Home Italy Forum Italy Guide Italy Resources Italy Real Estate International Jobs

Italy

Resources

City Guides

AGS Worldwide Movers
Join Sign In
CIGNA Expat Health Insurance Italy

Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Florence, Italy

Aug 18, 2013

Comments


Florence, Italy

One man who is living in Italy loves the history and beauty, but finds that many locals have a complete disregard for hygiene, manners, self control and courtesy.

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Florence

Did you receive any cross-cultural training for your move abroad? If yes, was it before or after the move?

None. I personally find that being thrown into the fire is the best way to get warmed up... Quickly!

Expat Health Insurance

Choosing an expat health insurance provider is an important decision. Take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA. Sponsored by CIGNA.

If they speak another language in your new country, do you speak the language? If yes, did you learn the language before you moved or while abroad? If no, are you planning to learn the language?

I do not speak Italian, I am now learning it but I have only found a few resolvable problems with language since many young people speak enough English to help me maneuver the Italian maze. I plan to learn the basics when it comes to conversational Italian, but at the moment I do not plan to be fluent but who knows!

Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?

No. I have visited here before and I came prepared for anything.

How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?

N/A

Expats often talk about going through the "stages of culture shock." Examples include the honeymoon phase, the irritation-to-anger stage, the rejection of the culture stage, and the cultural adjustment phase. Do you feel like you went through these or any other stages as you settled into the new culture?

Being an American and having traveled much of Europe, Africa and North, Central and South America little surprises me. The one thing that surprised me about Italians (especially in Florence) is the complete disregard for the history and beauty that they daily shit all over. They, and their dogs, do their business all over the place. They lay their garbage everywhere. The most disappointing fact is that Italians seem to have mistaken "pride" with honor and integrity and this is a monumental mistake. The complete disregard for hygiene, manners, self control and courtesy are the main reasons most I talk to hate Italians but love Italy.

What, if any, were some of the changes you noticed in yourself that might have been caused by culture shock? These might include things such as anger, depression, anxiety, increased eating or drinking, frustration, homesickness, etc.

Nothing. I came to observe and live my life with while exploring and seeing the historical beauty. I generally ignore the idiots and take a few deep breaths and chill. It's their country, I'm a visitor and I plan to move on.

What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?

The under 40 are very supportive and helpful. Negotiating is easy. They all love to negotiate. Mostly they like to talk in circles, and never really get anywhere but they have been this way for years!

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

Cost of goods. Lack of respect for themselves and their surroundings. Sad...

Did you "commit" any embarrassing or humorous cultural blunders? If you did and you'd like to share them, please do tell!

Yes. A man pushed my daughter out of the way to get by to take cuts in line at the Poste Italiane and I grabbed him by his jacket collar and pulled him to the floor. I laughed when he his pissed his pants. He did not.

Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?

Go with the flow but always be true to yourself. Life is for living. Be patient and don't get mad except for when it's absolutely appropriate to get mad. The one time I got mad (see above) it was a split, and I feel, appropriate decision. When a 40 something man gets impatient enough to lose his cool and push a child, he's should pray to God the father didn't send him to his maker.

On the Italy Expat Forum

Join our Italy Forum and talk with other expats in Italy who can offer you insight and tips about living in Italy. Here are a few of the latest discussions on the Italy Expat Forum:

Italy expat forum topic
Banking in Italy, and taxes (5 replies)

Hi folks, was wondering if anyone out there has used "HSBC expat" for setting up a bank account in Italy, Sicily in particular. They are on this "expat exchange site" but I would love to hear from people who have used them. Thank you. Francesca122

Post a Reply

Italy expat forum topic
Expat Fatigue (145 replies)

Expat Fatigue Since people look onto this forum for guidance to how to make the move to Italy, perhaps this forum should also discuss the problem of Expat Fatigue. NeoExpats are full of hope, wonder, anxiety, sense of adventure, willingness to new experiences and tastes and meeting new people. When you first make your move everything is new. Everything is a challenge to be solved. The amazing restaurants with wonderfully fresh fish and vegetables, the incredible variety of local and regional wines, the exotic scenery and the wonderfully mild weather vindicates that difficult decision that you had to make to make the move. There are problems. There are always problems but they are quaint and humorous. Waiting online at the post offices while the customer at the only open window discusses her life with the teller who does not appear to have any urgency. Having to wait hours with immigrants to see government officials so you can get the documents you need only to find out that the officials had to go to another city to process the latest boat load of immigrants, is also quaint. After all what else do you have to do with your time?………………… Overtime things and attitudes change. The new and exotic becomes the old and mundane. All those restaurants now appear to have the same few dishes with only aesthetic differences but basically its all the same food. That huge variety of local and regional wines do not include the great wines of the world, just the same local stuff all the time. If you want a California Chardonnay or a Rhone Cote Rotie, you’re out of luck. Those quaint driving habits of the locals become reason for road rage on your part when you finally recognize that its actually incompetence behind the wheel. And then you really get angry when you consider that for you to get a license you have to go to driving school knowing that you already drive better than most of the people on the roads. That includes the police……………….. It’s not so much home sickness. Two weeks in the States proves to me that its not the USA that I miss. It’s the reason I became an expat in the first place. Its the New, the exotic, the change, the new experiences. Those things are easily found and more easily lost. Its important to consider this when making your plans. Are you leaving your old home because you’re tired of the same old, same old? Well then you are likely to find it again wherever you go. For me the solution is to keep moving. Give each place a few years and then seek some other place. Its not a longterm solution because eventually I will be too old to keep doing that but for now that is the plan. I understood this from the beginning and that is why we have not purchased a home. We rent so that we can easily un-rent and move on. Thats my solution but it may not be yours. However I just wanted to let the NeoExpats know about this. Looking forward to others points of view.

Post a Reply

Italy expat forum topic
Financing in Italia (2 replies)

Hello. Expats Considering a purchase of a home in Italy’ Im not a resident of Italy but have lived there many years ago Anyone have experiences they’d like to share re ; finance options from Italian banks With 30% cash down Grazie

Post a Reply

AGS Worldwide Movers

Write a Comment about this Expat Report

Sign In to post a comment.

Comments about this Report

pistachio
Aug 26, 2013 10:09

I endorse your taking issue with the person who pushed your daughter and you were kind to not escalate the situation. His penance was well deserved. Personally, I am saddened by your having a 'not so sweet' experience in Florence. I am from the states but now living in Peru. I can say that here, infrastructure needs work, the folks are friendly, the driving is like mario cart..... LoL!, and the food is r e a l l y v e r y n i c e ........ pistachio

guest
Aug 26, 2013 12:59

Wow. I appreciate your candor. I think Americans have a rose colored glasses view of Italy. We always idealize other cultures. I would love to read your blog, if you have one. It sounds like you have an interesting take on things.

HelenBack
Aug 28, 2013 02:44

I lived in Florence, Italy for two years and absolutely abhored the people!! Sure, there were some nice ones, but 80% of them were inconsiderate, rude, self-centered, inefficient, shallow and arrogant. I've lived in the Middle East, Africa, North America and Asia. It was the most miserable place I ever lived. If you must, go as a tourist ... DO NOT live there!!

pistachio
Aug 28, 2013 10:52

hmmm!...... it would appear to me that the Florines would benefit from a little more Fiber in their diet ! ! ! ! [ LoL ! ]

Join Today (free)

Join Expat Exchange to meet expats in your area or get advice before your move. It's FREE and takes 1 minute!

Italy Guide
Other Links
Our Story Our Team Contact Us Submit an Article Advertising Travel Warnings

Copyright 1997-2018 Burlingame Interactive, Inc.

Privacy Policy Legal