Us Europeans

Archives for Italy

Playing in the streets

Working, eating, sleeping and working. Such is the lifestyle imposed on European young adults. Opting out is unacceptable, both financially and socially. People first need money to save time – then they need money to keep themselves amused during the time they have just saved. Numerous are those who have forgotten a time when they did not need any money at all: relying entirely on social relations and playing away any dull moment they encountered. I hope to find some of that back by asking people in the South of Italy: what is your best childhood memory?

Posted by Bruno

Immigration

Being self-employed without income is not always easy, but it does give a lot of freedom. Every morning when I wake up, I can choose the subject I want to talk and write about. That usually is an advantage but not today. I had saved the subject of immigration for Brindisi, inspired by old TV images of Albanians reaching the Italian East coast. And what strikes my surprise when I get to Brindisi? Everybody is Italian. Still, I managed to get a story about immigration together.

Posted by Bruno

Political activism

It`s 16 February: 4 degrees above zero, strong winds from the East and with white powder moving along horizontal lines in the air. Yes, it`s snowing in the very South of Italy! I am just as unpleasantly surprised as the locals are. Still, a small assembly of people on the main square of Grottaglie steadily grows into a big crowd. Eventually, about 1000 people are set to march through the streets to demonstrate against the local authorities. Objective: force the municipality to withdraw their permission to open up ? another ? junk yard next to the city.

Posted by Bruno

Italians are often laughed at for living with their parents until they reach the age of 30 or sometimes even higher. Unfortunately for them, it is not only their mother`s cooking that keeps them at home.

Posted by Bruno

Staying in touch

After a short week of Malte, I am back in Italy. Today, I am finding out what I already knew: Italians are fond of talking. Whether in real life or over their mobile phone and in both cases, the conversation comes with the same gestures and facial expressions. When Italians are on the phone, it doesn`t look like they are talking to the person on the other end. From what you see, it looks more probable that they are either talking to themselves, or to just anybody happening to pass by.

Posted by Bruno

More food talk

Italians can have vivid discussions on just about any subject, and one of the subjects that is most certainly included is food. Villages fight between each other on how to properly prepare this-and-that meal, which herbs to use and how the village next door is doing it all wrong. In a similar matter, even students who live together are likely to argue about the ingredients of the day`s dinner. I already wrote about coffee and pasta, but there is so much more to say about Italian cuisine.. Here`s some more food talk:

Posted by Bruno

Catania, IT (View on map)   Living next to a volcano sounds like a rather risky project. Inhabitants of Catania know all about it. They live on the lower slopes of Mount Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe. Etna is in constant state of eruption, but the last time its lava streams touched the… » read more

Posted by Bruno

Patron Saints

Every self-respecting village and city in Italy has its own Patron Saint Celebration. With at least one daily celebration taking place somewhere in Italy, it couldn`t possibly take long before I walked into one. Here I am, in Catania, Sicily. The 5th of February is dedicated to the local patron saint, known as Santa Agatha.

Posted by Bruno

Talking hands

Over the last few days, I have made some comparisons between the Finns and the Italians and I think there will be more of those over the days to come. Today, I am writing about the Italian way of communicating, which makes a nice contrast with the monotonous and seemingly indifferent way of talking that the Finns are used to. Seeing Italian people converse in the streets is like going to an open-air theatre, and Sicilians seem to be top of the bill when it comes to body language.

Posted by Bruno

Political stability is not one of Italy`s strong points. Left-wing governments succeed right-wing governments and vice versa. Since World War II, the average lifetime of Italian governments has barely exceeded one year. Ordinary Italians put very little trust in their political leaders and they are forced to mistrust their national media as well. Politics and media are accepted to be run by the same people. Former and possibly future president Silvio Berlusconi, owner of three TV stations, is a good example of the close links between media and politics. How do Italians deal with an entire press system that does not even pretend to be independent?

Posted by Bruno