life in italy

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life in italy


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Old 1st January 2009, 02:51 PM
 
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Question life in italy

Hello everyone, just thought i would ask what is italy really like in particular the italian people? The italian people i have met in the uk have always been very friendly ,helpful and very family orientated as my self and wife are, we are under no illusions of how hard it will be at first but wish to embrace the italian way of life having both lived in australia for some time and embraced the australian way of life we believe it is the right way to be so any advice regarding our move would be brilliant also we have been looking at the marche's

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Old 24th February 2009, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by james hathway View Post
Hello everyone, just thought i would ask what is italy really like in particular the italian people? The italian people i have met in the uk have always been very friendly ,helpful and very family orientated as my self and wife are, we are under no illusions of how hard it will be at first but wish to embrace the italian way of life having both lived in australia for some time and embraced the australian way of life we believe it is the right way to be so any advice regarding our move would be brilliant also we have been looking at the marche's
Hello James. I am a U.S. citizen living in Italy for over 20 years. I assume you're British. I also assume going to Australia couldn't have been too traumatic given the cultural similarities between there and UK. Italy is different, to say the least. Can be quite frustrating due to bureaucracy, general inefficiency. In many areas, Italy is the caboose of the European train. While Italians appear to be friendly and helpful, they can also be quite rude and undisciplined, compared to northern European folk. A lot will depend on whether you plan to reside in the north or the south; northerners are generally not as warm and open as southerners, but northerners are less invasive. I would not define the Italians as being a "happy" people, contrary to the stereotypical image. Italians consider us Americans as being superficial, but I think Italians have us beat. They are very concerned with image: the clothes you wear, the kind of watch you have, the kind of car you drive. But, I believe this superficiality will start to fade due to the current economic crisis.
Italians pride themselves on their ability to "make do", which may be considered necessary because of the bureaucracy and inefficiency I mentioned above. But, this "making do" is more like "let's see how we can get around the laws without getting caught" and "let's see how we can do this without paying our way". Generally, today's Italian parents are loathe to discipline their children, who, as a result, are very spoiled. Like most families here, I live in an apartment, and I have families with young children living above me and to the side of me; the noise coming from my two neighbors is incredible, a source of daily irritation for me, and I am an extremely patient person. I don't complain because I know I would be wasting my breath.
As for the bureaucracy you will deal with initially, plan on standing on long lines, but know also that orderly queues are not part of Italian culture.
Italian drivers are very aggressive, and disdain of traffic rules increases the farther south you go.
Unless you plan to spend most of your time with other English-speaking expats, you should plan on learning Italian as English is not a second language here, like it might be in, say, Germany, Holland or the Scandanavian countries.
Italian public TV is, for the most part, a degenerate wasteland, so if you want quality, plan on getting a satellite dish or some form of pay TV.
Italy is very permissive, and this may be part of the reason why so many illegal immigrants come here (they know they probably wont get caught). I do not consider myself racist, but the amount of crime committed by North African, Albanian and Romanian immigrants is becoming a big issue here. Strangely enough, the same can't be said for the many Chinese and black African residents.
You'll probably ask why, after all this negative criticism, I'm still here. I'm a very patient, adaptable, flexible person. In the 20 years I've been living here, I've seen significant improvement, but still, Italy is just a hair above a 3rd world country.
Having said that, I'm sure there are a lot worse places to live.

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Old 27th February 2009, 04:07 PM
 
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Hey there, I don't agree about the definition "Italy is just a hair above a 3rd world country" because we have so many things to be proud of; as you said we live in a country where the chaos, bureaucracy and inefficiency affect everyday life but said that we have a greatest history, most of the Democracy in the western side are based on the Roman law....anyway I am a 38 years old and I have seen the things you mentioned, I have lived abroad and I have seen the other side! But one thing I have to say, you mention the worst case! There are families and people very well educated and very well mannered.....

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Old 27th February 2009, 06:12 PM
 
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Ed, if that's your opinion of Italy, I fail to understand why you have stayed for 20 years. It's not the service, regulated Disneyland that you might be accustomed to. It's not the UK, Australia, the USA nor any other Northern European countries, but surely that is the point? Personally I couldn't think of anything worse than living in a molly-coddled society; where having satellite T.V is a priority. Where everyone queues in an orderly fashion. Why would you want to be a drone? If you live in a noisy apartment block, it does not mean every apartment block in Italy is like this. You could see it as a drawback with noisy condominios, but you could also see the charm of Italian life in it also. My old apartment building was noisy but I wouldn't have changed it, for the world. Everyday I could lean out my window and chat with old women two floors up who were hanging out their clothes to dry. It was charming. Still if you can't handle it, go get the white picket fence, mowed lawn and wooden post box back in Florida. I'm sorry if what I say sounds condescending, however I am quite upset at how you portray Italian life. Yes Italy has it's problems, but so does everywhere else, and if everything was orderly and regulated like in America then who would want to live there? What Italy does offer in bucket loads is culture, flair and passion.
For James, the original poster, Italy is a country with plus points and drawbacks. You get adorable little men, drinking Nastro Azzuro and playing cards in shady cobbled piazzas, while two metres down the road you enter a Tabacchi and get the most rude old git who pretty much snarls at everyone. Che Sera. My advice is go and make what you will of it. Don't have any preconceived notions and embrace everything. If this is to be your new life, you have to get what you want from it and don't go there with apprehension. Italy is not going to change and it never should.

Oh and Ed, no offense, just you paint a very one sided picture.
Ciao a tutti!!


Last edited by Arpa; 27th February 2009 at 06:32 PM.
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Old 5th March 2009, 02:20 PM
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First off, I am not at all offended. I surely did not expect that my words would go by without a reaction. Second, as to why I’ve stayed in Italy for 20 years...well, sometimes, one doesn’t always have a choice of where he or she lives.
Life is hard enough as it is and, in my opinion, making life just a tad easier for the toiling masses shouldn’t be considered molly-coddling. Unfortunately, Italians work harder than the rest of Europeans and get less for it; they pay more (taxes) and get less for it. What frustrates me is the fact that Italy has such great potential and can’t seem to make the most of it. It’s not a question of brain-power, but of willpower. Italy’s modus operandi seems to be “Well, that’s good enough,” instead of “Hey, we can make it better!” The continuing drop-off in one of Italy’s biggest industries – tourism – is a prime example of the apparent unwillingness or incapacity to “go that extra mile”; people operating in that field probably thought that Italy’s incomparable cultural heritage alone was enough to keep the tourists coming, but they are being proven wrong. Statistics show that tourists, after a first visit, aren’t coming back for a second. Italians themselves are big tourists, and as they visit other countries in northern Europe and America, they come back with an appreciation for how much better things could be in their own country, and this will slowly drive change.
I, too, hope that the “quaint old Italy” survives. The old men playing cards while drinking a glass of wine at a café, the cobblestone streets, shady piazzas and all that. But, long lines and poor service at public offices is not what I’d call “quaint”. Thankfully, Italy has changed because change is inevitable. I mean, do we really want to go back to outdoor toilets and horse-drawn carriages? The rest of the world is changing and Italy, a member of G8, will change along with it, albeit a few steps behind. Italians want the satellite TV, they want the two cars, they want the cellphones and, if they could have it, they’d probably want the white picket fence and mowed lawn.

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Old 6th March 2009, 04:05 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by james hathway View Post
Hello everyone, just thought i would ask what is italy really like in particular the italian people? The italian people i have met in the uk have always been very friendly ,helpful and very family orientated as my self and wife are, we are under no illusions of how hard it will be at first but wish to embrace the italian way of life having both lived in australia for some time and embraced the australian way of life we believe it is the right way to be so any advice regarding our move would be brilliant also we have been looking at the marche's


The main things you should learn early are a few basic words on the local language (if you dont have any yet) and to smile a lot. This is a univeral ice breaker... You will find family and tradition, especially in many small villages is very strong. There are also lots of lovely family festivals etc in the villages. In short, you will find a sedate pace of life where family and tradition are strong virtues. If you respect the people you come across, you will fit in perfectly.

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Old 9th March 2009, 10:39 AM
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[..hi there...dont know about the marches but i have been in the Abruzzo region...lovely !!!
good luck

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