Buona Pasqua a Tutti! (Happy Easter Everyone!)

There is no better place to be than in Florence for Easter! Since it is a very Catholic community, they take the holiday very seriously. At the Duomo they the have Scoppio del Carro or “explosion of the cart”. They take a decorated cart filled with fireworks and light it in front of the façade of the Duomo. This signifies a great harvest and luck to come.

Then, most Italian families go out to lunch or make a family lunch at home. My host mother invited us for a dinner with her 2 sons. She made us pasta, roast beef, peas and carrots, potatoes, crepes stuffed with ricotta and artichoke served with tomato sauce on top, shrimp salad, and lastly Italian budino (pudding) with a fresh strawberry sauce. So delicious! It was a lot of food! I’m still getting used to having it all served in courses and not eating too much of one thing because there is always another course after you finish! My host mother loves having people over and at dinner we were able to talk to her sons in English which was a nice because my Italian still is not fluent.

What do people wear in Italy?

This is a great question! Italians are known for being very fashionable. Italy is one of the fashion capitals of the world. Italians are almost known for dressing up almost too much! You will find the women garbage collectors with perfect make up and hair done. Or have a service worker look better than a business executive on a normal day. Everyone is very manicured, prim, proper and fit. It is very uncommon to see anyone overweight or in sweat pants here unless they are American. Italians are always looking their best. They do it almost seamlessly and without thinking about it.

Bella Figura

A common term when it comes to the way Italians present themselves. This is Bella Figura described perfectly. “Fare bella figura.” It literally means “to make a beautiful figure,” but most people would translate it as “a good impression.” In order to possess a bella figura, you must look put-together. If you’re a woman, your hair is perfect. You have a fresh manicure and pedicure. Your clothes are stylish and flattering; your makeup is flawless. Your bag, shoes, and jewelry are coordinated and tasteful. Needless to say, you have exemplary posture as you make your way through the city streets. If you’re a man, you’re wearing a tailored suit, an impeccably pressed shirt, and polished dress shoes. Your grooming is likewise impressive. You’re fit and you smell good.

Common fashion trends right now are scarves for men and women, tights, earth tone/darker toned clothes, vintage style clothing and button up shirts. I heard that Italians do not stop wearing boots and coats until summer officially starts according to the calendar date instead of dressing to the actual weather. It is common to see men and women in suits and heels riding bikes to work. One day I volunteered to help pick up trash in a piazza near my school and my Italian program director was picking up trash in heels and a dress. It’s a funny sight to see how much they value fashion. What do you think of this? How important is it to you to look fancy?

Even the dogs here strut their stuff. In the winter many dogs were very fashionably dressed for the cold. The dogs here act differently compared to the United state they aren’t usually on a leash and are used to walking around and being responsible for themselves. I’ve seen dogs trot down the sidewalk without an owner probably trying to get home for dinner. The dog laws are very relaxed here, in Florence they just recently required owners to pick up after their dogs. Most are still catching on to this trend unfortunately.

Lauren Wederich
Classmates Connecting Cultures
Florence, Italy
Spring 2012

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