Italy is a much-loved tourist destination, and for good reason. There is a wealth of culture to discover from the country’s ancient and medieval history, natural environment, and gastronomy. However, it is important to get to know Italy beyond its iconic attractions to understand the people and their way of life.

Italians are sociable and family-oriented, which is why they place a great importance on food and wine. They often gather at home with family and friends, and enjoy eating out in restaurants such as trattorias and ristorantes. Italians are also known for their style and sense of fashion, which is why it isn’t uncommon to see them wearing designer clothing at high-end clubs and restaurants.

Having a strong sense of identity and heritage is an important part of Italy’s culture. It is a nation divided by 20 regions, and each has its own distinct history, food, and landscape. For example, Sardinia is famous for its pristine beaches, while Sicily is home to the active volcano Mount Etna.

The north of Italy industrialised in the 19th century and is often perceived to be more business-minded, while the south is characterised by its ties with family and tradition. Many of Italy’s largest cities are found in the north and centre, while smaller metropolises can be found in the south.

Italian cuisine is renowned all over the world. It is usually simple and light, with many dishes made from scratch using locally sourced ingredients. Italians have a relaxed approach to dining and love spending time at the table. This creates a cosy atmosphere that is often complimented by lively conversation and laughter.

Wine is another key aspect of Italian culture, and there are 330 designated areas where wines can be produced. Each wine region has a specific terroir that gives it its own characteristics and flavours. This is why the best Italian wines are so unique and desirable. The most notable Italian wines include Nebbiolo, which is grown in the north and produces the famed Barolo and Barbaresco; Piemontese grape Ghemme, Ghiaccio, and Valtellina; and Nero d’Avola from Sicily.

The language and literature of Italy are also world-renowned. Great works like Dante’s Divine Comedy, Pietro Bembo’s poetry, and Nicolo Machiavelli’s The Prince are among the most famous of their genre.

In terms of religion, around 90% of Italians are Roman Catholic. They follow a variety of different traditions and practices in their daily lives, however. For example, it is common to have religious services at home as well as in a church or synagogue.

The work ethic of Italians is strong. They tend to be punctual and reliable, which is why many businesses are still run by families. It is also not uncommon for Italians to live with their parents into their late twenties and seek advice from them at work or in personal matters. They value their family and are proud of their heritage, which makes them a warm and welcoming society.

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