We all know that Italy is about eating pasta, wonderful ice-creams and gestures when talking. But, is there anything about this country that we don’t know? Well, after living almost one year in here we can assure you that there are things that, despite the well-known stereotypes, will take you guys by surprise.
1) They have school lessons on Saturday morning. As terrifying as it sounds: Italian weekend is only one day long. Italian teenagers attend lessons six days per week since they are fourteen years old. During Primary School (“Scuola Primaria”) some schools offer the possibility of choosing between spending Saturday at school or going there also during the evenings. However, there is not such a choice during the eight years of High School (three years of “Scuola Media” + five of “Scuola Superiore”): Saturday is supposed to be spent at school and Friday evening is just an ordinary week-day. Worst possible nightmare becomes true in here. If you want to know more about the Education System in Italy, click here.
2) They use the bidet properly. If you were not born in the pasta-pizza-coffee country, you would probably not be familiarized with such an object. Actually, you would possibly not even know what I am talking about. The bidet is the white thing of the bathroom that has a water tap (don’t confuse it with the washbasin) in which you can easily sit down (PLEASE, do not confuse it with the toilet). And… well, Italians give to it its proper use. And in case you were wonder, no, its use is not to collect dirty clothes before doing the laundry.
3) Each region has its own dialect. Were you thinking that Italy was only about Italian? It is not the case. And before you point it out, we are not talking about different accents. In Italy more than 50 dialect are spoken because, basically, each region or small town has its own. And we can assure you that they have nothing to do with each other (neither with the Italian itself): two Italians speaking two different dialect might not understand each other. Family and friends are the context where Italians tend to learn it, given that TV and school always speak Italian.
4) They feel an insane affection towards dogs. Really. You guys cannot imagine until which point this is a thing. Walking a dog in the street without being interrupted by at least ten Italians is simply impossible. While caressing them as if it was the first time they were seeing such an animal, they will be asking you questions about your pet that you had even not wondered before. Dogs are allowed in restaurants, shops, supermarkets and hairdressers. The sentence “We are five and a dog” becomes popular when booking for a dinner.
5) They are quite afraid of dying in the bathroom. At least, this is the explanation I give to myself in order to understand this last phenomena: absolutely ALL the toilets in Italy have an alarm system that you can activate when you are using the toilet. It is basically a rope that, when it is pulled, activates a loud siren that can be perfectly heard in all the restaurant (and, probably, also in all the neighborhood). Why do I know it? Well. Let’s simply say that the mechanism is quite similar to the action of pulling the chain. Mistakes can be made. I’d be happy to admit that it happened only once.