So, you’re in love with Italy. You never thought you could love a country, its people and its culture as much as you love Italy. In fact, you love the Mediterranean paradise so much, you not only want to surround yourself with the people, you want to be one of them. But what makes an Italian? A love of wine and the ability to make excellent pasta? A passionate outlook and a vintage Vespa scooter? Follow these steps and you’ll soon be as Italian as it’s possible to be (without changing your DNA).
1. Treat your food with respect
Food is a big deal in Italy, as you may have noticed. Eating is a family affair and flavors are savoured over lively conversation at the table. There’s no wolfing your dinner down in front of the TV and food tends to be leaner and healthier than in some other countries. The Italian equivalent of ‘good as gold’ is buono come il pane, which means ‘good as bread’, because bread is such an important part of daily Italian life. Fare la scarpetta (literally ‘do the little shoe’) is an Italian expression meaning to mop up your food with your bread.
2. Drink red wine like it will save your life (it might)
There’s lots of evidence to suggest that red wine is good for your heart. Italians consume a lot of the stuff as a country, in fact ten times more than the USA on average, but be aware that they generally don’t drink to get drunk. Wine is a standard accompaniment to a meal and from a young age Italians are allowed to taste it and are taught to drink responsibly.
3. Get the look
The Italians are a fashionable lot, particularly the younger generations. Men often dress in a very sharp and sleek fashion, which could be regarded as metrosexual in the US. Designer belts, shoes and suits are a must. Women too try to look their best at all times – there is never an inappropriate time to wear high-heels. Go for sophisticated and remember to keep up with the latest trends.
4. Show some affection
It’s perfectly acceptable in Italy to walk arm in arm with a friend of the same sex, without being assumed to be a romantic couple. Both men and women greet each other with kisses on the cheeks and call each other affection names. Public displays of affection between couples aren’t particularly frowned upon either, so go ahead and give your significant other a smooch.
Of course, you’ll never be truly Italian without mastering the language. With the Italian language, so much of what makes Italians Italian is brought to life. The passion and je ne sais quoi (or should I say non so che) of being Italian comes out!
What else makes someone a true Italian? Send us your thoughts in the comments below!