You may believe these myths because you have read too many expat books about living in Italy like Extra Virgin, or from bumping into an Italian once at university, or because you tasted the Italian experience when on holiday. So if you were thinking about the good life in Italy, and I'm sure it exists somewhere, let me put a few things straight first.
It's better this way.
Italians are sooo superior when it comes to food. Never cook for an Italian. They will hate it because it isn't like their nonna's.
Reality: A lot of Italians eat the same meals week in week out, like pasta and tomato sauce or a exist only on tiny coffees. They will love any attempt at British cooking for the sheer novelty value and appreciate any sweet baked treats because Italian desserts are really limited in range. Whilst the vast majority do not go wild for marmite, some do.
Everyone is very well dressed. You will be made to feel shabby.
Reality: Actually yes, but only in city centres (it is impossible not to feel shabby in Milan). Everywhere else though, people wear practical clothes for doing practical things. Teachers even wear jeans to school!
You will acheive a work-life balance because you will be making a modest but steady income running a B+B, teaching English for a few hours in the afternoons or living off the land.
Reality: Hah! In this economic climate?! Also, I don't think I've ever heard an Italian use the term "work-life balance".
Italians are smiling buffoons full of joie-de-vivre.
Reality: No, but that's what they want you to think if you are a foreign tourist in a touristy restaurant. (Italians don't tip). Little known fact - Berlusconi is in the pay of Italian waiters as they encourage him to promote this adorable national stereotype abroad.*
You will go for a passeggiata every evening with your friends and family.
Reality: Once a week maybe, on a weekend if you aren't retired. Everybody else is too busy. See myth #3.
Italians don't say mmmmmm when they think something is tasty (Is this from Driving Over Lemons or some such expat book?).
Reality: They do.
Italian men are better looking.
Reality: It's not a myth. However, they are shorter.
Any more myths I should tackle? Or am I mistaken? Leave a comment below by clicking on "comments:"
*I made that up.