4 Things That Will Make You Feel More Italian
Journal Entry 21
Anyone else hates it when being treated like a tourist in a foreign country? It may be just us because, in reality, we are in fact just that after all – tourists! However, we love getting as close to the local life as possible, to the extent that sometimes we just want to be treated as one of them. Speaking of this, let us tell you about four things that can make anyone feel more Italian, completely based on our own recent experience.
Searching for Italian Culture
Whilst living in a castle at the heart of Tuscany, we were rarely exploited to any Italian culture. The closest point of civilisation was around an hour away on foot, and since being in a red zone, we didn’t have the opportunity to explore the neighbouring towns. Apart from that, neither the hosts nor any of the other travellers were in fact Italian. So, after three weeks we decided it was time to move on in search of a pure Italian society, lifestyle and heritage.
We Moved to Cesano di Roma
This was ultimately the best option on our cards. Come on, what would have been better than moving so close to the Italian capital? It’s not just because it had been on our bucket lists for far too long, but the region of Lazio was marked as a yellow region, meaning it had (and still has) very few restrictions when compared to the rest of the country.
We found a great Airbnb in a town called Cesano di Roma, just 1-hour train ride away from the very centre of Rome. Things get better here – the ticket towards the capital just costs €1, which is funny since train transport in Italy is not exactly the cheapest! Anyways, back to the point! We felt settled here after just a few days, and now after almost a month living there, here are what we accumulated as our four things that will make you feel more Italian, in Italy!
How to Feel Like a Local in Italy?
Okay, so what you’re about to read below is totally based on our experience throughout the last few weeks living in Cesano. These are basically four things we have learnt – things that we’ll certainly keep in mind should we ever return back.
Tip #1 – Un Caffe, per Favore!
Being someone deeply in love (maybe even a bit addicted sometimes) with coffee, Charlon was very excited for the few weeks we had in Italy, living close to the regular local life. Starting from the basics, ordering ‘Un Caffe’ at a bar is nothing like the large mug we’re maybe used to in other countries. A Caffe is simply a shot of espresso, a delicious one! The other coffee is better known as an Americano, and according to many people we met there, it’s almost an offensive action ordering one. I mean, it’s kind of understandable! It’s like we’re killing the strong taste of the coffee bean Italians are so proud of, with another 200ml of plain hot water.
A traditional setting is enjoying a Caffe standing by the bar, sometimes accompanied by a pastry which may be … well, that brings us to tip #2!
Tip #2 – In Italy, this is a CORNETTO, not a Croissant!
We don’t know why, but we really took a long time to get used to this. What we’re very used to as a croissant, in Italy it’s referred to as a Cornetto. Ordering it with such a name should already be a great start to feeling more like a local in Italy.
Tip #3 – Buongiorno… the Timing!
Please, correct us if we got this one wrong, but we noticed that Italians use this greeting almost until sunset. This is obviously something we’re not used to back home, and found it kind of strange to reply back by the same greeting at times like 3.00 in the afternoon.
Tip #4 – Using the Bathroom of Random Cafe’s
Were you ever casually strolling through a city, and suddenly felt the urge to use the loo? Yeah, it happens very often to us, not just in Italy but everywhere else, of course. Usually, owners or staff of cafe’s or restaurants don’t like it that much when people not making use of their service use their bathrooms. We conquered many establishments where in order to use the bathroom, one has to ask for a key at the bar – all in order to avoid people making use of it without actually buying something.
In Italy, it looked to be the contrary, at least from our experience. Chances are very good that cafe’s and restaurant owners will be more than happy to let you use the throne, should you come in asking nicely and politely. Also, asking in Italian can give you greater chances. It goes something like, “Mi scusi, posso usare il bagno?”. We hope it does, anyways!