Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Little About My Homeland

For this post, I decided that I want to focus on a travel spot that’s near and dear to my heart because it’s the country where I’m from. Italy is such an amazing place and it’s one that I’ve only been able to experience in a tourist's point of view. Maybe I’m just biased because of my heritage, but when I visited Italy, I had the best food, met the nicest people, took great pictures, and did some productive shopping! Aside from all of the amazing tourist spots, Italian culture, like most European cities is extremely wholesome and laid back. Therefore, I’d like to dedicate this post to my family and share a little bit about the Italian culture that I know and love.

There are endless amounts of Italian stereotypes regarding food, but that’s probably just because Italian food is no joke! Some staples of Italian cuisine include pasta, tomatoes, roasted peppers, zucchini, olive oil, prosciutto, sausage, garlic, cheese, wine, fish, and of course, pizza. As Italians, all of our family meals together include each of these items and it’s always delicious. Italian food isn’t necessarily the lightest, but there’s no doubt that it’s one of the best. Personally, I view Italian food as comfort food more than any other cuisine, but that’s probably just because it’s what I know best! For Italians, food is a large part of social gatherings. All family and friend gatherings are centered around food. My family and I always joke around with my grandma because her meal won’t even be served to her yet and she’ll be offering everyone a taste! I’m not sure why, but Italians always want to feed people!

Like I mentioned earlier, Italians love to host family gatherings. Family ties are very strong in the Italian culture. The closeness of Italian families isn’t only between mothers, fathers, and their children, but extended family as well. It is very important that Italian children are taught to remain close with their family throughout their life. Often times this means that families live quite close to one another. I find this very prevalent in my own life as I have always been extremely close with my family and my cousins are some of my best friends. Check out this picture of me and my family in Italy 4 years ago! 

That being said, it is very common for Italians to work with their family. Many Italian companies are small to mid-size businesses run by one single family. Even larger companies are often owned by single families as well. When I learned this, I found it to be funny because my grandpa owns a company that him and my father run together. Odds are they will pass it down to my brother and he will work for it in the future as well. In other countries, business meetings, even between family members, are usually more formal than in Italy. Italians are very casual people. 

Italian holidays are typically those of the Roman Catholic religion. Italians often celebrate Christmas, Easter, and Pasquetta (Monday after Easter). Many times, Italians celebrate Saints Day where they celebrate deceased relatives. In addition, Roman Catholic Italians often celebrate the feast day of particular saints. For instance, my family celebrates St Ann’s day on July 26th each year to commemorate St Ann. We often go to Hoboken, where a lot of my family lives or once lived, and partake in the festival around St Ann’s church. It features a ton of food, music, games, friends, and family.  

As you can see, Italian culture is very relaxed and centered around family and food. If you ever visit Italy, you need to make sure you bring your appetite! I definitely recommend visiting Italy with your family to truly engage in the Italian culture. Whether you’re in Rome or Capri, Italy is very relaxing and very interesting. It’s such a beautiful place with so much history and culture. I visited Italy in 2013, and I can still visualize the beautiful views, especially all of the architecture. If you ever visit Italy, some cities I recommend are Rome, Florence, Vatican City, Capri, Positano, Naples, Venice, and Milan. Each city has different culture and history. Italy is a place where you can spend a few weeks and always have something new to see. Italian culture is very unique and the best way to experience the true Italian way of life is by visiting the country. Seeing Italy and engaging with the Italian people made me feel extremely close to and proud of my heritage. I'm sad that I experienced Italy when I was younger because I wish I could experience it now as an adult. One day I hope to return and I hope that all of you get to experience it as well!


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