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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Florence, Italy


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!

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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
Applying for Italian Citizenship in USA (33 replies)

Hello everyone. I have several questions so I will mark them starting with #1. I would like to apply for my Italian Citizenship along with my 2 adult children (18&21). My jurisdiction Italian Consulate is Chicago(I do not live in that state). I have sent 65 emails (no response)& called them for over 1 year & they do not answer the phone!! Maybe you can help me. I already have my father's Italian birth certificate from Italy, his marriage certificate and naturalization paper from USA. I have mine, my 2 adult children birth certificate with apostille.I have an appt for November, 2020, we have to fly to Chicago PLUS rent a car & hotel...and I made 1 appointment thinking my whole family will attended to at this appt, then I read in some forums each applicant must make hisher own appt?? If this is true what should I do?? We all need to be processed at the same time.....(That's #1 question) OK here's my other questions and sorry so many questions but I need to get to Italy ASAP as an Italian citizen. #2 -What other formsdocuments, where do I get the formsdocuments that I need and how much is the cost? Do I write a personal check or money order for each of these forms? #3-How long does the whole process take if I apply for my Italian citizenship in USA? #4- Do I need to prove any kind of fundssavings I have in bank or do I need to prove anything else??#5- I am on SSDI so I live on my money from SSDI, so I can not work or working. #6- What am I missing as far as what else I need? Thx in advance everyone...

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Italy expat forum topic
Unmarried couple with child. He qualifies for citizenship. (4 replies)

Hi. I’ve learned a bunch reading your posts (thank you) and I am wondering if you can please answer a couple of questions. My long-time live-in boyfriend of nearly 17 years, the father of our 3-year old daughter--my husband for intents and purposes, but not by law, qualifies for Italian citizenship. We just realized this last week. His grandmother was from Naples, married his American military grandfather, moved to the U.S., had a green card, never became naturalized, and had a daughter, his mom, who was born after 1948. His mom didn’t renounce her citizenship. Some research made this news less exciting as we realized he’d have to deal with the SF consulate, and that would probably take a very very long. We were already looking into moving to Europe (we checked out Portugal in November, and were aiming for long term residency there via d7 visa) when I stumbled upon this information, and it seems like a much better option for him and our daughter to have citizenship and have the ability to move around the EU. So we’d like to go to Italy to do the paperwork there because it would be faster, and also, because we were already wanting to go somewhere for an adventure. But how would that work out for me? Would I be subjected to regular Schengen visa time limits and not granted a permesso di soggiorno because we’re not married? Or would I be able to be able to get a permesso di soggiorno along with my partner and our daughter? We’re not married because not married, but we could be married. We just never did that because I felt funny about the dress and wedding and fuss and all, and we were always working and moved quite a few times, and then a bunch of years passed. But so, we could get married if I can’t stay with them. Does anyone know the answer to this? And then, if the answer is that I’d have to deal with regular Schengen visa time limits, and then we decide to get married so that I can get a permesso di soggiorno also, would it matter to get married in the U.S. before we left or in Italy like a month or two into our time there? Thank you for your help.

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Italy expat forum topic
Do I have everything I need? (3 replies)

Good afternoon. I will be requesting dual citizenship(Italian Citizenship) in Italy. I was wondering if you kind people can help me out and if I have everything I need. I have 3 daughters 18, 22, 29 yrs old. I have my mothers birth certificate, marriage certificate, USA naturlization certificate. I have myself and my daughter's USA birth certificates with the Apostille and translated into Italian. I have my divorce decree translated in Italian. So I go to the Questura where I will be living in Italy and will they give me all the forms we need to fill out for Italian citizenship or does the post office give me the forms? What forms do we need and how much are they$$? After filling out the forms for each family member what type of payment do they take?(cash, money order?) Then after filling out the forms we just pop back in the Questura and tellthem we want Italian Citizenship (Dual)? How many days will we have to find us a place to live? When we get to Italy we must go to Questura and tell them we need to stay more than 3 months and why, correct? Is this when they issue the Permesso di soggiorno? Finally, how long will it take for us to become Italian Citizens? *I hope I have not missed any steps here if so please help me out and what the correct steps are. Grazie!

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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 ! ]

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