Italians are interesting people.
(My sincere apologies if you are Italian, American-Italian, married to an Italian, or are a wannabe Italian. Mi dispiace.)
Having spent three months eating, laughing, talking, and pretending to understand rapid-fire conversation between Italians at a dinner party in Italy, I’ve picked up on a few quirks of Italian people.
Of course, all cultures have their quirks. To be fair, I’ll throw some American ones out there: Fake politeness, ineffective public transportation, an obsession with people who have accents, and a love of things fast. Like right now. (But we’re also a free country, and I believe that tops all. USA.)
I was intimately reminded of these quirks on a weekend trip to Lucca, a.k.a the land of middle-aged American tourists.
Please notice the expression on her face. Wonderful, right?
Lucca is a spot often visited by Germans, because of its proximity to Germany. While I was there, the majority of tourists were either German or American. Or families. But nevertheless I had quite a lot of contact with Italians. And their quirks.
Italians are very romantic. Teenagers have no problem expressing the fact that they’re absolutely positively sure they’ll be with their significant other forever. They’re so sure, in fact, that they make it permanent. On benches, walls, ancient monuments, store windows, bridges…you name it, they’ve tagged it. And it’s not just of the “John + Jenny” variety. It’s artistically worded, poetic phrases:
Public transportation is a whole different animal. In America, transportation is usually late or delayed because of “equipment,” or “delays from an earlier train.” (Not that I would know from personal experience, or anything, ahem, ChicagoMetra, ahem. Ahem.)
In Italy, transportation is usually late or delayed because the driver decided he wanted a break, or he just didn’t feel like driving the 1:00 pm bus from Pisa to Lucca. Nah, a panino and espresso sounded much better. Usually, no explanation is offered when said worker decides to start doing his job, 1.5 hours later. (True story; I am not making this up. No really, I’m not.)
But as much as these quirks are a part of everyday Italian life (just like the boisterous hand-gesturing and heated, dramatic conversations loud enough to wake the dead), the beauty of Lucca completely makes up for it. (Sort of.)
As I wandered around the town, I couldn’t help but think of “Under the Tuscan Sun,” over and over and over again. (This is slightly disconcerting because a) I’ve never seen the movie, b) I’m not sure why I’d even remember the movie title, and c) ask me what it’s about and I’ll tell you I don’t know.)
And there was sun. Lots of Tuscan sun.
And it indeed all ended under the Tuscan sun.
Any American quirks to add?