Living Like an Italian

There is little doubt about it. In the modern age many outside of Italy view Italians as having a certain degree of culture that many others simply do not have. Everything from the art they enjoy to the wines that they take with their meals are admired by those whose culture does not have the history in such things to follow.

This is perhaps one of the reasons why the humble Italian wine shop has become so popular internationally. Quality Italian wines give people a window into the culture that has shaped the country and allows them to experience something that may not be readily available in their own country.

But what if you want to take it further? Perhaps drinking a good Italian wine isn’t enough and you feel like you want to absorb more about the Italian way of life. This light-hearted article aims to take a look at a few of the things you can do to try to live more of an Italian life.

Eating Spaghetti

It is a conundrum that has confounded so many pasta lovers. Eating spaghetti can be a messy experience if you get it wrong and some diners end up slathering enormous portions of spaghetti into their mouths rather than appreciating the meal. To eat it properly you need to eat it the Italian way.

This means getting everything right from choosing the right sauces, such as marinara or pesto, through to using proper technique when eating spaghetti. Always use a fork to twirl a small amount of spaghetti around and never try to get too much on there. Chunky sauces make it more difficult to eat so bear this in mind if you want to use Bolognese. There isn’t any need to use a spoon, even though many think it is essential. Just be careful and don’t try to eat too much in one go. One final tip – never cut spaghetti with the edge of a fork. It makes it more difficult to twirl and ends up leaving you with smaller strands to mop up at the end of the meal.

Enjoy Your Wine

Many countries have a drinking culture that generally revolves around trying to drink as much as possible in as short a time period as possible. This is not the Italian way. The best way to appreciate a good Italian wine is to really appreciate it.

Take the time to take in the aromas of the wine before taking a sip. Try to appreciate the work and care that has gone into the creation of the bottle and don’t simply chug it down as quickly as you can. Do a little research to find out which foods complement your favoured wine and try to enjoy them together. Slowing down ensures you really get a feel for what you’re drinking and also allows you to keep some more for another day.

Take in the Arts

Having a good knowledge of Italian art is essential if you want to live more like an Italian. Recognising what makes the works created by the likes of Donatello and Da Vinci so spellbinding goes a great way towards being able to better appreciate Italian culture and everything that it offers to the world.

There is no shame in conducting a little research. Art historians have debated the various merits of famed pieces for years and will always do so. Learn from them but also try to take something personal away from any viewings that you might undertake. A piece of art will mean different things to different people so combining an appreciation for the skill it takes to create a piece while also being able to form your own opinion on it will make it much easier to involve yourself in conversations about some of the most important cultural artefacts of Italian culture.

Family is Important

Family is important to everybody. They provide the stable backbone to our social lives and are always there whenever you need them. In Italian culture this is no different and many would say that family is perhaps even more important to Italians than it is to other cultures.

In Italy it is fairly rare for members of a family to live too far apart from each other. Pride in the cultural heritage of the region in which they were born, combined with the familial bond that most will already be familiar with, ensures that families stay close and care for one another at all times.

This also means that members of the family spend a lot of time with each other and it is quite normal for an Italian family to have a large get-together every week that involves aunts, uncles, cousins and the immediate family. Contrast this to the likes of the UK and USA, where some families find it difficult to simply get the kids to eat at the table, and it becomes apparent where the differences in family values lie.

Slow Down

Much of Western culture has evolved to the point where people feel the need to constantly work or otherwise be distracted by the latest technologies and fads. Italians are no different in many respects, however they recognise the importance of taking a step back and smelling the roses every once in a while.

Having the capacity to relax and enjoy time with those close to you is very important if you want to live an Italian lifestyle. It is only in relaxing that a person can find the time to truly appreciate the other aspects of Italian life that have been previously mentioned. Do whatever it is that you do with passion and flair, but always ensure that you take the time to simply enjoy yourself.

So there it is. Living like an Italian, at its core, simply means taking the time to appreciate what’s around you. Family, art, tradition, food and wine are all very important to the Italian way of life. Making small adjustments to your own life can help you adopt some of these values as well.


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