Unlike so many people who decide to move to Italy I was not a lifelong Italophile. I ended up in Rome almost by accident. My Junior year abroad was spent in rainy London and not sunny Italy. After college I dreamed of Africa and learned french. I fell in love with a fellow American and not an Italian. After almost two decades in Africa that American I married was transferred to Rome and now Italy is my home. I often joke this is one of the most challenging places we have ever lived. Over the years I have figured a few things out that make life as a foreigner in Italy a little easier. I have been working with Inghams on a locals guide to life in Italy. Here are a few of my top tips for living in Italy.
Italy is a very new country. Newer than United States by almost 100 years. Rome is essentially a village. Most Italians will identify first with the neighborhood or town they are from, then the region, and only then the country. The exception to this rule is rooting for the Azzurri, the Italian national soccer team.
Things like late opening and and early closing hours can be a shock if you are used to a 24 hour culture. Smaller shops may be closed on Monday mornings and during the middle part of the day. Frustrations occur when you are not aware or fight some of these daily rhythms.
It's All About the Food
These rules include what to eat, when to eat, and how to eat.
Restaurants are usually only open during certain house. It can be quite difficult to get a proper meal in-between lunch (after 3pm)and before dinner starting at 8pm.)
The order you eat is also important. You do not have to eat all of the courses on an italian menu, but you do have to stick to the sequence; antipasta, primi, secondi and contori in that order