Are There Differences Between Northern Italian And Southern Italian Culture?

When you look at Italy for the first time, it may seem like two separate countries.

There are lots of differences between northern and southern Italian cultures. Italy remains under the occupancy of many countries in the past; that’s why cultural footprint still hobbles today.

What are the differences between northern Italian and southern Italian culture? The culture between Northern and Southern Italian greatly differs in food and fashion due to the different weather. Southern Italy enjoys good weather while North Italy has extreme hot or cold weather. 

A good thing is these differences made Italy a more vibrant and attractive place for tourists and visitors. Along with culture, there are times, food, and weather differences as well. Italy remains under the occupancy of different countries for a long time, that’s why it is influenced by these countries. 

Italy is a beautiful country and when we think about it, what comes first is pizza, pasta, weather, or historic buildings? It is important to understand that Italy has a wide variety of cultures and cuisines. 

A Brief Introduction of Northern Italy

Everything that is above Rome is known as northern Italy. It is the industrial area which produces 90% of the exports of Italy.

Moreover, it is the wealthiest region. It is bordered with countries like Switzerland, France, and Austria. All these countries heavily influence their culture. When you get a chance to travel far in the north of Italy, you may get surprised to see people wearing German lederhosen. 

A Brief Introduction of Southern Italy

Southern Italy is more traditional than northern Italy. It has no land borders, but the surrounding sea majorly influences it. Many people say that southern Italy is similar to Spain and Greece because both these countries share borders with the Mediterranean Sea. Isolation of south Italy proven to be helpful for art and history buffs of the world, and many Italian heritages are still preserved and untouched to this day. 

Why Are There Differences Between Northern Italian And Southern Italian Culture?

Cultural differences between north and south Italy can be described best through history. Spanish, Arabs, and Greeks ruled over southern Italy, while German, France, and Celts ruled over northern Italy. These countries have majorly influenced the cuisines and cultures of these regions.

The differences between north and south Italy are so prominent that a movie was made known as “Welcome to the North” and “Welcome to the South” and highlights the stereotype of these regions. Despite the differences, Italy is a unique and vibrant place to visit. 

Cultural Differences between North and South Italian Culture

There are significant differences between north and south Italian culture. Each region is working hard to support their history and economy.

Moreover, they are making efforts to improve amenities and services for their tourists. Regions of the south are favorite destinations of food and wine tourism. 

However, it is not easy to make a ranking that can define why you should prefer the south over the north or vice versa. It is impossible to do in a country like Italy because it offers natural landscapes, history, and art, even in smart villages. So, we wouldn’t prefer any one region because both regions have their own importance and culture that make Italy worth visiting places. 

  • Mediterranean Culture
  • Central Europe majorly influences northern Italy, and southern Italy is found to be closer to Mediterranean culture. You can think about Turkey, Greece, and Spain and an abundance of olive trees. On the other hand, northern Italy has its own dialects, and they differ from each other, such as Sicilian and Neapolitan. 

    You can notice a slower life in the south than the north and a calmer and casual atmosphere. The pizza was invented in southern Italy, and it is also famous for its role in the arts and popularity of Neapolitan songs worldwide. 

    Other Differences between Northern and Southern Italy

    There are lots of other differences that you must know. Let’s have a look at a few of them. 

  • Weather
  • When we compare both regions in terms of weather, the south presents lovely weather. In north Italy, you miss the enjoyable weather. When you visit Italy in August, the weather will be too hot to travel, but the main difference between the two is inland and the coast. Some regions like Tyrrhenian and Ionian and mountains balance the hot weather with a healthy breeze. On the other hand, the eastern coast, valleys, and plains in the north tend to be foggy and humid. 

    During winter, you might see many tourists roaming in the cold cities of north wearing flip-flops and tank tops because they are misguided by travel agents. We can say that Italy gets the average European winter weather, and the south enjoys a snow-free version. 

  • The Food
  • I don’t know which food you are thinking right now. Italy has varied food in different regions. You might get a perfect pizza outside of Naples, while many Neapolitan will say that it’s not the same thing. In southern Italy, you will get Mediterranean traditional foods and the majority of foods containing olives. On the other hand, Sicily and Puglia share common traits with Greeks. The traditions of northern states are similar to Central Europe, in which animal fat and butter feature the food instead of olive oil. 

  • Time
  • It is another major difference and the question in the minds of most people is what time is in Italy? Italy and Spain have a more flexible concept of timekeeping than Germany and Austria. It is a national joke in Italy that is a punctual northerner and a late southerner. If you show up late in a business meeting, it upsets the partner. Eat times are traditionally different in Italy, and they depend on east-west orientation and daylight. For example, in the south, it is customary to dine between 8 and 9 PM, while in the north, 7 or 7:30 PM are preferred. 


    Efforts have been made to get the information as accurate and updated as possible. If you found any incorrect information with credible source, please send it via the contact us form
    Sky Hoon
    Italy Lover. He travel to Europe a few times and loved Italy for its unique language and culture. He loved the idea of Italian food focusing on original taste of the ingredient.
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