Mt. Carmel St. Cristina Society

7 Things Americans Can Learn from Italians

Did you know...

Seven things Americans can learn from Italians! Life in Italy and life in America are very different. Both cultures have their pros and cons but Americans can learn a lot from the way Italians live. Italians have an easygoing and positive outlook on how to go about daily life. Italians live "la vita bella" but the beautiful life doesn't mean the luxurious life – it means a relaxed, family lifestyle.

1 - Eat slowly, locally, and with others. There's no such thing as Italian fast food. Sure, you'll find a McDonald's here and there, but Italy's concept of eating is all about "slow foods," not fast and cheap. Dinners are eaten around the table (not a TV or computer) with family.

2 - Drink a little bit, but not too much. Italians love their vino, but they don't overdo it. Here in America, there's a culture of binge drinking. In Italy, a bottle of wine is shared with friends and family around the dinner table. Stumbling around drunk in Italy is not viewed favorably. Italians like to drink, but they know how to keep it classy.

3 - You should indulge a little every now and then - perche' no?? There are so many delicious treats in Italy - rich gelato, mouth-watering pastries, chocolates. The idea is to treat yourself by having a little bit of something tasty (because, why not?). For example, the normal size of a coppa of gelato looks tiny compared to the size of a cup of ice cream in America.

4 - Stop hurrying, start relaxing. People don't rush in Italy with the to-go cups of coffee. They sip their expresso at the bar. Meals tend to linger. There's less emphasis put on being on time - rather, emphasize on how the time is spent. Many Italians take a siesta - a break during the day, from 1 to 3pm to eat lunch and relax.

5 - Having family nearby is the best thing ever. Family in Italy tends to stay in the same area, while it is more common in the U.S. to go away somewhere other than where you grew up. In Italy, having family nearby is deeply valued. Having nonna, aunts, uncles, and cousins drop by for dinner every Sunday is common and brings everyone together.

6 - Spend time outdoors. Italian people tend to congregate outdoors - friends meet up at the piazza. Piazzas are vibrant. Children play, creating a lively atmosphere. Most Italians do most of their shopping al mercato - outdoor markets where they sell from food and wine to clothing and leather. In America, we have malls which are great but there's nothing like wandering a mercato sampling the food and interacting with the locals.

7 - Maintain a "bella figura." Bella figura is like maintaining a good public image. Italians don't get drunk in public. They don't eat while they walk or wear pajamas to the dinner table. Bella figura is more than just looking good. It is a way of life that emphasizes aesthetics and good behavior!!