You Know You’re in Italy When…

Hi Everyone, I thought I’d start having some fun with Italian experiences, hence the list below. I would love to have other sayings to collect so please go to the bottom of this entry and feel free to comment or submit any of your own “You Know You’re In Italy” experiences. You are welcome to forward this to anyone, just please have the courtesy to give credit to my blog. Grazie, Serenella

You know you’re in Italy when

  • You’re back for the third time today at a store that has the “Torno Subito” (I’ll be right back) sign on the door and you still can’t find anybody there
  • You ordered a cappuccino or bought a gift-wrapped package that look like art work
  • You shower with your hands at your side because you might bump into the shower walls if you bend your elbows
  • You go to the beach and see that some older men are in denial that the Speedo fad has come and gone while the younger guys wear surfer pants down to their knees
  • The freshly-made espresso you drink is rich, dark, thick, frothy, smells like fresh-roasted coffee and is not even a distant relative to anything you’ve ever had at Starbuck’s
  • You are driving towards a town and pass a sign that tells you there are 35 kilometers to go. Five kilometers later, you pass another sign that tells you there are 37 kilometers to go…
  • You bite into a tomato and think an explosion of flavors has gone off in your mouth and can actually picture the plant, sun and soil where that tomato grew
  • The dollar amount you used to buy that nice Italian leather wallet a few years ago might now buy you a cappuccino
  • You stop to ask someone along the road for directions and 4 other people walk up to your car to put in their two cents worth and then start arguing about who is correctYou have never liked fish, until you taste a pasta with seafood or a Cacciucco (fish stew) or order an orata al cartoccio (Mediterranean sea bream in parchment) and realize what you’ve tasted before was not really fresh fish
  • You have never liked fish, until you taste a pasta with seafood or a Cacciucco (fish stew) or order an orata al cartoccio (Mediterranean sea bream in parchment) and realize what you’ve tasted before was not really fresh fish
  • You turn on Italian television at any time during the day and flip from quiz shows to talk shows to medical presentations, only to find a curvaceous female clad in a bikini is always part of the program
  • You have quickly learned to say Bancomat (ATM machine), Vape Mat (anti mosquito plug-in gizmo) and gabinetto or toilette (rest room), not necessarily in that order
  • You see that parallel parking is done through sound rather than sight, as in the sound you make when bumping the car in front of you and the one behind you
  • If you are a woman, you realize you will need to wear clothes two sizes smaller than you normally do in order to look like a local (can you say “tight?”)
  • You must ask for “Il conto” (the bill) from the waiter in any restaurant as it would be disrespectful to bring it to you and interrupt your enjoyment of a meal, no matter how long it might be
  • You are often asked what you think of your own political leaders and can’t answer quickly enough because they are already telling you what they think would be best for the U.S.
  • You have quickly learned the word ghiaccio (ice) since ice in drinks is a strictly an American custom
  • You are visiting your Italian relatives and tell them you are “not that hungry” so they only insist on giving you one heaping helping of the 15 dishes they’ve prepared
  • You find there is a Farmacia (pharmacy) or Erboristeria (herbalists shop) on every corner. Pharmacists can dispatch medication (including antibiotics and cough syrups). They and the herb vendor have a remedy (chemical or natural) for virtually everything
  • You actually feel indignant when you realize the train has shown up on time
  • You learn to check the local papers in the morning to find out which groups are on strike on any given day
  • Some of the best food you’ve ever had is served in a hole-in-the-wall restaurant (in the country side or in a hill town) where they use their own vegetables, cheese, wine and fresh-baked bread and Mamma, the “master chef” in the kitchen, used fresh olive oil to cook everything, including the French fries
  • You are shopping and gratified to learn that good wine is the one thing still offered at bargain prices
  • You’ve rented that hot, fast sports car you’ve always wanted to try and are going at “top speed” on the autostrada (toll way), only to have one person riding your bumper and flashing their lights behind you as another driver cruises by you in the other lane
  • Standing in line “fare la coda” is just a phrase, not a real concept anyone follows
  • You are learning that you actually enjoy a 3-hour-lunch and hours of walking -who knew?
  • You have figured out how to take a shower in the bathtub with a hand-held shower head without spraying everything in the bathroom
  • You’ve seen a full gourmet dinner of 5 courses magically emerge from a kitchen the size of a broom closet
  • You are about to enter the thousandth, new-fad traffic roundabout. You think you know the rules on the right-of-way until you see what other drivers are doing. Finally, you decide to go with the natives as you close your eyes, press on the accelerator and pray…
  • After your initial shock at their bad behavior, you’ve come to the conclusion that Italian children are the most coddled, most fashionably dressed and most-spoiled children anywhere. This applies to some adults as well!After your initial shock at their bad behavior, you’ve come to the conclusion that Italian children are the most coddled, most fashionably dressed and most-spoiled children anywhere. This applies to some adults as well!
  • You get home and immediately change into “housework clothes or smocks”
  • You iron everything, including your underwear, so you can look impeccable when you go out
  • You have forgotten why you used a microwave
  • Your new friends are your local grocer, butcher, fruits/vegetable seller and news vendor. You know everything about their health histories and their families
  • You have learned the “3 Cs” and always compliment mothers on their cooking, clothing and children
  • The two nylon chords stretched across the courtyard or the wooden rack on your little balcony are called your “clothes dryer”
  • The food you ate at the neighbor’s wedding deserves an epic poem written about it
  • You are unexpectedly pleased by the delicious Panini and other food found at the “Auto grill” (gas and food stops on the “Autostrada” or toll road)
  • Your hosts for the evening are extremely apologetic about the “light dinner” of only three courses as they are on a diet
  • That afternoon nap is starting to be a habit as are the late dinners, the evening walks and returning home in the wee hours
  • Sparkles are everywhere – on women’s shoes, pants, shirts, slippers and Lord knows where else
  • The faces of people walking by look like those you saw in the Renaissance paintings at the Uffizi Gallery
  • Colors, whether natural or man-made are incredibly alive and vibrant
  • The tantalizing smell of fresh bread fills the air during your early morning stroll
  • Time stops, your soul is at peace, you find yourself reverent with all of life, and you have nothing to do, no place to be… and you have never been happier in your life!

Remember, I welcome comments and additions from you.

Ciao, Serenella

Comments

2 Responses to “You Know You’re in Italy When…”

  1. Ada Tiso on September 12th, 2008 10:58 am

    You know you are in Italy when NOBODY is surprised you make your tomato sauce “from scratch” – right Serenella?

  2. Moira D on September 16th, 2008 5:39 pm

    You know you are in Italy when you order gelato by color and there are more colors than you can ever order in a lifetime.

    You know you are in Italy when you find pink grapefruit gelato on a really hot day and experience the great delight of eating the dripping confection on a street corner and feeling like you have discovered one of life’s great truths.

    You know you are in Italy when there is a gelateria on every street corner and no one thinks it odd to eat gelato for breakfast.