What’s it like living in Italy, people ask me. They say they envy me for the gorgeous landscapes, the ever present sun, the food.
Well… Indeed Italy is a remarkable country to live in. It is beautiful; very inspiring for writing too. I live in a small walled town, with a charming historical centre and castle ruins to go with. Need I say more? ;P
There are some cultural aspects that make me proud of being Italian. For instance, we have the second highest life expectancy in Europe. Why, you wonder. First of all, apart from the crazy people who live in the big cities – I say so because I used to be one of them – people eat well. They grow vegetables and fruits in their garden, they eat fresh things that are home cooked and they actually come back home for lunch.
We exercise too. Lots of people use bikes instead of cars for short distances, and we have a liking for sports.
And there’s the pacing. I mean, the life rhythm, heh. (These writers… *snorts*) I’m sure you’ve heard about the siesta? They stop working between 12:00 and 12:30, coming back between 15:00 and 15:30, generally.
This different schedule sounds crazy, but it actually changes how you live your life. You have a huge break in the middle of the day, which slows everything down giving you the opportunity to actually breathe.
However, it sucks the fact that the drugstore closes at 12:30 and reopens at 15:45, but the market closes at 12:00 and reopens at 15:00. Of course the post office closes at 12:30 and reopens at 14:30, so if you arrive at the drugstore at 15:00 thinking about the market opening hour, you should have known better! Confusing, eh?
The Italian’s humor is also widely variable. One day the woman in the shoe shop might be extremely courteous, but the next day you might be surprised by her hispid behavior. This is rarely personal, as strange as it sounds. She might have had a bad day.
This is Italy. As you thought, the food is great, the view exquisite, and there are the idiosyncrasies. Each place has its own; the Italians’ are funny and sometimes, annoying. So there’s no need to envy people who live here, as well as anywhere else.