Maybe more than anything else, I have been inspired by the hardiness of the older Italian men and women. No wonder Italians average lifespan is longer than that of Americans. According to the 2015 statistics compiled by the World Health Organization, Italians rank #6 in the world with life expectancy at age 82.7 years for both sexes.
Italian people know what hard work is and are not afraid or unwilling to do whatever it takes to function in their everyday lives. In many places of Italy, their houses are built into hillsides, which might offer great views, but also necessitates walking up hundreds of uneven stone steps every time they go anywhere.
This means that they do this every day, in all kinds of weather, and carrying anything they have bought, or needed to bring when they left their homes. In other places, their homes may be along the street, but the street could be on a 30 degree incline or more, as well as the ten other streets they must maneuver to reach a bus line, the chiesa ( church) or small alimentari (grocery).
This has always been their way of life though, so they know nothing else and do it without complaining or asking for help. Spending time in Italy and observing these older Italians has definitely made me think twice before complaining over trivial inconveniences, such as not having a close parking spot at the supermarket.
And the other thing I’ve noticed after talking with them, is that they are very proud of their age. When I saw an elderly woman dragging a grocery cart up the steps behind her in La Pigna, the historic center of San Remo. I stopped to talk to her. “Quanti anni hai?” I asked her. “How old are you?” With a smile, she proudly answered, “Ottant’anni,” “Eighty years old.”
I love learning about the Italian people, and whenever I visit Italy, I have to say that aside from Italy’s natural beauty, its historic monuments, the amazing food, and the authentic “made in Italy” articles, for me, the main attraction are the people.
What about you? What have you learned from the Italian people? Has it changed your life? I’d love to hear your feedback, so please share your own experience and leave a comment.
Grazie and Ciao.
If you like this, you may be interested in more stories about the Italian people in my books about my travels to Italy. Check them out on Amazon. Grazie.