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What do you think of Italy?

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

Moderators: jamesbond, fschmidt

Postby Winston » Tue Nov 22, 2011 4:31 am

Think Different,
How would you compare the pizza in Italy to the US?

And how are the people different in Northern vs. Southern Italy?

Do you see Italian guys flirting with women all the time?

I met an Italian guy in Moscow who flirted with more women than me even. It was like he had unlimited energy and wasn't shy at all.
Check out the latest posts in our blog The Happier Abroaders.

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"It takes far less effort to find and move to the society that has what you want than it does to try to reconstruct an existing society to match your standards." - Harry Browne, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World
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Postby Think Different » Tue Nov 22, 2011 7:54 pm

Winston wrote:Think Different,
How would you compare the pizza in Italy to the US?

And how are the people different in Northern vs. Southern Italy?

Do you see Italian guys flirting with women all the time?

I met an Italian guy in Moscow who flirted with more women than me even. It was like he had unlimited energy and wasn't shy at all.


The pizza in Italy is extraordinarily good. I'm sure you can find pizza from time to time in the US that is comparable, but in general the Pizza Hut-type mass produced pizza is completely different. For one, the Italian pizzas come in about 50 styles at any given restaurant and are usually very thin crust. They always come from brick ovens and the bread and other ingredients are always fresh and without any preservatives. You can really taste the difference.

North vs. South, as I said before the southern Italians are much friendlier, warmer, chattier, and love to eat, hang out with friends and have fun. Problem is the economy is trashed in the south and the streets are usually full of Italian men milling about all day with nothing to do.

Italian men in the North are more business-minded and don't spend much time overtly hitting on the women, and the women here in the north are somewhat more feminist anyhow. In the south the women are much more feminine IMO, more attractive, and probably respond better to flirting. With all that time on their hands, the southern men probably do cruise for women more anyhow. Italian men tend to be somewhat a mix of macho men and momma's boys, but tend to be very charming. Very spoiled by their mothers and girlfriends. I think it gives them a big head that they think they can do that with all women, but that's just my guess. The northern Italian women generally don't like the aggressive cruising behavior and either won't date Italian men at all, or won't marry them, since they don't trust them. They've told me this, as a matter of fact. Northern Italian women tend to prefer foreign men I think, although there are a lot of people just living together. That wouldn't happen in the south so much, since it's more traditional.
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Postby publicduende » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:42 am

Hi,

I'm Italian so I wouldn't mind sharing my view on this. Italy is a multi-dimensional society, very, very complex to understand even for Italians.

Even just by looking from an historical perspective, we have been ruled by hundreds of foreign powers from all over the Mediterranean basin and beyond. Even at the peak of our cultural splendour, Renaissance, many of the ruling families had pan-European ancestry due to the common custom or marrying across major noble family bloodlines. We have been the cultural hub of the Western world, and a coveted prize for barbarian tribes all the way to the Americans, for almost 2 millennia. This extreme, almost violent diversity poured continuously over a relatively small nation and over such a long period of time, has created a very heterogeneous, contrasted and fragmented society. Whether you go to the more "Germanized" North or the warmer, almost Middle-Eastern South, you will find differences and contradictions everywhere, even as you travel a mere dozen miles in any direction.

This complexity and diversity is what foreigners love and hate about Italy: they love it when it comes to rich history, cultural heritage, art and cuisine. They hate it if they want or need to look for predictable social patterns: settle for a while, set up a business, deal with local economies and laws.

Italy as a country has never existed, despite what our (recently 150 years-old) "republic" status might say. We have never been united, never been a single people. This is not uncommon in the history Europe, but whereas other European nations have recognised this and made major efforts to turn their political and social systems more towards a federal model (Switzerland, Belgium and Spain come to mind), Italy has been forcefully led into the forced unification path by the same imperial powers (you can imagine who) who didn't like the power of the Vatican and that of (still) powerful Spain ruling over our peninsula.

This is the crux of Italian richness, and the seed of its (current) demise. We are full of debt because for the best part of the last 30 years we had an incompetent political class, unable to rein in or even forge balanced alliances with the big "powers to be" of big industry and finance. We still go proud of the distant echo of that "5th industrial power" label that was sticked on us 25 years ago, while the reality is that it's all been going downhill from there. We are now known, and rightly so, as the nation of Bunga Bunga parties, where presidents and other high public figures are caught having affairs with underage prostitutes, 75% of our MP's are cocaine users and make 10 times as much as the average Italian white collar worker by simply sitting on a bench and play the political Risk game to try and spend another term on that hot spot.

Something on the jobs situation: it's absolutely true that the South has a lot fewer jobs than the North, it's a statistical fact. What's probably less visible but at least as important, most of the good jobs up North are scooped up by Southerners. The greatness and wealth of commercial cities like Milan or industrial cities like Turin or Genoa after WWII has been entirely built on cheap labour first, working and then qualified services middle class, coming from the South. Most of the best graduates, the most brilliant minds in any discipline after WWII have come from the South, regardless of whether they studied in a North or South Italian university. This is true even to this very moment. In the time I spent working in Milan (2003-2006), out of 50 professionals I could meet who had roles of power and responsibility in private companies, more than 40 were from the South. The reason why this happens is mostly because Northern families have tended to give job abundance for granted, and raised spoiled kids who are a lot less motivated to do well at university and fimly establish themselves on the job ladder. No surprise the richest people originally from the North are usually shop owners or entrepreneurs, for the most part the offspring of the original ruling class in commerce and industry.

Logically, what happens if the best minds leave the South and relocate to the North, when not abroad? I had this nice discussion about a year ago with one of my high school classmates from my hometown, an extremely bright Professor of Nanotechnologies at MIT Boston (recently switched to Switzerland). The best leaves, so the "rest" stays, and bar a few exceptions it's not the best and brightest people you can find. They have reasons (or limits) to stick to local affairs, they become local politicians, local small entrepreneurs and for the most part perpetuate the host of bad civic and social behaviours that raise eyebrowses with foreigners.

To Think Different who originally complained that Italians are ignorant people. From your post I assume you work as a roaming English teacher/tutor for on-site language classes in small-to-medium companies in Northern Italy. That's definitely not a good sample of Italians, mate. Most of the people who subscribe to those classes, even the very upper management of the company, are people who never got past their high school, at best. I am telling you this because I used to work for one such company and we had a private English teacher who gave classes to the entire Milan branch staff, and most of the people there only had but an elementary command of English. I can even places faces on your recollection of people who "know everything about football" and perhaps the latest mobile phone from Apple, yet couldn't tell you where Warsaw is. Most of the people I met in that particular company were some of the best colleagues to have around: friendly, competent with their specialised roles, understanding, and honest. Yet, they are not the best sample of Italian people you can base your judgment on.

Try to appy for a job for one of the top English schools in, say, Milan: ILS, Shenker Institute, British Council. Those schools that actually fail you and force you to pay your course and exam fees again if you slack. You will find lots of people with degrees, masters who probably know as much as you would like them to about European history or other disciplines, just out of high school reminiscences. Without mentioning that, actually, the smartest people tend to learn English on an actual job or assignment abroad, so they often won't even cross an Italian language institution.

While it's true that Italian education and cultural levels have been following the dangerous European (and should I say Western world) trend of dumbened-down standards, it's also true that if you look at my generation, the 30-40 something, Italy is still rich of extremely qualified people, in fact often overqualified for what they do (due to the job scarcity problem already mentioned) who are far, very far from ignorant. You just have to look past your narrow viewpoint. Again, just to give you an eye-opening example. I still keep in touch with most of my high school classmates and have a good idea where they are now. I am not talking about Rome or Milan, but a medium-sized town in Southern Italy, near Bari. Besides a few exceptions, my classmates are doctors, two top lawyers, two magistrates, two internationally known interior designer/architects, two world top scientists (a quantum physics researcher, and the above mentioned nanotechnologist), heads of R&D or engineering in international manifacturing companies. I am probably one of the least accomplished of the lot, and still have a telecoms engineering degree, two University of London masters and work as a quantitative developer for one of the best hedge funds around. It is true that academic and professional achievement are not the best proxy to intelligence, with many other factors weighing in. That's why I am talking about people I spent years of my life with, and whose all-round intelligence I can vouch for. And, to wrap up, only about half of them are based abroad, the other half being in places like Milan, Rome, Trieste, Naples, or just my hometown.

Finally, something about girls: diversity is key again here. You will find that Italian girls may be curious about flirting and having a relationship with a foreigner, but not necessarily seeing further than that. Besides look, the most important thing when dating an Italian girl is understanding her family background. It might sound odd, but it's absolute key. The more you learn about where she is from, how she was brought up, the more you will immediately understand whether she is genuine or fake, cultured for the sake of it, or able to use her intellect to reason. Another marker, believe me or not, is her political ideas. You probably know how extremely poltically polarised our collective mind is. We usually have (mostly true) stereotypes about leftwing girls being more honest, intellectual, interested in current affairs and with a deeper sense of justice, open-minded, more independent and less spoiled. The right-wing girl stereotypes, a bit like the Republican girl in the US, are all about women who are strong, rational and fiercely opionated, independent and entrepreneurial on the good end of the scale or, and that's sadly the most part of them, dumb spoiled brats, rich kids with no other objective in life than grabbing the latest fashion items and having sex with the next male model or footballer to be.

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Postby Nick » Sun Mar 18, 2012 9:16 pm

Think Different, you are perfectly right about Italy/Italians, but aren't the charming like that? I love them being like that I find them irresistible men/women.
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Postby Winston » Thu Jan 03, 2013 9:09 pm

Guess what guys?

Eurobrat told me on Facebook that he's in Italy now having a lot of fun. So much fun in fact that he doesn't want to come here to write a trip report and see all the negativity on here again. lol
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Postby zboy1 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 10:54 pm

Winston wrote:Guess what guys?

Eurobrat told me on Facebook that he's in Italy now having a lot of fun. So much fun in fact that he doesn't want to come here to write a trip report and see all the negativity on here again. lol


Tell him to post his report so that some of the negative types on HA can loosen up a bit. I would like to hear his trip report myself and I'm sure some people here would as well.
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Postby publicduende » Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:05 am

Winston wrote:Guess what guys?

Eurobrat told me on Facebook that he's in Italy now having a lot of fun. So much fun in fact that he doesn't want to come here to write a trip report and see all the negativity on here again. lol


I don't think Italy is your average cheap dating heaven. Eurobrat had much stronger reasons to visit Italy, which go above and beyond p***y. That much I could infer, from talking to him on FB. I do hope he will write something about his experiences at some point, yet I guess he's right in suspecting that the usual bashers will pick up and criticitse him no matter what he did, or didn't do.

I have always taken trip reports with a pinch of salt. The objectivity of the report is lost when qualitative judgments abound on the people, the infrastructure, the food, etc. It's all relative.

The best experiences are only made visiting the place in person, meeting and mingling with locals (not young woman, but men as well) with a genuine intention to understand and embrace the culture and customs, not leverage the dollar to get cheaper p***y and break a few hearts in the meantime... I'm writing this from Medellin, where the local beauties found in any bar and disco and just beyond words, and after spending the previous 2 weeks in the Philippines (Samal island and Davao).
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Postby Winston » Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:56 pm

What were Eurobrat's reasons for visiting Italy then? Does he have roots there?

I don't recall him having been bashed. People here don't usually bash trip reports, as long as they are honest, right? They usually congratulate the trip report.

The recent trip reports posted for Lithuania, Philippines and Vietnam all received positive praises.

Some aspects are relative. Others aren't. For example, the observations in the trip reports about the Philippines have all been consistent with each other regarding stuff like low quality goods and services, scammers, cheap sex, etc. Some things are concrete and objective, unless the observer is in denial of course.
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Postby Winston » Fri Jan 04, 2013 3:00 pm

Check this out. Eurobrat finally posted a trip report from Italy!

http://www.happierabroad.com/forum/view ... hp?t=17237
Check out the latest posts in our blog The Happier Abroaders.

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Postby eurobrat » Fri Jan 04, 2013 3:03 pm

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Last edited by eurobrat on Mon May 27, 2013 7:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Winston » Fri Jan 04, 2013 4:07 pm

Yes. The image resize is still working, so you don't have to worry about the image size.

Did you move to Italy or are you just traveling there?
Check out the latest posts in our blog The Happier Abroaders.

Don't forget my HA Grand Ebook and Dating Sites!

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Postby eurobrat » Sun Jan 06, 2013 7:21 pm

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Last edited by eurobrat on Mon May 27, 2013 7:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby eurobrat » Sun Jan 06, 2013 7:24 pm

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Last edited by eurobrat on Mon May 27, 2013 7:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Robert77 » Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:56 am

i am gonna be brutally honest here

italy is perhaps the most overrated place on this planet

the cities outside the touristy parts (the parts they shove down people's throats) look like tijuana (even milan outside the city center was very run down, dirty and filled with grafitti)

italians have no respect for the law, if they have to skip the line in front of you they'll do it, and when u disagree they just get loud and claim they're on a hurry

bureaucracy is hellish.... nothing works and when u try to make it work, then you have to arm yourself with patience and perhaps bribe someone

women.... OVERRATED, not as pretty as some people like to believe, extremely high maintenance and obsessed with fashion.....

men, many are douchebags, you'll see plenty of corny, cheesy, tons of gel and cologne and fake tanned dudes around....

salaries, miserable.....

unemployment very high

the people bleeeh fake, i like u my friend but when they get what they want outta u then they move on

i personally cant stand italy and know many europeans who agree with me.... if you want a fun mediterranean country that works, is actually modern, also has good food and is fun to be, go to spain instead
World traveler, questions about women from a certain country? Ask!!! I can help
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Postby eurobrat » Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:18 am

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Last edited by eurobrat on Mon May 27, 2013 7:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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