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All posts from Italy

Welcome to Italy

Rome, IT (View on map)
Posted 27 Jan 2008:

Airline Skyeurope helped me get from Cyprus to Vienna and from Bratislava to Rome in the last 48 hours. Italy is country number 15 on the list and since today is my first day, the usual introductory questions pop up: what`s going on in this country and what is on people`s minds?... Read more

Italian passion

Rome, IT (View on map)
Posted 28 Jan 2008:

From all nationalities I have come to know during the last few months, the Finnish and the Estonians seemed the least `flirtuous`. Italians have positioned themselves at the other extreme of the scale. In Italy, love is art waiting to be expressed. Whether in reference to love, to business or to anything else: compliments open doors. Italians, regardless of gender, like to be admired and they go out of their way to make a good impression on whoever they think is worth it.... Read more

Pasta and Coffee

Rome, IT (View on map)
Posted 29 Jan 2008:

Pizzahut and Starbucks do not figure among the many international companies with subsidiaries in Rome. Pizza, pasta and coffee and different in Italy from anywhere else. Better, according to the Italians. In their opinion, coffee has got no taste in most countries outside Italy and pasta gets systematically messed in the hands of non-Italians. Here`s an overview of how Italians think their cherished culinary masterpieces are supposed to be prepared and presented.... Read more

Meeting the Pope

Rome, IT (View on map)
Posted 30 Jan 2008:

If Rome doesn`t have it all, it has at least got most of it. For people looking for remnants of ancient civilizations, it has got monuments dating back centuries. For fashion fans, it has got designer shops specialised in shoes, handbags and all sorts of accessories. Rome has got a pleasant climate all year round, it has got art, performances, beautiful people. For some, all of the above are just nice add-ons. They have come to Rome with one primary objective: to see the Pope.... Read more

Napoli profile

Naples, IT (View on map)
Posted 31 Jan 2008:

My next city in line does not have the best reputation ever. I arrived in Naples last night and walked straight to the youth hostel before seeing anything. After a good night`s sleep, I left the hostel this morning to find some locals to tell me about the city. Hoping to find out whether it`s really as bad as people in Rome and everywhere else wanted to make me believe.... Read more

Media circus

Pompei, IT (View on map)
Posted 2 Feb 2008:

Political stability is not one of Italy`s strong points. Left-wing governments succeed right-wing governments and vice versa. Since World War II, the average lifetime of Italian governments has barely exceeded one year. Ordinary Italians put very little trust in their political leaders and they are forced to mistrust their national media as well. Politics and media are accepted to be run by the same people. Former and possibly future president Silvio Berlusconi, owner of three TV stations, is a good example of the close links between media and politics. How do Italians deal with an entire press system that does not even pretend to be independent?... Read more

La Famiglia

Palermo, IT (View on map)
Posted 3 Feb 2008:

Thanks to the night ferry from Naples to Palermo, I arrived in Sicily this morning. I will spend four days on this island before making a short excursion to Malta, country number 16. Sicily in general, and Palermo in particular, are historically known as the birthplace of Mafia. This criminal organisation, originally a `family enterprise` is omnipresent in Sicilian society. Hence today`s question: who in Sicily is affected by the mafia and how do they deal with it?... Read more

Talking hands

Palermo, IT (View on map)
Posted 4 Feb 2008:

Over the last few days, I have made some comparisons between the Finns and the Italians and I think there will be more of those over the days to come. Today, I am writing about the Italian way of communicating, which makes a nice contrast with the monotonous and seemingly indifferent way of talking that the Finns are used to. Seeing Italian people converse in the streets is like going to an open-air theatre, and Sicilians seem to be top of the bill when it comes to body language. ... Read more

Patron Saints

Catania, IT (View on map)
Posted 5 Feb 2008:

Every self-respecting village and city in Italy has its own Patron Saint Celebration. With at least one daily celebration taking place somewhere in Italy, it couldn`t possibly take long before I walked into one. Here I am, in Catania, Sicily. The 5th of February is dedicated to the local patron saint, known as Santa Agatha.... Read more

Volcanic fireworks

Catania, IT (View on map)
Posted 6 Feb 2008:

Living next to a volcano sounds like a rather risky project. Inhabitants of Catania know all about it. They live on the lower slopes of Mount Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe. Etna is in constant state of eruption, but the last time its lava streams touched the city dates back more than 400 years. ... Read more

More food talk

Catania, IT (View on map)
Posted 7 Feb 2008:

Italians can have vivid discussions on just about any subject, and one of the subjects that is most certainly included is food. Villages fight between each other on how to properly prepare this-and-that meal, which herbs to use and how the village next door is doing it all wrong. In a similar matter, even students who live together are likely to argue about the ingredients of the day`s dinner. I already wrote about coffee and pasta, but there is so much more to say about Italian cuisine.. Here`s some more food talk:... Read more

Staying in touch

Catania, IT (View on map)
Posted 14 Feb 2008:

After a short week of Malte, I am back in Italy. Today, I am finding out what I already knew: Italians are fond of talking. Whether in real life or over their mobile phone and in both cases, the conversation comes with the same gestures and facial expressions. When Italians are on the phone, it doesn`t look like they are talking to the person on the other end. From what you see, it looks more probable that they are either talking to themselves, or to just anybody happening to pass by.... Read more

Finding a job

Taranto, IT (View on map)
Posted 15 Feb 2008:

Italians are often laughed at for living with their parents until they reach the age of 30 or sometimes even higher. Unfortunately for them, it is not only their mother`s cooking that keeps them at home. ... Read more

Political activism

Grottaglie, IT (View on map)
Posted 16 Feb 2008:

16 February 2008: 4 degrees above zero, strong winds from the East and white powder moving along horizontal lines in the air. Yes, it`s snowing in the very South of Italy! I am just as unpleasantly surprised as the locals are. Still, a small assembly of people on the main square of Grottaglie steadily grows into a big crowd. Eventually, about 1000 people are set to march through the streets to demonstrate against the local authorities. Objective: force the municipality to withdraw their permission to open up ? another ? junk yard next to the city.... Read more

Playing in the streets

Taranto, IT (View on map)
Posted 17 Feb 2008:

Working, eating, sleeping and working. Such is the lifestyle imposed on European young adults. Opting out is unacceptable, both financially and socially. People first need money to save time - then they need money to keep themselves amused during the time they have just saved. Numerous are those who have forgotten a time when they did not need any money at all: relying entirely on social relations and playing away any dull moment they encountered. I hope to find some of that back by asking people in the South of Italy: what is your best childhood memory?... Read more


Brindisi, IT (View on map)
Posted 18 Feb 2008:

Being self-employed without income is not always easy, but it does give a lot of freedom. Every morning when I wake up, I can choose the subject I want to talk and write about. That usually is an advantage but not today. I had saved the subject of immigration for Brindisi, inspired by old TV images of Albanians reaching the Italian East coast. And what strikes my surprise when I get to Brindisi? Everybody is Italian. But that does not mean people don`t have an opinion about the immigration issue.... Read more

Tourist spotting

Venice, IT (View on map)
Posted 29 Apr 2008:

Venice is the perfect city for observing tourists and trying to find out where they are from. Most tourists however don`t come to Venice to look at other people. They would much rather arrive in an empty Venice so they can actually see the city instead of walking in line from one place to the other, and having plenty of fellow tourists spoil their photographs. My mission for the day is focused on people more than on buildings. Questions: where are you from, what took you to Venice and how do you like it?... Read more

European love story

Montegrotto, IT (View on map)
Posted 30 Apr 2008:

Spending a study semester abroad is a perfect way to get to know a new country, new customs and new people. The European student program `Erasmus` was set up to facilitate exchanges between European universities. The experience of living in another country for one or two semesters is refreshing, confronting and intense. Because of this, `Erasmus` students tend to spend a lot of time together and create strong bonds between each other. Most of those turn out to be of temporary nature ? explaining the nickname `Orgasmus`, but there`s always a few that stretch beyond the exchange period.... Read more

Separatist ideals

Verona, IT (View on map)
Posted 1 May 2008:

It`s not a coincidence that my coverage about Italy ended up being divided in three parts. The first two parts had a logistical explanation. I simply needed to travel to the South of Italy to get to Malta, and then up again to catch a ferry to Greece. My third passage in Italy can be explained by the fanatic encouragements of Southern-Italians to also visit a few Northern cities, so I could see with my own eyes how much North Italy and South Italy are different from each other.... Read more

Fashion statements

Verona, IT (View on map)
Posted 2 May 2008:

Italians rarely ever lack a subject of conversation. In case it does happen, it only takes one person to start talking about food before the situation is restored. Or about fashion, as I learn today. Opinions and preferences about dress codes differ by the individual, but every Italian for sure has clear cut opinions about it.... Read more

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