Learning more from the Italians about healthy living.

Picture: AFP Foto Tiziana Fabri via The Local

Continuing our series on 10 Italian lifestyle habits that add to the quality of daily living, we are looking today at two more suggestions from Patrick Browne in The Local, our Italian English-language newspaper.

Habit #5 is Drink less alcohol. One of the striking things in life in Italy is how little the Italian drink, compared with, say, the English or the Americans. Sure, they drink wine, probably every day, and they enjoy an evening aperitivo from time to time. Their drinking habits can probably be summed up as ‘a little, quite often’. As Patrick Browne says: Italians do drink – even to excess. But what most Italians consider ‘excess’ is what some people from other cultures might consider ‘just warming up’.

“At the beginning, changing drinking habits can lead to pacing problems when you go out with your friends – but eventually drinking less is kind of a relief. The night lasts longer, you have more money in your pocket and you cringe less as you recall the previous night’s antics.”

“When you drink is important too – Italians tend to drink with meals or in the evenings. Liquid lunches and post-work pints soon slip by the wayside. Thank goodness for that.”

The Watermill at Posara for painting, creative writing, knitting, and Italian language holidays/vacations/workshops, Tuscany, Italy.
You can’t beat the Italian aperitivo, but one is enough and you need nibbles and lively conversation.

Habit #3 Gesticulate: Anyone who has spent any time in Italy, or even met just one Italian, will know that this far more to the Italian language than mere words. In fact most Italians find it impossible to communicate without a wide range of gestures to emphasise their point.

Someone who had nothing better to do with their time, once estimated at some 250 gestures are in common use.

Picture: The Local

It’s been suggested that gestures were used, rather like Cockney rhyming slang in London, as a way of communicating so that the powers-that-be didn’t know what was going on. Others reckon that it was a way of competing for attention in the crowded squares of Renaissance Italy. We rather think the reason is much more simple: Italians tend to speak quite quickly and use many-syllabled words. To help the rhythm of your flow, it’s vital to move your hands.

Patrick Browne says: “One thing is for sure: the longer you live in Italy the more likely you are to throw your hands into the air when making a point. And why not?

“While it may seem strange to drill your finger into your cheek after eating something good, gesticulating is a great way to display, and add subtle inflections to, the pleasures and dramas of everyday life.”

If you would like to learn more, we recommend doing this amusing video from an Italian chef: just click here.

Picture: Vincenzo’s Plate.

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