How to Adjust to the Italian Way of Life

Written by Adam October 3, 2016

Some of us enjoyed a sunny day in Padova

One of the many great outdoor sport courts

One of the local Tabacchi's (convenience stores), only a minute away

A castle fit for the Godfather


If I was truly adjusted to the Italian way of life, this third week’s post would be up being posted during week five. The Italians have a very different way of viewing time and sense of urgency than Americans. You’re in for a treat, because it’s story time:

A friend and I took a trip to Treviso, a city that is about an hour away from campus. On the way home, a leg of the trip required getting off of one train, switching platforms, and then waiting about 10 minutes for the next train to arrive. While the train did arrive, we boarded and the train which waits about 10 minutes from arrival to departure. We were sitting there waiting, and a train attendant started projecting her voice in Italian. A bunch of people got off, and it turned out that there was a problem with the train and there was a delay, or so I thought. So, while waiting outside for the train to get fixed, I asked the attendant what the approximate time of the delay was, and she said, in perfect English, “This train is not going, it’s done for the day, there’s a problem with the rails.” Immediately, I was just brainstorming ways for us to get home and running down the platform to get to the main station. While in a hurry and confused, all of the people that were waiting for the same train sat there. At least 50 people, unconcerned and not rattled at all. They just sat there like time was just stopped since the train was, and as if they had no where important to be. Once we got in a taxi, we were just amazed at how undisturbed these people were. A train during rush hour breaks down and isn’t leaving anytime soon, and there wasn’t a raised eyebrow in sight. I hope this story gives you a good idea of how time is approached completely different in Italy than in America. I’ve had to consciously adjust my expectations and rhythm, which has not been easy, but does give me that exposure to how different cultures operate. 

I have found many things about Paderno Del Grappa to be things that I call part of my everyday life here. The campus has an extensive sports area, which is actually much larger than the academic campus, full of basketball and tennis courts, a soccer field, workout gym, and tons of soccer fields. You don’t have to go very far at all to exercise and participate in some friendly competition with others. There’s also a sports cafe right in the heart of the athletic campus which serves cheap sandwiches and beverages. 

If you ever need snacks, toiletries, or a giant sandwich from one of Paderno’s most eccentric business owners, there’s Tabacchi 1 and Tabacchi 2. These are basically the equivalent to a general store. You can also refill your SIM card account at them. These are right outside the gates of the campus, only about a one to two minute walk. 

Go a bit farther down the road and you have a pharmacy, spa, and Pizzeria Al Sole. Us CIMBians frequent the pizzeria a lot for some great, homemade pies, and a good time. To me, we have transformed from tourists to regular people in the community, who connect and laugh with the locals (even if it is through Google Translate and broken Italian or English). 

While we have had our fun in Paderno, we have branched out to larger cities in the area, including Bassano Del Grappa, Padova/Padua, and Treviso…oh, and six of us stayed in a castle in Monselice. A castle property with it’s own charcuterie and wine bar, pool house, hot springs, garden, and much more all sitting on about 9,687,519 square feet. (Yes, I did the conversion from 90 hectares to square feet.) 

Until next time,