5 Italian Customs Americans Should Adopt
If you’ve been to Italy, you know there are a few differences between American and Italian customs. While there are pros and cons to both cultures, we think the U.S. could take a few pages from Italy’s book when it comes to living La Dolce Vita (the sweet life).
Take a look at our top five Italian customs that we think should be adopted in American culture.
- Fresh produce from the Mercato – While Italian cities do have supermarkets, most locals do all of their shopping at the Mercato Centrale (Central Market) which is like a huge farmer’s market, but better. They’re open every day, and have much more than just produce; there is fresh meat, homemade pasta, bread, wine, cheese, dried fruit, Panini stands…it’s a one-stop shop! Customers are face to face with the farmers that grow their food, and preservatives aren’t used so you know the food is fresh. We could use a little more connectivity like that in the US, don’t you think?
- Visit the mom & pop shops – In Italy, there aren’t as many chain restaurants or stores like Starbucks and Walgreen’s. That means that wherever you are in any given city, you get to try new things and support local business owners. Often a more personal experience than walking into a national chain, shopping like an Italian also gives tourists a chance to learn more about the local culture.
- Live La Dolce Vita – Even when you’re so full of pasta that you never want to eat again, Italians always save room for dessert. “La Dolce Vita” isn’t just a metaphor…Italians also quite literally savor all the sweet things in life. One of our favorite spots for gelato in Florence is called “Perche No,” or “Why not?” While many Americans are on a big health kick, we could all use a little gelato now and then. Why not?
- Walk everywhere – Because streets are old and narrow in Italy, most people walk as much as possible. A great way to counteract all the pasta and pizza carbs, walking more frequently is also a great way to stumble upon little spots that you might not otherwise have known about. Italians also use walking as a way to “see and be seen,” which is always an added bonus!
- Stop and smell the roses – While Americans generally tend to be in a hurry for much of the day, Italians understand the importance of slowing down, enjoying those around you, and relaxing throughout the day. Food and coffee are enjoyed sitting down or while chatting with friends at the bar, rather than ordered at a drive-through or taken to go. Meals tend to last longer in Italy, as importance is placed on conversation with family and friends. Many Italians take a siesta in the middle of the day to eat a leisurely lunch and relax.
What else Italians do well? Share in the comments below!