The Italian Connection

Today I’ve joined the very first #DolceVitaBloggers link up organized by the wonderful Kristie, Kelly and Jasmine and I’ve tried to put into words which are the aspects that connect me with Italy, other than the official citizenship claimed in my ID.

Me looking over Marostica

Dear Italophiles,

are you curious about my connection with Italy? Well, let’s start with the most obvious statement: I’m Italian. I was born and raised in the province of Vicenza, located just in between two of the most romantic cities of the country (and in the world I dare to say), Venezia and Verona.

Piazza dei Signori, Vicenza

I was raised by two Italian parents, I’ve eaten Italian food since I can remember and I’ve experienced the joys and the troubles of being part of the classic “Italian clan”- composed by grandparents, uncles, great-uncles and cousins – that supports and annoys each member every single day of one’s life.

With such preconditions  I could have been stuck in my own culture and small reality forever, but luckily one of the first things my mother put in my hands was an atlas and she started to teach me about geography, the different capital cities and the continents since I was very young, making me realize there was a whole world outside Italy. We also have several relatives who expatriated in the US, Canada and Argentina after WWII with whom we were (and still are) in contact with: I have always been fascinated by how different their “concept of Italy” was in comparison with ours.

These facts and also a life-changing EU-project I attended in Ireland encouraged me to pursue studies related to foreign languages focused on tourism and business and to gather a bit of experience in the export branch and as a travel agent specialized in incoming services to Italy. These are also the main reasons why I keep this blog focused on Italian itineraries and culture: I enjoy showing the less-known aspects of my country to Italy lovers and to give “the perspective of the insider”.

This brings me back to the theme of the link up: beyond my Italian citizenship, what’s my real connection with Italy? Here you are a list of things:

Italian Culture

Parco Querini, Vicenza

If you know Italy fairly well, you are aware that the Belpaese is quite a divided country. Despite what certain media like to say, until recent times we haven’t had big problems connected with racism, the main issue was and is represented by a virulent  “regionalism”. This might come as a surprise to some of you, but Italians usually hate each others (at least while they stay within the country’s borders).

The country was united only in 1861, before it was just a bunch of different small nations fighting over territory. This means that still nowadays we don’t feel like we have much in common: beliefs and behaviour patterns are really different and Northern and Southern Italians will never miss an opportunity to attack or make fun of each others (just open a youtube video titled “North vs South in Italy” and then enjoy the bloodshed in the comment section).

One of the very few things that really unites Italians is the culture: as many scholars and intellectuals like to point out Italy is first a culture and then a country. I totally agree with this statement as I feel like we were brought up devoid of a Nationalistic sentiment, but always aware of the enormous cultural heritage we were blessed with.

Arts, craftsmanship, architecture, food culture and family rituals are ingrained in our social identity and ever present in our everyday life.

I was brought up in such an environment, so I can say that Italian culture surely belongs to me.

Italian language and local dialect

Ti Amo

I speak both Italian and my local dialect. Being Italy composed by former Independent small nations, every community developed a specific language which we erroneously call “dialect”. Italian dialects in reality are proper languages since they developed independently from Italian and derive from Latin. Italian is actually a fairly young idiom, chosen by literate people (which is why it sounds so beautiful to most of the foreigners) in order to have a common language for all the inhabitants of the peninsula.

As most of the Italians, I am a diglossic speaker: I grew up learning both Italian and my local dialect (the Venetian one) , using the first in formal situations and the latter in the everyday life, with my family, friends and within my local community.

Italian Sentiment

Vicolo trentino

What I feel really connects me with Italy is the common love-hate relationship every Italian has with it. Those who live abroad maybe do not realize it, but, if on one hand the Belpaese is indeed bello, on the other hand it’s a really complicated country to live in.

There are a lot of problems we need to face and even a common trip to the post office can transform itself in a battle. The frustration  often has the upper hand and I can’t count anymore how many times I’ve sworn to  leave this country for good. That’s why I love to read blog posts on Italy by foreign people: they kind of help me to see positive aspects and gain new hope in the country.


And what about you? What’s your relationship with Italy? I invite every Italophile to keep an eye on the ladies’ blogs linked at the top of the post and join the link up the 7th of every month.

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46 thoughts on “The Italian Connection

  1. Ciao!
    I agree so much with this post! It is indeed difficult to live in Italy, especially if one is Italian and can’t “run away” from their roots and family ties.
    On the other hand, we have such a rich, beautiful and fascinating culture, it’s impossible not to be proud of it and still amazed, even after a whole life spent nel Belpaese.
    As you say, one of the great things about this blog linkup is to be able to see Italy from the eyes of foreign people in love with it. It makes me feel like I can forgive Italy’s flaws a little bit 🙂

    A presto!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. fkasara

      Ciao Elena, thanks for stopping by!
      Yes, exactly! The perspective of the expat bloggers and the foreign tourists truly help me to see positive aspects of our country that as Italians we give for granted!

      A presto, è un piacere conoscerti 🙂

      Like

  2. mammaprada

    I loved reading this. It’s really interesting as it sounds like all the things my Husband says!
    I think it’s such a complex country and non-Italians don’t really realise it. There’s so many things to love that an outsider can’t really understand some of the issues, like how real the North/South divide is.
    For Italians there seems to be, as you say, a real love of what you’re good culturally but a dislike of some of the things that actually make you all very Italian. I used to think that the lack of patriotism was odd because the UK was very patriotic. It was very united. Now though it isn’t at all and it makes me a bit sad but I also understand a bit more the kind of ‘Every man for himself’ attitude that you sometimes get in Italy. But our countries came out of the war with very different challenges and I think the struggle Italy went through at that time really shaped the mindset of those recovering from it. Despite all that it’s such an incredible place. And you are united when the football is on! Azzurrrrrrriiii! 🙂 xx #DolceVitaBloggers

    Liked by 1 person

    1. fkasara

      Indeed, many foreign people don’t realize what a complicated country Italy truly is…we have had such a turbulent history and we have been influenced by so many populations that is kind of normal we are all over the place, lol.

      We indeed came out of the war with different challenges, but I feel like this lack of patriotism is not the result of the recent wars, but of centuries of different dominations and influences (just to give you an example, before being part of the Reign of Italy, Veneto had been French and Austro-Hungarian). Sometimes we feel like “the State” is something really distant from the people. We never had the opportunity to form a close kinship with our “nation” as Italians have always been at the mercy of the events and the politics. We don’t feel like we can trust politics and that’s where the concept of the “every man for himself” comes from. The family is the only “organization” one can really trust.

      Haha right, Forza Azzurri!!

      Like

  3. abbiestark

    I loved your point about the “love/hate” relationship that most people seem to have Italy. My Italian boyfriend is so ready to leave, but I think that two years in, I’m still leaning more towards the love end of the spectrum. It’s a delicate balance to be sure but it’s also one of the things that makes this country so unique!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s fun reading this and recognizing a lot of things my Italian boyfriend regularly says over the years. And I love learning some of the regional differences in the languages. I’ve been learning some of the Bolognese-specific ones that technically are still Italian, but only used in a certain way here in Bologna.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. fkasara

      Local dialects and regional differences are so interesting…I keep learning new idioms and terms myself, even if I’m Italian! There are just SO MANY LANGUAGES in this country, people just have no idea!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. AntoniaB

    I loved reading this entry Sara… thank you for sharing. It’s interesting to hear your perspective. I have a very close friend who is Milanese. He is the one who has helped me to reconnect with my roots (my grandparents were Abruzzese, I never knew them), introduced me to all the wonderful music from De Andre, Guccini, Mina, etc., and is teaching me Italian. I never quite understood his complicated view of your beautiful country- English is his third language so sometimes there is a language barrier- but reading your post put a lot of it into context. I rant about my country, and he just laughs. “I lived through Berlusconi… you will live through Trump” LOL! He has also told me a lot about growing up during the Years of Lead and some of the darker aspects of life in Italy. But he also loves Italy so much that it makes him happy that I am so eager to learn. I sometimes idealize Italy in my mind… I know it is far from perfect… but love is not just about the good, it’s also about accepting the not so good, because it provides context and balance. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. fkasara

      Ciao Antonia, I am so glad to see you here!

      Yes, it may seem odd, but as Italians we often have an “inferiority complex” on an International level and we appreciate a lot when foreign people manifest their interest in our country and culture and try to speak our language!

      It’s kind of normal for a foreigner to see Italy through rose-tinted glasses, but, I can tell you, Italians are really frustrated, because “the dolce vita” is just one aspect of our life, the rest is an endless battle against impossible bureaucracy, an awful work situation and crazy politics. Sometimes it’s very hard for us to see the positive aspects of our country, when we have to battle against something new on a daily basis.

      Aww, I love your last sentence! It’s true that love is also about accepting the no so good! ❤

      Like

  6. Dolce vita bloggers, hm? 😉 Sounds just how it is, after almost five years living here. What exactly are you all doing every 7th in the month?

    Can I ask you a favour? Can you please write here just one sentence in your dialect? 😀 I’m so curious! I’d love to hear how you speak. Do you know of any Youtube video, for example, with your dialect? I love dialects and would be curious to study them. It’s interesting what you say, that in Italy they are actually separate languages derived from Latin. 😮

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ciao! I agree, I would LOVE to see some of the Venetian dialect (& others from Italy) written & spoken! I am fascinated by them as well.

      And to answer your other question, #DolceVitaBloggers is a blogger/vlogger link up for Italy lovers. Every month we choose a new topic, and then all bloggers post on the 7th of the month. Then you comment, like and share other posts so that we can all get to know each other and create a community of Italy lovers! We’d love to have you join us! Here are full details how to join…it’s not too late this month! http://www.italianatheart.com/join-dolce-vita-bloggers/

      Liked by 1 person

    2. fkasara

      I guess the hosts will give us a new topic for every 7th in the month. They’re the bosses, they decide! ;D

      Haha, well honestly it’s not very “pleasant” listening to a veneto ;D It depends on the area one comes from (some people sound really “rural”, some others less) but we all usually kind of singsong when we speak. We tend to go up and down with the tone, ending the sentences always on a upper tone.
      Actually on youtube there are funny accounts that make parodies of famous American movies, dubbing the characters in veneto, LOL. Too funny. And of course there are lessons of veneto https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOWAjcr04lo (the character with brown hair has an accurate pronunciation, the others are caricatures). On a general note other Italians say Venetian women are more pleasant to listen to than the men (lucky me).

      Here you are a proverb in Veneto and Italian:
      (V) La lengua de le done la xe come na forbese, o la taja o la ponze.
      (I) La lingua delle donne è come una forbice, o taglia o punge.
      Venetian has letters that Italian doesn’t have (like the x) but we don’t have doppie.

      Yes, dialects developed independently from each others! Only in recent times they have been influenced by Italian.

      You actually ended up in a “lucky” area as Tuscan dialect was the one that intellectuals chose as Italian language. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuscan_dialect

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hehe, yes, I’ve heard about that last bit, but I still find it funny how the locals say Hoha-Hola (with h is in “hungry”) for Coca Cola. 😀 Thank you for the proverb and the link, highly informative! I’ve been enjoying this singalong quality of your dialect every time we stop for gas on our way to Slovenia. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Those Italian relatives who “support and annoy you” ….oh so true!! You had me laughing out loud! Your post reminds me of the beauty of having different perspectives – those of us who have an affinity for Italy but didn’t grow up there can benefit from your insight so much, and I’m glad that us Italophiles can make the natives proud of their country. Your post got me thinking about how easy it is to love others, but how most people tend to be their biggest critics, and it seems we are that way with our countries as well. (This is coming from an American who used to claim Canadian citizenship while living in Europe when Bush invaded Iraq).

    Please do share more about the dialects! As a linguist this is such a fascinating topic for me and also a motivation for me to learn Italian better so that I can learn more about the dialects.

    Thank you for joining us Sara!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. fkasara

      Yes, you are so right! It always seems that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence!

      Gladly! As you may have noticed in the IG poll for my #12WeeksInItaly the option “Italian dialects” won over “Italian language”, so I will definitely share some info on our dialects!

      Thanks for organizing such an awesome linkup! 💗

      Like

  8. This made me chuckle! I love the way you write about Italy, you are so objective while at the same time showing how much you love your country. And ‘clan’ is a perfect way to describe Italian families that, as you say, annoy and support each other in equal measure! 🙂 So nice to learn more about your story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. fkasara

      Grazie mille Rebecca! ❤
      I try to be as objective as possible, I've always liked to have an analytical approach when sharing a fact or a personal opinion! It's not always easy, but I try!
      Eh, Italy and I have a complicated relationship…it's one of those love stories where the partners pass half of their time fighting with each others and then make peace ;D

      Like

  9. Ciao cara! So lovely to read your story and especially from the “real Italian” POV. Something as simple as regional dialects (we have in India too) from your end must be normal to you but not for us non Italians…. great post again..!!

    I have been busy past couple of days as I am at my parents’ but let’s hope you all can know more a little bit more about my Italian love affair. Speriamo!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I grew up in Canada and was surrounded by Italian culture. I grew up feeling Italian above all else. When I moved I quickly realized how different things actually were in Italy. The points you make about your connection to Italy are very true. People often ask me why I would move to Italy, America must be better, but there is something about Italy that you can’t be found anywhere else! Can’t wait to read more of your posts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. fkasara

      Ciao LuLu, it’s nice to get to know you!

      It’s funny. because I had an aunt who moved to Vancouver in the 50s and, even if she visited Italy often, she kind of never looked back as she loved Canada very much!
      I think that at the end of the day people look for different things in life and they might find their “ideal dimension” in different countries!
      Italy surely offers the opportunity of a peculiar lifestyle and I’m glad to hear you’ve found some aspects of the Belpaese that you enjoy.

      Thank you very much ❤

      Like

  11. We love that your Mum gave you an Atlas and taught you about the world. Our Grandad had dictionaries for nearly every country under his coffee table and always loved learning about places.
    It’s funny reading about how Italians speak so many different dialects, it’s one of the reasons our Mum never spoke to us in Italian as kids because she wanted us to speak ‘proper’ Italian and always felt she didn’t sound very good. We just think it’s awesome that she can speak it in general! 🙂
    Looking forward to catching up each month!
    Lucy and Kelly xx
    http://www.theblossomtwins.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. fkasara

      It’s weird, because many Italians are kind of ashamed of their dialect and want to speak “proper” Italian, as you said, but we shouldn’t worry too much, I think. Dialects and local accents are symbols of our heritage after all! 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

  12. questadolcevitablog

    Sara, I’m just getting into reading the posts now, yours is the second I’m reading and I’m already so impressed with your take on the topic. I actually was curious as to what some of the Italian bloggers and vloggers were going to say besides “I’m Italian” and you totally nailed it! One thing I love is the presence of dialects and I’m happy to hear you speak yours. I’m worried they might die out as many of my colleagues who are younger don’t speak their dialect. Thanks for joining and can’t wait for future posts #DolceVitaBloggers unite!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. fkasara

      Yes, sadly in the past years teachers discouraged parents to speak dialects to the kids (madness, if you ask me) and the number of dialect speakers is decreasing exponentially. Many people also think dialect is “vulgar” which is a stupid assumption 😒

      Thanks for organizing such an awesome linkup! I’m so happy to see so many entries! ❤❤❤

      Like

  13. Such a great read Sara!! I looove dialects and I think they’re so important! They hold history and individuality. It makes me so sad to see the younger generations are not learning them. Or at least in the areas I’ve been to. It would be very disheartening to see something so amazing become extinct. And to be honest, it made me really happy to hear that you’re using it. 🤣

    Angela 🖤🖤🖤

    http://www.angela-williams.org

    Liked by 1 person

    1. fkasara

      Ciao Angela,
      thanks for stopping by! I read your entry, but sadly I could not comment as I do not use fb! I also remember reading your “interview” for Jasmine’s column about “International Love” ❤

      Yeah, until few years ago dialects were very widespread, but lately teachers have started to discourage parents to speak dialect to their kids. There are also people who think dialects are "vulgar", sigh. Veneto is one of the regions where the dialect is more used, though.

      It's nice to get to know you, ciao! ❤

      Like

  14. Hi Sara, wow, you really are incredible. I was gripped completely throughout reading. You write so well I was totally captured. I always knew if the north & South divide. Because i witnessed this on my travels last year.. but I only recently learned the fact about your language. It’s fascinating.
    My favourite city in the whole world is Verona. I must visit again. Mostly because I’m quite obsessed with Shakespeare (he wrote / based many of his plays in Italian cities with Italian character names- despite the fact he never visited Italy) so even Shakespeare knew Italy was AMAZING (but he actually had another reason) but Verona really is just so pretty. Venice, well it’s an artist’s dream.
    And really, I could just keep writing about how much I enjoyed your post. Thank you so much and it is wonderful to learn more about you.
    A presto, Rachel

    Liked by 1 person

    1. fkasara

      Thank you for this amazing comment, Rachel! *blush* I’m glad the link-up allowed me to connect with so many interesting people like you!

      Concerning the Bard I already replied on IG, hehe 😁✌There are many places here in Northern Italy connected with the tale of Romeo and Juliet, btw, not only Verona and the town of Montecchio Maggiore, which I mentioned on IG stories.

      A prestissimo, ciao ❤💖

      Like

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