Italy may have grown into a melting pot of different lifestyles and cultures, but several traits remain a common identity package unifying most Italians across the cities, towns, and villages of the country.
What Are Italians Like In Real Life? - Find Out What It Really Means to Be an Italian. Italian people are
- Friendly as ever
- Respect the elderly highly
- Well-dressed with fashion codes in place
- Are not very punctual
- Are not the most optimistic
Italians are friendly as ever
One of the most lauded traits of Italians would be their amiable dispositions; not only towards their family and friends but also to strangers in general. If an Italian gives you a peck on the cheek during a meetup, don’t be shocked as it is rather commonplace for Italian friends and families to greet one another that way.
The highly expressive, emotive nature of Italians has also helped them to appear more warm, good-natured, and empathetic. This can be seen from the hand gestures that they often use to mingle, the passionate way in which they convey their thoughts, or the mini touches they give here and there whenever they are full of beans.
You can also find out different Italian greetings in our other post.
Italians respect the elderly highly
In Italian culture, the elderly are treated with deep reverence. You might have noticed this in the form of simple actions, such as standing up whenever an older person walks into a room.
This is because of the sheer dedication traditionally exuded by senior family members in tending to their descendants, namely their children and grandchildren. Among first-generation Italian migrants particularly, the care of the seniors comes with the unspoken expectation that their young would also render them support throughout their golden years. This is why nursing homes are often scorned in Italian families.
Italians are Family-oriented
On the topic of the family (la Famiglia), having close-knitted kinships is placed on a pedestal in Italian culture, serving as emotional, and socio-economic succor to the individual.
In the last few decades, Italy’s birth rate has been on a decline, at an annual growth rate of around -1.6 to -1.5 %. Despite this, familial bonds remain as strong as ever. In % of Italians between 18 and 34 years old live with their parents, according to recent data from the statistics agency Eurostat.
This figure of 67% living with parents is nearly 20 points higher than the European average, highlighting the longer periods of time Italians spend and bond with their families.
Italians are well-dressed with fashion codes in place
Credits: MR PORTER
For the average Italian, first impressions matter greatly, so being well-groomed or stylish is viewed with high regard. This includes the following dress decora which are not only based on the occasion but also the season (instead of weather). This is why you might see Italians garbed in velvety black coats or long cashmere scarves along the streets during a sizzling day. We also covered why Italians are so thin.
Indeed, it is no wonder that Italy has been at the forefront of global fashion developments, especially with the branding of Milan as a world fashion capital.
Credits: Daily Hind News
Retracing our steps back to dress codes, examples of some rules are removing your hat whenever you are indoors or taking off your shoes when you are not in others’ line of sight. Despite the variegated flexibility in Italian fashion, such rules exist as a way to reinforce a classy, polite presence in public. We also covered the best fashion schools in Italy.
Italians are not very punctual
On the flip side, punctuality is not a rule that Italians habitually adhere to in colloquial social settings. When an Italian claims that he or she will be on time, this could spell lateness by as long as 45 minutes. The tardiness stems from the relaxed, calm mindsets of Italians regarding their day-to-day life.
Credits: Italian Summers
As such, it is generally acceptable to arrive around 15 to 30 minutes after the agreed-upon time. Not much pressure to be on time at all (except for work or serious purposes of course).
Italians are not the most optimistic
Credits: Pew Research Center
According to recent findings by Pew Research Center, Italians are the least optimistic among several Western countries surveyed.
Compared to the United States of America where 55% of respondents said that they will be at a higher social ranking in 5 years' time, merely 37 of Italians hold this belief.
If you were to extend the timeframe further into the future, the optimism of the Italians is even more diluted. Nearly 100 % of them opine that the Italian youngsters will live a worse life than current Italians. The root cause of the growing pessimism about the future is believed to be the country’s economic progress, which 7 in 10 Italians have characterized as slow.