America for (Italian) Dummies #33

In Italy pumpkin means minestra,



pumpkin desserts are a thing, but maybe not the most common in Italy

so does canned pumpkin puree, not easy to find in Italian grocery stores.

Halloween is becoming more and more popular in Italy, kids wear costumes and make trick or treat, but Jack-o’-lantern is still pretty rare.

For sure your Italian friend will appreciate pumpkin season in the US.

Make sure to introduce them to this glorious tradition with a nice visit to a farm

(there is nothing like that in Italy!) and don’t forget to offer them at least a beer

and a few pumkin treats


America for (Italian) Dummies #32

As I’ve already said all the Italians born in from the 1970s on grew up, as we would say, a pane e serie Tv (‘bread and American tv series’). And TV shows are the main source for their knowledge of America and American culture.

They any single episode of Starsky & Hutch, The Streets of San Francisco, Miami vice, Hunter, probably more than once…

…so they think they know everything about American police and crime.

That’s why they need you. Any Italian in the US really needs a wise American friend warning them about a couple of things they are probably not aware of.

First of all prepare yourself: you will hear a lot of “Wow! Look they look exactly like … (favorite TV series)!”.

Second, advice them: never, ever, ever, get out of your car if a police officer pulls you over.

In Italy Police is legally allowed to pull you over and ask for your ID for no reason, you might want to tell them that in the US this doesn’t work like that.

Third no alcohol means NO alcohol. Italian laws says the same think but… make sure to remind them the danger of driving drunk in general, and legal consequence that will eventually affect their visa and greencard in particular.

Fourth: public morality. Have you ever watched Italian TV? Well if you did you know that we have a quite different idea of appropriateness, let’s say a more flexible concept of risqué, in general we are not very scandalized by nudity. Topless sunbathing for instance is normally tolerated in Italy, so does drinking beer on the beach or other public spaces. So they might think the same is allowed in the Land of Freedom.

Last but not least: please tell them that event at night, even in the most isolated place, peeing outside is not an option.

L’America spiegata agli Italiani/America for (Italian) Dummies #31

Prendo in prestito queste immagini dal sito de Il Post.

I borrow these pics from the Italian online newspaper Il Post.

Periferia americana/American neighborhood by photographer Andrea Pugiotto

Per la serie completa/For the whole collection please see:

Kentucky Neighborhood  ©Andrea Pugiotto

Kentucky Neighborhood
©Andrea Pugiotto

America for (Italian) Dummies #30

And here’s the reactions you should expect from your Italian friends trying American packaged sweets for the first time.

As we said here, they will surely love American desserts or sweet dishes such as breakfast foods, but when it come to snacks, apparently we have really different tastes.

Here’s the video. Again: thanks to the BuzzVideo Guys.

America for (Italian) Dummies #29

We have already discussed of unhealthy fair food and American home-made snacks.

Now, let’s talk about American packaged snacks. Apparently American taste is really different from Italian one, as a recent research suggests.

And this is what I want to propose today: not another post, made of words and images, but an educational video

(I really appreciate the BuzzFeedVideo guys for their autoironia, a very Italina concept, translatable with ‘ability of making fun of themselves/not taking themselves too seriously’)


America for (Italian) Dummies #28

What’s more authentically American than a barbecue?

Yes, we have barbecue too, we call it grigliata (I wrote about them here: and here: ) but the American one has its charm

We normally have just an old grill or, for the wildest version, a stone (pietra ollare), but the Americans have super-cool BBq Grills

The menu is Italy is quite minimal: steaks, ribs, sausages, chicken, but in the US there are also burgers, hotdogs, beans, salads,

and tons of sauces, that in Italy are not very common

and then the mini fridge full of sodas and beers, the big pitchers full of iced tea and lemonade

We are better at pasta, but you guys are great with BBQ, and your Italian friends will acknowledge that.

Ah the taste of the American Dream!

America for (Italian) Dummies #27

Mall, short for Shopping Mall

the main hangout for American teenagers according to any tv series or movie (the main source of information on American culture for any Italian)

Here American adolescents sit with their friends, get informed about latest gossips and trends, meet their boy friends and girlfriends.

They have lunch or dinner at the food court

where they can pick one among at least five fast food, and then have an icecream or milkshake

or go to the cinema

That’s what they do since the 1950s

When in Italy all that teenagers could do was having a gelato in the gelateria around the corner, strolling in the park or in the city center, looking clothes and shoes they could not afford in the shop windows.

Concepts like food court, or milkshake are not really part of our vocabulary; malls themselves, even though quite common nowadays, are still something quite new in Italy. And something very different. Mostly a place in which families do the grocery once a month spending a few hours together, or where old ladies spend an afternoon taking advantages of the air conditioning.

(More on Italian “malls” here: )