Living in Italy

Insiders' tips to enjoy la dolce vita

A typical day in Italy starts with having coffee and breakfast with your family. Family is without doubt at the centre of the Italian lifestyle. The Italian working routine is generally divided into a morning and an afternoon shift. It is true that most people go back home to eat a plate of pasta with their loved ones before yet another espresso to face the rest of the working day. Having fun with your friends is serious business in Italy! The evening usually starts with a glass of prosecco - the famous aperitivo. Are you curious to find out more about Italian everyday habits? Get acquainted with the ins and outs of the Italian lifestyle with our articles.

Italy: a land rich in art and culture

The Italian cultural and natural heritage is famous worldwide. Italy boasts over 50 UNESCO heritage sites. This makes Italy the country with the highest number of UNESCO sites in the world. Keeping this in mind, it comes as no surprise that Italy is one of the most popular holiday destinations. Whether you like sunbathing by the seaside, hiking in the mountains or simply prefer sightseeing, an Italian holiday will meet all your travel needs. The rich Italian history is reflected not only by the monuments in every Italian city but also by the different lifestyles, customs and habits scattered throughout Italy. Italy counts indeed twenty administrative divisions and every Italian region is a microcosm worth exploring. Your experience as an expat in Italy will be unique depending on which Italian area you decide to move to.

Learn the Italian language

Learning Italian is one of the main reasons why foreigners decide to spend a period of time in Italy. Despite being spoken predominantly in just Italy, the Italian language is the fifth most studied in the world. Many language enthusiasts decide to take a language course in an Italian language school or at an Italian university. The two most famous universities where foreigners can study the Italian language are located in the centre of Italy, namely in Siena and in Perugia.
Why is learning Italian so appealing? Speaking Italian fluently means that you can fully enjoy your stay in Italy. You can travel all around Italy and communicate with native speakers: Italians are always eager to present their culture and to explain the local history behind not only the sights but also the typical Italian dishes of the town you are visiting. Having said that, the other reasons behind the fascination for the Italian language are largely related to the Italian culture and to the Italian cuisine. With a good command of the Italian language, you will be able to read novels of Italian contemporary writers. The language of famous Italian authors from the past, such as Dante and Manzoni, is very difficult even for native speakers of Italian. However, you can read the original Italian text while comparing it with an explanation in the contemporary standard of the Italian language. When you are tired of reading, you can sing along to the lyrics of your favourite Italian songs. Italian music is famous all over the world but Italians will introduce you to singers whose music has been less exported abroad, with examples such as Fabrizio De André and Luigi Tenco. Since the beauty of their songs is found mainly in the lyrics, speaking Italian will enrich your musical knowledge and open you up to new discoveries.

Italian food: much more than just pasta and pizza

Many people decide to visit Italy to delight their taste buds. The Italian gastronomy is appreciated as being one of the best worldwide and Italian local produce is exported all over the world. What makes Italian cuisine so delicious? Simplicity. Indeed, the Italian cuisine is based on home-grown ingredients. The Italian diet is typically Mediterranean, with a basis of fruit and vegetables grown in the Italian countryside. Olive oil is the quintessential ingredient of the Mediterranean diet, as well as a glass of red wine every now and then. The variety of typical Italian dishes goes far beyond pasta and pizza! The menu differs in each Italian region. Our advice would be to travel throughout Italy and use your knowledge of the Italian language to ask for food recommendations from the locals. Some examples of Italian food and drink you absolutely should sample: when stopping by Naples, do not forget to have a sip of limoncello; when visiting Sicily, try the famous sweet treat named cannolo siciliano; in Ascoli, the fried olive all'ascolana; in Genoa, a bite of focaccia. These Italian delicacies only just scratch the surface. Keep reading our magazine about living in Italy for more tips about food and life in the Bel Paese.