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Northern Italy: Should I Go There?

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

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Northern Italy: Should I Go There?

Postby lavezzi » Sun Jan 22, 2012 1:08 pm

My parents are planning a holiday to Northern Italy for a week in June and offered to take me and let me use their accommodation if I payed for flights and other expenses. I'm planning my trip to the Philippines for September, so I probably will not choose to go as I know the region is expensive and I would later regret spending the money in part because I've no interest in randomly getting laid anymore.

Has anyone any experience of the region? Would it be worth going there from your experience?
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Postby Twobrains » Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:45 pm

There's a lot to admire in N Italy, but it's crowded and expensive. Many of the women are gorgeous, but it's my impression that they are mostly good girls and family orientated, even cliquish. Everyone has to see Venice before they die, though. :)
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Postby E_Irizarry » Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:51 pm

"Think different" would know....u should p.m. Him!!
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Postby Think Different » Tue Apr 10, 2012 6:26 am

I live in Northern Italy, and I can tell you one thing: visiting is great and there's a lot of culture and things to see. Don't come live here. The people are nice enough, but jobs are very hard to find, including ESL ones (which pay terribly), and the cost of living is insane. Imagine this: average salary in Italy is about $20,000/year, but the prices are what you'd find in downtown Manhattan. This is no exaggeration. Italy is quickly heading towards 3rd-world status. Also, Italy has the highest cost of gas (after wealthy Norway) in Europe. I pay $10/gallon of gas, currently.

I just read a report the other day that said that Italy has the lowest average salaries in Western Europe, after only Portugal and Greece. Italian salaries are only a little better than Poland or Czech Republic. Thing is, in Eastern Europe the prices and costs of living are 1/3-1/2 of what they are here, so you actually will have more money at the end of the month in those countries. The Italians are also telling me that the immigrants from some East European countries, such as Russian and Ukraine are now leaving to go back home, since Italy's too expensive and they can get decent enough pay now at home. The immigrants here now are mainly Romanians and Sub-saharan Africans.

Northern Italians are somewhat standoffish and will be nice to you, but you will have trouble breaking into their inner circle or being close friends. I've lived here about a year and I've only been invited to go out with non-family acquaintances once. Then again, life is very expensive here and people are really living frugally.

The Italian women in this area are relatively stylish and pretty much have their circle of friends and it appears to me that they are extremely hard to get to know and approach romantically. Italians in general stick to their home town/home village and hang out with those people they grew up with and have known their whole lives. It's very hard to become part of that group. Honestly, it was easier for me to get to know the Germans and Russians, when I lived in those countries.

In many ways this is a very conservative country and the women generally don't have any interest in marrying. This also contributes to the artificially low divorce rate (few get married, so few can get divorced). There's a lot of talk of "love" and "emotion" in this country, but you rarely see any of it on display. In my thinking, "love" and "emotion" are terms they like to throw around and wax philosophical about, but their passion is clearly more directed at food and going to the beach, than anything else.

If you go to the farther north (the Genova-Venice latitude or more north) the people are downright chilly and don't smile much. If you're looking for Latin passion, go to Sicily or Spain. The Italian women are pretty uptight in my opinion and the Italian men look sort of forlorn. The prostitute industry here is on full display and the Italian men are crazy about them. This tells me a lot about the women here. Just saying...

I've been told by the Italian men that the real nice girls and party/fun atmosphere is to be found in Spain, not Italy.
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Postby publicduende » Tue Apr 10, 2012 7:54 am

I'm Italian (from the South) but haven't lived in Italy for a few years now. The last place I lived in was Milan and I must say what Think Different says is not entirely accurate. Socially unadventurous young people are everywhere in Italy, but mostly concentrate in smaller towns. Those small pretty villages in the Tuscan countryside or by the Amalfi coast are obviously gorgeous and tourist magnets, yet one can't expect cosmopolitan life and open-minded girls to boot. Life for a tourist is pretty expensive indeed, due to the strong Euro and the somewhat overpriced, overrated tourist infrastructure.

Having said that, big cities with a large student and young professional population like Milan, Rome, Bologna, and Florence do have a bigger choice of things to do, open minded, English-speaking people to meet and mingle with and girls potentially interested in a foreign friendship. Or more. Also, the fact that there are fewer foreigners than, say, in London, makes them a bit more interesting when they jump the wall of their touristy personas and want to live the Italian life, even for just a few days.

Lavezzi, if your parents are spending some time in Northern Italy, why not tell them to spend a few days by Lake Como or Lake Maggiore: they're absolutely drop-dead gorgeous in June, and they have the added advantage to be only half an hour train ride to Milan, where you can find that kind of cosmopolitan vibe and potentially a few girls to meet. I'd suggest you contact a few via Facebook or even Skype search. If you introduce yourself politely and say you would like to do some language/cultural exchange above and beyond the usual tourist cliches, I'm sure some of them will be happy to welcome you.
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Postby publicduende » Tue Apr 10, 2012 8:01 am

Think Different wrote:I live in Northern Italy, and I can tell you one thing: visiting is great and there's a lot of culture and things to see. Don't come live here. The people are nice enough, but jobs are very hard to find, including ESL ones (which pay terribly), and the cost of living is insane. Imagine this: average salary in Italy is about $20,000/year, but the prices are what you'd find in downtown Manhattan. This is no exaggeration. Italy is quickly heading towards 3rd-world status. Also, Italy has the highest cost of gas (after wealthy Norway) in Europe. I pay $10/gallon of gas, currently.

I just read a report the other day that said that Italy has the lowest average salaries in Western Europe, after only Portugal and Greece. Italian salaries are only a little better than Poland or Czech Republic. Thing is, in Eastern Europe the prices and costs of living are 1/3-1/2 of what they are here, so you actually will have more money at the end of the month in those countries. The Italians are also telling me that the immigrants from some East European countries, such as Russian and Ukraine are now leaving to go back home, since Italy's too expensive and they can get decent enough pay now at home. The immigrants here now are mainly Romanians and Sub-saharan Africans.

Northern Italians are somewhat standoffish and will be nice to you, but you will have trouble breaking into their inner circle or being close friends. I've lived here about a year and I've only been invited to go out with non-family acquaintances once. Then again, life is very expensive here and people are really living frugally.

The Italian women in this area are relatively stylish and pretty much have their circle of friends and it appears to me that they are extremely hard to get to know and approach romantically. Italians in general stick to their home town/home village and hang out with those people they grew up with and have known their whole lives. It's very hard to become part of that group. Honestly, it was easier for me to get to know the Germans and Russians, when I lived in those countries.

In many ways this is a very conservative country and the women generally don't have any interest in marrying. This also contributes to the artificially low divorce rate (few get married, so few can get divorced). There's a lot of talk of "love" and "emotion" in this country, but you rarely see any of it on display. In my thinking, "love" and "emotion" are terms they like to throw around and wax philosophical about, but their passion is clearly more directed at food and going to the beach, than anything else.

If you go to the farther north (the Genova-Venice latitude or more north) the people are downright chilly and don't smile much. If you're looking for Latin passion, go to Sicily or Spain. The Italian women are pretty uptight in my opinion and the Italian men look sort of forlorn. The prostitute industry here is on full display and the Italian men are crazy about them. This tells me a lot about the women here. Just saying...

I've been told by the Italian men that the real nice girls and party/fun atmosphere is to be found in Spain, not Italy.


Woa, come on, things in Italy are going from bad to worse, but saying Italy is becoming a 3rd world state is a bit of an exaggeration! :) Then how can a country be "conservative" and women not want to get married? What is actually happening is that young couples, especially those living in big cities, no longer value marriage as something sacred, which legitimates their relationships. They would much rather live together for a while, sharing a flat, even having a baby, before taking the M step. The other more practical reason is that marrying in Italy is pretty expensive and they'd rather save that money for something else.

I agree on Spain though, they tend to be party more and be more down to Earth. But boy, Spain is going down the drain too...
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Postby Think Different » Tue Apr 10, 2012 8:24 am

edit
Last edited by Think Different on Fri May 18, 2012 11:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby publicduende » Tue Apr 10, 2012 9:05 am

Think Different wrote:You and I are on different wavelengths. I live in a village, in a boring, non-tourist area full of old folks. I'm also married and not looking for girls. I'm also middle-aged and not a college kid.

That being said, how can Italy be "conservative", yet girls not want to get married? Just compare Italy to Holland, which is hands-down "liberal" by any comparison. How can there be prostitutes all over the street here and men cheat on their wives (and probably vice versa), but family is considered "sacred"? These are typical dichotomies and oddities of Italian life. There is one overriding factor here that you don't have in other EU countries: the Vatican is here and exerts a tremendous influence on OVERT behavior. I also think the Vatican keeps Italy from rising to its potential. The Italian state is in financial straits, so I ask my wife why they don't build state-controlled brothels and tax them like in Germany, instead of having East European and African whores all over the streets. She said that Vatican wouldn't tolerate there being "official" brothels. That would be "sinful". Instead, you pretend nothing's happening and everything is "off the books". This is typical mentality here: if it's unwritten, unofficial, and not mentioned, then it's tolerated or ignored. This is how much of life and economics works here.

Why don't Italian women get married? They've told me themselves that it's because the men are chauvinistic and cheat on them. So, they'd rather not get married. The Italian men have told me they prefer Slavic women because they put out on sex more and are more adventurous and act very feminine and sexy, whereas the younger girls here dress rather shabbily and IMO low-class. The professional women dress nicer, for certain. Again, I'm comparing this with the rest of the EU, not the USA.

So, you have your experiences and I have mine. You don't live here, and I do. So, people can take it or leave it. People asked for opinions and I gave mine. It depends what you're living for and what you can afford. If you have a nice job and a nice car you can afford a nice and chic lifestyle, I'm sure. If you're an ESL teacher (which is what most guys on here would be stuck with unless they're EU citizens) then life is VERY expensive in Italy. Most ESL teachers that I know here are so poor (like me) that they can't afford to even go out for a pizza ever. Most are also about 30 lbs underweight and malnourished. Is that a lifestyle you'd like?


More than wavelengths, it's the fact that we have been living (or lived) in different places, that sets our opinions so far apart. Besides a brief stint in Rome in my early twenties, the only two locations I really know are my own hometown (a large-ish town down South, near Bari) and Milan. My brother and some of my friends who still live in my hometown tell me that the situation in terms of society and lifestyle isn't too different from that you just described. I can though tell you that things in large cities like Milan or Rome aren't so tragic for a foreigner. Of course a certified language teacher isn't exactly a top paying profession in Italy, yet if your job is full time I believe you shouldn't be too far from the €1500 net per month mark that allows to live a decent life, at least if you don't have a wife and kids to support.

Then I think your views on men, women and relationships under the ever-seeing eye of the Vatican are a bit on the paranoid side. Italy used to have legalised prostitution and brothels until the early 50s. A bit like in France and some other European countries, some of those "case chiuse" (closed houses, brothels) even used to be places of social and cultural exchange for the upper-middle class. I am not sure what generation you're referring to, but young people (say, aged 15 to 35) basically couldn't care less about what the Pope or the Church says. There are some "communities" that revolve around a hypocritical, facade Catholicism - you might have heard of Comunione e Liberazione (Cielle) or the omnipresent Opus Dei - but those are minorities, however influential on the political or economical scene they might be. The moral stickiness and hypocrisy you described, whereby men cheat on their wives and can't wait to bang a poor street prostitute from Nigeria or Moldova, may still be found in the generation before mine, or my parents' one.

I think young Italians are now more sexually liberated and can mind their own sexual business better, perhaps on a par with any other European country. The endemic problems of my generation are others: lack of certainties due to job insecurity, chronical lack of space for young talented people (we have the oldest political class, and the oldest managerial class in Europe and perhaps the whole world, excluding pleaces like China or Japan), lack of entrepreneurial spirit. In short, lack of future. In that, we're in no better place than our fellow Greeks and Spanish.

But then, as somebody who had to move back to UK to get a hope of a decent future, let me tell you things are not all rosy this side of the channel, either. OK I had a good student life back in the years, but now all I have is social responsibilities and rules to abide by, I can see the hardship and the solitude. I can see the hypocrisy in human relationships, I can see that young generations of Brits are even more lonely, empty and desperate than many of those in Italy.

I think nowhere in the world is unconditional paradise. Ultimately, heaven is what we create for ourselves, what we have the courage and strength to desire, dream and fight for.
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Postby Robert77 » Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:50 am

northern italy is a waste of time, the stereotypical italy is the south part.... the north is sterile boring and expensive, also very gray and people look down on americans, in fact they look down on anyone who is from the north of italy.
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