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An American in Italy


After spending the last four months studying in Rome, Italy and traveling throughout Europe, it is almost impossible to not fall in love with the European lifestyle! As a fellow Italian and cheese-loving fiend, I am here to help you live your most European life tips and tricks for embracing la dolce vita!

To begin with, I would spend my mornings waking up early and going to a local bakery to devour the most delicious pastries and sip on a perfect cappuccino! An easy way to do this at home is to make (or pick-up) your favorite coffee and breakfast item, and sit down to enjoy every last sip and bite (always outside if possible)! If this is not realistic for your daily life, I recommend at least dedicating one morning of your weekend to thoroughly enjoying your breakfast from start to finish!

Europeans are very strict about life NOT revolving around work by embracing much needed time away from the stress and pressures of their jobs. Walking in Rome, you’ll see people leisurely strolling around the city, just taking in the world around them, perhaps indulging in a gelato. Next time you take a walk, try not to rush through the crowds to your next destination, and instead take-in the world around you. Although we can’t all walk past the Colosseum on our lunch break, we can take time throughout the day to do something that brings us joy.

Before dinner, Italians have a wonderful tradition of ‘aperitivo’. Whether at a restaurant or at home, people, city-wide, sip on spritzes and wine while appreciating various meats, cheeses and other delicious appetizers -- and they don’t stop coming! Copy this fabulous concept by meeting up with a friend after work and grabbing a drink and appetizer from somewhere you love. Most importantly, enjoy eachother's company! Aperitivo is about spending time with those you love, while also treating yourself! Maybe do some shopping on the way there, you deserve it!

Now it is time for dinner. As you have probably guessed, European lives revolve around food and drink, something I don’t think anyone has a problem with. Eating at about 8pm is the custom overseas, as everything there is taken at a more slow pace. Most restaurants place a majority of their tables outside; even cooking at home, people love to dine ‘al fresco’ and eat in the open air! If you have a patio or outside space at home, try eating outside for a change! Light some candles, open the windows and dim the lights to make the experience unique! If not, go to a restaurant that has outdoor seating. Enjoy your meal and don’t rush. As Americans, we have an awful habit of never slowing down. In Europe, you have to ask for the check, because they won’t bring it to you otherwise!

Living as a European is not as difficult as you’d think. It just takes some practice getting used to appreciating the things you love most in life like food, wine, and each other!

-Sabrina Paolino

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