We have arrived (only a little worse for wear) and are getting settled in our new Italian home! I am eager to share our many exploits as well as the hurdles and good fortune we had on our way here and over this first week, but I am still gathering my thoughts. So, in the meantime, I thought I would share with you one large cultural difference we have experienced from arrival – the Italian vacation.
Italians seriously know how to go on vacation. And they all go in August. They call it “ferie,” which from what I have gathered means “personal holiday.” And when I say they go on vacation, I mean vacation; not what we Americans consider vacation (lap top, cell phone, one week tops). Folks that own shops close them – for weeks at a time. They just hang a sign and get out of town, lost business be damned. I would say about 1/2 the restaurants and more than 3/4 of the shops in our neighborhood are closed for all or part of August (lest you worry, our local gelateria is open). And everyone else just chooses not to exist. For example, our main realtor and the owners of our apartment are on vacation, which means you can’t call them (even though our electricity is on the fritz) and everything that needs to be dealt with can (i.e. will) wait until vacation is over. This is not ideal for us trying to set-up our new home, but I think it’s GREAT! Imagine getting to check-out for 2 – 4 weeks and no one thinking it was anything but normal and expected! On top of “ferie,” today is Ferragosto – an official national holiday when everything is closed (a good excuse to take a break and blog to you!).
I took a walk around our neighborhood the other morning and shot these pics of the many varieties of “gone on vacation” signs: