The Italian society
Each society has important aspects on which it is based and grows. Knowing these aspects will help you better understand the culture of your new country. Here are some features of the Italian society that you can observe every day.
There are some elements in Italian society that are very important. These elements are family, work, freedom, and social life.
Family is at the center of Italian society. It has an important role in the lives of children and teenagers. Even into adulthood, most people have strong ties to their parents and other relatives. It is normal to share some aspects of one’s private life with family and spend holidays and vacations together, since Italian families are generally close.
- Even as adults, many young people still live in their parents’ home. This happens mainly because of economic difficulties in which many young people find themselves. In addition, adults sometimes welcome their parents into their homes when the parents are too old to live alone.
- Parents of young children can count on help from grandparents, instead of hiring a babysitter. Grandparents have an active role in raising children and spend a lot of time with them.
- The parents’ role is very important and is taken very seriously. Parents are very present in their children’s lives, even if their children are adults, and they remain involved with them throughout their education and their professional and personal development.
The first article of the Italian Constitution says that “Italy is a democratic republic founded on work.” In Italian society, work has always been highly valued and is considered a means for achieving personal fulfilment.
In the past, the Italian job market offered many possibilities. Now, due to difficult economic conditions in the country, as in many other countries, there are fewer job opportunities. Many people have low wages or do not even have a job. Despite this, there are many enterprising and passionate people in Italy that are committed to their work.
- In Italy there are many small and medium-sized businesses, especially in the north.
- In Italy there are many family-owned businesses. Children carry on the work of their parents, for example, running shops and restaurants. Entire families, therefore, are involved in, and invest their energy in, a common enterprise.
- Many Italians start innovative projects in the world of culture, hand-crafts, and food-service, thus keeping alive these important sectors of the economy, which are tied to the large number of tourists who come to visit Italy each year.
In Italy, people’s freedom is very important. Italian law provides for and protects many kinds of freedoms.
- Personal freedom, which prohibits the search, inspection or arrest of a person without a judge’s order. Personal freedom also prohibits these actions from occurring in cases that do not apply to the law.
- Religious freedom, which gives each person the right to practice any religion that they would like.
- Freedom of thought, that is, freedom of the press and freedom of people to express what they think.
Article 3 of the Italian Constitution says that “all citizens have equal status and are equal before the law, without discrimination based on sex, race, language, religion, political opinion, and personal and social circumstance.”
- All people are equal before the law and should be treated equally.
- At school, all students are equal and should be treated equally.
- Men and women are equal and should be treated equally.
Even if some people do not respect these principles, the concept of equality remains an important value in Italian society.
People in Italy are generally sociable and they love to spend time with others. Many people meet to chat and laugh with friends. Often, the reason for coming together is to have a drink or to eat together.
- People of every age meet with friends in bars, pizzerias or nightclubs.
- Sometimes parents leave their children at home with grandparents or with a babysitter so they can go out with their friends.
- It is common to invite friends to your home for lunch or dinner.
Italians have a strong aesthetic sense (of beauty) and they pay close of attention to the appearance of people and things. This may be due to the artistic traditions in Italy and the importance of Italian fashion. Taking care of your appearance can help you in your social and working life in Italy.
- Many Italians initially judge a person by their appearance. They judge the condition of peoples’ clothes or how they have done their hair and makeup.
- Italians wear formal clothes to attend meetings, go to the office or for special occasions (weddings, first communions, birthdays). Formal clothes are suits including a jacket and trousers (for men), a jacket and skirt or trousers (for women), button-down shirt and elegant shoes. Neutral colours and colours that are not too bright are best for formal situations. Do not wear jeans, shorts, miniskirts, short-sleeved shirts, tank tops or trainers. It is important that clothes be well washed, ironed and have no holes or tears.
All of the statements listed in this text are generalisations. ItaliaHello’s goal is to provide generalisations to help you better understand why an Italian could act in a way that you might not understand. Remember, neither way is better than the other – they are simply different.