America for (Italian) Dummies #24

A garage sale.

Something terribly exciting for any Italian visiting the US.

All those things for sale in someone’s lawn or garden, just like in tv series.

Furniture, home appliances, clothes…

In Italy organizing something like that would be a real hell: permissions, forms to fill, fees, more fees, fees that you didn’t know you were supposed to pay…  as we would say “più la spesa dell’impresa” (‘expenses are more than income’)!

But in the US everything is so easy (compared to crazy Italian bureaucratic complications)…

You put a nice “Garage sale” sign on the road, print a few fliers, and there you go, you are in business.

Just another aspect of the American Dream.

L’America spiegata agli italiani #24

Chi non ha visto almeno una volta in qualche film o serie tv una famiglia americana che vendeva articoli usati in giardino?

Ecco un’altra gloriosa tradizione americana: il Garage Sale.

Il garage sale, letteralmente ‘vendita in garage’ o vendita di ciò che viene conservato in garage’, è detto anche basement sale, ‘vendita in cantina’ o ‘di ciò che era in cantina’, garbage sale o junk sale ‘vendita di spazzatura’ o ‘roba vecchia, robaccia’, patio sale ‘vendita in cortile’ o lawn sale, ‘vendita in giardino’.

Il concetto è sempre quello: vendita di cose usate, vestiti, mobili, elettrodomestici, come parte delle pulizie di primavera, per svuotare il garage o la cantina da cose accumulate da anni o per svuotare la casa prima di un trasloco (magari verso un altro stato).

Il mercatino viene pubblicizzato con cartelli disposti ad hoc, volantini e, in tempi di social networks, annunci online.

Cartelli appositi si trovano in vendita nei negozi.

In alcune città si deve richiedere un permesso e pagare una tassa, ma in generale, organizzare una vendita del genere è molto facile, i garage sales infatti sono molto comuni.

Ci puoi trovare un po’ di tutto, a volte vere e proprie occasioni

ci sono addirittura venditori specializzati di articoli usati che si riforniscono nei vari garage sales!

America for (Italian) Dummies #23

One last word about homes.

In Italy we are emotionally bond to hour homes.

Casa mia casa mia per piccina che tu sia tu mi sembri una badìa we say (‘House of mine, house of mine, how little you are, but how like a palace you are to me’). For us the house is a sacred place. The house of our fathers, the house where we grew up. Moving for us is always kind of traumatic.

So you can imagine how much hard could be for us to imagine something like… not having an actual house, but a mobile one.

Mobile homes…



…something completely new to any Italian; they will surely look extremely exotic and extremely American!

8 million Americans live in mobile houses? Really? Wow!

Honestly, I don’t think you can find something like this in Italy



For sure transporting one of them would be impossible, considering and conditions of Italian roads and the average size of Italian cars…




I am not entirely sure it is legally possible to actually live in a mobile house in Italy, you probably need a permission, and Italian bureaucracy is enough to discourage anyone had the intention to try that way of life!

So don’t be surprised if your Italian friends will be amazed by mobile houses and trailer parks… they will probably take pictures of those as they were a real attraction, and talk about them for days!

L’America spiegata agli Italiani #23

Permettetemi di trattare di un ultimo tema connesso con quello delle abitazioni, e questo sì che è un tema tipicamente americano.

Le case mobili.

Un fenomeno che ha ben poco riscontro nel resto del pianeta.

Molte persone negli Stati Uniti vivono in abitazioni mobili.

Possono essere Campers e Roulottes, isolate o in grandi parcheggi appositi, di proprietà o in affitto, proprio come le case




Magari in un trailer park


Poi ci sono le mobile houses vere e proprie.


che sarebbero poi casette prefabbricate


anche di discrete dimensioni


Possono essere acquistate e fatte trasportare in un terreno di proprietà o in un trailer park


Insomma, sono case, ma possono essere letteralmente spostate qua e là




sul serio


Pare ce ne siano più di 8 milioni nel paese di queste casette, e che ci viva qualcosa come 20 milioni di americani.

America for (Italian) Dummies #22

And speaking of houses, let’s talk about renting a flat in the US.

Again, your Italian friends will say that all American apartments look the same.

They will probably complain about walls: “too thin!” they will comment. In Italy we are used to big old stone walls. Micheal The Situation leart very well the difference between American walls and the Italian ones when he hit one of them with his head in Firenze a few years ago.

Your Italian fellows will also complain about doors and windows; in Italy very often we have big old style sliding locks, door chains, and even armored doors.

They will be surprise to find a complete kitchen, with fridge, dishwasher and microwave. You are not got to find it if you rend a flat in Italy.

They will probably wrinkle their noses at the moquette; in Italy is not very common and many Italians believe it is dirty. Sorry.

The walking closet is not very common in Italy as well, but your Italian friends will be probably enthusiastic about it.

But in front of the laundry room with washer and dryers, they will open their eyes wide in amazement

“That’s so American!” they will think. Just like in American TV series and movies. That’s where Sheldon has his best conversations with Penny!