7 ways Italian culture will change your life

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Long-term expats may find themselves eating more, but snacking less. Photo: Alessandro Valli/Flickr
12:18 CEST+02:00
Everyone loves a brief taste of Italian culture, but for those of you looking to stay longer, and possibly even set down new roots, you may find your life starting to change in unexpected ways.

Tuscany Now spoke to four expats who have moved over and fully embraced new lifestyles to see what they thought were the key changes you’ll notice you’re starting to live life the Italian way.

You only use local produce

One of Italy’s greatest assets is its wealth of local food markets and stalls. Rich in culinary history, the best way to explore the delicacies of Italy is to try making them yourself so you should be finding yourself in the kitchen a lot more often. That means, as Gina Tringali found, regular trips to the farmers, fishmongers and butchers:

“I just couldn’t imagine living further than a 15 minute walk from a food market. This is something that I hope to never live without. Fresh produce is available and accessible to most everyone in Italy. I know the farmers personally. These relationships are priceless.” – Gina Tringali

Photo: Jeffrey Bary/Flickr

You’re eating more, but snacking less

Italians eat with a much different schedule to the likes of the British or Americans. Sitting down for dinner at 10.00pm may seem daunting at first, especially with the regularity of four-course meals, but your body will adjust to the greater portions and you’ll find yourself cutting down on in-between meal snacks.

“I eat what I want in moderation. I don’t snack in between meals because my taste buds are still talking about breakfast being buono for the best part of the day.” – Nicola Ferlei Brown

Photo: Alessandro Valli/Flickr

You develop a sweet tooth

With your grander meals, you are definitely going to develop a taste for the sweeter side of Italian cooking. With a plethora of pastries, desserts, cakes and sweet breads, you’ll be finding it hard to say no and the taste will linger so long, you’ll try to recreate it again at home.

“The grapes and strawberries here taste like candy. A slice of pecorino with honey makes me want to weep with joy. Calories? Probably, but I’m convinced it’s all healthier and it’s sure more delicious than the way I used to eat.” – Elizabeth Knight

Photo: Alessandro Valli/Flickr

You’re drinking more coffee

It is impossible to escape the caffeine culture that has grown in Italy. Any small meeting or chat is another opportunity for a drink, and repeated visits to a local or highly recommended cafe will no doubt edge you towards the more elaborate items on their menus.

Even if you aren’t a coffee drinker before you arrive in Italy, you’ll soon know espressos from macchiatos, as well as (crucially) which drink to order at specific locations and in different regions of the country.

Photo: risastla/Flickr

Your emotions run free

The longer you stay in Italy, the more outspoken you’ll find yourself becoming. Not to say that you’ll become disruptive or unpleasant, it is merely the way Italians embrace their emotions and let everything out. It is their way of staying true to themselves and treating others with respect, rather than passively putting up with something due to an idea of politeness. Italians are much more direct and vocal than other cultures:

“I like the way that you can burst out emotions on a mobile phone whilst on a busy bus and no-one will bat an eyelid. There’s something liberating about, for a while, at least, binning British de rigeur and politeness. Italians can’t hide their emotions, which isn’t always a bad thing. On that note, watching the world go by in this town [Rome] is theatre.” – Nicola Ferlei Brown

Photo: DieselDemon/Flickr

You’re in touch with your artistic side

With Italy’s rich history of renaissance art, picturesque landscapes and love of the opera, it shouldn’t be too hard for you to find a new love and try your hand at something creative. Without realizing it, the art and culture of Italy can carry you away, even if it is something as simple as singing more often!

You don’t have to be pitch perfect, but as you let your emotions out more freely when out in the open, don’t be afraid to look inward and try and express yourself creatively.

Photo: BriYYZ/Flickr

You have stronger family ties

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With so many long lasting businesses passing from generation to generation, it isn’t hard to see that family is the most important thing in Italy. We all like getting back in touch with home, but moving to Italy can spark a drive to reconnect with some of the relatives you may only be used to hearing from when holidays come around.

“A part of Italian culture I’ve fallen in love with has been reconnecting with all of my relatives far and wide. People with just a drop of blood like yours in their veins treat you like, well, family! I love the big meals, the traditions, even just having some family over on an occasional Sunday.” – Francesca Maggi

Photo: Spirit-Fire/Flickr

You can view the rest of the article on the Tuscany Now blog.

Our guest bloggers are: 

Nicola Ferlei Brown is a Rome based British writer and has written for the likes of Marie Claire Italia, Italy Magazine, Macs Magazine and Wanted in Rome Magazine.

Elizabeth Knight from Rome… If You Want To

Francesca Maggi from Burnt by the Tuscan Sun

Gina Tringali from GT Food and Travel

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