Monday 13 October 2008

Italy question time again.

Question and answer time again!

Jewel want so know 'what are the working hours like in Rome?'

Working hours in Rome depend what type of employment you have. Most shops here tend to open at 10:00am and close at 8:00pm. These days very few shops in the centre of Rome close for the lunch time. Some of the smaller, family run shops will close for a few hours, as do a lot of the smaller shops outside of the city walls, but most in the centre will remain open.

Office hours in Rome differ from company to company, but they tend not to be too different from the UK or Australia. Most people head into work from about 8.30am and leave anywhere from 5pm onwards.

When I worked in Taormina last year nearly everything closes for the lunch period with only a chemist, restaurants and tourist shops being open from 13:00 - 16:00 (well these hours were very flexible. Some people used to close and never open again, some would shut at 12:00 and open again at 18:00 - it was anything goes in Taormina.)

Jewel has also asked 'Apart from pick pockets, is it safe for a girl to travel on her own there or go out at night?'

This is a good question and the answer is YES. Rome is a safe city as long as you use common sense. Italy in fact is a very safe place for solo travellers. I travelled for the first time by myself for 4 weeks in Italy a few years ago. I had friends with me for the first two weeks but for the last 4 weeks I travelled around all on my own and felt very safe.

No one else has asked any specific questions so I will answer questions that my guests all ask me. Some may seem rather foolish, but they are sadly commonly asked questions.

Do Italian women not sweat? This is such a common stupid question! Really...My female customers always tell me that they see flawless looking Italian women walking around in their suits and stiletto's in the peak of summer without shedding as much as a drop of sweat. I will let you in on the secret. These Italian women do not take public transport. The do not walk around the city for hours on end in the midday heat. Most probably they drive to work, or are dropped off at work and the furthest they walk is outside to have a cigarette, or maybe they cross the road to get a coffee.

Why don't Italians speak Spanish? Spain it seems is the preferred holiday destination for the British. Parts of Spain have become a mini Britain, just with better weather. A lot of my guests know a few Spanish words, and like to use them in Italy. They then get shocked or rather offended when the Italians look at them like they are crazy. Bel ragazzo used to get so annoyed in the hotel when English guests would speak to him in Spanish as 1) He does not speak Spanish 2) He speaks fluent English so if you cannot speak to him in Italian, at least address him in the language you both seem to speak 3) Spanish is not the same as Italian. So many guests do not seem to comprehend that Spanish is one language and Italian is another. Yes, they are similar but they are not the same.

Any other questions? If not I have plenty of foolish questions to share with you. Here's a little taste of questions to come, thanks to my silly customers. Do Italians only eat piazza and pasta? Italians eat so much garlic why do they not smell? Can I do a day trip to Sicily from Rome?


Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

Hee hee...I love the questions from guests/clients. Looking forward to more answers :)

Btw, I finished See Naples and Die; I enjoyed it more than you did, I think partly because I'm also reading Saviano's Gomorra at the same time. It was interesting to read her impressions of Naples alongside his.

But yes, there was definitely a different tone to this book as opposed to the Rome one. And actually, I think that was very much a reflection of how different the two cities are; they simply can't be discussed in the same way, I don't think. She was also at a different time in her life and her move to Italy, which also changed the narrative.

I actually enjoyed it quite a bit, so grazie :)

Jewel said...

Thanks for answering my questions Leanne. I have one more question... how hard is it to get around in Italy without speaking the language? I plan on doing at least a basic Italian class before coming over but I doubt I will be able to say much more than '3 of that please'. Plus I get really nervous when I speak another language in front of native speakers. I banged my head on a podium once when I got embarassed giving a speech in Japanese.

Leanne was in Italy now in Australia said...

Hi Michelle,
I am glad you liked it. It is not such a bad book, but it just felt more like a newpaper article then a novel. I guess I was comparing it to the first book which is more about her and the move to Italy, where as this one it is all about the mafia and the history of Naples. There was not such a strong story line..

Hi Jewel,
Another good question! I shall be answering that one soon.

Piccola said...

Italian is definitely not like Spanish. I am taking an Italian language class now and I thought it would be much easier than it is because I speak Spanish. Boy was I wrong. I can understand it probably more than someone who doesn't speak a Latin language, but there are definitely major differences.

Leanne was in Italy now in Australia said...

Hi Piccola,
You are right in that speaking Spanish will assist you in learning Italian but like you said there are major differences. The problem I find is that people always say Ola and Grasis (or however you spell Graize in Spanish) which is pure laziness as they could at least learn how to say hello and thank you correctly!

Anonymous said...

I think that people who find Spanish (or Italian) difficult are probably not a Latin language native speaker.

In my opinion if you speak natively Italian (or Spanish), it's easier to learn Spanish (or Italian) than English if you start from scratch.

The advantages of English though are its easier grammar and the fact that you never really start from scratch with it, being so common in many aspects of life these days.

Does it make sense? :-)

Leanne was in Italy now in Australia said...

Hi Lucio,
It makes perfect sense :) The latin based languages are quite similar so it is easy for one to learn another latin based language. Where as us coming from the simple english grammer find learning Italian so hard! I was complaning to my bel ragazzo that he learnt English in 6 months and I on the other hand after nearly 3 years still speak like a baby....