5 stereotypical things about Italians

Since I arrived in the US three years ago every person that I met was asking me always the same questions. It is interesting to see how many stereotypes characterize my country and today I will talk about some of them that are very common and most of all not that true. Before starting reading these five explanations understand that the only personal goal is to clear some thoughts about Italy that have been generalized and are not the real characteristics of a beautiful country as that is.

  1. Talk with our hands

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Let’s start with a common thing that is known to characterize the Italian population, the hands gestures. For the last three years I have been meeting a lot of people and I can assure you that most of them would show me their hands with the “usual” Italian gesture and start talking with an Italian accent. I’m sure we use our hands more than others but I cannot see great of a difference and push for using it as a stereotype for Italians.

  1. Mafia

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The second thing that seems to characterize the Italian population is the MAFIA. Now it is known that a lot of things are owned by the mafia power in Italy but there are many more things that characterize Italy and that make it one of the most beautiful countries in the world and I can assure you the mafia is not one of them. So maybe we should concentrate more on the positive thins and the history of a country instead of the negative things that characterize it.

  1.  Mopeds

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Another idea that is very common in America as regard to Italy is the use of mopeds. This common thought comes from different movies about Italy, like the Lizzie McGuire movie, in which it seems that the only thing they go around, is a moped. These ideas are a little generalized to the whole population but the reality is that it is not that common. I know that all our thoughts are just a consequence of stereotypes but I think sometimes we should look forward and realize what is the reality of things.

  1. Loud

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A thing that it is very true though is the loudness of people. It depends on which part of Italy you visit but most of the population can agree on the fact that Italians are really loud. It is not only when they are mad but in every kind of situation, especially when they are happy. I would say that one of the loudest places in Italy are the fresh markets where sellers would yell what they are selling. It is a very loud place but also a great experience.

  1. Pasta at every meal

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The last common stereotype is the presence of the pasta at every meal. In the past, the meals in Italy were characterized by three main courses. The first one would be characterized by pasta, the second by meat or fish and vegetables and the last one with fruit or desert. However, now most of the meals are characterized by only two courses, so only pasta or meat and veggies and fruit. I wish I could eat that many courses and still be in shape, especially with pasta.

 

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Florence and the culture of saving leftovers

Have you ever found yourself with many leftovers of different types of food and not knowing what to with them? In Florence, it is important to not waste food like old bread, chicken liver, trippa or lampredotto, which are different parts of the cow’s stomach, or the peas skins. Today I’m going to talk to you about the main 5 meals that Florentines eat and that are majorly made with these types of food.

 

  1. Ribollita

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The first plate is the “Ribollita”. This meal is a type of minestrone but made with beans, good olive oil, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, red peeper, tomatoes puree, cabbage, kale, fresh basil, chicken stock and for the best part sourdough or homemade bread. In Florence, we usually make this meal when we have a lot of stale bread that we’re probably not going to eat otherwise. It is a great way to save some bread and to now waste anything.

 

  1. Crostini Toscani

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The second plate it is known in Italy as “Crostini Toscani” and it is a pate made with chicken liver, carrots, celery, onions, white wine, anchovy and capers. By looking at the recipe I’m sure most of you will say “oh I would never eat that” but let me assure you that after the first time you try them you will never stop. There are a lot of parts that we are not eating from different animals and this is a great way to save some of it.

 

  1. Trippa e Lampredotto

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Another plate in which we save a lot of rests from an animal is the one characterized by the tripe, or Trippa in Italian and the lampredotto. These two types of meat are coming from different parts of the cow’s stomach and before served are cleaned and cooked for an appropriate amount of time. Personally, I do not like the taste of it but it is one of the favorite meat to eat in a sandwich with the bread drenched in the broth and covered with green sauce, for Florentines.

 

  1. Pappa al Pomodoro

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This is another plate in which Italians are able to save some stole bread. To make this plate we need tomatoes, basil, olive oil, garlic and of course bread. It is called “Pappa al Pomodoro” in English tomatoes soup but it looks more like a mush. It is really good and tasty, something that really needs to be tasted.

 

  1. Minestra di bucce di piselli

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For the last plate, we have a kind of minestrone made with peas skins. It is commonly made when after having pealed the peas, all the skins that we would normally throw away are put in a big pan and used to make an incredibly tasty minestrone. After being cooking for some time the skins are then mashed until forming a kind of soup.

5 unknown things to see in Florence, Italy

Have you ever visited a city and felt like you never really got to know and understand the real story of the place? Today I’m going to try and tell you what are five of the best things to see in Florence when you don’t want to be around too many tourists and get to know better the city and its history.

  1. Istituto degli Innocenti

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The Institute of the Innocents was built in the first half of the 15th century and it was the first institute in the world to be devoted only for childcare. Mainly the children that were hosted in this institute were abandoned and across the time it was adapted also to the needs of families. The building, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, is one of the first representations of the Renaissance architecture in Florence. Since 2006 the Institute has been transformed in a museum to show the population the story and secretes of the buildings.

  1. Santo Spirito Church

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The Church of Santo Spirito (Holy Spirit) was finished in 1488 and designed by Brunelleschi, over the old Augustinian Convent that was burnt down by a fire in 1471. One of the two main characteristics of the Church are the Crucifix placed over the high altar and made by Michelangelo Buonarroti, followed by the plain main facade. This Church is one of the most beautiful churches in Florence and definitely not seen enough by many tourists.

  1. Mercato Centrale

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Another not touristy place but that definitely is important to see in Florence is the Mercato Centrale (Central Market). This Market was built in a building of cast-iron built in 1874. Around this building you will find a lot of stalls of the market of San Lorenzo. By entering the Central Market you will be able to experience a series of streets food vendors that dedicate their time to ingredients of the Tuscan and Florentine cuisine. An experience that can’t be missed if wanting to know a place not only for the arts but also for the food that characterizes it.

  1. Giardino Di Boboli

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The fourth place that needs to be seen is the Boboli Garden. Cosimo Medici commissioned this Garden for his wife Eleonora di Toledo and it was designed by many famous artists of the 16th century as Ammanati, Vasari and Buontalenti. It covers 45,000 in the center of the city and it is hidden by the Pitti Palace, one of the most famous palaces in Florence ruled by the Medici family. Visit this Garden is a good way to be around green and fresh air in the center of the city, a great escape from the hot weather especially during the summer.

  1. Società Canottieri Firenze

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The fifth and last place that needs to be experience is the visit of the Rowing Club of Florence, called Società Canottieri Firenze. The club was founded in 1886 under the Uffizi Gallery and Ponte Vecchio (the Old Bridge). By entering the club you will be able to see some of the oldest boats of the club and to enjoy something to drink or eat at the bar or outside on the river shore. Thanks to the great position the view of the outside is stunning. You will be able to observe Ponte Vecchio and some of the palaces on both of the river sides from a different point of view.

The relationship between mental health and what we eat

What can improve our mental health has been the topic of many researches done by a new field called nutritional psychiatry, which looks at how diet can help us reduce the chance of mental health conditions. In the article “how what you eat may affect mental health” the author stays that in the past year, more than 16 million people in the US presented cases of depression. It is hard to individuate the main reason of mental conditions but it has been proved that a healthy diet can lower the number of chances to engage in mental disorders as anxiety and depression.

By engaging in a healthy diet the individual most of the time starts to loose wait and this can bring to an improvement of the personal relationship with his/her body. It is hard to live in a body that does not fit in your expectations and this is one of the major problems for girls and one of the major reasons of mental and eating disorders. For this reason, when starting to lose weight and getting closer to the personal goals, it will be easier for the individual to not face anxiety or depression. However, the author of the article “can what you eat affect your mental health” stays that it has not been found what relationship characterize mental health and what you eat. It could be that some food or the absence of them could bring to poor mental health or it could also be the other way around, in which the mental disorder could change what you decide to eat.

Whatever is the answer to that question, it is important to notice how they can both influence one another. By only eating healthier and watching what we eat, we could improve our personal health and resolve many disorders issues that characterize this country.

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How society impacts physical and mental health

It is safe to say that everyone wants to be successful in life whether that be in their personal life or career. It all starts with self-esteem and confidence. But based on today’s society and level of expectations it is nearly seems impossible to achieve.

Specifically for women the site “Heart of Leadership foundation” completed a study that shows that 7 out of 10 girls think that they do not measure up to the level of expectation that society has set. Whether that is academic success, personal appearance, or relations with family and friends.

Thanks to societies “normality” of the perfect body weight and what a women has to do to be “successful” in life has lead to, 1 in 4 girls being physically and mentally unhealthy that affect their everyday lives. Universities across the world have noticed this growing issue and have taken it upon themselves to help give advice and solutions.

Yale University stated that “being physically healthy improves mental health”. With that said trainers and nutritionists work together to provide physical improvement opportunities to people.

In the article, “How Exercise Boots Confidence”, they say that exercising 20-30 minutes a day releases endorphins which help relieve stress and by physically being active it builds up ones immune system which helps fight against viruses and diseases. Thus allowing one to stay on the track to success feeling both mentally and physically strong.

Being aware of one’s health, both physically and mentally, is something that society has to recognize as a whole in order to continue to make significant contributions to the world and essentially improving everyday life.mental_vs_physical_copy