Things I’ve Noticed about Italy

Hey friends! I know I said I would write a Part 2 follow-up to my last post updating you on my travels. This post is my listicle covering the things I’ve noticed about Italy so far. Let me tell you, this country and the cities within it are very different from home. It’s immediately noticeable in some ways, and other ways you have to be here for more than a day to pick up on. Let’s begin (in no particular order, but for specific references I listed them with numbers):

  1. Italian people really are as beautiful as their stereotypes. Like honestly, they’re all gorgeous human beings and their genes are perfect???
  2. The trees are different here, since it’s a drier climate (way hotter than MN, but drier)
  3. In the US we have trees and plants lining the sidewalks in more downtown areas – that is not a thing here. No grass or nature unless you’re outside the city
  4. It’s been 95+ degrees outside lately. Now it is starting to cool off with the temp between 75-80
  5. It doesn’t rain often at all, but it needs to
  6. Their cars are puny
  7. They all parallel park like pros, leaving about 2-3 inches in between each car
  8. Italian graffiti looks like American graffiti. It’s funny to me because even in America where graffiti can be in English, you still can’t read it lol
  9. You hear a lot of English and Italian mixed in conversation here
  10. Almost everyone you speak to knows a little English or Spanish or both – in the US you’re lucky if that happens
  11. The airport is fairly easy to navigate if you follow the crowds and large arrows, almost all of the signs are labeled with english too
  12. The houses are beautiful in person, Google is not lying to you
  13. Their semis are about half the size as the ones in America
  14. They have palm trees!!
  15. It’s so hot here I’m actually drinking water (lol I don’t drink water often, if you know me)
  16. The trains are not really air conditioned very well so they’re a little uncomfortable, but they’re nicer than the ones in America and much smoother rides
  17. The air is very dry here, I am constantly having to put lotion on
  18. People have shades that they can draw over their balconies (like our window shades/blinds in American that you pull down on) to keep them cool
  19. People’s houses are so close to the train tracks you could reach out and give them high fives (if you want your arm ripped off)
  20. Carrying luggage all over the city of Florence sucks, because the sidewalks are all different stones and they’re very uneven and not new and concrete like in America
  22. The drivers are psycho and it seems like there are 0 traffic laws around here. Everyone is pulling in and out with no warning, driving in both lanes at the same time, passing each other like crazy, nothing makes sense
  23. The euro is different sizes – the larger the amount the larger the coin/bill
  24. Homestays are way better than student apartment living because you get meals prepared and a real authentic experience in Italy, immersing yourself in the culture more
  25. Homestays are also super uncommon, there’s probably less than 30 of us out of hundreds that are doing this. My host family has been hosting students for over 16 years!
  26. Streets change names frequently. If you’re walking down Via Faenze, and cross Via del Giglio, you are now walking on Via del Conti (which is still the same street as Via Faenze). It doesn’t make sense, but it does when you finally figure it out
  27. Conad is the grocery store here, but it is about 1/4 the size of your average Walgreens
  28. Things on maps look super far away, but they’re really like a 5 min walk
  29. The sunrises here are spectacular
  30. The Duomo ALWAYS has an insane line to get in. I’ve lived in Florence for about 6 days now and haven’t been inside yet – I plan on going in the off season.
  31. The bathroom stalls are full coverage — no awkward eye contact with some weirdo looking in at you through the space between the door and the hinged-wall thingy. Bless.
  32. It’s so hot you will wake up sweaty, which is everyone’s least favorite thing I think. No me gusta.
  33. Italian is super similar to Spanish which is helpful in a lot of ways but also not – because they’re different enough to be confusing.
  34. The water is not weird here and tastes good. However, they never ever ever put ice in their water, that is an American thing and they think it is nonsense. Also water is not cheap here.
  35. The pasta is as good as you imagine. Maybe even better.
  36. Sadly, the pizza has been underwhelming. I know it’s stupid but I think I like American pizza more!!
  37. Gelato is yummy and I want it all.
  38. You can barter at the markets and with people selling stuff on the beach. I got a tapestry/wrap for 18 euro instead of the 25 the guy wanted. HA bargain shopping!
  39. Everyone is very fashionable and Americans are extremely frumpy. If you look at fancy business people in NYC, multiply their chic-ness by 250000 and you’ll get how chic it is here. I was not prepared for this.
  40. You will see virtually no one wearing a hoodie – especially women
  41. 90% of the dogs here are little (think Boston Terrier size and smaller) or are golden retrievers
  42. I have seen only 1 cat so far and am EXTREMELY disappointed
  43. The stores in downtown Florence (the shopping tourist-y district) are: Gucci, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Puma, Balenciaga, Burberry, Armani, Zara (wayyyy fancier than America’s), Tiffany & Co., Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, Fendi, etc. So I’m not buying any clothes here LOL
  44. Mosquitos here are just as annoying, however slightly less prevalent than they are in MN at this time of year
  45. No one smiles at each other
  46. It’s loud CONSTANTLY until about 2 or 3am. Then it gets loud again around 6-7am as people leave for work
  47. I live next to the hospital so I hear sirens all night, and people yelling and screaming as they walk home from the bars and clubs
  48. No one IDs you here at restaurants if you look over 18 (the legal drinking age), so it’s going to be weird to me to come back to the US and get carded constantly after being here for the semester and never having that happen
  49. There are a ton of mopeds just like you’d think, and they park them all on the sides of the streets
  50. There’s a 99 cent euro store that you can find surprisingly really quality goods at, unlike in America where the dollar store is usually sketchy and crappy items

There you have it folks, there are 50 things I’ve noticed about Italy while I’ve been here! Hoping that I can learn more Italian soon 🙂 Classes start tomorrow, so I’ll have some updates on how those are going soon as well!


One thought on “Things I’ve Noticed about Italy

  1. I love your observations! I pray you enjoy your time learning in classes as well as in Italian culture. Sounds like you’ve learned so much already. Keeping you in my prayers.
    ~ Ginny


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