Written by Mark Neville
While moving to Italy might be part of your dream expat adventure, there are some things you should know or expect when you arrive. That is, if you want to enjoy your experience and not find it embittered by disappointment or, as many unfortunate travelers find out, outrageous parking tickets.
Not to worry, we’ve got a list to help manage those expectations. Keep these things in mind when you arrive and your adventure will be that much more enjoyable.
And if you need help with the actual move to Italy itself, Schumacher Cargo is once again happy to oblige. We’ve helped hundreds of families make international moves and can make a difficult move a breeze.
What to Know When Moving to Italy:
Theory of Relativity:
The first thing you should be aware of when moving to Italy is that time works a little differently here. One man’s 5 o’clock might be another’s 5:45.
That is, strict timetables and schedules do not exist here; they are more of a suggestion. Think of it as island time, if that helps. Or just think of it as more time to enjoy this new country while you wait thirty minutes for a tour to start.
Park at Your Own Risk:
Parking doesn’t work the same as it does in the US. Parking zones and their according fees are designated by color and can be a huge hit to your wallet when you get back to your car…if it hasn’t already been towed. Learn the color codes, or, simply try not to drive.
You might have heard that most of Europe doesn’t have a tipping culture and you’d be right. Despite that, many people, and not just Italians, will try to take advantage of American’s notoriety for tipping, meaning you’ll be spending even more money. Don’t feel you have to tip, unless someone really goes out of their way.
Sicily vs. Italy:
Don’t call a Sicilian Italian and vice versa. Don’t say “capeesh” to a mainlander. While much of America’s Italian lexicon is derived from American gangster films, which neither region cares for, much of the “Italian” being spoken in there is an American form of Sicilian.
Don’t assume you know Italian culture based off modified Sicilian culture: the two see each other as vastly different. Think of it as the difference between England and Ireland if that helps.
No Mafia Jokes:
I mean it! The mafia is a real phenomenon and still very much an institution in many regions of Italy. And it is absolutely not something you should casually joke about with your waiter or cab driver or pretty much anyone…especially as your jokes will likely be steeped in offensive stereotypes.