The 13 Italian lifestyle habits that will change your life: Italian lifestyle is imitated and exported all over the world and is made up of small and big things which together create an enviable image. If you want to feel like you are in Italy despite being far away, just a few simple daily habits can transport you there.
The first one of the 13 Italian lifestyle habits is drinking only espresso coffee, rather than American coffee or worse still Filter Coffee. One of the most perplexing things for an Italian abroad is coffee. No other coffee will ever satisfy us like Italian coffee and we remain flabbergasted at how foreigners manage to drink the strange mixture of hot water with a drop of weak coffee. Learning how to make a good coffee is essential.
Pasta is to be eaten everyday but with a different sauce and it is for sure the second one of the 13 Italian lifestyle habits that will change your life. In Italy there are infinite varieties of pasta many that even many Italians themselves aren’t familiar with. For us, pasta is like rice for the Japanese and Chinese, we need to eat it everyday in different ways. Let’s divide them into three main categories: those that are meat based (bolognese, carbonara, amatriciana etc.), fish based (pescatora, allo scoglio, mussels, clams etc.) or vegetable based (puttanesca, napoletana, pugliese etc.).
Drink good wine, pairing it well to your meal. Without spending too much, you can find a good house wine at a reasonable price. Having a stock of wine at home just in case someone stops by is one of the most important habits with which we can define Italian lifestyle. A few basic notions about which wines you drink with which dishes is a start but to use your ‘Italianity’ to the maximum you can go on to learn about all the technical aspects: year, region, grape, tannins etc.
Pizza is to be eaten at least once a week, preferably on a Friday or Saturday and though there are many toppings, you should always have a favourite. Looking at the exotic variants with pineapple or fruit on top, it’s good to know which are real Italian pizzas so that you can snub any strange hybrid version of our precious creation.
Know at least 10 popular Italian songs off by heart, whether from the glorious past or present. You should also have a favourite singer who oozes prestige and gives you plenty to talk about in an inevitable conversation on the topic. There are various possibilities and we’ll give just a few examples: De Andrè, Battiato, Guccini, Fossati, Bennato, Capossela etc.
Dress with style without spending a fortune, it is possible by using colours which should never be too bright or too pale. Anyone can be smart wearing Armani or Gucci, but real talent lies in dressing yourself in simple clothes with the right style, colours and accessories. Important!! Never ever wear sandals with socks in summer…
Move your hands to add expression to whatever you are saying, whilst using appropriate eye contact. You should reach the ideal harmony between voice, hands and eyes, where each one accompanies the other. Some operatic works demonstrate these aspects in an efficient but exaggerated way. You can practice by studying the theatre works of Verdi and Puccini, in order to imitate the actors’ gestures in a modern key and a less theatrical way. Films also offer us many examples. The choice and the research is up to you…
Swat up on the favourite Italian conversation topics: politics, football and love. You don’t need to know everything on the subject, just enough so that you can express your opinion with conviction, without being swayed by the opinions of others, even when they make more sense than yours.
Choose a favourite football team, whether your favourite city, the one you like the colour of their shirts or at random and study all the details in order to be ready for a discussion that will surely ensue on the topic. Don’t stop at the players names, you need to know which actress or model the players are dating, how much they earn and finally, maybe also which position they play.
Relax and enjoy your day, lunch break, coffee break, cigarette break, without worrying too much about what time it is or about any appointments you have that day. An Italian prefers that you turn up reasonably late and unfortunately that also extends to those responsible for driving public transport… Excessive punctuality makes Italians uneasy, knowing that everyone is flexible and relaxed about appointment times allows us to go about our day much more happily. The inefficiency of public services or eternal traffic on the streets just gives us another excuse. You will notice that many appointments don’t have precise times for example instead of ‘See you at . . ‘ we use a less committal ‘See you between . . .and . . . . ” or ‘around. . .. .’
11 Talking at the same time
In a conversation with another person, actively participate, even going as far as interrupting them with comments and opinions without waiting for them to finish what they were saying. In many other countries this would be considered rude but this is an essential conversational technique used by all Italians to show our interest in the other person’s opinion. If you wait patiently for them to finish speaking, they will think that you are not interested in the subject or perhaps that you were thinking about something else. This cultural particularity has created many a problem in historical relations between Italy and the rest of the world.
When you meet friends or acquaintances, greet them affectionately with a double kiss one on each cheek, whether between two men or two women for us it’s the normal expected behaviour. If you want to be warmer still with a person, you can hug them tightly adding a few pats on the back for good measure.
13 The Italian ‘mamma’
Call your mum everyday, even 2-3 times if possible. If your mother is not Italian she will no doubt be initially surprised by this behaviour but it will certainly please her. You can bother her with questions about the house or her cooking secrets, she will be ecstatic and you will be more Italian than ever.
In conclusion only a true Italian could easily follow all 13 rules. So the question is how many can you manage ? How many have you noticed in the Italians you know ? Do you think they would be themselves without these characteristics? Try talking to them about it and you will discover many interesting more things about what makes us Italian.