you’re a horse-eating Italian please don’t let me be aware about your food habits.What about you? Did you learn something while being on a foreign countries, or from a foreign friend/colleague? I’m curious to know if I’m the only good student here!
Original photo credit by Ennor

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