Italy is a country located in the continent of Europe. It's a long peninsula shaped like a boot, surrounded on the west by the Tyrrhenian Sea and on the east by the Adriatic. Home of the Roman Empire and a major center of the Renaissance, culture on the Italian peninsula has flourished for centuries.
Italy has a high unemployment rate, and differences between the rich and poor are noticeable. Immigrants for example, stand out because they come from poorer countries.
The higher ranking individuals, speaking in wealth, can easily be shown by style of clothing, choice of food and recreation, along with other boundary markers.
- There is a difference in what food one eats, certain food being more prestigious than others, such as veal or steak apposed to basic pasta. Although pasta and bread are still staples for all classes, it is what else and in what quantity meat is available that marks social classes.
- Leisure activities and how free time is spent are also class boundary markers. The more leisure and the amount of traveling separates different classes from each other. The more luxurious the family villa, the greater the prestige. Extra curriculars and sports can be expensive but Soccer is for everyone in Italy. More expensive entertainment is restricted by cost.
- The average Italian family is made up of one or two children. The stereotyped image of the large and traditional Italian family, with more than six children is old news.
- Family is still an extremely important value within the Italian culture.
- It is very common for Italians to have one or more family dinners a week.
Customs and Traditions
Italians are known to be friendly, loud and touchy. No matter where you are from in Italy, when greeting someone it is highly common and respected that you greet them with a kiss on both cheeks. Two kisses in some regions, and three kisses in other regions. It is usually tradition to start with kissing the right cheek and is less common with 2 men greeting one another. You will definitely see it more often with women, although in southern Italy its just as common for men to kiss as women.
It's polite to sit close to people and lightly touch their arm in interaction. Eye contact is important and it is felt that someone who cannot look you in the eyes is trying to hide something. When toasting, eye contact is a must.
- Italians do not wear white socks! White socks are only for the gym.
- Colour is popular in clothing - from aquamarine to bright orange. Even men wear hot pink, commonly in the form of a polo.
- Style in younger and hip Italians like to dress in clothing that fit and flatter the shape of their body.
- Women in Italy are not allowed to walk in public with wet hair. This is because they might get a cold.
In italy they believe in the concept of food separation. Not all your food is placed on one plate. Food must be eaten in this order but dishes can be skipped.
Start with the Antipasto which is the appetizer.
Then you have the Primo which is like the Entree
Next is your main meal they call Secondo, which means second.
and last but not least, Dolce... dessert !
Bread is not an appetizer. It will be there for the entire duration of the meal and does not come with butter or oil or balsamic. Also spaghetti and meatballs is not an Italian meal.
Pizza comes from Italy but you will not find pizzas with toppings like chicken, different sausages nor fruit like pineapple. In Italy there is only 2 types of crust, Napoletana (neapolitan), which is more raised and fluffy crust, and Romana (roman) which is more crusty.