When it comes to Italian traditions, I think it’s more fitting to call them rituals. It’s safe to say they take these traditions quite seriously, as you soon discover for yourself once you land on Italian soil. They are evident everywhere, from coffee and cornetto stops to washing lines after washing lines as far as the eye can see … a balcony.
Many of these traditions are beautiful little characteristics that shape Italy into what it is today, and why people travel far and wide to witness the authentic Italian lifestyle for themselves, many choosing to reside here once a glimpse has been caught. The wonderful way of the locals is so intriguing and original that it constantly leaves you feeling like you are in a picture, or a character in a novel. It’s a proud, polished country that is impossible to take for granted, rather it leaves you in awe and astonishment.
As I mentioned coffee and cornettos, or any form of freshly prepared pastry is a favourite among Italians.
As long as you have a fast metabolism or a gym membership, you’re living the life! There are many traditional biscuits and snacks based on the particular region, but one thing that transcends throughout the country is the quality of tasty treats. You snack like a king.
Another typical dining delicacy here is the Aperitivo. Now this genius invention was new to me until I experienced it within days of landing here. The Italians love casual meetings with friends that includes drinks and finger food, again the delicious kind of course. The food may vary but it’s typically bruschetta, ricotta panelle, olives and nuts.. basically gourmet food that goes well with alcohol. For an Irish person I hadn’t been used to this social routine but once I got in touch with my Italian side they had me hooked.
Casual meet ups are a tradition in itself here. Italians are very social people, coming together anytime of the day for drinks and food. Karaoke is another winner here. You will find big groups casually sipping on beer having a sing along, or munching on pizzetta and arancini (typical Sicilian rice croquette). This is why the cafes and bars are open late into the night and open early in the morning. Cakes and coffee beans at the ready.
At the weekends it’s all about family. Everyone gathers together at the house of the week and prepare a 4 or 5 course meal, which will have at least one course of fish. Chatting while chopping vegetables, children being showered with love and attention, and plenty of enthusiasm in the air. It’s a particular routine that every household has. When it’s a public holiday they tend to go one step further and head to their country house, or one of their friends or family members.
Another tradition taken by Italians are barbecues. Of course with the climate and Mediterranean country side it’s hard not to agree with them there! With wine and company out in the open air, it’s serenity and simplicity at its finest.
It’s amazing how most families choose to spend their time off spending time with close family and friends with nothing but homemade food and the sounds of the wilderness surrounding them. I think most people could take a leaf from their book, and unwind in style.
Whatever the occasion, whoever the Italian, the things that are held close to their hearts are friends, family and food. If you ask me that sounds like the perfect traditional belief system, don’t you think?