Exploring the Culture of Italy

Exquisite art, music, food, and architecture make the perfect backdrop on an evening passeggiata (a slow walk) in Italy. From sunny isles and electric blue surf, glacial lakes and fiery volcanoes, rolling vineyards and urban landscapes, Italy is a country of unparalleled beauty. It’s impossible not to marvel at splendid palaces, paintings, churches, and monuments without admiring the centuries of devotion to traditional techniques.

In addition to a rich history, Italian culture consistently leads the way in style and fashion. The world’s best gelato, rich home-cooked meals, remnants of the Roman Empire, snow-capped Alps, or picturesque coastal towns on the Adriatic Sea help Italians truly live la dolce vita (the sweet life).

Study abroad in Italy Host an Italian student in the U.S.


Italian People and Community

A family in Italy

In the culture of Italy, families are generally quite close and they are the focal point for life. Even though daily life is always a rush, Italians always find a way to spend quality time together by eating all around the table. At the dinner table, nobody is in a rush. It’s a time of the day that the parents and children share their thoughts, experiences, and family discussions in general. It is common for many generations to live together under one roof, especially in the South. Young adults tend to stay at home until they get married.

Language and Communication Styles

A busy street in Rome, Italy

Italian is the official language, although there are different dialects from city to city. There are significant French- and German-speaking pockets of people, as well as the complex Friuliano dialect close to the Slovenian border.

Food in Italy

Food in Italy

Italians take their time when eating and meals are usually long and filling. In the culture of Italy, food is a source of pleasure and enjoyment, where people enjoy lunch in the company of family and friends. Meals contain generous portions, strong coffee, and tasty treats. Fantastic bread, cheeses, and incomparable pizza and pasta are staples of this cuisine, accompanied by seafood, meat, and fresh vegetables. For dessert, there’s a broad selection of traditional pastries, including tiramisu, a rich cake whose name means “pull me up” because of how satisfied and full it makes you feel.

The average Italian family eats three meals a day: a light breakfast, lunch with pasta and/or meat and vegetable, and supper with pasta/soup and/or meat/cheese and vegetable. Lunch and supper always include fruit at the end.

Explore the Programs Available in Italy