Living in Italy has some pretty amazing perks. The food, the history, the museums and churches, I mean do I really need to continue? But there is a big difference between traveling in Italy and living in Italy. As are there large differences between life back home in Australia and ‘la dolce vita’ here in Italia.
For the most part living here is pretty amazing and I can’t complain. Except maybe when it’s a day out from Spring and there’s a polar vortex currently hovering over Italy, but that’s a different story.
Anyways, I thought I’d share with you some differences I’ve noticed since living here. Some of them are trivial, some quirky and others drive me absolutely insane.
Picking fruit & veggies is definitely a process.
1. To all my Italian friends out there and Italians reading this post why the hell can’t you guy’s form a queue or line? Can you tell that this is one that drives me a little crazy? Queuing and lining up here is definitely an art form. You need to hold your ground, be confident and just go for it or else you’ll be standing there forever while everyone else pushes in around you.
2. Picking fruit and vegetables at a grocery store might seem like a straight forward activity, but in Italy there’s a process. And if you don’t abide by the process, be prepared to get a few stares.
First off, you must ALWAYS wear the plastic gloves provided. Never pick up fruit or veggies with your hands, I repeat, never! After using the gloves to select your items, place them in the plastic bag (also provided). Next, take note of the unique number on the sign and find a scale. Enter the items number, weigh your food and place the printed sticker on your plastic bag for check out.
If you go to a check out without having a price sticker, you’ll most likely get told off. This also applies for selecting fresh bread as well.
3. One of the things I love most about being home in Australia is brunch! It’s sort of our Sunday morning, post rugby ritual. However, brunch restaurants or cafes are few and far between here in Italy. I’ve only found one place in Padova that serves all day pancakes but aside from that there aren’t many options. So if any Padova readers have any suggestions, hola at me.
Get in my belly!
4. I am a summer girl through and through, so as soon as the weather starts warming up out come my shorts and dresses. However, here in Italy people tend to dress to the season not the weather. So despite it being a warm 24 degree day in May, most Italians will still be in jeans and jackets.
This is another one that drives me crazy because I can not stand to be hot but often I get stared at for having bare legs and arms. This also applies for active wear too. Wearing active wear anywhere other than the gym will also attract stares. I do both, constantly and have just learnt to get over the stares now.
5. Speaking of staring. This is also another big difference I noticed when I first moved to Padova. It seemed whenever my fiancé and I were out, a lot of people would stare at us. And it’s not just your typical stare and then quickly look away when one notices, but people will continue to stare at you while you are looking at them in the eye.
This made me feel incredibly uncomfortable at first, but now I’m just used to it. I’m still not sure why we attract so many stares though? Maybe because we’re not the typical looking people Padovani are used to seeing? Who knows!
6. Ok so first things first, I am not a coffee drinker but know enough about it to appreciate the difference between Italian coffee and Australian coffee. Both of whom are coffee snobs in their own right. However, everything about coffee is different in Italy. From ordering it, drinking it and of course the types of coffee.
In Australia we have a wide range of different coffees — flat white, latte, cappuccino, mocha etc. In Italy these do exist but mainly people just drink espresso’s or macchiato’s. So when Aussies try Italian coffee they are a little surprised. Especially when you ask for a latte and you receive a glass of hot milk. Latte in Italian means milk.
Italians also never order cappuccino’s after lunch because they believe the milk is too heavy.
Caffe e brioche — an Italian dietary staple.
7. One word, BUREAUCRACY! When I finally move back home to Australia, I will never ever complain about getting stuff done ever again because unless you’ve lived in Italy you have no idea what the word bureaucracy means. Sometimes simple things like paying a bill or cancelling a direct debit can take forever because of the processes. And, don’t even get me started on what it’s like trying to obtain a visa or get married in Italy!
If I’m being honest, this list could go on and on but I’ve decided to keep it short and sweet. Mainly because I’m getting worked up just thinking about things, but also because I kind of don’t want to offend anyone.