I found this website a while back (http://thetruesize.com/) where you could overimpose the size of one country with another, so I took my beloved Italy and put it over California just to get an idea… It wasn’t a big surprise to me to find out the length of Italy is fairly comparable to the length of California. Italy is long~!
I am often asked how different is living in the US compared to living in Italy… actually the most common question is “which one is better”, and I am always at odds answering that question because it’s not really a matter of “what’s better”, since each have their good and their bad, a lot has to do with the culture, what one is used to. Neither one is better, neither one is worse, they are just different. Having said that, I can tell you that we are far more alike than we are different. However, for your enjoyment, here are some things I am extremely proud about Italy and some that are just plain different.
- Food Quality
There, I said it. The quality of food in Italy is so superior I don’t even know where to begin. And as sometimes forget, I bought an Italian Christmas pastry made in Italy last month, and I was showing my husband how it proudly states “no GMO” and all kinds of other stuff, like stating where the milk used to make it is from etc. Italians take their food seriously and you can take that to the bank. Gosh, I miss the food. I really miss the food!!!
Let’s be real. I can spot an American tourist in Italy a mile away. Why? Because they all wear the same clothes. A t-shirt, jeans and sneakers. And if they are also wearing a baseball cap, then, forget it. I might as well not even “assume”, I just walk up to them and start speaking english. Americans take zero effort in getting dressed, ever. I am constantly being told “I dress up too much”, even my kids and husband tell me I “overdress” constantly and, trust me, in Italy they would ask me if I was okay. People in Italy love to look good. Period.
This is one thing I really admire about Italians. They put their family above all else. In the US people make no qualms about moving across the country for a job, dragging their family around (if they have one) and away from their family and close friends, as their independence, career & earning potential surpasses everything else in importance. Most Italians don’t feel that way. They want to stay close. Their family comes first.
- Taking it Easy
They don’t call it “La Dolce Vita” (The sweet life) for nothing. Italians love to take their time. There is no such thing as the “frenetic drive-through” culture that we have here. Eating in the car? What kind of monster does that? Long conversations over a meal and taking things in stride is what the Italian motto is. Basically Italians walk while Americans run.
People in Italy don’t drive a whole lot. “OMG, it takes 90 minutes to get there? We are not going.” Of course the high price of gasoline deters people from driving anywhere, that, combined with the cheap cost of public transportation, especially trains, and the fact that most Italian cities can be travelled by foot, bike or scooter, make them have a very different point of view that most Americans have. Of course the US is HUGE, so we need our cars here.
I like the fact that elections in Italy have absolutely NOTHING to do with a popularity contest, or “winner takes all”. When people go vote, they do not vote for a “person” but for the party. Then when the votes are in, if, say, a minor party gets 5% of the vote, they get 5% representation in Parliament. This way, the TRUE reflection of the country is mirrored in their Parliament. BRILLIANT.
Italians truly take care of their children. And not just the parents. For starters, moms get a long PAID Maternity leave, and even for at least the first year, they can leave work early to breastfeed. Moms breastfeed everywhere. EVERYWHERE! Preschool starts as soon as the child is 3 years old and runs all day, from 8am to 5pm. I am not even kidding.
There is no drinking age in Italy, and wine is consumed with meals to complement the food and they may put some Grappa in their espresso too (it’s delicious BTW!!). Drinking is not something that is glorified. I remember going to a dance bar (Discotheque) in the 80s and I was the only person with a drink that was alcoholic in front of her. Everyone was smoking though.
While I am at it, I will say that California is pretty darn cool all things considered. I’ve often told my parents that if I can’t live in Italy, at least I can say I live in a “cool” state. I found an amazing man to love in this country and I feel blessed.
While I spend much more time in USA than I do in Italy (hopefully in the future that will change), I comfortably embrace both cultures, I love both countries, and feel fortunate to be a citizen of both. To call two places home is to know that people are more alike than they are different. I’ve seen more and more Italian things popping up here every now and again and I love it.
Oh, and BTW, my kids proudly call themselves Italians. I like that! Nicky is actually 75% Italian!
Love & Light