Moving to Italy: What you need to Know
Italy is in South-CEntral Europe. It consists of a peninsula shaped like a high–heeled boot with several islands.
Italy is mainly mountainous, except for the Po plain in the north, and runs from the Alps to the central Mediterranean Sea.
The climate is generally a temperate Mediterranean one with variations caused by the mountains and hilly areas.
You can find more about Italy here: http://www.italia.it/en/home.html
Italy’s climate is generally temperate but it can change depending on the distance from the sea or mountains. In summer, the Northern parts of Italy are warm and humid with occasional rainfall, the central regions are quite humid, and the south is scorching. In winter, north is cold and rainy, and in centre, especially in Tuscany, the temperatures are close to freezing. In the south temperatures are generally around 10-20ºC.
Find out more here: http://www.holiday-weather.com/country/italy/
The Italian culture is different between northern people, who are more reserved, and southern who are more vivacious. It is important to keep in mind that people will tend to reflect the characteristics of their local area.
Italians are warm, welcoming people who love to relax, celebrate, socialize with family, friends and, of course, with unknown people. In Italy conversation is an art form. As you walk through the streets or stop at a café, you will notice Italians in intense and animated discussions on a wide variety of topics from family, work, politics and gossip to food, wine and sports.
The family still holds an important role in Italian life; they almost always eat together at the same time. Generally on Sunday, after Mass, the family gathers in the grandparents’ house for the lunch. The value of the family is very strong.
On of the most important holidays in Italy is Liberation Day on April 25. Ceremonies, pageants and festivals take place throughout the day. The most important place during this holiday is Rome where the President of Italy and the whole of parliament is present. There are “Frecce Tricolore” – airplanes specially designed for state-sponsored events- bands, and the parade of law enforcement.
Italian is the official language of Italy. Unfortunately English is not well known there, though it is easier to find people that speak English in a big city but most likely in the north. It is possible to attend different private schools to learn Italian such as “Lingua Viva” http://www.linguaviva.it in Milan and Florence, or Italian Language School “Scuola Leonardo Da Vinci” http://www.scuolaleonardo.com in Milan, Florence, Rome and Siena. It is also possible to study Italian online at ILUSS Italian Online http://www.iluss.it .
The Food and Drink
The Italian cuisine is influenced by local history and traditions, as well as by the locality and seasonal availability of products only a few dishes are considered ‘national’.
Northern Italian cuisine is characterized by risotto and polenta, or game like rabbit, quail or grouse. Seafood and shellfish are very popular on the coasts and rivers where streams provide carp and trout.
Central Italian cuisine is distinctive for its velvety smooth olive oils, world-famous cheeses, savory cured meats and rich tomato sauces. Beef dishes can be found more on the hills of Tuscan and Umbria that are known for their wild boar. Both coasts share the catch of seafood, and the rugged interior is known for hearty mountain fare.
The Pizza of Naples and fresh pasta characterize southern Italian menus. Here there are rich and spicy tomato sauces and the almost exclusive use of olive oil in cooking. Here there are all types of fresh seafood from tuna to anchovies, clams to sea urchins.
Italy is also known for its wine. It’s very famous for the Happy Hours in big cities like Milan, Florence and Rome, where people can eat buffet food and drink a glass of wine. In this way the wine is cheap, but you can always opt to drink a bottle of good quality wine at a restaurant for a higher price.