One of the benefits of living abroad or traveling slow is that you typically understand the culture of the country and the people more than if you were just passing through. After studying abroad in Italy and living there after college, I've learned a thing or two from these gorgeous, animated Europeans.
7 Things I Learned From Italians
1. Stop and smell the roses
Time is different in Italy. Have a meeting at work? It's okay if you strolled in a five (or forty) minutes late. Maybe you ran into a friend on the way there, or you stopped to grab a quick espresso. In the summer vacation weeks (August) stores and restaurants have shorter hours. Some close completely and reopen when people come back from vacation. Spending time with friends and family over the summer holidays is more important than turning profit.
2. Appreciate good food
Food is meant to taste good. One time I got take-away pizza from Cento Poveri, a restaurant near my apartment. As I held the boxes with one hand from underneath, they started to tilt a little. All of the servers nearby made audible gasps and lunged toward the pizza. The man who handed me the pizza said, "Ah! No-no-no!" This was all to ensure the cheese wouldn't slide off the perfectly crafted pizza.
3. ... And eat good food
You'll only find the best of the best in Italy, a major food capital of Europe. Daily grocery/market runs mean the freshest ingredients are used in your meals. Meals can drag out for hours, and if you're at a restaurant, you'll never be pushed out, because you're enjoying the meal and conversation.
4. Dress to impress
Italians are always dressed to the nines, even if it is just a simple skinny jeans/sneakers/sweater combination. "Look your best, because you'll never know who you'll run into" aptly applies, as you'll constantly see fabulous fashion from Italian men and women.
5. Quality over quantity
Well-crafted items are better than those made to quickly fall apart. One pair of quality, leather boots to face the cobblestone streets are far more worth it than 10 pairs of H&M sandals that will fall apart within days.
6. Art is not dead
As the birthplace of the Renaissance, Italy is an art history buff's dream come true. You'll not only museums filled with art; you'll see it everywhere you go: from the ancient wonders of still-standing structures in Rome (Colosseum to name one), to the delectable cuisine, to the designs carved into churches, or the pastel homes decorating the cliffs. Art isn't just in Italy's past - it's in its future. Internationally known fashion powerhouses such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Valentino are Italian, and there are budding artists at local universities studying everything from fine art to fashion to cooking.
7. There is a pretty word for "uhh."
It's allora. :)