Magazine topic: 
Life around the world

Cultural discoveries in Italy

by : 
AngelaE-Olano

At the end of September this year I moved to Calabria (a region in southern Italy which forms the toe of the Italian Peninsula) to start working as an English language assistant in a local secondary school. Since then, I have been living in a town of 34,000 people called Vibo Valentia.

When I am not working I pack up my car to travel around, explore a bit of Italy and meet new people (Italians are ever so friendly). I have, so far, visited Tropea, Pizzo, Reggio Calabria, Lamezia Terme, Scilla, Naples, Pompeii and the Amalfi coast, Sorrento, Maiori, Minori, Amalfi, Praiano, Positano, Sorrento.

After living in Vibo Valentia for over a month and interacting with Italian daily, here is my first reflection of Italy. This is just a bit of fun, not meant to be taken too seriously.

  1. You'd better like pizza and pasta.

  2. In some Italian restaurants you won't find salt and pepper on the table.

  3. In England food is really expensive and not great. In Italy food is inexpensive and incredible.

  4. The coffee is amazing albeit small in size.

  5. In England the tea is amazing.

  6. Supermarkets in Calabria are big delis or are their delis just small supermarkets?

  7. In Italy you ask for a latte and you'll get a glass of milk.

  8. Ask for biscotti and they'll ask which ones, biscotti just means biscuits.

  9. Italian pastries are even better than French pastries. 

  10. In England, if there is an accident on the motorway we'll use cones to close off a lane. In Italy they use sticks of fire.

  11. In England people drive on the left-hand side of the road. Italians drive on whatever side they fancy.

  12. Men walk arm in arm, kiss on the cheeks and grab each other by the head.

  13. Grown-ups loiter outside shops like teenagers do in England.

  14. Italians love public displays of affection. In England public displays of affection are treated to a firing squad of disapproving looks and tuts.

  15. Brits don't really talk a lot, and only if you seem to understand them. Italians talk a lot even if you don’t understand them.​

  16. In Britain if you can't speak English you’re screwed! In Italy don’t worry if you can't speak Italian, you'll hardly ever get a word in edgeways.

  17. In Italy everyone greets you like you're their long-lost relative. In England everyone greets you like you’re their long-lost relative.

  18. Cool teenagers wear bum bags across their chest in Italy.

  19. In Italy there are often no toilet seats in public toilets, let alone toilet paper.

  20. In Italy beware of Yoga Risata classes; they will expect you to fake laughter for an hour!

Discussion

What do you think about Angela's light-hearted look at the difference between some aspects of life in Italy and the UK? 

Comments

Missasen's picture
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Missasen 1 August, 2017 - 14:47

Hi!
There is a great difference between cities, the people of Italy and England have different cultures, as far as gastronomy, education,values, among others. Unlike my Mexico city we have different cultures and ways of interacting with people.

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citlali1997gaarcia's picture
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citlali1997gaarcia 1 August, 2017 - 14:47

The culture in very interesting of both places never did but I would like to know these magnificent places

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CruzLaura's picture
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CruzLaura 1 August, 2017 - 14:46

Hi! Is the first time I read an article about the culture of Italy, it made me interesting because it is always good to learn about cultures from other places in this case that is about Italy is very interesting as it is one of the most important places in Europe

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mary1708's picture
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mary1708 1 August, 2017 - 14:46

Hello! :)
Had never read an article about Italy or England and much less traveled to those countries but I can see the difference in life to those countries and Mexico!
In Mexico you can eat the best Food, of course you will find salt and spicy on the table and you can enjoy the hospitality of the people

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Alexantos's picture
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Alexantos 1 August, 2017 - 14:46

hi
I think that Italy is a countri what offer most things good that England, because thje people de Italy is friendly. In other point of view in the aspect of the food for me the food Italy
and England are atractiff except for the price the England Food it's very expencive. However in my opinion the coup the coffee should be most big

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gd_jyh's picture
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gd_jyh 1 August, 2017 - 14:46

you must know new forms of life. For example the italian are the people most friendly and funiest in all europe, and this can be rare for conservative people in this case the englis, but after of any time the new mores become anything normal.

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Lizbeth_lohe 1 August, 2017 - 14:46

HI !!
I CONSIDER THAT EVERY COUNTRY HAS HIS OWN WAY OF LIVING, HIS OWN CUSTOM, EVEN HIS LANGUAGE, SO THAT WE WILL BE DIFFERENT WHICH WOULD BE IF ALL ON THE PLANET HAD TO LIVE THE SAME, WE WILL NOT HAVE THE DESIRE OF TRAVELING AND KNOWING SOMETHING DIFFERENT BECAUSE WE WILL HAVE IT ON THE BACK OF THE CORNER.

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Jacque's picture
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Jacque 1 August, 2017 - 14:45

Hi
I think that Italy is very interesting city and the people is friendly, so living in Italy is facinating. uK is tha main country wheere You can find a cultural diversity.
In Mexico for example cuisine varies widely between regions, as each town has its own culinary traditions.

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TGalindo's picture
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TGalindo 1 August, 2017 - 14:45

Hi!
I think that exist a great difference between the England people and the Italian people. the mos important difference is that England people are very serious and the other ones are so friendly.
The italian culture are so different with ratio to my country because in Mexico a man can´t kiss to an other man in plublic. Also in Mexico the people prefers to eat mole, chicken, tacos than eat pasta and pizza

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maunr's picture
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maunr 1 August, 2017 - 14:44

Hi
Acording with the text, a thing that the italians are people very freandly, also their food must be very delicious, I would like visit this place someday, I suppose that the people in UK is very diferent in various things, for example in their food, habits, culture, also is less friendly, I thing that them are people serious and very formal.
other thing amazing with the italians is about the toilets, in my country you find one toilet in many places publics.

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urdejego35 1 August, 2017 - 14:38

Personally I think that both places are some beautiful, as far as I'm concerned the Italian food is inexpensive and tasty, to the contrary in England the food isn't tasty and very expensive. Italian people is more friendly than England people but I think that both population have more advantages in comparation with the disadvantages, only depend of the point of view.

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AngieCorrea23's picture
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AngieCorrea23 1 August, 2017 - 03:04

Hello!
The difference between England and Italy is that the food in Italy is expensive and not very nice and the italian very cheap and delicious even the cakes are delicious.
The cafe and the te are very good.
In England people drive on the left side of the road. Italians drive anywhere they wish.
Italians love public displays of affection. In England the public displays of affection are treated to a firing squad of disapproving looks.
In Italy everyone greets you as if you were their long-lost relative. In England everyone greets you as if you were their long-lost relative.
Italy is best to visit, live and enjoy! :)

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GlzYera's picture
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GlzYera 31 July, 2017 - 23:08

hi!
According to comparison makes Angela! I think that Italy and people living there are very good people, who love to live. I think that can be something resembling Mexicans as most eachother we are very bright and we like to living whit other people!
instead I think the England are more envious something that I don't pleased Italy is than in bathrooms there isn't role hygienic or something where sit, which rare are, but I prefer to know Italy instead of England.

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GVM190795 31 July, 2017 - 23:06

Hi, I'm from Mexico, one thing that caught my attention is the way they drive, here we drive on the right hand of the rode, although here in Mexico not all the people respect the traffic rules.
another thing that caught my attention is the way they say hi, here in Mexico if you kiss a man to say hello, it's a fact that you´ll get a fist in the face.

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tania104's picture
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tania104 31 July, 2017 - 23:06

I think that the two countries are very different, but everyone has something special and nice. I liked more Italy, But I would like to try coffee UK because I love coffee and created that most of the countries get used to give kiss on the cheeks.

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PURPLE16's picture
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PURPLE16 31 July, 2017 - 23:06

Hi!
In Italy it is more easy to communicate with people because they are most sociable and wish to have more affection. The Italian food is much cheaper than in the united kingdom and a lot of pizza and pasta. In some Italian restaurants you won't find salt and pepper on the table.
I think that In England people are often more critical or less understanding and in Italy they are more funny and understanding.
Is very interesting, In England people drive on the left-hand side of the road. Italians drive on whatever side they fancy.

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luis0795's picture
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luis0795 31 July, 2017 - 23:06

Hi
I think that the Italians, like most Europeans, should drive on the right hand side - that is the rule. Angela said that the food in England is very expensive while in Italy is inexpensive.
Also many people greet you as if you were a lost family. This means that the Italians are very friendly and talk about many things and they do not care if you understand them or not in Italy there are often no toilet seats in public toilets, let alone toilet paper

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GamalielJR's picture
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GamalielJR 31 July, 2017 - 23:05

In my opinion the Italians, the like most Europeans, should drive on the right hand side - that is the rule.Similarly they do not observe much traffic because they can handle in a different sens.Also Is not a dangerous custom because most people in that country are accustomed to driving that way.On the other hand They are also friendly, enthusiastic, and extremely funny,the Italians are not problematic.

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tania104's picture
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tania104 31 July, 2017 - 23:05

I think that the two countries are very different, but everyone has something special and nice. I liked more Italy, But I would like to try coffee UK because I love coffee and created that most of the countries get used to give kiss on the cheeks.

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patriciopm's picture
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patriciopm 31 July, 2017 - 23:04

hi!!!
Here in Mexico the culture in management is on the left.
In the food stores they usually put salt and some sauce for the customer
I found your article very interesting

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kar9876's picture
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kar9876 31 July, 2017 - 23:02

1).- I like the mexican food because is delicious.
2).- The pizza is well prepared, with pineapple pepperoni ham and cheese: (I'm hungry =)
3).-The ice cream is more delicious between they are lemon nurt strawberry and other flavors.
4).- The mole is the most famous the world. They should try it.
5).-The chocolate is the most delicious because it's made of cocoa.

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Polita's picture
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Polita 31 July, 2017 - 23:02

Hi.
I think with this article that the population in Italy are very kind and respectful. This cultural in Mexico is hard to find because the mexican population have another culture about show affection between mens or say hello to strangers.
By the way I love the tea and the coffee, and Its know that the tea in Itlaly is delicious, the best tea that you would find in Mexico is the Italian's tea.
I like to know another cultures because is interesting the lifestyle.
SEE YOU

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GamalielJR's picture
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GamalielJR 31 July, 2017 - 22:59

Hello!!!!!!!!!
In my opinion the Italians, the like most Europeans, should drive on the right hand side - that is the rule.Similarly they do not observe much traffic because they can handle in a different sens.Also Is not a dangerous custom because most people in that country are accustomed to driving that way.

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FLOW9508's picture
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FLOW9508 31 July, 2017 - 22:58

Hello..
The Italians mentioned that they are very friendly. It is great to know different cultures.We mentioned that there are great differences of culture although not all of us would like the same because the people have different habits and custom.Come to know Mexico excellent culture, great customs, delicious cuisine and very friendly people
We will wait for you

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AngelaE-Olano's picture
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AngelaE-Olano 13 November, 2015 - 09:36

Hi there!
Italians, like most Europeans, should drive on the right hand side - that is the rule. What I meant by 'Italians drive on whatever side they fancy is that people here are more relaxed about traffic rules so they don't always follow them.

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gianggiang's picture
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gianggiang 13 November, 2015 - 15:33

Thanks, it's clear now, but " They don't always follow traffic rules" It sounds like a special (and a bit dangerous) custom. :)

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gianggiang's picture
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gianggiang 13 November, 2015 - 04:58

I always thought that Europeans are very polite, but know, I have new eyes on them, They are also friendly, enthusiastic,and extremely humorous. :D
Oh, I almost forgot....I would like to add some information about my comment.
Brits don't really talk a lot, only if you understand them .----> I utterly agree !
Italians talk a lot even if you don't understand them.---> I have no doubts and liked this.
And..........Vietnamese always nod their heads, smile and whisper " Yes, Yep, Yeah, Uh huh" without saying any words when everybody don't understand them. ----> Therefore, when you realise these gestures, you should finish the conversation soon ( or change the topic). If you continue talking ( like Italians), this means you are talking to yourself and the people sitting beside you are sleeping ( in their minds.)

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gianggiang's picture
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gianggiang 13 November, 2015 - 04:00

Ahahaha......
I couldn't help laughing while reading this article, particularly the expressions: "Men walk arm in arm,kiss on cheeks and grab each other by the head " ( I read an article about Japan, the people who have the same sex aren't allowed to walk arm in arm because this is very weird ( I think so, too )
" Italians talk a lot even if you don't understand them ". I think this is not very proper because it is not difficult for them to realise that their conversations are a bit nonsense. :D Anyway, I liked this comparision. Is it possible for me to judge that English are strict and Italians are very humorous ?
However, I am very curious, " Italians drive on whatever side they fancy", I was surprised when I heard that English drive on the left ( because Vietnamese always drive on the right),but now I am even shocked by Italians' custom. Are there any traffic accidents ?
I don't understand clearly the expression " In Italian every one greets you like you are their long lost relative" Does this mean " They are very thrilled when they meet you " ?

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wiseteen's picture
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wiseteen 29 August, 2016 - 15:09

Hi
Even in the Arabic World people of the same sex are allowed to kiss one another on the cheek, hug each other... and I think Italian people take a lot of people here in Tunisia (my home town) because it's too near . Both are friendly and talkative and they break the ice first with strangers. Even our food and gastronomic habits are almost similar to theirs.
I enjoyed your article thank you very much
:)

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