In November of 2017, I was able to spend two weeks in the beautiful country of Italy. I was studying abroad in Europe with a group of 25 students from Bethel University. We traveled from Venice to Florence to Rome, with day trips to Pisa and Pompeii included as well. Seriously a dream!
In addition to traveling through Italy, I also studied the culture in depth through a group project. It didn’t take me long to realize that these people fascinated me!
Through this time, I began to appreciate so much about Italians and their culture. Italian culture is quite different from American culture, but I believe there are specific lessons we can learn from the Italians and hopefully incorporate into our culture.
1. Sloooooow down!
While walking the streets of Italy, I saw people walking slowly, taking in everything and everyone around them in. They never seem to be in a rush, which stands in stark contrast to most American streets.
The reason I love this aspect of Italian culture so much is that because the Italians slow down, they have time to appreciate everything, specifically people. Unfortunately, I miss precious moments with people when I am taking life too fast.
From the Italian culture, I learned to slow down my pace, my words, and my schedule so I can truly enjoy what and who is around me.
2. Enjoy really, really good food.
Italians know what’s up in the culinary department. From the gelato to the spaghetti to all the pizza, their food is seriously incredible. The best part: they take time to enjoy it. Every last bite of it.
Most of my meals in America consist of me scarfing down my food while doing homework or while driving instead of taking time to really enjoy it. We can take a lesson from the Italians and learn to savor our food and meals instead of rushing through them.
3. Dress to Impress.
In Northern Italy especially, they show up to everything in their best clothes. Now, I’m all for sweatpants and comfy clothes, but there was something special about how the Italians dressed nicely and were classy. This is the home of Gucci and Prada, so they’re used to high-class fashion.
In my own experience, I’ve found that I feel how I dress. If I’m in sweatpants, I’m ready to lounge on the couch, but if I’m in a business suit, I feel as though I can accomplish anything.
Now, I’m not saying we should always be in a business suit, but I did really learn to dress well because then you’ll feel good. If you need inspiration, look up Italian fashion and you’ll be ready to switch up your wardrobe really quickly!
4. Be Passionate!
It’s true what they say about Italians. They are passionate and loud people! I loved seeing the Italian people get excited at soccer games, show off their passion for arts and music, and engage in heated discussions on the street.
So often I think we hold back our feelings and emotions because we’re scared to appear crazy or too extreme. Instead, we become passionless. We are so concerned with being “chill” and easy-going that we forget to lean into our passions.
We all have unique passions and things that get us up in the morning! From the Italians, I learned that we need to embrace these interests and live our lives with deep passion.
5. Embrace the Old.
If you don’t know, Italy is so much older than America. Like, so much older, but the strange thing is that they don’t update near as often as Americans do. They embrace the old. The old statues, old streets, old people.
I loved seeing how they embraced and enjoyed the old instead of making sure everything was up to date. There’s so much beauty in looking at 300 year-old buildings and seeing the wear and tear those years had on them.
In our own lives, it’s important to embrace the old. The old walls that hold stories in our homes, the old people with so much wisdom to share, and the old memories that fill our souls.