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    Vatican City: Vatican Museums. Go Now!

    Vatican City
    The smallest country in the world offers the heart of Catholicism and among the world's finest art collections, including the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael Rooms (ceiling pictured). Go to Vatican City!

  • Macedonia!

    Macedonia: Traditional architecture. Go Now!

    Macedonia
    Macedonia is a country still finding its unique identity, but its architecture is already one of a kind. Explore Macedonia!

  • Netherlands!

    Netherlands: Wooden shoes. Go Now!

    Netherlands
    This low country might be small, but it maintains a unique place in history and culture. Explore the Netherlands!

  • Austria!

    Austria: Belvedere Palace. Go Now!

    Austria
    Belvedere Palace (pictured) is just one of many palaces found in Vienna. The capital is a good start to Austria, which also features the Alps, the Lakes District, and incredible history & food. Go Now!

  • Ukraine!

    Ukraine: Traditional Village. Go Now!

    Ukraine
    Ukrainian culture is based on village life, particularly that found in the Carpathian Mountains (pictured). Begin Your Journey!

  • Sweden!

    Sweden: Swedish Village. Go Now!

    Sweden
    This Scandinavian country boasts big city excitement in Stockholm to small town charm. Begin Your Journey!

Culture & Identity of Italy

Introduction

Italian Culture - Relaxing
Relaxing

The Italians work to live and the daily way of life truly revolves around enjoying life, not work. However, work occupies much of their time and is needed to make the money wanted to enjoy life.

The way of life in Italy should begin with the weekends (Saturday-Sunday), evenings, and vacations, which are most often taken during the summer months when school is out. Life in Italy is social as people gather whenever they are given the chance. This may just mean dinner at home with the family or an extended vacation to the beaches or perhaps a ski trip to the Alps. Every Italian seems to love these times off and tends to fill these times with socialization, good food, and local Italian wines. For some, their Catholic faith is also important and Sunday is a day to attend church.

To have this relaxed lifestyle, the Italians work much like people throughout the world. Most people live and work in the cities, which is where nearly 70% of the population lives. The occupations are divided, but most working Italians have jobs in the services sector, with somewhat regular hours. For most people this means the workday begins at about 8:30 am and ends at about 7:00 pm. However, many people take a long lunch midday at home. Work seems to start late most Monday mornings and sometimes also cuts out early Thursday or Friday afternoons. However, for those people working in restaurants or bars the hours are vastly different as most restaurants only open at about 3:00 pm and many Italians eat late into the evening.

Schools tend to have more standard hours as many begin at about 8:00 am and end at about 1:00 to 4:00 pm, but some have afternoon classes and others have a long lunch when children go home. Schools are in session from about late June to early September.

Hours seem relaxed and time is often delayed in Italy, but school is for getting a job and getting a job is to earn money so one can enjoy life, so this is where most people's priorities are. Life, family, and friends first, then perhaps food and wine, then everything else.

Identity

Italy has numerous regions and most Italians identify with the region they are from, which may be Tuscany or Sicily among others. Each region has significant variations, from ethnicity and accent to foods, customs, architecture, and activities. While it is very common for Italians to first identify as a member of their region, most also identify as an Italian on a secondary level. The Italian identity seems to be a more politically-defined identity as most people agree it includes all citizens of Italy, including immigrants.

This page was last updated: November, 2013