Sir Elton John stated: “I love places that have an incredible history. I love the Italian way of life. I love the food. I love the people. I love the attitudes of Italians.” This Italian lifestyle quote means that the Bel Paese is not only about amazing food, ancient culture, history, or beautiful language: it is also about the Italian way of life and unique attitude.
Italian lifestyle is largely imitated all over the world. It is made up of small and big habits that create a peculiar and sought-after image. Italians value and celebrate all aspects of life, such as spending time with family and friends, eating and drinking well, and enjoying beauty in all its forms.
Imagine to wake up tomorrow and discover you are Italian. Aside from being woken by the burble of the caffettiera (espresso-maker), going out under a bright sun in a romantic city, enjoying pasta and superior pizza anytime you wish, and having the best shopping you can ever imagine, what could you discover about Italy in just one day as a local? It’s more than you might think. And it is much better.
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A day in the life of an Italian
You wake up and take a fast breakfast at your favorite local coffee bar, as a lot of Italians do: espresso and a pastry, often consumed standing at the bar, while talking about local gossip, football, or discussion about the latest news. After coffee, you pretend to be in a hurry − but the truth is that you don’t mind being late. Perhaps you may feel disappointed in seeing people losing their patience in a queue, or pitching up their voices. But do not worry − it is a typical Italian habit.
It is 1 o’clock, time for lunch. If not in a rush, you sit down and enjoy your meal for at least an hour, either at home or in a restaurant. Still the majority of Italian go home for lunch if time allows. After lunch, relaxation time begins.
If you find yourself in a small town, at lunchtime all the inhabitants seem to have disappeared, and things pick up again around 4:00 pm.
From 6:00 pm, just before dinner, it is the Italian aperitivo time: a drink and a snack or small bite before dinner, and the best moment to socialize. You are dressed with style, kissing each other on the cheek as greetings, clinking glasses, and starting conversations − often talking at the same time − about fashion, politics, football, and love of course!
Finally, you can enjoy your dinner, sitting down with your friends, enjoying all of your food and (Italian) wine without guilt or hesitation. As a consequence, you stay awake until quite late, maybe sipping your last drink and lost in conversation. This how a day in the life of an Italian ends.
Daily life in Italy today: a seductive way to live
This is why the analytical philosopher Bertrand Russell stated one of the most famous Italian lifestyle quotes:
Italy, and the spring and first love all together should suffice to make the gloomiest person happy
According to Russell, Italy could bring happiness even to the most melancholy of people, together with love and spring.
The first impression you get is the slower pace of life, especially outside the main cities. The long coffee break, the typical passeggiata through the town, and the ritual of the aperitivo ‘to open the stomach’ in anticipation of the coming dinner are a part of the daily habits that make the very definition of the sweet life.
The most astonishing fact is that Italians seem to be born into a culture of totally effortless cool: they look never in a hurry but always dressed to impress and appear to be in the right place at the right time.
Most of all, the Italian lifestyle and culture prioritize family and friends over work and to-do lists. It is about surrounding yourself with people you love and taking the time to enjoy even the simplest things.
Learning Italian before you move
Maybe at that point, you are looking forward to packing your bags and book a flight, but it should be a good idea to learn some basic Italian before moving to Italy, so you can get a better understanding of Italian lifestyle and culture- and immediately enjoy the sweet life!
You can choose to learn Italian online via Skype or Zoom, under the guidance of an Italian tutor. Taking lessons with an Italian native teacher can help you to immerse yourself in the culture and the true Italian lifestyle.
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Once you got the basic Italian phrases to survive a conversation, you could attend a real and proper course in Italy. An excellent way to start is the “Italian on the move” course, an Italian course for beginners that takes place in Venice, where you have the opportunity to learn Italian while walking. You can start to learn useful phrases, like asking the cost of a product, or the bill in a bar, without locking yourself up in a classroom. At the end of the course, you will also be able to have a short conversation with locals.
And don’t forget that “Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go”, as Truman Capote said. He explained that Venice is a city that arouses all the senses; the more you dig into the city, the more you are addicted to it.
Italian lifestyle is a healthy way of life
All these elementary things that make the Italian way of life so loved and prized throughout the world can also teach you to appreciate life more. The Italians are also the healthiest citizens on earth, according to Bloomberg in a recent Global Health Index.
There is a lot to be learned from daily life in Italy today:
The Italians take time for everything. All will be fine in the end with a “little” patience. It is a way to live more consciously and slowly, to bring down stress. This is what we call “mindfulness”.
Leisure time is taken very seriously in Italy, as Kennedy stated in a famous quote. By working less, the benefit of enjoying much more time with the wife, kids, friends, or even the folks.
The Italian habit of taking a proper lunch break is worth considering: having time to eat your meal, before returning to work refreshed is beneficial for a sense of well being.
“Eat like a king in the morning, a prince for lunch, and a pauper at dinnertime.” This the Mediterranean style diet, and also the basis for a healthy lifestyle. Food is purchased fresh for use the same day, preferably natural and organic. They also cook with passion, without complex combinations or preparations, and they drink wine for the taste, not to get a buzz on.
They are proud of their appearance: they get dressed up for every occasion, always looking at their best, and giving their self-awareness a positive boost.
Physical contact is something beneficial, and Italians love to embrace, hug and kiss people they love.
And, for sure, they love where they live, respecting nature, and doing things aimlessly.
Traveling without moving
So, if you want to live the Italian lifestyle, you need to immerse into the elementary things that make the Italian way of life so loved and prized throughout the world: the appreciation of the mundane things around them, their families, and the world around them. And travel to both Italy and inside yourself. Maybe, if you start living the Italian way will lead you to live smarter, looking better, feeling younger, and playing harder!
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1 Italy’s Struggling Economy Has World’s Healthiest People, Bloomberg, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-20/italy-s-struggling-economy-has-world-s-healthiest-people