| Lifestyle,

How to Be Italian

Beatrice Lessi

Everybody wants to be Italian – Italian themselves excluded, perhaps. But I am Italian, married to a Swiss. When we go abroad and people ask us where we are from, usually my husband answers: Switzerland. This always gets the standard reaction: A-ha, said with a blank face. Then I step in and specify: But I am Italian. And this unexpected bonus always provokes delighted oooh , and aaah, and comments like my boyfriend is Italian! My best friend is married to an Italian! My girlfriend has Italian parents and they always sing bella ciao/make the best tortellini/have the best outfits/are so stylish!/ Andrea Bocelli! / Totti!/Maneskin!

So to start 2022, here’s a not too much serious guide to be like us. At least you can try.

1. Spaghetti Tutorial

Jessica Chastain finally taught the world how to eat spaghetti properly, with a fork. No spoon, no cutting, no nonsense (and a wonderful dress – that never hurts). She’s married to an Italian, so she learnt the hard way (no pun intended).

2. Offer A Coffee

It’s not a big deal – a proper coffee is anyway drunk in 30 seconds and doesn’t cost as much as a cappuccino or any Starbucks-inspired, complicated concoction (those are anyway desserts, not coffee). If you enter a coffee shop and see someone you know having a coffee, just pay it. In Naples there is an even better tradition, the caffé sospeso, ie. “suspended/pending coffee”: you drink a coffee, and pay for another one, for anybody who can’t afford it. Try it.

3. Say What You Think

Ok, there are several situations when one needs to be diplomatic, or play a bit of a role, I agree. But in general, being honest and authentic brings you good relationships and positive change. Don’t try to be someone else and be open.

4. Dress Up

Present yourself at your best. Be beautiful.

5. If Plan A Doesn’t Work, There is Plan B

And C, and D, and up to Z and then A1, B1, C1….Crisis are part of life. Suffering is part of life and let’s face it: being able to suffer brings you a lot of advantages in many occasions, so better accepting it quickly. When things go wrong, just find the next available option, and be ready for more. S*it happens, which brings me to the next point.

6. Bidet

After your daily business, use water and soap. Full stop.

7. Get Inspired by Be Italian

One of the best collections of Italian images and videos on Instagram, Be Italian is a delight. From vintage  movie clips, to live content and events, this profile will certainly teach you some of our history.

8. Watch La Loren

Any movie by Sophia Loren will do. She is the star of the stars, and her latest work proves it even more. Liberated from her almost excessive sensuality, today she has more screen presence than Meryl Streep and  shows what an incredible actress she is. Check it out on Netflix:  The Life Ahead.

9. Vaffanculo Works

When worst comes to worst, even the chicest lady will shout a vaffanculo. It is so much more classy than the F word and works magic.

10. Have “Something”

All my life I have been told: Beatrice, you have something. And hundreds of times I have asked for a clarification: what do you mean exactly/Could you rephrase please? The answer has invariably been: I don’t know….something! With a delighted face. I guess this is the whole point about being Italian.