Any trip to a new country ignites a storm of comments and questions. It’s only natural to compare, to delight in the novelty and be shocked by the foreignness. After my recent post, 50 Things Italians Think About America, I realized that that’s really only half of the story. For every time an Italian is marveling at the vastness that is the American highway system, an American is marveling at how adept Italian drivers are at managing the tiny alleyways they call a superstrada. 

This beautiful film is the heart of so, so many misconceptions about expat life in Italy.

This beautiful film is the heart of so, so many misconceptions about expat life in Italy.

Want to know what Americans think about Italy? Their foremost thoughts and confusions? Here is a short list of the exclamations or questions I hear over and over again from first-time visitors to Italy. Some of them, I admit, were statements I myself said when I first came to Italy to study abroad (Ok ok, most of them – damn you small cups!!!) but I think the vast majority are widely shared.

1. Ugh I’m dying to go to Italy! 

2. Do they drive on the same side of the road as us?

3. But I mean, everyone speaks English there right?

4. I’m trying to go into all the little hillside towns, just like that movie.

5. I need to marry an Italian

6. That guy doesn’t look like an Italian.

7. Why doesn’t anyone here speak English?

8. Oh my god the food is so amazing.

9. They drive too fast!

10. I haven’t seen a single meatball.

11. Why are the cups so little?

12. I can’t eat an entire pizza!


13. Oh my gosh this pizza!

14. Oh my gosh this pasta!

15. Carbs don’t count, I’m in Italy.

16. The carbs don’t affect the Italian girls.

17. How the hell do they look like that?!

18. Why is everyone staring at me?

19. I’m going to dress like an Italian.

20. It’s impossible to dress like an Italian.

21. Why don’t they have screens on their windows?

22. Why won’t the waiter freaking come over here?

23. Where’s my food?

24. Where’s my check?

25. You have to pay for water?!

26. Look at that baby’s adorable vest!

27. Stop! This is a one-way street!

28. I can’t believe that wasn’t a one way street. The roads are so little!

29. The cars are so little!

30. The men are so little…

31. That little old lady just shoulder bumped me.

32. Look at that grandpa on a bike. He’s so cute!

33. Look at that grandpa playing cards!

34. There are a lot of old people here, huh?

35. Look at these buildings!

Just the modest Duomo of Monza...

Just the modest Duomo of Monza…

36. Look at this church!

37. And that church!

38. Ok no more churches, I’m over it.

39. Wow, Italians really like their food.

40. The wine doesn’t cost a thing!

41. You have to pay to park everywhere.

42. Why is everyone wearing a coat? It’s like 75 degrees.

43. Why does every house have a wall around it?

44. That woman just brought her dog into the store!

45. That woman just brought her dog into the restaurant!

46. There’s dog poop everywhere…

47. What the hell are wrong with these trains?

48. How can one country be so beautiful?

49. Oh my god gelatoooooohhhhh.

50. I can’t wait to come back!

What were some of your first thoughts or questions the first time you traveled in Italy? Share it in the comments below.

You might also like: 

11 Questions About Italy, Answered

50 Things Italians Think About America



Written by ginamussio

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