I can’t say how many times I hear the sentence “I love Italy and Italians so much!”.
My job gives me the amazing opportunity of chatting with people from all over the world and since I teach Italian, most of those people – ok, all of them – are in love with my country.
Hearing all the great things they say about Italy and our culture and our beautiful language and so on makes me feel really proud but also makes me think “you guys don’t know what it is really like to live here”.
I can see that Italy is really beautiful, I see it every day when I walk down the streets and admire its ancient buildings, I see it on a getaway weekend in Florence or Rome or when I go to a place I didn’t know of and I discover it has a long, incredible history.
I know that my country is great and that we Italians are nice people – well, most of the times – and that our culture is rich in history, art, traditions, and much more. And I won’t even mention the food, ok?
There are a lot of amazing things here, I will never deny that, but there are so many things that really drive me crazy. I try to share my point of view with my students but sometimes I get puzzled or disappointed looks, as if I am destroying their dream, so I tend to be very careful when doing it.
I don’t want to disappoint anyone here but I felt it was high time I wrote about what I really can’t stand about my country and my fellow countrymen, just to give you a more honest picture who I am and what I think. So I decided to make a list of the 10 things I really hate about Italy and the Italians. And please feel free to comment if you want to add something – or simply want to share your opinion!
Let’s share some hate about Italy, shall we? 🙂
1. People are too serious about food
Our food is undoubtedly really good but many people are way too serious about it. There are so many rules involving Italian food that sometimes I feel it is more a religion than a daily habit. And I hate this attitude so much that I love breaking the rules Italy and Italians love so much: for example, I drink cappuccino in the afternoon and I will always choose filter coffee over espresso. And I don’t regret it!
2. We always wait the very last minute to do things
Before Instantly Italy, I used to work for a big multinational. I have worked there for quite a few years and changed different departments, all of which were managing big projects. I really loved my job but there was one thing that drove me mad: everybody was always waiting for the last moment to do things. The hours before a deadline were crazy yet we always managed to solve issues brilliantly but why not plan in advance? It would have made our lives way easier. And this was not just my old company’s bad habit, it happens everywhere in Italy.
3. Bureaucracy is a mess
You all know that, right? I interview expats on a monthly basis and the one bad thing they never fail to mention about Italy is bureaucracy. But it is so bad and makes us our lives so miserable that it is worth mentioning once more: the way we overcomplicate simple things just to justify the existence of some jobs in the public sector is simply unbearable.
4. Italians only think about themselves
Ok, maybe I exaggerate here, I know that there are many Italians who are really good souls and care a lot about their communities but we Italians, in general, are very individualistic. We think only about ourselves and our own good, the most important thing is that our family and we are ok and we don’t think about the impact our actions have on other people, on our community, or our country as a whole. And that’s why Italy is so messed up.
5. Many Italians can’t speak English
This is really something I can’t understand and the more I think about it, the more I go mad. I understand the fact that older generations don’t speak English, that’s ok, but how can you be a teenager in 2019 and not be able to speak or understand a language that is vital for your understanding of the world? I have always thought that knowing more than one language is a key to freedom and this is especially true if that language is English, so how can you accept to live such a limited life?
6. People give too much importance to the way they dress
When I spent a semester at the university in Canada, one of the things that shocked me the most was seeing students going to morning classes in their pajamas. Well, maybe that’s a bit too much but I really envy the relaxedness other countries have when it comes to clothing: here in Italy, it is always a matter of being properly dressed for the occasion and, especially if you live outside big cities, to wear the brands everybody is wearing otherwise you are considered an outcast.
7. Politics is a mess and politicians have no sense of responsibility
This is closely related to what I said at point number 4: many people in Italy and Italians, in general, tend to think only about themselves. Well, this can be perfectly applied to politics: politicians only think about their own interest and do everything they can to get people’s votes without caring about the future of the country and its inhabitants – with the results of messing up everybody’s lives.
8. Finding food other than Italian is almost impossible
Given the fact that we think that our food is the best in the whole world, we Italians don’t like eating other types of food. The result is that – unless you live in a big city like Rome or Milan or Turin, finding international cuisines is almost impossible. Lebanese food? A mirage in the desert. A real Japanese restaurant? None in sight. Mexican food? No, I am sorry. If you are fed up with pizza and pasta, the only option you have in poor-quality Chinese food and some takeaway kebab. Don’t make me think about it, I go mad.
9. The job market is terrible – or even non-existent
Can you imagine getting a university degree and knowing you won’t find a job that easily? (I added “that easily” to make things less dramatic). Well, this is the life of many Italian students and this is why there are so many young Italians who move abroad after finishing school. The job market is stagnant and finding a job is a nightmare also because there are no tools to do it, looking for a job is basically a DYI thing where everybody needs to find his or her own way to reach the goal.
10. The Italian family is a burden
Something that is really good can become a problem when it is exaggerated. Take the Italian family, for example: we have strong bonds and are all very tied to our roots and we are always there for our family members when needed, which is all really great, but what can you say when all this becomes mandatory and family always must come first and when family members want to decide about your life and tell you what you must do? Not a good thing, I tell you.
And what do you hate the most about Italy and Italians? C’mon, I’d love to know!
If you are interested in learning more about Italian culture and lifestyle, I’d suggest you jump on my digital Vespa and join Be Italian For A Month, your 30-day virtual journey to Italy.
You will also learn some Italian words, you’ll receive some typical Italian recipes – ready to be cooked and enjoyed, you’ll get to tour around Italy, and learn about Italian traditions, proverbs, stereotypes, you name it. Plus, some cute surprises along the way!