Italy

Italy is a European boot-shaped country with a long Mediterranean coastline. Known for its history, as well as its international contribution to gastronomy, fashion and culture.

Capital City:

Rome

Currency:

Euro

Total population:

59.5 million (2020)

Language(s) spoken:

Italian

Cultural dos:

Dress smartly and look good. Italians take pride in how they look

Cultural don’ts

Don’t be in a hurry to eat early. Most restaurants open as late as 8pm for dinner

Continent:

Europe

Three foods you need to try in this country:

  • Fresh pasta with fresh ingredients
  • Italian Pizza
  • Risotto (rice cooked with vegetables, meat and cheese)

Bonus

  • Gelato ice cream
  • Prosecco (not a food but worthy of a notable mention)
  • Pastries with pistachio cream
  • Christmas Panettone

What the country is known for :

  • The Colosseum
  • The Pantheon
  • Leaning Tower of Pisa
  • Sports cars (Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini),
  • High fashion brands (Gucci, Prada, Giorgio Armani, Versace)
  • Italian coffee/espressos
  • Tuscan vineyards (and its wine)
  • Italian Renaissance artists (Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael)

More About Italy

I first visited Italy in 2018, lured by cheap tickets to go to a foreign country and the potential of amazing Italian food. I had no power to resist. My first trip was filled with a combination with emotions as I had a few first face to face confrontations with ‘racism during travel’. I learnt that black women in Italy may be seen as ‘working girls’, resulting in a few unwelcome approaches. However, knowledge is power – after learning that this was the case, it allowed me to navigate Italy differently and still have a lovely time. So lovely that I have returned to Italy a couple of times since. 

The draw of Italy is obvious. This country is packed with something for everyone be it history, food, nature, adventure activities, fashion, wine, art or literature and philosophy. There are so many things that the Italians have given to the world and it is such an experience to see this in its natural habitat.

Firstly, history and philosophy. The Roman Empire and its impact on the rest of the world is inescapable and sets the foundation on the way a number of things are done today and part of how some of the borders of the world countries are dominated. The Romance languages (Italian, Spanish, Romanian, French and Portuguese) derived from Latin, the former dominant language in the Roman Empire. Many words in the English language also have latin roots. A visit to Rome can be an incredible lesson in history with the multiple walking tours, galleries and museums with information galore. 

Italy was a major centre for the Renaissance era, between the 14th and 17th century. This period was a period of political, cultural, artistic and economic rebirth following the middle ages. The creativity from this period can be enjoyed as you walk around the different Italian cities and the Italians take great pride in sharing this with the world. Some well known creatives from Italy include Galileo Galilei, Michelangelo, Leornado da Vinci, Antonio Vivaldi, Luciano Pavarotti, Giogio Armani, Monica Bellucci. There are also some well known explorers such as Christopher Columbus and Marco Polo, who also came from Italy. 

Home of fine food and wines. For the last few years, Prosecco, an Italian Sparkling wine, has been noted one as the most consumed wine in the world. This is only one of the many wines produced in the fertile grounds of Italy, which also grows many other notable fruits and vegetables such as oranges, lemons, olives and durum wheat. Italy has a rich culinary history with different regions offering unique foods from north to south. Food is a very big part of Italian culture and there is food for every time of day and every occasion. There are options of fresh breads and pastries in the morning. Snacks for the midmorning and mid afternoon come in different shapes and sizes such as the crostini with fresh toppings and olive oils, gelato, different types of cheese or dried meat and then main meals generally include different pasta dishes with rich sauces made of simple fresh ingredients. Meat and seafood are treated with absolute respect, to enable the enjoyment of its natural flavours, simple yet delicious. Naturally, a people with so much respect for food know that a dry throat is not good for one, therefore some of the drinks available include a range of regional wines, limoncello or aperol spritz.  

Rome, Venice, Florence and Milan are lovely Italian cities for the history, culture, food and wine as well as fashion. However, if you wish to take a break from the city life, other options to explore are the Amalfi Coast, located outside of Naples and next to the Mediterranean Sea, The Dolomites (also known as the Italian Alps) in northern Italy, with a backdrop of plush green hills, the breathtaking sharp and jagged mountain tops stand covered in snow or Sicily, an amazing island with amazing beaches, architecture and gastronomy offerings a foodie will delight in. I would recommend train travel in Italy to enable a view of the changing landscapes as one travels across the country.

English Italian
Hello Ciao
Goodbye Arriverderci
Please Per favore
Thank you Grazie
How much? Quanto?
Do you speak English? Lei parla Inglese?
Where is the toilet? Dov’ee la toilette?
May I please have some water? Posso avere un po’ d’acqua per favour?
I would like some food please Vorrei del cibo, per favore
Where can I get a taxi? Dove posso prendere un taxi?

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