Why You Should Move To Italy
Let’s be honest, we’ve all imagined what it would be like to live in Italy. But after about 30 seconds of daydreaming, we pull ourselves back to reality and chuckle at the absurdity of entertaining such an outlandish thought.
But what if this scenario was actually less outrageous than we tend to think? As someone who married a native Italian, and now lives in Italy, I tell you, from personal experience, that it is the adventure of a lifetime.
While not everything about moving to Italy is perfect, I’m going to share with you some of the reasons that make it feel pretty close to perfect – and why it may be time for you to start considering a future you never thought possible.
Afraid Your Best Years Are Behind You?
Of all the reasons for moving to Italy or any place in the world, that I’m going to share with you, this may be the most profound. Whether you’re at the first half of your life with college behind you, established in your career, and beginning to think about marriage and a family, or in the second half of your life with kids grown (if you have them), divorced (of you were ever married) and you’re feeling like all the adventure you’re going to have in life is already behind you – it may be time for a re-set!
No matter what age you are or what chapter of life you’re in, it’s never time to settle for a passionless existence.
As someone who has been living in Italy for the past two years, I can tell you that living here is the best cure for drudgery and a lack of passion.
When you wake up every day in a place where everything from the food and culture to the language and scenery is new (to you) – it is impossible to feel bored. When each day is filled with new discoveries and experiences, your life, as a whole, is an adventure.
Italians Know How To Live
Growing up in the United States, I never realized just how out of whack the work/life balance really is. After working for a large corporation for 6 years and then starting two of my own businesses, I was a stressed-out, over-worked and over-weight, but according to American standards, I was a “success”.
As cliche as it sounds, Americans live to work, while Italians work to live.
Here are a few examples. The typlical work day in Italy starts between 8am and 10am. There’s at least one espresso break in the morning before lunch. At noon (for some, 1pm) businesses close down for a leasurly 2 to 3 hour lunch break. At 3pm, businesses re-open until 6 or 7pm, with at least one or two more espresso breaks (in office or at a local bar). Dinner is eaten after 8pm and it is eaten at an actual table – not in front of a TV screen.
While most Americans feel like they’ve “arrived” when they can boast of two weeks paid vacation, most Italians take the whole month of August off of work. There are also 12 school and bank holidays celebrated in Italy each year with most businesses closed. Americans are lucky to get 4 or 5 holidays per year.
Italian's Don't Hate Each Other The Way Americans Do
Italians are more at odds with each other over their favorite soccer teams than they are over politics or social issues. It’s heartbreaking to see the United States so divided and angry at each other.
Neighbors and family members living in open contempt for each other over who they voted for in a recent election or which political party they align with is not seen in Italy. People certainly have strong opinions in Italy about social issues and politics but they are nonetheless respectful of their countrymen who have differing opinions than themselves.
“Cancel Culture” and political correctness are not part of the culture in Italy. People are allowed to think and say what they like without fear of reprisal. Combined with the culture of respect for individual beliefs, this creates a culture of kindness rather than one of judgment and prejudice. Compared to the United States, it feels like a breath of fresh air.
So much has been written and shared about Italian food that it’s unnecessary to spend much time making the case for a cuisine loved worldwide. But here are a few observations from the perspective of an American living, eating, and cooking in Italy for two years.
Fast Food is a rarity. While plenty of Italian will confess to treating themselves to the occasional large french fries from McDonald’s, fast food is the exception rather than the rule, and food is almost never eaten on the go inside a car. Most cities don’t even have fast-food joints. My small city has 4 fruit and vegetable shops within the city limits and zero fast-food restaurants. Even the fast-food spots that you find in most cities do not have a drive-thru so you actually have to park and walk to get there.
With much more mindful practices and regulations, the food that you buy at the grocery stores or the weekly farmer’s markets is healthier and tastier. Chickens are small and lean, but full of flavor – not fat, bland, and pumped full of Lord-knows-what.
Fruit and vegetables still have dirt and bugs on them because they’re so freshly harvested without being washed, waxed, sprayed, and gassed like produce in the United States.
The flavors are vibrant and authentic – you don’t need to add loads of seasonings on produce that looks great but tastes like cardboard.
Italian food is chosen, prepared, and enjoyed slowly and mindfully – often with others in a more social and family-oriented environment.
If you’re like many people, in the world, you only speak one language, but you’d love to speak at least two. When asked which language most people would like to learn in the world of over 7,000 different ones, Italian comes in at number 10.
Italian is the mother of all Latin-based languages as it was the first language to be born from Latin. Italian is spoken in a handful of countries worldwide with nearly 70 million total proficient Italian speakers.
There’s no better way to learn a language than to be immersed in the culture. Can you think of any country you’d rather live in while learning the language than Italy?
As wonderful as it is to have lived in the melting pot of the world, the USA doesn’t have a lot of its very own traditions and cultural holidays (besides Independence Day and Thanksgiving).
When you live in Italy, you are overwhelmed by one festival and holiday after another. Each of these holidays come with their own unique foods and traditions which add the spice of “variety” to life in Italy.
Epifania – January 6th
Liberation Day – April 25th
Ferragosto – August 15th
Feast of Immaculate Conception – December 8th
St. Stephen’s Day – December 26th
These are just a few of the holidays celebrated in Italy that are unknown to most of the world.
Volumes could be written about the wonderful people of Italy, but here are a few reasons Italians are so special and why people flock to Italy by the millions each year.
Passion – Italians are passionate about everything they do. Whether it’s food, wine, fashion, cars, family, architecture, sports, or love – Italians approach life with gusto. They are also famous for doing things well. That’s why the “made in Italy” brand is recognized as being of the highest quality by the global community.
Education – Italy has one of the world’s most educated populations. Coming in at 27th place globally for math, reading, and science in 2021 according to the OECD’s PISA report. This is no surprise as Italy has been at the center of Science, Art, and Politics since the Renaissance and the Roman Empire.
Generous – Whether it’s sharing fresh vegetables from their gardens, their Nonna’s “Pollo e Patate” recipe, giving you free pizzas because you’re a regular, or introducing you to friends who can speak a bit of English to help you feel more at home in their country – Italians have some of the biggest hearts in the world!
Even though we’d all love to be able to pick up and move to Italy, for some of us it’s just not practical – or is it?
I personally know three American families with children and/or pets who moved to Italy *during the pandemic* – I can’t imagine anything more challenging. With so many of us able to work from home these days, maybe you’re all out of excuses.
If you’re a single person who is interested in dating or marrying a native Italian and getting dual Italian citizenship – check out Nathan Heinrich’s next article, “Dating & Marrying A Italian“.
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