When Italy Goes Wrong

Copia di chiuso_per_sfiga

You will become more comfortable if you keep in mind that Italy is not America nor England nor whatever country you are used to:

  • When everything is closed on Monday morning…welcome to Italy and come back after 4pm.

  • When you cannot get groceries on a Sunday…this is Italy so join them for an aperitivo!

  • When you get hungry after midnight and restaurants are closed…Italy already ate, you wanted to lose a few pounds anyway.

  • When you have to go to the post office for everything…this is one way to get to know your neighbors…they will all be there waiting with you.


  • When you cannot get ice for your Coke, even in Burger King in the middle of August…now, that is just wrong. I should at least be able to get ice in Burger King. First, I am going to complain to the headquarters, since it is an American company. Then, I will remember that I am in Italy, so I will have a glass of chilled white wine instead.

  • When you have to get your fruit, bread, meat, fish, fresh pasta and prosciutto at separate shops, because you want the best quality…Yes, it is annoying but…

  • When you bite into that peach you got from that shop, or taste that bite of maltagliati ai frutti di mare, which you made yourself or sip that crisp Italian wine you got this morning…that is when you know you are in Italy and are so glad about it.


There are pros and cons to living in Italy. Eventually, you will find the shops which stay open on Monday mornings. You will discover Despar, which is not only open late but remains open till 8pm on Sundays. It took me a year and a half to learn that. You will realize that there are some restaurants open past midnight and even 24 hour grocery stores, which for some reason they call ‘drug stores’. I still cannot understand why.

You will figure out how to pay some of your bills on-line or at a Tabaccaio for an extra euro. Otherwise, you will learn to get your number at the post office, run some errands and return just before your number is called; you now know it takes 1 minute for every 1.5 numbers called. In fact, this is the perfect time to hit all the specialty food shops. You will get used to not getting ice and will drink more wine anyway. Eventually, you may get tired of the same Italian food every day, so you will then discover all the restaurants which serve foreign cuisine. If you want to whip them up yourself, Castroni, which sells a variety of international foods, will become you best friend.

This is Italy…

“There were certain impressions that one could get only in Italy. There were others that one never got there, and one got some that were very bad. But from time to time one got a delightful one, which made up for everything.”

– Henry James ‘The Portrait of a Lady’



Related articles:

Getting Acquainted with Rome – The Love Affair Begins

Avoiding Italian Predators with a Taste for the Foreign Variety

Avoiding Scams

Parioli: Living in Chic Central…sort of.

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