Re: Any Mamas in Italy? Tell me about Italy!
I just moved back to the U.S. after living in Italy for 2 years. But I wasn't there as military, though I did visit a friend on a base--the experience is different. And the locals opinions of Americans is different there too (ie. various protests) I also travelled all across the country. Of course I have some strong opinions of Italy and not all favorable but there are very big differences as to what people are like depending on the region. Are you going to visit or live there? And do you know what part? If just visiting what time of year and for how long?
(Best place, I know typical, but really wonderful for a couple alone is Venice, and Americans love this place but Cinque Terra really is romantic, but only go in summertime. For family, Pompeii is great and also historical, and I really loved Sicily many old ruins. Rome also good. Many love Florence for it's rich art history but that is where you will run into the most American tourists and the most snobby Italians)
I guess I can try to tackle some of you questions. Healthcare, I miss greatly. People pay high taxes but have completely free healthcare, including to some extent even for illegal immigrants, also people entitled to pension, and 1 month of paid vacation-always in August everyone goes to the beaches and in the cities everything is closed, and around 20 additional paid holidays.
Italy has an interesting political history, not to be forgotten a fascist one at that. It's not unusual to find supporters of fascism. Many are openly racist and nationalistic. But there is also some history of Communist Party. In my opinion currently things are to the right.
I would call their trials as fair as you could call ours.
I believe the legal drinking age is 16, but even so their attitudes regarding alcohol is very different than ours. There is much less of problems of alcoholism. You are allowed to have alcohol in the street and in public but it's looked down on. Small amounts of wine and beer are given freely to children and it is considered food more than alcohol. From what I was told at least in the case of marijuana it's illegal to sell but not consume. I've seen some openly smoking in the park.
The main religion, of course with the center of it there in Rome, is Catholicism. Vatican happenings are reported daily in the news. But I would say there's a gap between what is taught and what the majority actually practice, esp. regarding birth control ect. Mostly if you see other religions they are usually immigrants.
Schools vary depending on public and private--many private schools being half in English. Hours are fewer than American schools. Schools are very small, in each neighborhood.
There are lots of Americans living all across Italy and many Italian classes to accommodate them. There are even free Italian classes for other immigrants, there are many from Morocco, Romania, Ukraine, Peru, Albania, Polish, Tunisian, Nigerian ect.
I'm gonna skip the American question, just too much to say.
Clothing and eating out is very expensive, and it can be hard to find food to an American's liking. Do's and don'ts , they don't tip waiters and when you enter a store try to always salutare say hi and bye when you come and go. Also dress nicely to fit in better. Also just to note every single time I flew into Italy bags were lost, good news is they will deliver them to you wherever you're staying, but sometimes might take a couple of days.
Anyway that's a little start, but feel free to PM me if you have other questions.
Mama to Ledion Jan 11, 2009 Sofiola August 7,2010