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What do you think of Italy?

Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to the European Countries.

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What do you think of Italy?

Postby Think Different » Sat Nov 19, 2011 5:28 pm

Come next year I'm going to probably start sending out my resume to companies north of the Alps. On top of that salaries are 3 times lower than in Germany and here it seems that everyone is on the take or out to screw you for another Euro. In my opinion this lack of ability to rely on strangers or services also forces people to work locally and only with friends and friends of friends, thus perpetuating the provincialism.
Last edited by Think Different on Fri May 18, 2012 11:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby odbo » Sun Nov 20, 2011 2:27 am

Think Different wrote:Here, all they care about it eating, soccer, and going to the beach. So much for "la dolce vita"...it's rather "la dumba vita". Not sure how long I can take it.

On the plus side, Italians have the best life expectancy in Europe. Stupid people live longer. The less you know the better you sleep. They'd probably live even longer if they didn't watch soccer. It is serious business to fans and it takes a toll on your heart.

The funny thing is they've even let what they love the most go to shit. Serie A used to be the premiere league in the world, now the English, Spanish and German leagues have surpassed it. And the stadiums built for the 1990 World Cup are already falling apart.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAJNFoHuLno[/youtube]


[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZ_u4QuiZxA[/youtube]
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Re: Italian Intellectualism??

Postby OutWest » Sun Nov 20, 2011 2:39 am

It is not a coincidence that countries south in the EU are bankrupt, and countries north are not in the same boat.
Your observations pretty well nail it. The USA has at least some hope it can pull out of its debt death spiral...
Portugal Greece, Spain and Italy? Haha...like never..their creditors are already screwed. The northern Europeans have already figured it
out and will reconfigure Europe. Northern Europe will run things, while southern Europeans will provide the parties and artwork....

Outwest




Think Different wrote:I hope I don't open a huge can of worms here with this question, given that 1/3 of Americans have Italian ancestry, but this is really nagging at me.

I've been living in Italy now for almost 6 months and at least for now am teaching English until my Italian gets good enough to get into a regular company or a job in another EU country. At any rate, I am continually shocked at the level of ignorance of Italians I come into contact with at companies where I teach or in day-to-day conversations. They know ALL about sports teams, stats, varieties of food, and so on, but they don't know anything that northern Europeans do when it comes to intellectual topics. I get the sense that the education system here is a real disaster, and I've actually been told as much by other teachers here. Thus, the lack of ability of Italians to speak any English, French, Spanish, or anything else. It's a VERY provincial-minded country that is quaint, but tough to live with if you're ambitious.

For example, I've come across topics in my classes that reference Warsaw, places in Germany, France or elsewhere in the EU zone, and the people don't know where those places are, what country they are in, or what the capitals of countries are. In Germany, the Czech Republic, or Russia (places I've lived) this would get you laughed out of the room. Here, there is a level of "who-gives-a-shit" that reminds me of the dumbed down citizens of the US. Granted the Italians are very friendly albeit chaotic people, it's hard to carry an intellectual conversation with any of them. And I live in a city that has the oldest university in the world and of which they are so strangely proud!

In Russia, the average educated Russian can quote Pushkin to you from memory and probably speaks at least one or two other languages at least in part. In the Czech Republic it's the same thing, plus at least one member of each family is a virtuoso with some instrument or another. Here, all they care about it eating, soccer, and going to the beach. So much for "la dolce vita"...it's rather "la dumba vita". Not sure how long I can take it. I feel I have to hide my intellectual bent as I did in the States, since it intimidates people. I never had that problem in Northern Europe.

Anyhow, come next year I'm going to probably start sending out my resume to companies north of the Alps. It's no wonder the Swiss and Germans consider Italy to be "the 3rd world" and only good for vacation and pigging out. On top of that salaries are 3 times lower than in Germany and here it seems that everyone is on the take or out to screw you for another Euro. In my opinion this lack of ability to rely on strangers or services also forces people to work locally and only with friends and friends of friends, thus perpetuating the provincialism.
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Postby MrPeabody » Sun Nov 20, 2011 5:05 am

When I was working in the Netherlands, I had to do business with a European bureaucrat in the Hague who was Italian. He spoke Italian, English, Dutch, German, and French fluently. He had a Dutch and a French secretary and talked to each one in their own languages. I think most men on this board will not be happy anywhere. Happiness is really a state of mind that you take with you.
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Postby Think Different » Sun Nov 20, 2011 6:52 am

Obviously not EVERY SINGLE Italian is like this, and note that your Italian example was living in the North, not in Italy. An exception doesn't make the rule, just as I admit that I am generalizing. I have had some students and met a few people that are intellectual and "with it" here, but in general that is not the case. I think what may be happening is a slow brain drain of the best and brightest who are seeking better jobs and a better future elsewhere. I had someone tell me that Italy is a "Peter Pan Land", where the people don't really grow up. They just want to party and act like big kids. It's not a very serious-minded country. I think all of the Mediterranean countries are like this though.

See this Time mag article about just this subject:

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/artic ... 36,00.html
Last edited by Think Different on Fri May 18, 2012 11:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby MrPeabody » Sun Nov 20, 2011 6:13 pm

I live in Mexico and don't expect Mexicans to satisfy my intellectual needs. I like living here because people are gentle and polite. I don't have to be bothered with the thugs and psychopaths in the US that get in your face and are looking for victims. What else can you expect of a country? If people are friendly and not molesting someone and he still can't be happy, then he can't be happy.
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Postby Think Different » Sun Nov 20, 2011 8:19 pm

MrPeabody wrote:I live in Mexico and don't expect Mexicans to satisfy my intellectual needs. I like living here because people are gentle and polite. I don't have to be bothered with the thugs and psychopaths in the US that get in your face and are looking for victims. What else can you expect of a country? If people are friendly and not molesting someone and he still can't be happy, then he can't be happy.


You're right. It's definitely more peaceful here than in much of the US and the government and people don't hassle me and my family. I also don't feel like I have to guard my speech as much here as in the US. That counts for a lot.

If your insinuation is that I can't be happy anywhere, then you're wrong. It's just that some places are more to my liking than others. I'm aware of how this country doesn't meet my expectations and I knew that coming in. This was my launching pad for the rest of Europe and a place for my family to be safe and not living on the street as we would have been in the US. I'll soon be sending out resumes looking for work north of the Alps, which is where I feel more comfortable, having lived up there for 6 years already in various countries.
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Postby MrPeabody » Sun Nov 20, 2011 8:34 pm

Think Different wrote:
MrPeabody wrote:I live in Mexico and don't expect Mexicans to satisfy my intellectual needs. I like living here because people are gentle and polite. I don't have to be bothered with the thugs and psychopaths in the US that get in your face and are looking for victims. What else can you expect of a country? If people are friendly and not molesting someone and he still can't be happy, then he can't be happy.


You're right. It's definitely more peaceful here than in much of the US and the government and people don't hassle me and my family. I also don't feel like I have to guard my speech as much here as in the US. That counts for a lot.

If your insinuation is that I can't be happy anywhere, then you're wrong. It's just that some places are more to my liking than others. I'm aware of how this country doesn't meet my expectations and I knew that coming in. This was my launching pad for the rest of Europe and a place for my family to be safe and not living on the street as we would have been in the US. I'll soon be sending out resumes looking for work north of the Alps, which is where I feel more comfortable, having lived up there for 6 years already in various countries.


I don't know if your luck will be any better in northern countries. When I lived in the Netherlands, most people were interested in soccer and drinking beer. And you will have to avoid the Italian part of Switzerland. The French will expect you to speak French and secretly make fun of you if you have an accent.
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Postby Adama » Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:35 am

MrPeabody wrote:
Think Different wrote:
MrPeabody wrote:I live in Mexico and don't expect Mexicans to satisfy my intellectual needs. I like living here because people are gentle and polite. I don't have to be bothered with the thugs and psychopaths in the US that get in your face and are looking for victims. What else can you expect of a country? If people are friendly and not molesting someone and he still can't be happy, then he can't be happy.


You're right. It's definitely more peaceful here than in much of the US and the government and people don't hassle me and my family. I also don't feel like I have to guard my speech as much here as in the US. That counts for a lot.

If your insinuation is that I can't be happy anywhere, then you're wrong. It's just that some places are more to my liking than others. I'm aware of how this country doesn't meet my expectations and I knew that coming in. This was my launching pad for the rest of Europe and a place for my family to be safe and not living on the street as we would have been in the US. I'll soon be sending out resumes looking for work north of the Alps, which is where I feel more comfortable, having lived up there for 6 years already in various countries.


I don't know if your luck will be any better in northern countries. When I lived in the Netherlands, most people were interested in soccer and drinking beer. And you will have to avoid the Italian part of Switzerland. The French will expect you to speak French and secretly make fun of you if you have an accent.


That's interesting. In the documentaries, it's said they even made fun of Napoleon as a child for his accent as well. And that was hundreds of years ago. haha

He spoke with a marked Corsican accent and never learned to spell properly.[16] Napoleon was teased by other students for his accent and applied himself to reading.
Look for women who automatically want to please you because it pleases them. Any woman who seeks to please her man is a treasure. Even better if you don't have to ask but rather suggest.
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Postby have2fly » Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:13 am

However Italians make Lamborghini and Ferrari, they also make Zanussi - which is a home appliances company etc.

I can add that many French also have never visited Paris. In general, do you live in larger city or is it smaller? I think it has to do with where you live and who you talk to. I know for sure French hate Italians for mafia-like behavior and for not being honest etc.

How is food? Girls? Are there friends to be made? How is social support for a family? Healthcare? Transportation? Are people approachable in public places? Do people talk in cafes and don't rush everywhere as much?

There is no perfect country to live in, but in general Europe is more relaxed and less paranoid. I would be fine with people loving soccer, just please I am so tired of American football. At least Europeans actually go and play soccer everywhere they can. The game is also very easy to understand and play - you need a ball and a few people, just mark the gates and play.
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Postby MrPeabody » Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:03 pm

I was lucky because I worked for a big company in the Netherlands, so when I moved there they assigned me a relocation expert to help me adjust to the culture. She was an English woman married to a Dutch man and had extensive experience traveling and living in other cultures. She had a positive attitude and drilled the point home that it is really not your place to judge or criticize a country you move to and most of your problems will be due to miscommunications. Her attitude was one of fascination and curiosity towards the other culture and always assuming that any problems can be solved with communications and patience. If you want a country where people value living life over working, it is Italy. To move there and then impose American anal retentive values on them brings up memories of the ugly American. When I was young, I would go to Calabria to visit my grandfather, and as long as they had enough food and wine, people were happy. It's a good place to work your judgmental head out of your asshole and learn to be more relaxed.
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Postby odbo » Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:12 pm

I was told that northern Italy is where all the companies and factories originate from and the mentality there is like that of Germanic states where as southern Italy is like Portugal with no jobs or money or worth ethic. is this true??
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Postby Think Different » Mon Nov 21, 2011 6:35 pm

The Germanic nature you speak of is really just in the very far north (Milan and closer to the Alps). I'm hours south of that. Granted there are a lot of small to mediums sized businesses around here, the place is still solidly focused on food and less on work. It's a good blend of work/relaxation for sure and I can appreciate that.

The only reason that I brought this question up on this forum is because I DON'T criticize the Italians openly and am just trying to understand what's going on around here. As if I needed to somehow convince you, I always show them respect and ask them lots of questions about their culture. Actually, I find that I have seen and traveled more throughout Italy over the years than most Italians have, including my wife.

Unfortunately, I'm living in a situation that I'm out in the sticks in a swampy area of the country with just old people around and very few younger/middle-aged folks. I'm in a village with absolutely no historical or cultural landmarks and my wife's family is uneducated and old farmer-types, but they are nice. Nothing wrong with that, but I just have very little to talk to them about and I have little contact with cultural/intellectual types. I'm sure over time I'll find some, but it's just slow going right now.

I've lived in northern, central, and eastern Europe and you couldn't exactly say that those people have an American work ethic of all work and no play, either. Even the hard-working Germans let loose, have parties, indulge in their vacations, and drink a lot of beer, etc. As far as I'm concerned even the Germans have a far better balance in life than most Americans.

According to the Italians I work around, yes the South of Italy has very few jobs and most people there are unemployed, underemployed, or work in the tourist industry to survive. Their "safety net" is their family and circle of friends. I've traveled in the South of Italy and while I actually prefer the people there (much more open, friendly, chatty, warm) than in the North, there just aren't enough jobs to go around. While the Northern Italians like to act like the Southern Italians are lazy, shifty and always on the take, if you look at historical Italian immigration overseas, it's been primarily from the South. Outside of Italy, however they've usually done very well for themselves. So, I see the problem in the South as one of bad government, endemic corruption through the various "mafia" groups, and harsh weather (too hot).
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Postby Think Different » Mon Nov 21, 2011 6:51 pm

MrPeabody wrote:
Think Different wrote:
MrPeabody wrote:I live in Mexico and don't expect Mexicans to satisfy my intellectual needs. I like living here because people are gentle and polite. I don't have to be bothered with the thugs and psychopaths in the US that get in your face and are looking for victims. What else can you expect of a country? If people are friendly and not molesting someone and he still can't be happy, then he can't be happy.


You're right. It's definitely more peaceful here than in much of the US and the government and people don't hassle me and my family. I also don't feel like I have to guard my speech as much here as in the US. That counts for a lot.

If your insinuation is that I can't be happy anywhere, then you're wrong. It's just that some places are more to my liking than others. I'm aware of how this country doesn't meet my expectations and I knew that coming in. This was my launching pad for the rest of Europe and a place for my family to be safe and not living on the street as we would have been in the US. I'll soon be sending out resumes looking for work north of the Alps, which is where I feel more comfortable, having lived up there for 6 years already in various countries.


I don't know if your luck will be any better in northern countries. When I lived in the Netherlands, most people were interested in soccer and drinking beer. And you will have to avoid the Italian part of Switzerland. The French will expect you to speak French and secretly make fun of you if you have an accent.


Actually I love beer and enjoy sitting in the pub/Bierstube, etc. drinking a few liters once or twice a week with friends. As for French, my French is average and I've never had problems with them and I don't care if they speak behind my back. I actually really like the French, I have French friends (and an ex-girlfriend) and have no problem with them whatsoever. For the record, I also speak German, Czech, Russian, and above average Italian, so I tend to do just fine.
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Postby momopi » Tue Nov 22, 2011 4:11 am

Here's an interesting article to read on difference between US and EU cultures:
http://www.pewglobal.org/2011/11/17/the ... alues-gap/
Released: November 17, 2011
American Exceptionalism Subsides
The American-Western European Values Gap

Unfortunately it doesn't include stats for Italy, but for those who thinks the French & British are arrogant in their cultural superiority, they may find this surprising:

Image

...and young people in the US are less nationalistic than older Americans:

Image


American individualism vs. EU:

Image
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