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Culture and traditions

Italy and its customs

Today's Italy is one of the countries that is most curious about its culture and customs. In addition, Italian immigrants who arrived in countries such as Argentina, Peru, Chile, Uruguay, Venezuela and Mexico contributed to the expansion of this culture in the world. In this article we show you a list with the most important folk customs, as well as some of the rarest.

Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.

Architecture

The architecture of Italy refers to the wide range of architectural styles enjoyed by the Italian landscape, which are not only classified by periods but also by regions.

Interior of St. Peter's Basilica, Rome, Italy

Italy has always stood out in this area for its extensive technical advances, which could already be observed in the past by building domes, arches and the recreation of structures similar to those of the Roman empire, being an example of this the famous Tower of Pisa.

Italian architecture: the tower of Pisa

Italy has several representative monumental works of Western architecture, including the Roman Coliseum, the Cathedral of Florence, the Cathedral of Milan, the Basilica of St. Peter and a long etcetera.

The importance of Italian architecture is such that the use of the expression has spread italianizing architecture or Italian style and this is something that Italians feel enormously proud of.

Roman Colosseum, Rome, Italy

Art

The passion for Fine Arts in Italy is well known and is one of its oldest customs. Already in ancient Rome was Hellenistic art, which several copies have reached to this day.

The typical paintings of this era showed landscapes, cartoons, portraits, life and customs, architectural imitations, etc. In short, this artistic custom reached the Renaissance, time when he received the name of grotesque.

Art in Italy: a tradition

Renaissance painting brought the evolution of sculptural art, which reached its maximum splendor from the 15th to the 16th and 17th centuries. For its part, the passion for sculpture is also an inheritance from Ancient Rome.

The typical sculptures of Italy were preferably made of marble, although there are also bronze and ivory, although most of those that are preserved today are deteriorated. Typical motifs of Italian sculptures are nature and the adoption of classical forms and uses of Greece and Rome.

David di Michelangelo

Wedding

As in Spain and other countries in which the Catholic religion predominates, in Italy marriage is an event, something like a symbol of what each person desires in life and an indicator of social status. Although the most traditional form of celebration occurs in southern Italy, as a general rule, marriage is divided into two phases: before and after.

The importance of marriage in Italy

Thus, before the wedding itself takes place The Promessa or, what is the same, the pre-marriage celebration, which happens weeks before the party.

In this phase, the pastor asks a series of questions to the couple in the church where he will then have the marriage. To end this day, it is customary to make a dinner in style with family and friends of the couple (usually about 80-100 people).

In the two or three days before the wedding, fa il lettoThat is, the bed is made. This means that the relatives and friends of the future couple meet at their house and decorate the couple's room in order to leave it ready for the wedding night. This decoration includes flowers, chocolates, sweets, bottles of champagne and, above all, money.

This custom of celebrating the marriage union surrounded by many people can be observed during the engagement, which, unlike in other countries of the world, is a group phase.

Wedding preparations in Italy

On the day of the wedding itself, the first step is to meet at the bride and groom's house to greet and congratulate both the bride and groom and their closest relatives. Once this is done, the custom is for the guests to go after the bride's car on the way to the church.

In the ecclesiastical ceremony, the bride arrives from the hand of the father and at the exit the newlyweds are thrown rice just as it happens in Spanish weddings. The final banquet is a feast that lasts for hours and hours and in which the objective is clear: eat without stopping.

Italian weddings

Coffee

If we mentioned earlier that pasta and pizza are two of the main Italian icons, mention deserves coffee. Many are those who affirm that, in Italy, coffee is carried "in the blood" and that this country saw the emergence of types of coffee as popular as espresso, macchiato, capuccino, the ristretto … For Italians, coffee is a social act, that is, a means by which to interact with others.

Cappuccino coffee an Italian symbol

There is a wide range of types of coffee in Italy, all of them suitable for any palate. However, they all have two characteristics in common that make them so special: on the one hand, the grain quality and, on the other hand, the art of the Italians to prepare it.

There are broadly two ways to prepare coffee. One of them is the espresso, which consists of using the pressure of the water vapor, which produces a foamy and more intense result than the filtered coffee. The second form is the one used for the cappuccino, for which milk is used to steam it.

Different ways to make coffee in Italy

Venice's Carnival

When it comes to mentioning the most typical festivals and festivals in Italy, without doubt the first one that comes to mind is the Carnival of Venice or, what is the same, the Italian carnival par excellence.

This massive party has its origin in 1296, when it was celebrated as a public holiday per se for the first time. Carnival begins 12 days before Lent and ends on Carnival Tuesday.

Italian festivals: the Carnival of Venice

The custom during this festival is to dress up, but it doesn't work any costume: the costumes of the Carnival of Venice follow a series of patterns, the most basic being wearing a mask.

In reality, these characteristic costumes represent characters from the Comedy of Art (Commedia dell’Arte in Italian) of the 16th century, which was the theater of the town, that is, of the lower class.

Masks typical of the Carnival of Venice

The costumes were traditionally intended ridicule to the characters mentioned above, so the most typical costumes are those of:

  • Harlequin
  • Pants
  • Polichinela
  • Columbina
  • Pierrot
  • Brighella

They all pretend to represent arrogant, ambitious, rich, Avant, romantic characters, etc. The mask, meanwhile, is called masbile nobile and consists of a white mask, a three-pointed hat and black silk clothing.

Typical costumes of the Carnival of Venice in Piazza San Marco

Family

For Italians, the role of the family is very important and this can be seen in the strong bonding ties that exist between parents and children. L

The great majority of Italian families respond to the “old-fashioned” family prototype, that is, each member of the family unit responds to a specific role and the respect It is given by the role assigned to each one.

The importance of family union for Italians

This is reflected from the courtship through marriage as we speak later, and in other contexts, usually related to religion, such as baptism, communion or confirmation, Italian customs related to children.

For example, the importance of the christening is such that the party that is done earlier and later is similar to the one that is prepared for the wedding day, that is, of a mass nature.

The christening in Italy

Gastronomy

Italian cuisine is one of the most typical icons of the uses and customs of Italy, as well as a reflection of the cultural diversity existing in this European country.

Their typical dishes are included within the famous Mediterranean diet and its elaboration requires a series of culinary customs of the most characteristic.

Without a doubt, the first dish that comes to mind when thinking about typical Italian foods is the Pizza, a dish that has gone around the world and of which there are endless varieties.

Pizza: the star dish of Italian cuisine

Of course, after pizza the next dish par excellence is the pasta with its infinite versions, ingredients and supplements. Italian pastas are open to the imagination of those who cook them, although it has been some concrete recipes that have triumphed over time.

Normally, pasta is always accompanied by some sauce and various spices such as oregano or basil. Pasta dishes, as well as pizza are served as a first course or il cousin, after l’antipasto or incoming if the typical structure of the Italian menu is followed.

Among the most typical pasta we highlight the following:

  • Cannelloni
  • Ravioli
  • Tagliatelle
  • Spaghetti
  • Maccheroni

It is worth mentioning that Italians not only have a passion for their gastronomy, but also have a series of fundamental customs when it comes to sitting in the table And when eating.

Although there are several habits, the basic rules are two: first, cutting the pasta with a knife is considered an act of very bad education; secondly, it is quite bad to see a pasta dish with bread.

Pasta

Music

Italians have two typical musical genres: the Opera and instrumental music. However, these styles vary according to each region of the country, where popular and romantic music is also included.

In short, music, like food and other aspects, has been the most representative symbol of Italian cultural identity since the end of the 16th century, when opera and European classical music began to develop.

The opera the musical genre of Italy

The opera, word from the Italian language and what it means musical piece, goes back to 1800 and immediately obtained a very good reception among the national people.

The Italians of today continue to feel very proud of their musical genre par excellence, especially in reference to the lyric song thanks to figures such as the already deceased Luciano Pavarotti.

Teatro alla Scala, Milan, Italy

Of all the European countries, Italy is one of the most variety in terms of traditions offered by these dates. At a glance, the tourist can see that the streets are not illuminated or decorated as much as in other countries.

Continuing the habit of being very family members, the Italians have a saying for Christmas: Swim with i tuoi, Easter with chi vuoi, what does it mean Christmas with your family, Easter with whoever you want. In this way, you can see that most Christmas celebrations take place at home, along with the closest ones.

Christmas in Italy is lived as a family

On December 24, the Good night with the traditional cenone, which literally means great dinner. This begins with the antipasti or starters, which are followed by spaghetti with clams, fish, vegetables, fruit, nougat, etc.

The 25th day of Christmas is celebrated with large meals, visits to family members, meetings with friends and exchanges of gifts.

In New Years Eve, the dinner that is prepared is known as the notte di Capodanno, in which, once again, you eat and drink in abundance. When twelve o'clock arrive, it is customary to go out on the balconies to say goodbye to the year that goes and receive the new year.

In some regions of Italy, red garments are given as a symbol of good luck for the coming year among the members of the dinner, while in ancient times in Naples, Sicily and Calabria, an ancient custom is maintained, which consists of throwing furniture and unused utensils by the window, as a symbol of the detachment of all the bad things that could happen the previous year.

The Roman Colosseum at Christmas

Easter and Easter

Like Christmas, Easter also represents a date marked on the calendar of the Italians. Holy Week is celebrated similarly to Spain through processions and ancient rituals that run through the streets of towns and cities and in which you can see devotees of all age ranges.

The Italian processions correspond to the beliefs and funerary values ​​of Italy in the sense that they represent a very sentimental act.

The most prominent processions take place first of all in the Vatican City with the mass that the Pope directs in the Basilica of St. Peter in the candlelight. Secondly, the celebrations that take place in Rome also stand out.

In Sardinia, for example, the fraternities of Cagliari organize a series of processions that have become the most popular in Italy and that begin on Palm Sunday.

Holy Week celebration in the Vatican

In Florence, Easter Sunday is synonymous with peace and forgiveness. Therefore, on that day the Duomo square, one of the main arteries of the city, is filled with fireworks and the show known as car scoppio, what does it mean car explosion.

He egg It also has a most curious meaning during the Italian Easter. It is a symbol of the beginning of life and is used even in children's games like the famous Punta e cul, which is widely practiced in the province of Pesaro, in Umbria. There are also several typical Italian Holy Week dishes that incorporate the egg in their recipe.

The meaning of the egg in Italian Easter

Religiosity

According to an investigation by Eurispes, an Italian entity dedicated to the study of the different political, economic and social values, more than 87% of the population Italian declares herself Catholic and almost 40% practicing.

The catholic religion in Italy

Of those surveyed in the previous investigation, 30.8% of people between 18 and 24 attend Mass every Sunday, while only 28.5% of subjects between 34 and 44 do so every Sunday. Thus, with these figures we can get an idea of ​​the importance that religion has for Italian society, where age is not a determining factor.

Given these figures, it is no accident that the Vatican, where the Holy See (maximum institution of the Catholic Church), is in Italy.

Therefore, events such as marriage, baptism, communion and the celebration of religious festivals such as the day of St. Francis of Assisi, among many others, reflect the meaning of the Italian faith.

Statue of St. Peter in the Basilica of St. Peter, the Vatican

regards

Among the most characteristic social customs of the Italian community, it is striking how they greet each other.

The most common greeting is to greet each other with your hands and then give A kiss in the cheek of the other person without touching her lips.

This greeting is similar to the Spanish custom of giving two kisses on the cheeks, with the difference that the Spaniards first offer the right cheek and the Italians the left.

Ways to greet each other in Italy

However, it is known thanks to several comparative studies that Italians do not feel too comfortable when they do this greeting with a Spaniard because, they claim, the latter shows too much effusiveness in doing so.

The most informal way of greeting is the popular Ciao, which is used so much to say Hi how goodbye.

In contrast, in contexts that require more formality, the most commonly used formulas are buongiorno and buonasera to say Good Morning and good afternoonrespectively.

For our part, our Goodnight equals buonanotte and is used only when the person in question literally goes to sleep. At a regional level there is a widespread way that is buondi ’ and it means the same as buongiorno, except that it is used at any time of the day.

On the other hand, when it comes to greeting unknown people or when addressing a group, the usual thing is to say Hail.

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