Italian life style

What do foreigners know about Italy?

Thanks to the Obor Institute, yesterday I gave a lesson on 'Italian Tourism and Lifestyle' to a group of Chinese operators.

I pleasantly entertained 14 young people - between 20 and 30 - experts in international relations, perfectly fluent in English and curious to know our country.

But the real lesson is the one that I received thanks to their comments. In this way I was able to have the opportunity to interview 14 young people with a high level of education about their knowledge and perception of our beautiful country.

First, our millennial history is recognized in two historical moments: Roman Empire and Renaissance. Everything else is lost and other ages are probably considered important for other European countries.

Therefore, if we want to be immediately perceived immediately as 'reliable' or 'familiar', it is advisable to anchor ourselves to what are considered our exclusive strengths.

A second very interesting aspect is that we must question some certainties we have, and we should calibrate our communication in order to help the understanding of those who listen to us.

In fact, at one point there was talk about the Colosseum and the gladiators and none of the attendants knew what gladiators were. Years and years of Western cinematography have been nullified by the puzzled faces of these kids. If Spartacus with Kirk Douglas and Gladiator with Russel Crowe are part of our popular culture, we must begin to consider that they have not been seen in China or the East, so we have to change our language.

After a series of questions, a girl asked if gladiators were some kind of slaves used for fun.

However, things changed when I started talking about the Italian lifestyle that can still be lived in our villages.

After describing the difference between tangible and intangible heritage, I showed a series of images of religious feasts and village festivals.

Italian Tourism and Lifestyle

Considering that many of the kids who live in big cities today come from families who had moved from the countryside to production cities and areas, the result was immediate familiarity.

I have found that virtually many of our holidays have counterparts with celebrations held in their home country. I understood that if we touch the spirit of communities and the identity of the village festivals (often linked to the cycles of the earth or local productions) our villages can find many opportunities for twinning.

And the lesson ended showing on Youtube several videos of some Italian festivals as: the carousel of the ring during the Palio dell'Assunta in Paliano (my town), the launch of cheese in Ripi, the procession of Santa Rosa di Viterbo with the 33 meters high, the Infiorata (flower festival with carpet of flowers on the street) of Genzano up to the dances in the square with the music of Saltarello.

And now, some students have promised to tell us about their traditional festivals. We are waiting for their stories.

Thanks to Bruno Grassetti and Maria Bruna Ferrara for their tireless work of connecting Italy and China.


Written by:
Claudia Bettiol

Engineeer, futurist, joint founder of Energitismo and founder of Discoverplaces. Consultant for the development and promotion of the Touristic Development of Territories specialising in...

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