What Italian social feature would you like to have applied in the US?

The Intercultural Communication Course Blog
Authors: Marnie Abraham (UVA), Kristin Fitzgerald (Penn State), Lindsay Guercio (RWU), Aaron Rawdin (Penn State)


While there are plenty of similarities and differences between the Italian and American cultures, we found that America could really benefit from adapting two specific features. There is no comparison between Italy and America when it comes to freshness of food. The Italians prepare their food with simple and pure ingredients rather than pack in artificial flavors and sweeteners like we tend to do in America. Since we could not choose just one feature to bring back to America with us, we also would take with us the allowance of animals in stores. It took us a little while to get used to seeing furry friends in restaurants and supermarkets but we like how well animals are treated here in Italy. We would love to be able to walk our dogs around town and bring them shopping with us.

Firstly, the freshness of food is incomparable to any other culture. The ingredients are supplied fresh from nearby markets and farms. Besides from being grown and produced locally, Italians do not add any sort of preservatives to their foods like the Americans. Americans tend to add preservatives to fruits and vegetables to make them last longer. We have noticed this first hand as some of the items we buy at the grocery store like oranges and carrots do not last as long in Italy as they would in the United States. Another difference is with eggs. The eggs in Italy do not need refrigeration like the ones in America because they are not sprayed with the chemicals that American use to preserve the eggs for a longer period of time.  Italians do a better job of focusing on the present when it comes to food. They do not over buy or overindulge like most of us Americans. Thus far in Italy, we have been living and learning when it comes to food shopping. We have thrown out more groceries than we should have because we are used to the American way of life which is buying more than necessary.


Another feature that we can not leave Florence without trying to implement in America is allowing pets into public places. In America, you would never see an animal inside a store unless it was a pet shop. In Italy, dogs roam department stores, grocery stores, and clothing stores without a blink of an eye. While it took a little bit of getting used to, we have learned to accept and now appreciate how well animals are treated in this country. Animals also seem to be much more well behaved here than in America. Knowing how some dogs act in America, bringing them into a compact store may not be the best idea. Dogs seem to bark much less here as well. Although, this is no reason to keep them from accompanying us on our daily errands. Why leave them at home alone when they can be brought along? It would be nice to give our pets a little more freedom and treat them as human like as possible.

Although there are many different social aspects of Florence that we’d like to have carried over into the United States, these are two that we found were most prevalent and relatable amongst our peers. Whether it’s fresher food or the company of a pet wherever you go, Florence is really doing things right.