lotan4850 Image
02/05/2011 - 04:29

  I read today (5/2-2011) David Cameron’s multiculturism is dead!!  And this puts me in a frame of mind after reading numerous postings on this site - what are you foreigners in Italy doing here…?? Is it just the climate…?? I’ve lived in 4 countries on 2 continents and accept the culture that I find there… Why do you Brits (I assume this naturally) want Waitrose, Tesco, and other things British for? If you can’t live without your Guinness, crumpets, NHS, Mail-on-Sunday then go back to the UK. What is wrong with you (?) - embrace the Italian culture and their way of life – Italy is not a colony of the empire although I think a number of you would think it would be better if it was. What’s wrong with queing up in the post office or at the bank or paying your ICI personally; it’s where you hear all the gossip (and you Brits certainly like that) - think what you’d miss doing everything on-line. My wife and I love the fact that we have gone 20 years back in time where values such as honesty, integrity, courtesy are still core values. This is not to say I like everything Italian but hey the wine, the food, the people and the climate all help. It really is an embassrassment to be British and listen to the sad whining and whinging about the things missed from the UK and the inadequate Italian system – you don’t like it - go back to the UK!! It’s much better there…?! And the statistics bear me our 80% of Brits who emigrate return to the UK within 3 years. So 8 out of 10 of you will be back in the UK soon!! Back to the ”pling” food generation – and good ridance!! Be more Italian embrace Itailianism!!! My comments above do not apply to the BBC the only good thing about Britain!!



i do have some symapthy for your remarks.. and i cannot be anything other than honest about the fact that i do complain about the Italian system of corruption and inefficiency in the sense of state .. not private enterprise in general.. i am happy to wait in shops and agree about the social benefits of queues... however i am also more than happy to agree with almost every italian that does not work for the state.. a bit less than half the population who think its all stinks.. and in order to live here you pretty well have to complain once a week or at least agree every day with some neighbour or associate who is Italian over the horrors of it all...  if the Italian were happy with it as you seem to be they would not want change.. however taking a weeks unpaid leave from work over a year to fill in forms and vist various state institutions  means they loose a great deal of money in a country where salaries are low anyway.. and taxs are very high.. average is 40 + % when you add in all the bits.. for even the lowest paid..  and then they have to pay lots of other things too.. like tickets for hosp[ital visits.. if you have children for dental work.. for spectacles...  school books.. even it seems enrolling a child in a school costs 100 euro a year..for each new class... having a child even.. means a specialist doctor that you have to pay for including all tests .. so you might well be fine looking at it all via the sort of visitor mentality.. or maybe you have a foreign pension thats inflation linked.. but for Italians at least its a common thing to complain and i really see no difference in the fact that i choose to live here being something that inhibits my choice to complain against stupidity and corruption..  however i do it in sympathy with my friends here.. and rarely if ever would i complain about the choice of supemarkets or restaurants.. as that i agree makes a nonsence of anyones choice to experience a different life if every sentence compares here to home or each day you have a longing for something that you miss form home.. however the world now is a small place so if someone likes to sit in their house ordering stuff via the internet and basically living an insular life.. maybe happy with their choice becaus of weather then that to me is their right.. thankfully with live in europe where we all have rights .. and the most important is the right to express our views... remember this place when every word was screened and things deleted as control freaks who did not even seem to have basic english took over.. almost killed the place.. now it seems to be a bit more free for discusion.. thank fully.. so i accpet your views and its sad to reflect that many people do leave and go back "home" .. but i would rather have those that try and give up than those that arrive here and form little areas of englishness.. and can survive living in a foreign land because they have isolated themselves from it..  and only switching into Italian to try and impress visiting friends or when in the presence of other foreigners to mention Roma instead of rome of Firenze instead of Florence .. good start to a thread.. its bound to promote some good discusion.. so thanks for that at least

Totally agree with you re the moaning and groaning , is it a British failing?.Hope your post generates an interesting debate. But am sorry that such a high percentage return to the UK, Italy isnt for everyone, and as you are probably aware from past posts on the subject the essence is in the planning.We have lived here for 5 years now and would never want to return.

what are you foreigners in Italy doing here…?? Is it just the climate…?? Only in spring to autumn, otherwise not much different. I’ve lived in 4 countries on 2 continents and accept the culture that I find there. So have we, is that some recommendation? Many countries give you a good choice of cuisine. I notice many far eastern hotels now are opening Italian restaurants, as the new tourists from here do not like  to experiment with other countries food!! So they will not accept another culture either. My wife and I love the fact that we have gone 20 years back in time where values such as honesty, integrity, courtesy are still core values. Think you forgot the politicians and local government departments, that are a rule unto themselves. Forget what the EU says is right, we will do it our way, until we get caught and fined ( Italian Logic )!!! What’s wrong with queing up in the post office or at the bank or paying your ICI personally; it’s where you hear all the gossip (and you Brits certainly like that). It really is an embassrassment to be British So you are British, so you must like the gossip too!! Be more Italian embrace Itailianism!!! OK ........ Will start charging more for foreigners who want work doing, cash payments only. Deny them the right to full health care status when they obtain residency after 5 years ......... and the beat goes on!!! My comments above do not apply to the BBC the only good thing about Britain!! You must be a Labour supporter!!!!!!!!

This is a quite interesting thread - though I feel a bit handicapped in not really understanding what 'multiculturalism' is all about. It seems to be confused with 'ghettoism' - which is an entirely understandable historic phenomenon: some immigrants arrive in a foreign land and gravitate towards an area where their fellow countrymen live. In Italy northern europeans tended towards Tuscany because they'd heard of it - that's all. It really is that simple. When they (Brits in particular) heard of Le Marche and Abruzzo they thought maybe that was worth a shot, and of course, being Brits, they wanted the Estate Agents to speak English, so a modern ghetto was formed. There is nothing at all wrong with that.  I think the political angst today (coming out of predominantly Germany, plus Cameron), is that unlike previous immigrants - Jews fleeing persecution, early Chinese arrivals fleeing Mao, aristo garden designers punting for Liguria or Tuscany - the more recent immigrants are neither wealthy nor ambitious. They have been encouraged by many governments of 'developed' nations to fill a gap in a labour market, and the recent thinking had been to keep them happy by letting them (shorthand) build a mosque or whatever. In Germany, prior to the onset of some short lived political correctness, (which, in my limited understanding, maybe could be termed multiculturalism) the many Turkish workmen were referred to as 'guest workers'. In other words, they were welcomed but they were not Germans. I hope you are getting uncomfortable here - not because I have used words like Jews and mosques - but because I hope you have appreciated the utter obscenity of the first post which arrogantly asserted that a desire for Marmite has anything at all in common with realpolitik. Rant over, and might be worth a few moments of your precious time.

"And the statistics bear me our 80% of Brits who emigrate return to the UK within 3 years. So 8 out of 10 of you will be back in the UK soon!!" Can I politely ask where this statistic comes from? Its just that I've heard this or similar statistics quoted a number of times but have never been able to find a reliable source. I've also seen articles saying that more than two thirds of UK expats in Italy are happy and have no desire to return home. (Again with no reliable source given). Its just that I'm very interested in numbers and statistics (sad really) and believe that if something is repeated often enough it can become an urban myth. (It may be correct, I don't know? So if you do have a source I would be very interested). As an aside, based on a combination of (very incomplete) UK-Italian "official" sources, the permanent UK expat population in Italy is in the region of 20,000 to 35,000 and has not (surprisingly maybe) increased significantly over the past decade. But again, these numbers may be unreliable.

  I always thought that multiculturalism was just a preparedness to allow room for different ways of living. Can't see that a desire for Marmite really offends against that.   And I'm always suspicious of any claims that the country you've left behind is all bad. Sounds like special pleading to me. Italy isn't the promised land and the UK isn't the epitome of evil.   People arrive and leave for many reasons. If it doesn't work out it's no disgrace. “Whingeing” is annoying but hardly a crime. I agree that if you move to a country you should be sensitive to its ways. But you don't have to slavishly accept everything. And suggesting that Italy is somehow above criticism is just condescension   Just my view of course...

Well Lohan I think that you should read the article again and understand what Cameron is really saying. to me it reads as if multiculturalism in its present form is not working. Unless you believe that it is ok to promote terrorism, or groom underage girls for unlawful sex, promote hate against the nation live here for free and then quote human rights when it is deemed pertinent to deport you. Get your head out of the sand or any other part of your anatomy that it may be and live in the real world, and enjoy the family values that still exhist in Italy. and if you have never moaned about anything check your pulse and make sure that you are still alive.                                                           

i find this post very interesting, views balanced not too extreme. regards to people returning to uk from italy or other euro countries must be more due to lower £ value and less cultural or weather. 

The posting was to inflame debate not spell check and analyse each sentance I wrote. I apologise to all you one liners - I was obviously too near the bone for you and it all rang true - all too true!! The figures are approximate from the NSO a few years back- I've seen families come ago over the last 6 years because of one reason or another slowly returning to the UK. The real world is unfortunately like this and the Brits don't seem to be able to hack it in a foreign language country. I live and work here on a day to day basis with Italians and watch the arrogant Brit arrive fight the system and fail returning home with their tails between their legs. Poorer and no wiser with little or no knowledge of the language culture or the people - morons!! You can't change a system that's been working for a couple of thousand years over night not in a Brit's life time or even patience (which isn't too long or until the money runs out). To live in a new country you have to be flexible and adaptable; you need to thread humbly amongst the locals to become an accepted part of their society. You have to change your manner and the way you deal with things - this is not the UK - the change should be for the better well at least I would hope so. This is a debate forum - so debate and add something constructive instead of criticising and whinging about how true my posting was to you one liners. Thanks!!

I think you are being a bit harsh generalising people as you have.  People of all nationalities move around whether it be in their own country or another one because they feel unhappy where they are due to all manner of reasons.  I have Italian relatives that moved to England, didn't settle, then moved on to Canada - are they morons for doing this? I live in Dorset and lots of people move down here 'for a better life'.  It doesn't work out for all - some miss family, can't get a job etc etc and move on.  And yes, a lot of them will moan about the area because it is not what they expected - not the same as when they come on holiday. Having read a lot about moving abroad, as we think it might 'be a nice thing to do' when we retire, we have said we might even do it for a few years and then move back.  The reason for this is that unless you learnt a language as a child you will never fully integrate - you might think you have but you cannot fully grasp all the oddities associated with any language just by learning it as an adult. We can all get things wrong.  I have a sister in Australia and many years ago her husband was told when can you forget what you did in England you will fit in better.  Yes, he learned from that advice.  People move to England from all over the world, do you honestly think they don't whinge about what they are missing?  Why do we now have Polish food shops all over the place? Cut them a bit of slack lad, maybe they are feeling lonely and missing family and friends.  A lot move back because that is their choice not necessarily because they feel they have failed!   Added:  you may get a better debate if you weren't so self-righteous.  Obviously you are in an area where a lot of British people move to as you have noticed such a lot of 'morons' .  If you are British yourself, and if you are, you are obviously very disallussioned as decency, honesty, integrity are alive and kicking in the UK but maybe you lived in an area that not many of us would want to be in.  Don't forget also that Italy has a very high crime rate especially in the south.  Paradise is not on earth!!  Everywhere has its problems, and its beauties, maybe you need to chill out a bit - not to be so judging of others and then maybe you will see their good qualities. 

Possibly your use of language, does not add to a reasonable debate, doubt that anyone would welcome being called a "moron"....shame really, and the use of the word "inflame" as in a debate is indicative that your intention is meant to upset? And your assumption that Brits cannot "hack it" is off line, many of the people who have taken the trouble to reply to you have been here rather longer than your assumed 3 yrs........

well i find it refreshing to see someone start a debate ignoring all principle of political correctness.. and have not found any of the views expressed at all offensive.. maybe its the fact that living here one gets used to arguements that are a bit stronger and words that are not quite so nice.. watching debates on Italian TV sometimes makes my head hurt as shouting insults across studios and ten people speaking at the same time seems to be the norm.. i belive a lot of problems for people is the desire to escape a life that has become maybe a bit humdrum.. to have an adventure ... and i think that is good .. i know people that to make a journey of any distance in a vehicle take sandwiches , bottles of drinks, several maps and will not leave home without a hotel booked..  a visit to the garage for a service.. check tire pressures.. all admirable and most probably if they choose to move they have everything planned and investigated to the extreme and most probably at the end of the research they will decide its not really for them.. or they will move and be very smug about their wise decision.. others and i might well incude myself amongst them get into their car with a bag of clothes and leave home... the journey is an adventure that really does not nescitate in my mind knowing where you are going to sleep the night.. or plan on when you are going to get hungry or tired.. you adapt to the journey.. breakdowns will happen anyway despite having an oil change  if they are meant to be.. and i think if you have that slightly less strauctured approach accepting what life throws up you manage very well and maybe you will move on at some stage but i doubt you will ever move back..  because people like that seem to be able to fit in anywhere.. so moving again is not a defeat just another adventure..   what seems to me real about the orignal post is the number of threads here on how to avoid Italian rules.. car threads generall throw up views which seem to suggest people would rather be criminals than accept how things are supposed to be here..   the problems many have had with building works and the level of anger that generates... maybe it is a system that is old fashioned and costly but its the Italian system that is applied to all people here unless theyhave friends that will assist.. but there again that is the Italian system and if you settle here and get involved with your neighbors its suprisingly easy to meet people that will help in a positive manner and allow you to fit in and do your own thing in the way most Italians seem to do... the rules aare there and are applied its knowing which ones everybody ignores or manages a way around..   i do not have strong feelings against ex pat type sheep behaviour.. it just doesnt seem the most essential worry of life.. and if they are happy fine... as long as i am not involved.. which by mistake can happen.. as i am not anti meeting them but you soon find that there are some you are happy to see and others that you spend time avoiding...  in general the ones you are happy to see have a busy life anyway and you find you hardly ever meet up..     i dont know that there is any right way to do things we all have our own choices to make..  what is maybe difficult is being able to accept others without rancour.. maybe i am getting older but i really do not get that bothered by it all and maybe thats cause i am completely outside any ex pat community ... and am happy that way much as they most probably are not to have anything much to do with me..   if i have any anger its almost always directed to people that live here and work here without paying tax.... rentals that are undeclared, house sellers that call themselves estate agents , people that are quite happy to move here and knock the whole Italian system it seems whilst behaving like the benefit fraudsters they most probably knocked completely when in the UK... now living and earning here whilst not paying any of the dues we all have to pay if we earn anything...  how does that make an Italian feel that pays a good 50 % into the state in local and national taxs, health care ..road tax..etc etc..   thats to my mind the worse part of the ex pat syetm here.. the criticisms whilst roobing the place blind..justified because they dont know the rules..or they paid enough when they worked in the UK or just thats its not real work they only help other english..  its a strange world but i am quite happy with the debate that was started and although i have mellowed i apreciate the use of stronger terms to allow maybe a less than polite discusion.. and no i dont spell check either..or punctuate..

I have been reading with interest this debate and it is about time to give my own feelings and perceptions.  I particulalry like Anne's comment: quote I always thought that multiculturalism was just a preparedness to allow room for different ways of living. Can't see that a desire for Marmite really offends against that. unquote This is the basis of true multiculturalism: live and let live, allow variety, preach tolerance, educate people to be more flexible, embrace those elements or customs that you find attractive, don't loose your identity in the process of becoming mainstream. And, by all means, if you like Marmite, keep on eating it as it is not a British problem only. Italians, Spaniards, French, German, Australian people who migrate will crave for the real passata, the jamon serrano, the bread and cheese, the bratwurst and beer and the Vegemite that they still think that it is the best thing of the world simply because it is comfort food that brings memories. Nothing wrong with it. As for migration to another country, people do it for different reasons and not all of them are the right ones. Many people have no option but to move because living conditions in their own country are unbearable and they cannot see a way out. Others, because they have those dreams of a better life somewhere else and they fantasise about their new lifestyle. Many are disappointed because life is not what they imagined. Others, overwhelmed by the problems they face at home think that moving somewhere else is going to fix all that. It doesn't. And then, there is a small number of people who have thoroughly done their homework and they make all the right decisions. Still, life circumstances may change. You may have moved for all the right reasons, have integrated well in your new home without loosing your identity and then... something happens that brings chaos into your well organised life and you have to move again. It reminds me of Forrest Gump's mother when she used to say "Life is like a box of chocolates...."

The tone of the original post does make me laugh. It is written about "you Brits" when the author is also British. What is so different about you?? Why is it OK to admire/miss the BBC but not "Guinness, crumpets, NHS, Mail-on-Sunday"? Poor examples if you ask me, as you can have all of those here if you really want them. Marmite is a much better example as after 7 years here I still get it imported. So what if I do? Does that somehow mean I haven't settled or integrated or should return to the UK?? What rot. I too work and have worked with Italian, Brits and lots of other nationalities here. Things about Italy get on my nerves or drive me mad and I moan about them. No different to living in the UK. Things about that got on my nerves, drove me mad and I complained about them too. I agree with Adriatica's comments about people who 'dodge the system'. Either live here properly or don't but don't behave as if you are in the wild west and then complain when you get caught. As Adriatica said "i think if you have that slightly less strauctured approach accepting what life throws up you manage very well and maybe you will move on at some stage but i doubt you will ever move back..  because people like that seem to be able to fit in anywhere.. so moving again is not a defeat just another adventure..". How true. Marche doesn't work for us - too difficult to make a living - so we're trying Liguria. Do we feel we've failed? No, of course not. We've enjoyed our time here but our priorities have changed and with a little baby we need a more secure income. Just because you leave doesn't mean you've failed to integrate otherwise by your own admission Lotan you have failed (oops - sorry moved country) 4 times! I do agree that there are certain expats where after meeting them you think "I just don't get why you're here or what you get out of being here" but you know what, if they're happy and harming no-one, so what! Then there are other ex-pats who pretend they are not British when they hear English voices in a bar or try to greet you in Italian when you are both English just to demonstrate how Italian they are or make statements like "we only mix with Italians" and then proceed to go on about who they've recently had to dinner (ex-pats of course) but then they're the 'right sort' of ex-pat who also only mixes with Italians. I personally find that far more irritating. I mix with people I like and find interesting and I couldn't give a stuff where they're from or what language we do it in. That's my personal form of multi-culturalism. So, Lotan - which type of ex-pat are you?

Isn't it obvious this is someone from the last forum trying to stir things up -always a Good Thing in my book as forums like life can get a bit stagnant over time. I think that if you come to Italy because you hate Britain it won't be long before you hate Italy too. Not because there's anything so terrible about Italy but because you are the sort of person who blames a country for their unhappiness rather than looking to your own life. Theres always going to be a big gap between those here who actually earn their living in Italy and have to put up with the problems that creates and those who can retire to Italy and whose greatest trial is queuing in the Post Office like us (we are not retired but neither do we live or work in Italy full-time). As far a Britain and multi-culturalism not working I don't believe in that statement. Staying in Oxford and wandering along Cowley Road reminded me of why I enjoy Britain so much. I had a wonderful lunch in the Moroccan cafe then went and bought some fresh coriander at the Asian supermarket then into the Oxfam shop where I was served by a woman from Ghana.In each shop I had a chat with the person serving and shared a moan or two. 50 years ago the Cowley Road would be an entirely different place ,devoid for certain of coriander or cous cous and I know what I prefer.        

I know what myabbruzzohome is on about - it is indeed quite exciting to find a yam on a market stall in London, or a choice of fifteen varieties of cumin seeds in the Scunthorpe Asda, but I'd prefer to be able to let my four year old travel to school alone on the public underground system. It seems to me, from observation, that the more 'multicultural' a society becomes (and the political argument at the moment is about this having been a deliberate decision by the state, rather than having been forced on developed states by the non native cultures) - the less safe it becomes to live in that society. Now whether this unsafeness happens because different 'moral standards' are 'imported' (this is the assumption underlying the 'Asian groomers' discussion in the UK) or whether it is because the original inhabitants become unpleasant because they don't like immigrants is an interesting question. Perhaps it also has something to do with making the whole legal system 'sensitive' (or oversensitive) to hurting the feelings of foreigners, whick irks the locals who don't get the preferential treatment. The various attempts at 'zero tolerance' policing have had different outcomes in New York, and in Singapore. The most monocultural place I've ever been to is Japan - and there, I promise you, four year olds do use the Tokyo metro unaccompanied. It isn't arid, (and you can still buy a yam). Maybe I live in Italy because it's a happy medium, but if I'm in conversation with a Moroccan, a Moldavian, an Italian and a Russian we all speak Italian. With various degress of expertise, admittedly, but when you do this on a regular basis you realise that speaking the language perfectly really isn't an issue.

Lotan You may have tried to invoke debate but you make far to many assumptions that all brits cant hack it in the Uk or Italy but you mr perfect can because you have embraced the culture become a part of the local community speak fluent Italian and ****. There are various reasons why people move their business skills to Italy and then have to move home . But some people I wonder about especially gobby ones, running from something, other failed businesses bankruptcy. Not judging or guessing just wondering.

Of course my posting is about generalisations to stimulate the debate and see in what direction the debate goes and how sustainable and of interest (to the members) that debate is. I'm sorry I'm not PC but I'm rather tired of PC - I am direct and candid and I won't apologise for this. This debate is now worth contributing to with many voices going in different directions - it naturally makes me stop and think about points that may not have occurred to me ( I thank you!!). The debate now makes me want write to answer and express a differnt point of view. I especially would like to thank all the postings after my reply to all the one liners who are now obvious in their absence as my faith is being restored that there are people out there with strong views (in either direction)... so now back to the debate... Reggio Emilia is no different from anywhere else in Italy crime rate (we've been broken into once) but in general no different from the UK. Yes I am British and of course I shouldn't use the same brush for all Brits there are I am sure plenty who can meet my expectations. It must be me or the profession I had/have (semi retired) where capital outlay and costs are exorbitant and cash is tight with you Brits (of course I include ourselves). But I am disappointed and exasperated in my lands men they make no effort to accept the culture, they bring theirs with them thank god we're not in Spain with fish & chips at some greasy spoon. They make no effort to even try to learn the language and getto-ism becomes a fact (them and us). I know it's hard work to learn a language I've been at it 5 years and still learning (conjunctives pheww). You get so much more out of Italian culture and everyday situations if you can at least speak the bear essentials it doesn't have to be perfect. On line payments in all their ease but you can't beat queueing up at Sigma, the bank or post office or just sitting 5 minutes more in the bar... to begin to grasp the dolce vita. I'm short of time and hav been for the time it's taken to write the above but I find it interesting and had to write directly.... Thanks again all but the one liners!!

I agree Lotan, why use a few words when you could ramble on for ever.  Whoever said that brevity was the soul of wit was obviously a fool.  And I think you confuse the words "debate" and "lecture". I don't think, Fillide, that your "4 yr old on the subway" example proves anything either way.  After all, in the Middle Ages when Britain was totally monocultural (leaving aside the fact that the country had already been colonised many times by different races) they burnt old women whom it was decided were witches.   Just because two things happen at the same time doesn't mean there's any link.

Dear Dear...quote 'Yes I am British and of course I shouldn't use the same brush for all Brits there are I am sure plenty who can meet my expectations.' Lotan, I have come across some pompous and opinionated buffoons in my time, but you are in line for taking the  Garibaldi.....

Part of me says that this discussion is futile, if you happily immersed in Italian society why are clinging on to a British forum to express ideas that are not relevant to your Italian life?  Lotan is unhappy that not everyone is like him, but resorts to the ways of lamenting the fact that confront the very people he despises.  It seems obvious that if you are completely italianised you should not feel any need for an English forum, perhaps it would be better to discuss it with your Italian friends in a Circolo, or write on an Italian forum.  Having said that, we should all bear in mind that the reasons for being in Italy are many, as are the reasons for going back to the UK.  Not everyone is here as a result of an abiding love of Italy and its way of life - and many who are realise that it's not all it's cracked up to be.  Joy is perfectly right when she says that living here is different from coming here on holiday - for some people it's obvious, for others it takes time to realise that existing in another country means a different mindset to eating out every night for two weeks and going to art galleries.  It is easy to be arrogant when you have learned the language, mastered the bureaucracy and have found a way of life that suits you, whether that includes talking to other Brits or not.  But it brings us back to the initial point which is that not everyone is the same as me or you.  What we can do as individuals, despite our shortcomings, is choose our friends and the people we want to associate with.  if Lotan is unable to avoid whingeing expats who eat Marmite, it is ultimately his problem and I don't see why he wants to berate everyone else for his failings.  As for multiculturism, italy has proved itself to be the most monocultural society in Europe.  Whether it is the fault of the church or the deep insecurity of the Italians can be debated ad infinitum, but Brits dont come to ITaly to eat Chinese food or visit mosques, for the vast majority want 'Italian-ness' and the more monocultural the better.  This has nothing to do with Brits being here or their dietary requirements.   It isnt a sin to want marmite - in fact for me its a necessity and the sooner Lidl wakes up the fact the better - you only have to see italians abroad to know that a desire for home comforts isnt a peculiarly British trait.  In Sharm el Sheik there are rows of hotels which have a full complement of Italian staff to make the Italians feel at home.  In the Seychelles i know of a hotel which has an italian pasta chef purely for the Italian visitors, and imports Lavazza for the guests.     As for 'be more Italian, embrace Italianism' you'd be hard pushed to find an Italian who wouldnt give their eye teeth to live in London, change Italy for an anglosaxon version, while not giving an inch on food.     What would be more interesting, instead of whingeing about whingeing, and displaying a breathtaking arrogance and self righteousness, would be to discuss what is Italian-ness - because I would bet that between Emilia Romagna and Sicily there are a myriad of different definitions.  

Clinging on.... I'm voicing an opinion not many like and not always PC ... I'm asking you Brits to Integrate more into Italian society only then can things change for the better (from who's perspective - I think it's fine as it is but...). There is seldom anything to debate (sorry lecture) about and feel it is sometimes necessary to stir the pot - I want is a debate and that's what we got. If living in Italy is living in a fantasy world then yes we are... hoorah at last. We are the guests in this country and not the all conquering colonialising force arriving to rape the country as we Brits do best (think empire here) and the only reason we did that - besides the natural resources and a good supply of man servants - was so we could teach the natives English so we didn't need to learn another language. What's wrong with being a little self righteousness or even a little aloof as long as we are not smug about it - we have just integrated (there's the plot). History has shown that a conquering force (I'm not saying we are conquering here) in the end fails ... Oh look at Egypt... We gave india back... but the Vikings, Norse men, Norman integrated and learnt the language and customs... yes they wanted a better climate, better harvests et cetera.. Integrate - learn the language we are still going to school regularly even after 6 yeras at our cost no free scholl here - it's a difficult language. It's hard work and nothing in life comes free!!

What's the problem 'Lotan4850 People stopped replying to your little rants so you need to add a little more yourself! I think you were most probably a  'Grumpy old Man' in the UK and you still are, your just living here! unfortunately. Integration means different things to everyone and not necessarily to your standards, so that does not mean yours is correct and their's is not. I think you need to get a life. Regards school, perhaps you would be better with English lessons first before Italian is spelt so and etcetera is all one word. Reply to that!!!

If you feel met by my arrows my apologises!! But if you have nowt constructive to say then don't say anything... Don't knit pick on spelling and language construction it's very demeaning for you.... and I've already broached this earlier... If I see Brits in this light how do you feel Italians see us Brits.... in a better light.. I don't think so!! I see people come and go with good intentions sign up at school and after 3 weeks drop out and then after some time return to the UK because they can't hack it here... they will not integrate they want the whole of Italy to change for them - give me a break. I haven't lived in the UK for over 30 years so I must have been a gumpy young man .. or is it the fact that I see you Brits and that makes me grumpy ashamed of my lands men looking at the view point of Italians. We have a number of Italian friends (yes we do have friends) and at dinner parties this topic always turns up - my wife is proud to say she is not British. The British are strange, they drop out, they don't speak the language, they want to do their way, et cetera... Integrate more!!!

I must add that the British are not the only ones to blame. I lived in Australia for quite a few years and I met people from different nationalities who could not speak English and tried to live ther lives as if they had not left their country of origin.

I must admit that with over 6 years here, that it is very monocultural, unless you take cars into account. There the Italians seem to prefer German/ Japanese models, probably because the reliability is better. As regards to food,in Central Italy there is very little choice and all virtually the same taste whether you go to  a cheap or expensive restaurant. I would prefer as in other European/ world countries that I have a range of places and cuisines that I can eat at and not be stuck with overcooked and dried meat. One of the restaurants we go to always asks how we would like our steaks cooked, ( and even asks us to make sure they on the grill the right time) as we prefer them blue, but in another the fillet came out as well cooked, despite the request, so they need to adapt to tastes of people. Yes, we do order from an Italian online site our Thai food and other ingredients, but we are being multicultural in having a change, as we would in any other country. I do not just want to eat Big Macs which are rubbish, or samey Italian food for years to come. Just an example of different habits, in Thailand, the Italians mainly go to restaurants geared to their tastes, as Ram says they cannot accept another countries food, so they miss out on the delicate flavours of another country. Lebanese also integrates French influence. I am sure many of us did not just go to Italian restaurants in the UK, but perhaps Lotan you are the exception and did not eat any English food.      

In reply to by Badger

'As regards to food,in Central Italy there is very little choice and all virtually the same taste whether you go to  a cheap or expensive restaurant' I beg to differ Badger old mate, but if you are referring to all central regions as the same then you need to eat out more. Around us in Tuscany we have fabulous Italian restaurants with a mouthwatering selection of home made dishes and Pasta to die for. We also have within an hours drive Japanese, Thai, Indian, Chinese oh and a MacDonalds. Italian regional cooking especially out of the Cities is beyond compare in our book, and my wife is from Napoli and she is a harsh critic.

In reply to by Flip

Apologise Flip. I should have said Marche, although on my work travels I have had eaten in Tuscany as well, and even our friend of over 30 years who lives there ( for 20+ years) said the food has gone downhill and is overpriced. I must admit I have never found pasta to die for. We have Chinese restaurants here and to be quite honest the food is tasteless. Having been to many Chinese, Japanese, Cambodian, Vietnamese and Thai restaurants in my life, then I know what to expect and Italy has never given the same and never will in my opinion. That's why I order my own ingredients online to get authenticity. P.s. The first Italian food that I ever ate was after 55 years of age, as it never impressed me, but living here there was not much option. My view has still not changed. Even my wife who said it was fantastic from her time in London has come to the same conclusion.

In reply to by Flip

  Flip, re: "Around us in Tuscany we have fabulous Italian restaurants with a mouthwatering selection of home made dishes and Pasta to die for. We also have within an hours drive Japanese, Thai, Indian, Chinese oh and a MacDonalds." Where does one find these "Japanese, Thai, and Indian," restaurants? Are you around Lucca?

Ohhh, you do Marche a disservice!, try Le Loggette in Falerone for the best home made pasta around, and Osteria san Ruffino on the road to Amandola for Italian cooking with a light touch, both reasonably priced and fantastic service and settings, one by the lake looking to the mountains and Le Loggette a balcony table and watch the sun go down and the lights come out in the distance. Farfense, in San Vittoria, is said by a Guardian critic to be the best pizza he has ever tasted..... Its great to cook other foods you miss at home, I know we do a good curry.......but guests staying with us have been delighted with the restaurants mentioned here, all tried and tested by us and friends first!.

Sorry Angie if you don't like my comments. The San Ruffino Osteria has gone really downhill and we used to eat there a couple of times a week.  Since it moved and after only eating in it a few times since then, where before it was good, it is now only passable. I now prefer Vecchio Moro on the other side of the road. Is pizza such a compliment for the other one especially for a Guardian food critic, or do we have to rely on these "experts" as most do not know what they are talking about. How many pizzas has he tasted? Farfenze: Have had one meal there, lunchtime with about 8 other customers in the restaurant. Forgot my fillet steak order, when we were served. Waited another 15 mins and ate it after the other 2 people I was with had finished their meal. They could not even cook it rare, let alone blue as asked, could not even finish it, as probably unfrozen and then cooked. Then to find on the bill a E3.50 cover charge per person on top.  Le Loggetta have not tried that I know of, so will not comment. As an additional point with the Osteria. when I went there with a couple of Italian contractors working on a contract with me, there was an excess of food served, not so much  when going without them.

In reply to by Fillide

i have been following this thread with interest.A recurrent aspect that often comes out in these discussions (i think) is that a certain confusion arises between issues that are not "fundamental" national/cultural differences ( vis a vis Italy -uk or some other country)BUT urban/city differences with very rural areas.I mean by that if i go to extreme north west of scotland,central wales hills,rural northumberland etc ,i would be suprised if i found little more than a fairly traditional,monocultural society,with few or no Thai restaurants or sushi bars( as there are no thai's or japs there).The fact seems to be that a number of people in here did not come from those places but from greater london,manchester,new york etc and they have moved to relatively remote areas of Abruzzo,on the Appennines,up in the lunigiana etc.In these places "you get what you see".It's not very difficult to imagine that the inhabitants of these rural areas who live for the most part a fairly tough agricutural existence may view even with diffidence "ethnic minority groups",just as they probably do in mid wales(where when i went into a pub they stopped speaking english to speak whatever welsh is called)the food was aweful and there were no thai restaurants...The bottom line seems to be that a lot of people want to live with a rural" backdrop" to their lives with EXCELLENT high power broadband,Tesco round the corner (just next to the chinese restaurant)everyone speaking good english,no laws,no burocracy,drive round in a range rover (possibly uk reg.)and a VERY cheap Ryan air connection to london/manchester at less than an hour's drive.......then you really can enjoy sitting round the pool with a drink......  

this forum is still worth it just to read replies of this calibre..  a perfect put down with no rancour.. wish i could write so well.. or even spell.. just when you think its all the same depresing stuff... just improved my day.. which started off not so well as i bothered turning on the news..wished i hadnt.. but thoughts are with lots of people in places that are really struggling today with natural and man made problems.. i feel lucky to be living here ...

NO Fillide, it's called Diversity and forum discussion. I wasn't aware that a thread had to be followed to the letter.....sarcasm, now that is sooooo ex-pat.

I must confess that I tend to taste exotic cuisines either in situ or in San Francisco, where I go quite frequently. I am afraid that there is not a big choice of those cuisines in Lucca, the majority serve traditional Tuscan fare and my favourites would be "La Buca di Sant' Antonio" or the "Antico Café di Simo" for less formal food. Both have a terrific atmosphere as well. Nevertheless, I found this short list of "exotic" restaurants in Lucca: Ristorante Cinese La Grande Muraglia - Via del Moro 8 Ristorante Hong Kong - Via S. Marco 217 Oishii Di Hu Huamei - Via Pesciatina 509 - San Vito Ristorante Woksushi - Via Citta Gemelle

Bang on Sebastiano - I was born and raised in rural Yorkshire and didnt even see a black person till I left home at 18 - then 25 years in London and now in Sicily - where you can eat Italian only.  No Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Indian or monosodium glutamate franchises.  Even the Macdonalds closed down - (now that is record worth shouting about). I started in Tuscany and fled further and further south avoiding English couples from the home counties barking their bar orders in English at some hapless cameriere, and I find the expectations of some foreigners coming here to be completely out of kilter with reality.  Italy is not Wandsworth and Sicily is certainly not Primrose Hill, but the people who succeed in their Sicilian dream are those who want to integrate, who want to learn italian, do the passeggiata thing, chat to locals at the barbers shop, and absorb the way of life.  Those who think they can impose what they had at home onto a Sicilian lifestyle will leave deflated and often bitter.  

Oh! I forgot to mention in my previous post that I heard that the Lucca Council does not allow the presence of foreign restaurants or Chinese bazaars within Lucca's historic centre. I think that it is a good idea in order to preserve its character. Could this be labeled as "discrimination"? I don't think so. I see it rather as an effort to maintain traditions. Lucca's historic centre is too precious. I don't know what happens in other cities. 

Gala it is not entirely correct what you said about Lucca; they have forbidden any NEW none Italian restaurants/takeaways being opened within the City Walls. There is still a kebab shop, Chinese and Lebanese restaurant to my knowledge and I think one or two other 'non Italian' restaurants within the Walls.