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ITALY: Culture

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Central in Italians' lives is their families.... and "Mama" is queen. Sons frequently live at home until well into their 20s. Parents often live in their children's homes and care for the grandchildren. Aunts and uncles play a big part in the children's lives as well. The extended family is getting smaller, but is still the the major source of security.

Daily life in Italy may appear relaxed, especially in small southern villages, but assume that efficiency in commerce isn't appreciated. Italians are serious about business and expect you to be as well: No "rubber time" in most formal transactions. Still, practically every Italian city celebrates the feast of its patron saint as a legal holiday, and much of the city literally shuts down in a formal obse rvance. Many holiday observances are just for "fun," another practice taken seriously in Italy. You can use your international mobile phone rental to inform yourself of these special events and dates.

Italians enjoy rituals, and not more important ritual is that of a romantic meeting of the sexes. Italians usually do not date like in other European countries and America, but they like going out in good-sized mixed groups of their peers and doing things together.

They enjoy this social approach more and feel less under pressure to act in an artificial manner. It also becomes more difficult for anyone to step out of line. Newcomers can get to know each other in a natural context and observe the others' behavior with out having to penetrate a myriad of façades. Having an international cell phone rental in Italy give you the opportunity to get few dates yourself!

In the past, an older matronly woman would often chaperone the young couple wherever they went. In the evenings she would hold a small lit candle between the two interested parties. The Italian expression "reggere il moccolo" used to mean just that: to hold a candle up in the air. Today it has come to represent an ironic term where someone is cut off from all the action and as a result feels quite useless.

Concerning romance: Valentine's Day in Italy is an important one to show your beloved how much you care. In the evening couples usually go to dinner at a pizzeria or ristorante. Depending on the age of the pair, gifts could include red roses or perfume, diamonds, or the famous "Baci Perugina." These small, chocolate-covered hazelnuts contain a small slip of paper with a romantic poetic quote in four languages. (Examples of these messages are: "Il bacio chiede amore, il bacio concede amore" : The kiss demands Love, the kiss grants Love. "Il bacio è un duetto a bocca chiusa": The kiss is a duet without words. "Il bacio è, con la musica, il sole linguaggio universale." The kiss, together with music, is the one universal language. Any wonder why Italy claims to have the definative handle on romance?


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