Guest Post by Cherrye from My Bella Italy
The idea of living in the bel paese makes many would-be expats as green as fresh basilico. It is Italy, after all, one of the top tourist destinations in the world and a place where history and culture seep from centuries-old buildings and antique cobblestone streets.
However, visiting Italy and planting roots aren’t quite the same thing -- a truth I’ve been forced to share on occasion whenever bright-eyed tourists proclaim their love for this land and quickly inform their spouses, “I think I could live here.”
The truth of the matter is, it’s not easy to live in Italy. In addition to the sad state of the economy, the laughing stock of a prime minister and the forces responsible for letting 100,000 tons of trash overtake Naples in recent years, there are some things that are harder to live with than others.
And here are three of them.
1. Cibo and Vino
People travel to new countries to soak in the culture and lifestyle of the region they are visiting, and when these people are in Italy-they get to eat it up. Literally.
Italian food is arguably the best food in the world, and I’m a sucker for Calabrian red peppers, eggplants and pecorino cheese. But sometimes, a girl just wants a peanut butter sandwich on American white bread … some cheddar cheese … real orange juice.
When you’re traveling in Italy, PB&J, Mexican burritos and quick and easy sushi are the furthest things from your mind. But the longer you stay overseas, the more you’ll find that not only old cravings die hard but -- after a year--or three- they can spring back to life - with a vengeance.
2. Chiuso … Again!
You know how charming it is that stores still close in the middle of day and everyone goes home to enjoy a long lunch with their families? Well, try running to the store for tampons, ahem, personal items, in the middle of the day and being met with closed gates.
Not so charming anymore …
Not so charming at all … .
3. Red Tape and Personal Space
Italy is notorious for its never-ending red tape and just about every expat has a bone-chilling Italian bureaucracy experience to tell. Travelers to Italy generally laugh off the eternal lines and misinformation -- but when your residency depends on spending 3 hours a day over 3 full days in various lines only to be told you have to start all over again, it is not a laughing matter.
Speaking of laughing matters, there are dozens of contradictions that we foreigners come across on almost a daily basis. And, I’m sure, that for Italians moving to America, the same goes for them, too. For example, southern Italians, who hang their laundry to dry for the entire neighborhood to see, notoriously get upset when their privacy has been invaded even in the smallest way. So why they have no problem when a pharmacist questions them in front of a crowded room of those same neighbors, “What do you need?” And they reply in a loud, proud voice, “Something for my hemorrhoids.”
Do you live in Italy? What other misconceptions do you think there are about living here as compared to traveling here?
Cherrye Moore is a freelance writer and B&B owner living in Calabria, Italy. She writes for Affordable Calling Cards offering calling cards for Italy.
She also pens informative and entertaining articles on traveling to Calabria on her website, My Bella Vita.