Funny Things Italians Do in Everyday Life

What comes to mind when you think of Italians?

Tall, dark, muscular men drinking coffee calling you “bella?” Maybe you think of beautiful women, with long lean figures, thin legs and a big booty? How did they get that way? Grrr!

Or maybe you think of jovial personalities, smiling, generously offering you a morning espresso or post-dinner grappa?

Sound stereotypical? Maybe it is. But Italians are some of the most beautiful, generous, fun-loving people I know. And they are funny, too.

Over the years I’ve observed, been party to or noticed some pretty funny things going on around here, but they are never enough for a whole post. So I’m going to save them up and give them to you in threes.

1. Last week was All Saint’s Day where all people who aren’t named after a Saint’s get to celebrate. Hence … It was “my” day. Since I’m trying to lose those residual Mexican-food-and-margarita pounds, I asked my husband and father-in-law not to buy the traditional celebratory pastries. They happily obliged.

Instead, they came home with a kilo of vanilla bean ice cream and two dozen Ferrero chocolates
2. Last month I was trying to sneak in a mid-afternoon nap when the sound of the door bell thrust me from my slumber. Upon opening the door, I saw my husband’s uncle, standing with his fruit-stained hands open in front of him.

“Ciao, Zio Joe. What’s up?”

“Hey, Cherrye. I am dirty. I’ve been picking persimmons.”

“Do you want to wash your hands?”

“No, no, I was just wondering if you like persimmons?”

“Oh yes,” I tell him. “I love persimmons.”

“Well, I have too many.” He said. “I’ll bring some over.”

“No, no. We don’t need them. We have plenty on our tree.”

I later retold the story to my husband who thought for a minute, started laughing and clarified my story. “He came over to ask you if we wanted persimmons?”


“That’s hilarious,” he said. “He doesn’t have a persimmon tree. He was picking them off of ours!”

 3. I was driving home from the supermarket on Monday (there are seven of them within a two kilometer drive) when I turned the curve and noticed two cars headed directly toward me. One was in his appropriate lane. The other in mine. The guy in my lane, in a frenzied fuss, started honking his horn and yelling at me … for not moving out of his way. Ahhh, when will I learn?

What are some things the people in your life do to keep you laughing? Do you think these things are more amusing in a foreign country or would they be funny in your home country?

18 Responses
  1. Lucia

    I found your site quite by accident; which for me is often the best way..then again it is said that there is no such thing as an accident. I am always digging through Calabrian history. My mother’s side of the family.I read some of your blogs some of your messages and enjoyed them very much. Some reminded me of family members, stories of my pappa and of my dear father in law from Abruzzo. All praised the mountains. I am not physically up to fulfilling the dream of living in Bella Italia; but I enjoy knowing that there is another one who is. Stolen Figs ! a wonderful book. Buona fortuna.
    I have not read Stolen Figs but I *really* want to. I wish my mom and husband would read this so they’d add it to my Christmas list! LOL I’m glad you are enjoying the blog. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Go on! You were secretly happy to get the chocolates, weren’t you? (Love the persimmon story – priceless!)
    You caught me … don’t tell anyone, ok??

  3. OMG- my husband’s aunt does the second thing ALL THE TIME! She picks stuff off our trees and then asks us if we want it! Too funny.

    The third one had me laughing too, but nervously, of course.
    That is so funny. I’d never go over to my aunt’s house in Texas and offer her something from her own tree. Mah!

  4. Janet

    That last story about the drivers cracked me up! WOW!
    Scary, heh? Maybe it is scarier that I thought it was funny … oops!

    1. Barbera Coffee


      Living in Italy gave me your perspective of driving on these roads. It was not once that we’ve been in your shoes, especially in Napoli. The worst experience was when cars were coming from behind us on our lane and we stopped at the red stop light. They were honking at us for stopping when there was nobody to yield to. Scary, we thought they’ll roll over us.

  5. Wow. Picking your own fruit and asking if you want it. Now THAT is funny. I have never heard of this before.

    I think these things are funnier in a foreign country. I think if that fruit thing happened here in the US- police, arrests, court and a lawsuit would probably ensue 🙂

    I remember when I first went to Italy- the little Italian men that be befriended at our local cafe warned C and I about me getting pinched all the time. Thank goodness, it never happened.
    You mean your cheeks getting pinched? Oh, yea… that should happen. lol
    My Mélange’s last blog post..Travel Photo Friday : Greece is the Word

  6. Pat

    You call him Zi’ Joe? Is that just you or everyone? Did he used to live in the States? That’s a very Italian American thing to say Zi’ Joe.
    You know, Peppe calls him that. I’m not sure how long he has or why. I’m working on sounding Italian-American. I might have to fool the masses one day.

  7. joanne at frutto della passione

    Too funny, at least he didn’t try to sell you the fruit!
    THAT would have been funny!
    joanne at frutto della passione’s last blog post..Eurochocolate revisited

  8. sorry…i can’t answer your question. i’m stuck on the “tall dark muscular men drinking coffee & calling me ‘bella'”

    no, here in the southern US i get a guy driving a beat-up pickup with a loaded gun rack & a cab full of coonhounds hanging out his window yelling “hey, baby want summa this?” while drooling his chaw. (God help me!)
    Now, thems my kinda men. Men’s men …
    qualcosa di bello’s last blog post..foreign language help…

  9. Piccola

    I used to love when my ex’s Mom and aunts (who are from the Philippines) used to tell me “Eat more, eat more” Then after eating more than I normally would just to please them, they would say, “You’re getting a little too fat” Nice, huh?
    Ha. I know, right? I know that is coming …

  10. Marmie

    the post from qualcosa di bello…..I need to know, is she referring to my brothers or nephews?
    You know, Mom I was thinking Texas boys in general … no names! LOL

  11. Italians are romantic people. I have quite a few friends that are Italians. I can say that they’re lovable and very much serious person when it comes to relationships.


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