A reader commented on the Expat Report Culture Shock in Verona, Italy
replied most recently with:
I think part of the main reason the OP didn't have a great experience is the lack of effort in terms of learning the language. No matter where you go, if you don't make an effort to learn the language but you plan to live there, locals tend to brush you off. The US is the same way, many people who don't speak English will get brushed off, because it's hard to explain things within a limited vocabulary.
A reader replied recently with:
I don't get this person's criticisms. I think it might be because he has been in the military for a long time, and expects things to be "in order". Yes, the large Italian metropolitan areas are expensive - as they are all over Europe. Northern Italy is a very sophisticated place with excellent transportation (btw, the rest stops that frequent Italian highways put American rest stops to shame, by a long shot - as well as often serving superb snacks and small bites).
I find people friendly, but somewhat reserved. That's true in most places. It's not Long Beach, CA.
Food is uniformly of high quality, and reasonably priced. Once one knows one's way around, one discovers ways to economize, if necessary.
I think the key here is that no matter where one ends up as an expat, there is going to be some adjustment to be made. Those that are more rigid or controlled in their outlook (not a bad thing, just a personal proclivity) - or who are constantly comparing everything with what they *know* in America, are going to have a more difficult period of adjustment.