I’m Sara, I’m 21 years-old, and I’m from Italy. Or better, I should say, I’m from Rome.
Because there are several differences in being born in Rome rather than in Milan or in Sicily, or everywhere else in Italy. And even if something unifies us as “Italians”, we still feel we belong to our city, maybe more than to our nation.
When we meet someone from a different region (there are 20 different regions in Italy), we feel like we’ve met a foreigner: sometimes we don’t even understand each other, especially if we talk with some old lady that speaks only her dialect.
And it’s funny to compare and discover how different we are, the different words we use, the different lifestyles, the different accents, the different attitudes and so on, even from town to town in the same region, we could distinguish different dialects and different historical backgrounds, and everyone is so proud to show where he/she belongs.
Other nations think we Italians are all noisy people, all very talkative, all kind of lazy. But there are remarkable differences between people coming from Tuscany (for example, they have a gentle sense of humor that makes you laugh even if they’re making fun of you) or people coming from Naples (where it’s right to shout from a window to another, to ride a motorbike with too many people on board, to take the grocery bag up to the balcony with a homemade pulley) or people from Rome (where it’s easy to get insulted, to see people fighting in the streets and then make it up easily, where you can laugh loudly without being impolite).
And of course we Italians have a lot of stereotypes about regional differences, and it’s funny to try to imitate the different accents, making fun of other dialects that sound so odd to us.
Another main difference, obviously, is about food: when foreigners think of Italy, “Pizza and Pasta” immediately come to their minds.
However, there are different kind of pizza, mainly the one from Naples and from Rome; and “pasta” has different shapes associated with different sauces, as the “Ragu” of Bologna, the “pesto” of Liguria, the “carbonara” of Rome. For the pastries, there’s the “cannolo” of Sicily, the “babà” from Naples, the “panettone” which has been invented in Milan and there are several other dishes typical of each region … it’s hard to remember!
And each city has a Holy festivity which is more celebrated, as “San Gennaro” in Naples, or “ San Pietro e Paolo” in Rome, or “Sant’Ambrogio” in Milan because each city has its saint patron. And each city has its traditions and its typical icons, may it be a street, a church or a historical building, and that makes each city recognizable.
That’s such a strong feeling of belonging, such a proud of being born in that city, in that region.
I cannot simply say “I’m from Italy”, I have to state that I was born in Rome, that my father is from Tuscany and my mother from Lazio, because these are my roots and I would have been a different person, with different traditions, talking with a different accent, using different words (as for example, I call my father “Babbo”, as they do in Tuscany, whereas in Lazio they say “Papa”) and with a different culture if I had born somewhere in Italy.