10 Italian habits that surprise foreigners: a world of everyday wonders!

by Marzia Parmigiani
14 minutes read
smiling girl with red hair and italianflag doing v sign Italian habits

10 Italian habits that surprise foreigners: a world of everyday wonders!

Welcome to a journey through extraordinary Italian habits which, to foreigners, may appear simple, but which conceal a unique beauty and peculiarity.

“I find other countries have this or this, but Italy is the only one that has it all for me. The culture, the cuisine, the people, the landscape, the history. Just everything to me comes together there”.

Frances Mayes

Italy is renowned for its culture, cuisine and lifestyle, but there are often small everyday details that catch the attention of foreigners and leave them amazed. In this article, we will explore 10 Italian habits that seem normal to Italians, but arouse wonder and curiosity in those from different cultures.

From the evening stroll, to the love of coffee, to endless family dinners, you will discover how these Italian habits can turn everyday life into an extraordinary experience.

Prepare to be surprised and fascinated by the little big things that make Italy a unique country!

italian people with glasses cheering

The 10 Italian habits from North to South

Espresso coffee the most deeply rooted of the 10 Italian habits

Espresso coffee is a true Italian icon, is one of the most deeply rooted Italian habits in the country’s social fabric. Italians love their coffee and are not satisfied with simple cups of filtered or American coffee.

Espresso is a concentrated and aromatic drink, masterfully prepared by Italian baristas who know how to dose the perfect amount of ground coffee and hot water under pressure.

For Italians, drinking an espresso is much more than just a coffee break: it is a social moment, a daily ritual that accompanies conversations, work breaks and meetings with friends.

It is a habit that brings people together, creating a sense of community and belonging. Foreigners are often fascinated by the Italians’ passion for espresso coffee and appreciate its taste and intensity, but it is the surrounding culture and tradition that make this habit so unique and fascinating.

hand offering a cup of italian espresso

Have a sweet, not salty breakfast: 10 Italian habits

The sweet Italian breakfast is a healthy habit that characterizes the country’s food culture. Italians love to start the day with a variety of sweet delights that satisfy the senses and provide energy to face the day. From the classic croissant with cream or jam, accompanied by coffee, to the homemade doughnut, to the slice of tart, each Italian region offers its own sweet specialties to delight the palate in the morning. (Think Sicily with its many delicious desserts and the Messina granita above all).

Despite the sweetness, the Italian breakfast is usually balanced, thanks to the use of fresh and genuine ingredients. Fresh fruit, yoghurt and wholegrain cereals are often present to complete the table, offering a combination of sweetness and nutrition.

This healthy and enjoyable habit represents a moment of sweetness and joy for Italians, a way to start the day with taste and energy.

Family first: the Italian habit of spending convivial moments together

The importance of the family in Italian culture is deeply rooted and represents one of society’s fundamental values. Family dinners are considered precious moments of sharing, conversation and connection. Italians attach great importance to the evening meal spent together, which goes beyond simply eating.

It is an opportunity to bring family members together, tell each other the news of the day, share joys and worries, strengthen emotional bonds and create lasting memories.

During these family dinners, the art of Italian cuisine is also celebrated, with dishes prepared with care and love. Recipes handed down from generation to generation become family treasures and the moment of preparing and sharing food becomes a meaningful experience. It is a way to preserve traditions, cultural identity and nourish the soul as well as the body.

Eating ice cream as a snack: a sweet habit

Eating ice cream as a snack is one of the popular Italian habits: a very sweet habit that is part of Italian culture. Italy is renowned for its homemade ice cream and the variety of flavours and tastes of ice cream it offers. For Italians, ice cream is not just a dessert, but a moment of pure pleasure and indulgence.

Many Italians like to treat themselves to an ice cream in the afternoon as a snack, especially during the summer months when temperatures rise. It is a way to cool off and enjoy a sweet break in the day. Italian gelato is famous for its creamy texture and authentic flavours, thanks to the use of high-quality ingredients such as fresh milk, seasonal fruit and fine chocolate. One of the sweetest Italian habits!

Choosing the flavour of ice cream becomes an important decision for Italians, with a wide range of options to choose from: strawberry, chocolate, pistachio, stracciatella, hazelnut, lemon and many more. Moreover, Italians like to accompany their ice cream with a fragrant waffle or a crunchy cone for an even tastier experience.

The walk after lunch: one of Italy’s top 10 healthy Italian habits

The walk after lunch is a very popular habit among Italians and a valuable moment to relax and recharge one’s batteries during the day. After a hearty meal, many Italians opt for a short walk, preferably outdoors, to aid digestion and enjoy some fresh air.

This tradition has both practical and cultural origins. From a practical point of view, walking after eating helps to activate blood circulation and aids the digestive process, avoiding the feeling of heaviness and facilitating the absorption of nutrients. In addition, light exercise can help stabilize blood sugar levels and maintain a constant energy level throughout the day.

From a cultural point of view, the walk after lunch is also a time to take your mind off daily activities and relax. Italians appreciate the importance of ‘dolce far niente’, taking time for themselves and getting away from the stress of a hectic life.

This post-lunch walk offers the opportunity to immerse oneself in nature, have a pleasant chat with friends or colleagues, or simply enjoy a moment of tranquillity and contemplation.

Fashion: one of the most expensive Italian habits

Italy has long been a key reference point in the international fashion scene.
The Italians’ passion for elegance and aesthetic taste is evident not only in their clothing, but also in their ability to create high-quality garments.

Italians are known for their keen interest and knowledge of the latest trends in the fashion world and their habit of buying fashionable clothes. They closely follow fashion shows, fashion salons and magazines, looking for inspiration and new styles.

Fashion for Italians is much more than just an aesthetic expression, it represents a social status and a means of expressing one’s personality and creativity.

Italy has a long tradition of great designers, prestigious fashion houses and specialized artisans, who contribute to the fashion industry with their skill and ability to innovate. Attention to detail and a love of beauty are distinctive features of Italian fashion.

Furthermore, Italian fashion is distinguished by its versatility, being able to embrace both sophisticated luxury and experimental design. Italy’s influence in fashion extends far beyond national borders, leaving a lasting imprint on the global fashion world.

Football: one of 10 Italian habits

Passion for football: it is an extremely popular sport in Italy and arouses great passion among Italians. During the soccer season, calcio matches become major social events. People out of habit gather in bars or at friends’ homes to cheer on their favourite teams, creating a vibrant and engaging atmosphere.

Football is also an instrument of regional identity, with strong rivalries between teams from different cities or regions.

italian guys watching football at tv

Beach holidays: among the 10 most fun Italian habits

Beach holidays are one of the top ten most fun Italian habits. Italy is sun-kissed and surrounded by beautiful coastlines, which attract both residents and tourists from all over the world. During the summer, Italians love to spend their holidays by the sea, enjoying the warm sun, sandy beaches and crystal-clear water.

The cheerful and carefree atmosphere of Italian seaside resorts is contagious, with families, friends and groups of young people enjoying relaxation and fun. Days spent at the beach are full of exciting activities, such as bathing, sunbathing, playing beach volleyball, boating or simply relaxing under a beach umbrella. One of the most relaxing Italian habits.

Beaches are also places for socializing, where Italians meet for a game of cards or bocce, chat with beach umbrella neighbours or enjoy a tasty gelato. Beach holidays in Italy represent a moment of escape from the daily routine and allow for unforgettable memories of fun, carefreeness and relaxation.

Aperitivo: a moment of socialization and relaxation

Aperitivo is a popular Italian custom that combines relaxation, socializing and good food. It usually takes place in the late afternoon or early evening, before dinner. One of the most delicious Italian habits.

Italians gather with friends or colleagues in a bar or club and order a drink accompanied by a selection of snacks and small appetizers.

The aperitivo offers the opportunity to relax after a day’s work, share pleasant conversations and enjoy delicious culinary samples. It is a time of transition between work and leisure, where one takes a break to appreciate the small joys of life.

The evening stroll: a habit to enjoy the beauty of cities

The evening stroll, known as the ‘passeggiata‘ or ‘evening stroll’, is an Italian habit that reflects a taste for beauty and life in the open air. After dinner, many people leave their homes to take a walk in the city centre, in parks or along the waterfront.

During this walk, Italians can admire the historic architecture, illuminated monuments, shop windows and the lively atmosphere of the squares. It is a time to enjoy the sweetness of the evening, meet friends or simply lose oneself in the beauty of one’s surroundings. The evening stroll is also an opportunity to have a snack or enjoy a dessert, thus completing the experience of a pleasant evening.

The Bottom Line

As you may have seen, these 10 Italian habits that surprise foreigners represent a world of everyday wonders. From the love of espresso coffee, to sweet breakfasts, family dinners, the habit of eating ice cream as a snack, a walk after lunch, a passion for fashion, football, holidays at the seaside, aperitifs and evening strolls, these habits reflect Italians’ culture, zest for life and joie de vivre.

These habits are not only everyday aspects of Italian life, but also represent the very essence of the country. They reflect social connectedness, the importance of family, the pleasure of food, the beauty of art and architecture, the passion for sport, the love of nature and the desire to enjoy pleasant moments.

Foreigners visiting Italy are often fascinated by these customs and appreciate their simplicity and authenticity. These customs offer them an opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture and way of life of the Italians, creating unique and unforgettable experiences.

In a hectic and globalized world, these Italian habits are a valuable reminder to slow down, enjoy the moments and appreciate life’s little joys. They are an invitation to live with passion, share with others and find pleasure in simple things.

Ultimately, the 10 Italian habits are a cultural treasure that makes Italy a unique and fascinating country. Exploring and experiencing them is a journey of discovery that reminds us that beauty and wonder can be found, even in the simplest things of everyday life. Keep following us to discover more stories and the brand new LCN App!

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