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BITS OF CULTURE - Italy
 
Languages
Map
Cultural Values
Main Religion & Death Concepts/Rituals
Health Care Values
Diet
Interesting Facts
 

Languages

Official language:
Italian

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Map



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Cultural Values
  • Central in Italians' lives is their families.... and "Mama" is queen.
  • Sons frequently live at home until well into their 20s.
  • Parents often live in their children's homes and care for the grandchildren. Aunts and uncles play a big part in the children's lives as well. The extended family is getting smaller, but is still the major source of security.
  • Italians are serious about business and expect you to be as well .
  • Italians usually do not date like in other European countries and America, but they like going out in good-sized mixed groups of their peers and doing things together.

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Main Religion & Death Concepts/Rituals
  • Roman Catholic .
  • Southern Italians, in particular, receive condolences at the family home, a gathering known as a ‘lutto’.
  • Viewings are held at the funeral home.
  • At the church, a Rosary is recited over the body. A full service is held the next day, followed by a burial at the cemetery.
  • Mourners, who traditionally wear dark colors, have an opportunity to throw a flower on the casket as a final goodbye.
  • Elaborate headstones and caskets are often regarded as fitting tributes.

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Health Care Values
  • Traditionally the family must be involved from the start, to deal with any terminal illness. Some families, relative and friends may wish to prevent the communication of the diagnosis and prognosis from medical professionals to the dying person.
  • The families of a few patients insist on being informed of bad news first, but the patient is usually told as well.
  • Emotions may be displayed openly, e.g. anger, despair, depression.
  • This is an acceptable means of behavior and is sometimes expected.
  • Anger may sometimes be directed towards health care workers.
  • Emotional support is generally not sought, as this is considered to be an ‘in house’ matter.
  • Morphine should only be used when other medications are ineffective. Some Italians may accept morphine whilst others may express many fears associated with its use.
  • The strong Roman Catholic belief of the Italian community leads them to reject euthanasia.

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Diet
  • Italian food is based on pastas and breads. However, the diets of Italy differ considerably. The north for example eats rich and creamy dishes, and the south’s specialties are hot and spicy food.
  • Usually breakfast in the morning (consists of cappuccino or espresso and a pastry), a normal lunch around 1 pm and a full dinner at night (often not before 9 pm).

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Interesting Facts
  • The Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of three church buildings, all of which are parts of the Cathedral of Pisa. The building was started in 1173 and finished 700 years later. The tower was built on unstable soil, which is a mixture of sand and clay. Because of this the tower began leaning to one side. Today the tower leans over about 14 1/2 feet.
  • Bocce is a popular sport in Italy. It is a lot like bowling. The point is to roll balls as close to a target ball as possible. On the beach Italians play bocce with miniature Frisbees instead of balls.
    Wine and lemonade merchants in Italy in the 1600s called coffee "Satan's drink" due to its threat to their markets.

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