Culture

10 Things They Just Do Better In Italy

Two words: aperitivo, digestivo.

As an Italian Australian, my family gatherings usually consist of an interesting combination of snags on the BBQ and pasta, pasta, pasta. It’s a food lovers dream really… except for the shouting. One lot are screaming at the footy on TV, and the other lot are screaming at each other.

However there are downsides to both cultures – and on the Italian side, it’s mainly the tiramisu peddling. Nope, give me a pavlova any day! You might think that we’ve learnt everything we could learn from Italianos in this country (especially considering I’m from Melbourne where the coffee culture is A++), but there are certainly some things that I miss from the Azzurri.

So, just to make all those Italians reading this miss la casa even more, here are ten things that I think Italians do better. And no, none of them are love…


Coffee

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Although I already mentioned that we do coffee pretty damn well here (USA, you have a lot to learn), we are pretty tame in taste by comparison – and we miss out on the strict, but glorious, ritual of coffee consumption. Mornings are for cappuccino only, paired with a small brekkie.

Throughout the day, it’s espresso all the way (or in summer, a bitter and refreshing coffee granita), and at night it’s an after dinner digesitivo – usually in the form of my favourite invention of all time, the Affogato. No lattes and flat whites here: that stuff’s for wimps.


Aperitivo/Digestivo

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And speaking of aperitif (or aperitivo in Italiano) and digestivo, that’s something we really don’t do here. Before dinner and after dinner alcohol is a daily habit, aiding consumption of a heady dinner of carbs, carbs and more carbs. But the best thing about it? Taking the time to chat about life over a pre-dinner prosecco in the local square. Ah, Italy.


Enjoying Life

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And speaking about pre-dinner proseccos in the local square, us Aussies could really learn a thing or two from the Italianos about taking the time to enjoy life. La vita bella, the little things. I find that Italians really do pause for a second, put down the screen, and let life pass them by over a glass of wine.


Drinking In Moderation

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And speaking of a glass of wine…it’s usually just one or two. Italians have the glorious opportunity to drink beer in McDonalds, and buy wine in the grocery store – but that’s because you really don’t see people walking through the city with their shoes off on a regular Saturday night. They know how to drink, but they know how to drink in moderation, for pure enjoyment. Ain’t no lock out laws in Rome…


Al Fresco Dining

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With observing the world pass you by over a glass of great red (that never gives you a headache), comes al fresco dining. The extensive squares in each city in Italy certainly help – when compared to our tiny footpaths, with cars racing by mere meters away. Perhaps the answer is better public spaces. We have great weather in Australia, but we seem to spend way too much time indoors.


Wearing heels

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Yes, Italians wear heels. All the time. It’s the one thing that separates us from the flat-wearing French. You never see a woman hobble around in too-small or too-big heels in Italy; they always glide fearlessly over cobble stones in stilettos. It’s an astounding skill.


Architecture

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I mean, it’s a given.


Lake Holidays

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While we’re obsessed with our beach holidays, the Italians really know how to spend summer at the lake house. Sure, the crystal blue waters of Naples are stunning, but there’s something more romantic about wandering the shores of Lake Como with your ragazzo, gelato in hand.


Swear Words

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Something I learned very early was that Italians have the best, most imaginative swear words that mainly boil down to emphatic religious blasphemy. There’s definitely something hilarious about yelling “communion bread!” when something goes wrong. For many more hilarious ones that I can’t use here, Tweet me.


Being Fabulous, Darling

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Think Donatella Versace. Think Sophia Loren (who every Italian woman over 50 “has been told” they look like… supposedly). They’re fabulous women, who know they’re fabulous. They swan around in big hair and big sunnies, and laugh, carefree, with a glass of champs in their hand. Let’s all be fabulous – it’s a state of mind, darling.