18/07/2022 Rosa Brotzge

Ciao, I’m Rosa from Austria and I spent 10 months volunteering in Italy. It was a time of exploring a new culture as well as myself. 

I experienced a lot of situations and habits which were strange, unusual & funny for me. Only a few of them I collected to give you a bit of an insight. 

How to park: 

Since arriving in Italy, I have always been amazed at the parking habits in Italy. Whether forward, backward, sideways, on the sidewalk, in the driveway or even parallel... everything happens.  

So the question arises: what to do when you are parked? Quite simple, honk until the owner of the other car comes and drives away.  


Public transport: 

In general I was surprised how punctual trains and buses often were but it still happened from time to time that the display board at the station was filled with delayed trains. 


Making appointments: 

Among us volunteers, the question was often: "Italian time or German time?” Because if it's "Italian time", you can be prepared to leave half an hour to forty five minutes later... and still probably be early.  


Drinking & eating habits: 


Coffee has always been something for me where you take your time with. Here in Italy I got to know a different coffee culture. Often I could observe how a constant change takes place at the bar. People come in, order, talk briefly with the waiter while they prepare the coffee, drink the coffee like a shot, pay and leave. 

Quickly the daily visit to the coffee shop has become part of my everyday life. Not only is the coffee much cheaper there are all sorts of variations and if you're hungry  there's always a cornetto filled with crema, pistacchio or marmellata. 



A popular topic at school and outside was food. Just out of curiosity I often asked students what they were going to eat today, only to get the confirmation over and over again: Pasta. Sometimes a Pizza in between, but Pasta is definitely part of the daily menu. 



The almost most important part of the Italian language are the hand signs. There are endless of them and they are used actively. The gestures support what is said or replace an entire conversation. I’ve become used to one or the other gesture and I don't want to miss it anymore.  



Bureaucracy is one of those things that takes time and patience in Italy. It is not uncommon to make several visits to the same place until you get a helpful answer. But then only the beginning is done and the search continues, so it can take up to a month or more until something is clarified or you get your wanted documents. 


These are just a few situations that have challenged me on one side and made me laugh on the other.  

Endless aperitivos, the sweet ports, beaches, sea, warm nights, coffee, ice cream, food... the friendliness and helpfulness of the people, etc. I could list many more. 

This year in Italy was an incredible experience for me and I can only say that Italy with its culture has definitely found a place in my heart and I will always be drawn there again.