Something that has struck us since being in Italy for almost a year, now, is the distinct lack of malice among the Italians.
Admittedly we’re in a small rural town but even when we head into Perugia, Siena or Florence, we notice that people just get on with things – whatever they’re doing. Whether they’re merging lanes in traffic, pulling out of a side road and cutting up the drivers behind; driving too slowly whilst concentrating on their conversation with their passenger; gesticulating wildly whilst walking and chatting loudly on their mobile…
People genuinely just enjoy life with no ill-feeling, resentment or negativity
There is no muttering from the elderly about noisy mopeds or from walkers about mountain bikers rushing past on the same track. No impatience when we stumble over our new Italian words in a busy bar, nor irritation when we forget to weigh our veg in the shop! Dogs can wander along the road, off the lead – and the traffic slows down and swerves to avoid the dog, rather than slowing to shout abuse at the owner. There is no jealousy towards an owner of a beautiful car, just the cry of “Bella machina!”
It’s a true live and let live culture. And people genuinely just enjoy life with no ill-feeling, resentment or negativity – that we have come across, yet.
There is no sinister lurking by gangs of youths and in our local park, apart from a bad case of littering, there is no drunken behaviour, no shouting or aggression. There is no feeling of intimidation as there would be in parks in most British towns (unless you’re playing basketball…) and the only ‘marauding teenagers’ are groups of giggling teenage girls who all seem to be talking at each other simultaneously!
Everyone just gets on with things. Even after a recent Italy football game, we were relieved and delighted that after hearing the roar of the crowds in the town below, every time a goal was scored by Italy, (note: there was no booing at the other side…) we heard people leaving the town, cheering and chatting – and then they were gone! No drunken revelling or brawling in the streets until the early hours as you still see and hear in Britain. It’s simply not in the culture to get drunk – and it’s not in the culture to wish ill of/to someone.
Viva l’italianità (Long live the Italian spirit)!