1. The first car you drove was a FIAT.

Either an old model Fiat Panda, Fiat Uno, or Fiat 500.

2. Sundays are religious ceremonies.

Based around calcio (soccer) matches on TV in the morning and afternoon, and then evening post-match discussions with your friends in bars. CALCIOOOOOO!!!!!

3. The only breakfast you know is brioche and cappuccino.

Espresso, bread, and Nutella are also allowed, but having anything else in the morning is just plain weird!

4. You can speak Italian sign language.

When you leave Italy you realize that the only people capable of understanding your hand gestures are other Italians. You learned it as a child, but nobody else in the world seems to understand your country’s secret and ancient ‘hand code.’

5. The first time you ever had wine…

You were probably six years old and it was mixed with a little bit of water.

6. The first time you ever had an espresso…

You were probably four years old and it was mixed with a little bit of milk.

7. By the time you were 14…

You were driving a scooter, a Vespa, or a moped (and had modified it so it could reach a Ferrari’s speed).

8. Touching and kissing comes easily to you.

It’s not strange to kiss your male friends on the cheeks, or even a girl you’ve never seen before in your life.

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9.You drink espresso all day.

You have it at breakfast or brunch or both. After lunch and after dinner, you serve it to your guests and you have it as a guest. At the end of your workday, to be considered a ‘Real Italian’ you’ll have consumed an average of 7 to 15 espressos.

10. Your typical lunch is a four-course meal.

A typical menu will be starter, small pasta dish, meat or fish with a side dish of at least 2 kinds of vegetables or mixed salad, and dessert. You’ll also have with it few glasses of wine, a shot of Montenegro liquor and of course, an espresso.

11. You’ll have pasta at least four times a week.

But always with different sauces and shapes. If your mum cooks the same pasta more than once in the same week, obviously she is not well.

12. And pizza once a week.

At least. It’s usually consumed without a starter or dessert as it’s quite a heavy meal.

13. Italian style weddings.

Although we’re becoming more and more modest in organizing our weddings, traditionally, Italian weddings are known for their 10-15 course meals and celebrations that last the whole day or more.

14. You’re reminded that you should be a devoted Catholic.

Every time there’s a christening, wedding, or funeral, you’re reminded of your religious roots. You’re still not sure what a christening is, but thinking about it makes you happy because at yours you got loads of presents from everybody.

15. Christmas is obviously the best.

You will eat tons of amazing food cooked by several women from your huge extended family. Besides the Christmas tree, you’ll also recreate the nativity scene (as a good Catholic), possibly adding an extra plastic character, like a Tyrannosaurus Rex, in it.

16. At some point in life you started smoking.

Hopefully you’ve quit, probably not. But if you still smoke, your first cigarette will be in the morning while drinking an espresso. The mix of those two items will be the only constipation cure you’ll ever know.

17. You know what aperitivo stands for.

A variety of mixed drinks found ONLY in Italy, accompanied by a vast selection of food, available in any decent bar between 6 and 9pm. It supposed to be an ‘appetizer’ before going home and having a real dinner, but in reality aperitivo ends up with you coming back home at midnight drunk, full, and merry.

18. Everyone starts shouting during discussions.

Everyone in Italy gets animated, starts shouting, and is borderline offensive when talking about some delicate subject such as calcio or politics. Once abroad, you’ll have to make a real effort to talk softly and in a controlled manner.

19. Your sense of fashion:

Dressing nicely at every occasion: it’s a part of being Italian! You know about colors and patterns, materials and textures even without ever have studied them. Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Cavalli, Valentino, Versace, Armani, Prada, and many others were all part of your unofficial education.

20. As soon as you leave Italy you’ll miss the bidet.

You sadly realize there’s nowhere else in Europe where the bidet used as much as back home, and toilet paper only is just not good enough.