Living so near a lush farmer’s market and piazzas has its people-watching benefits. I’ve noticed a few trends that distinguish Italian culture from that of what we’re used to in America, and I wish we could find a way to incorporate these back home.
First things first, bicycles are the preferred mode of transportation in the city, riding alongside, in front of and in place of cars. Every day I see hundreds of people riding their bikes, from priests in full robes to women nearing the 80-year-old mark in dresses and pearls, to pregnant mothers-to-be, to fathers with their toddlers happily seated in front. Nearly every bicicletta has a market basket to carry home the day’s shopping, and some are decorated with flowers, ruffles and ribbon to distinguish them.
During the mornings, when the Italian women shop the markets for their families, the men tend to congregate in the piazzas and talk politics, sports and play cards while sharing much laughter, gesturing and friendship.
This amicizia is truly marvelous.
Italians embrace the concept of community, and it’s obvious that this togetherness is an integral part of their lives. We live such separate lives in the states, keeping to ourselves after work, sharing with friends often only on weekends.
My question is this. Why?