Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Italian Way

A lot of expats hate this, so far for us it's worked to our advantage. I just wrote a whole thing on this but deleted it as I don't want to take a chance of getting anyone in trouble.  The thing is that here it's a big advantage to get to know people.  As it seems that no matter what you need done you need a connection and even in the public health system things go much smoother if you can make a link to someone who knows someone, etc.  Of course when you get special favors you are expected to return the favor.  I don't have a problem with that.


  1. Now I am curious as to what you originally wrote! I have been lucky that my Italian husband is really "connected". We have definitely used this to our advantage many times, especially at the questura and when I needed xrays! Sadly, we soon have to face reality. The husband got a job in France where we know absolutely no one. No more alternative routes for us :(

  2. I have posted some suggestions on various topics on a website devoted to Italian living for foreigners which do not conform to the "by the numbers" way of doing things and been severely criticized. The unfortunate thing is that the uninformed are led to believe life here is more difficult than it is and in fact make it more difficult than it is. It seems to be taboo to tell the truth about how to get things done. No one wants to recognize that virtually everyone uses shortcuts. Privately, the owner of the website in question has told me that they use friends to help things along but don't want to post anything other than the complete bureaucratic method/process.

  3. In my experience it's not about doing anything illegal. It might be about having your doctors direct phone number or a friend making an extra effort to find you an appointment for an exam.

    Also because of certain aspects of the economic system people tend to not want to do work for people they don't know. It took us a year to find a mason to cut a door connecting the two apartments we occupy. Finally a friend gave us a number of a friend. But then when we needed a plumber during the work a call was made and one showed up in half an hour.