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Italian culture: Identity
The Italians identify first with their village, this is known as "Campanilismo" - that area visible from the bell tower of the church in their village. "Campanile" meaning bell tower. But first and foremost Italians give priority to themselves, then their families, the village, province, region, and finally the country.

Italian culture traditions: The Italy food culture
The principle reason why many visit Italy is for the food. And who can blame them! The dining has to be among the best, if not the best, in the world. Italian Breakfast: Many a tourist has walked tummy grumbling out of their hotels in the morning. Italians are not big on the "most important meal of the day". Breakfast in Italy is usually a croissant and an espresso. Luckily for some of us most Italian hotels are catching on and now serve plenty of cereals, yogurt, fruit, cold meats and bacon and eggs. Lunch and Supper: (Tea and dinner) The menu is usually the same for both and depending where you are in Italy the main meal could be either lunch or supper. Meals are made up of "antipasto" - starters, then "primo" - a pasta or rice dish, "secondo" - the main meal, usually white or red meat. (Remember vegetables, fries and salads must be ordered separately.) After that comes cheeses, breads and salami and /or other cured meats. Lastly is "dolce" - sweets, which can be desserts or fruits. And finally an espresso (not a Cappuccino) or a liqueur (like Amaretto). Table etiquette: As in most countries you start with the outside cutlery and move your way in after each course. Napkins are on the right and bread will be on the left. Napkins are placed on the lap and forearms (not elbows) should rest on the table, not on the lap (as in Anglo-Saxon fashion). Word of warning: If you do get invited to lunch with some italian friends, do expect a few courses. Go easy on trying to impress the host by eating gigantic pasta proportions (for which you will be heartily encouraged) rather pace yourself for the food assault that's about to follow! (It happened to me once, say no more.)

Italian culture traditions: Festivals
The Italy food culture is celebrated by what can only be described as diet busting Italian food festivals. Bring it on. In Rome it feels like a food festival every weekend. If money belts are supposed to be buckled tighter nobody mentioned that to the Romans. Oil, gold and property mortgages may drop and fluctuate but restaurants in Rome are doing a brisker trade than ever! Most food festivals, or should I rather say, more food festivals happen in Summer. In Rome and Lazio (amongst others):

* Amatrice in Rieti celebrate Amatriciana. The full name is "Sagra degli spaghetti all'Amatriciana". The 30th and 31st August. They celebrate their Amatriciana pasta - fried bacon and tomato sauce. * Ariccia in Castelli Romani (just outside Rome) celebrate "Sagra della Porchetta" in the 1st week of September. There is a youth festival with music and good food (good prices). * Montefiascone (Viterbo) has a BIG and widely praised wine festival, dedicated to a white wine called "Est, Est, Est!"

A Cardinal named Johannes de Fuch was sent by King Henry V to mark the best cellars with the words "Est" - "IT IS!". Apparently the cardinal was so impressed with the wines from Montefiascone he marked "Est, Est, Est" on the taverns, what's more, after having done the wines thorough justice he was later buried in the graveyard of San Flaviano Montefiascone. Return to the top

Italian culture traditions: The Italian lover

Apparently all is not well with the famed Italian lover. If television is to be believed Italian males are having trouble finding their customary 2 partners - the faithful wife that keeps house like Mama does, and the whore-lover who fulfills the needs of the libido.

Having to fulfill their needs in a society moving towards equality is an ever increasing challenge. Another spanner in the works is that many...
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