Time really does fly. It is hard to believe this is already the seventh day of our Italy trip! Today we departed from Florence and took a coach bus to Verona. When we arrived here, we were given a tour of the city to learn about its vast history. After walking the streets of Verona, I noticed that there were several similarities and differences when comparing it to Milano. I also would like to discuss the theme individual/personal issues, as I have learned how Italians interact with American’s.
At the beginning of the tour, the first difference that I noticed was the size of the city. Verona is home to 260,000 residents, while Milano has a population of over 3,000,000. However, Verona is much more of a tourist attraction when compared to Milano because of the several historic sites that lie within it. Milano is centered around the fashion business to bring in the majority of their money rather than having a large amount of site seeing locations. Because Verona is a major tourist attraction, I also noticed that it was kept much cleaner than Milano. For example, in Milano, graffiti covered a majority of buildings. Here in Verona, there was little to no graffiti at all. Some of the main attractions in Verona include the amphitheater and Juliet’s balcony. The amphitheater was where plays were composed centuries ago. Today it is used much less and has lost a large amount of seating due to aging, but still remains the site where performances and concerts are held. Another attraction of Verona is Juliet’s balcony. This is unsurprisingly, where Juliet stood when talking to Romeo in Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet. This attraction alone is visited by two million people per year. An additional difference that I noticed was that Milano has a much more modern look and feel. It has paved streets and even separate streets for bikes. Again, this is probably because of the many business conferences that are held here requiring public transportation. On the other hand, Verona is filled with cobblestones and cars are rarely seen because of the tight roads and large amount of people walking in the streets. When we did see an occasional car, it had to go very slow because of the filled streets. Although they are very different in some aspects, they are both amazing cities and do share a few similarities.
Although Verona isn’t as well known for their fashion, it still is home to many stores throughout it. Businesses such as Gucci have locations both here and in Milano. Furthermore, there are also small shops on the sides of roads that allow you to make quick purchases on various accessories. Both cities also share the similarity of men coming up to you and trying to sell things forcefully. Luckily, we were warned about these types of people and learned to respectfully ignore them. Also, many things served as symbols in both countries. In Milano, colors in paintings represent things like purity and death. In Verona, there was a statue of a dog that represented the important Scaliger family.
The theme individual/personal issues has been shown to me throughout the trip, and I now have a better understanding of how Italian’s interact. Some cultural differences affect the way that I interact with citizens of Italy including the language barrier and going out to eat. Firstly, it is extremely hard when asking for directions, to get the citizens to understand what you are trying to ask them. Often you will spend several minutes trying to explain a very simple concept. Also, when going out to eat, splitting the check is not allowed/is not normal. This makes it difficult when paying for things in large groups of people. When we would have these struggles with things such as the language barrier, often times the Italians would be very patient with us and truly try to understand what we are trying to ask them. They will take their time and do the best they can do. Sometimes if they cannot help us they are nice enough to take us to someone who does know a bit of broken English so we can get to where we need to be. Italian’s value family and respect especially. Even close friends of yours are considered family. As far as respect, they always politely talk to you whether you are in their store, their museum, or their restaurant. I have noticed differences in living because of the fact that there aren’t as many houses as there are in the United States. I have seen endless apartments and virtually zero houses. Their economics are similar to us based on their prices and high standard of living. I also believe that they are very invested in hold politics to high importance like United States citizens do. They even are curious about recent political actions in the America as well. When it comes to their reactions to Americans, there is very minimal shock when they see one in the streets. This is because Italy is one of the biggest touristic countries in the world. Every day they see tourists, so they react normally when encountering an American. In conclusion, with a week under my belt of experiencing Italian culture, I have learned so much about how their citizens interact, but I still have so much more to learn!