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THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN LIFE IN ITALY AND THE US - The Italian Tribune
- The Premier Italian American Newspaper Since 1931 -
A woman with outstretched arms looking out towards the sunset while standing on a balcony.

THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN LIFE IN ITALY AND THE US

Whether you’re moving from Italy to the United States or the other way around, you will notice a massive shift in how things or people around you function. While there are many things these two countries have in common, like their love of pasta and pizza, you should be well aware of the differences between life in Italy and the US before embarking on the new chapter of your life. And remember that the following distinctions are primarily dependent on where you reside or who you interact with.

Cost of living and goods

The cost of living is among the most crucial factors expats think about. First, the average salary in both countries determines how affordable they are. The average salary in Italy is 14.2% lower than in the US, with Italians earning around $3,864 per month and Americans earning $4,457. Keep in mind that Italy has one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe, making it difficult to move without a work contract already signed.

The stark differences between the cost of living in Italy and the USA depend on the type of expenses:

  • In Italy, housing is 2.2 times less expensive than in the US. On top of that, there are more affordable options available. For instance, a one-bedroom apartment in the city costs $560.05 in Italy and $1,446.14 in the US.
  • Groceries are 55.2% cheaper in Italy than in the US.
  • Restaurant prices in these two countries are pretty similar. An inexpensive meal with a drink is around $14.35 in Italy and $15.20 in the US.
  • The cost of transportation depends on the method. If you only consider the fuel cost, the US is less expensive than Italy. However, Italy has considerably more accessible and reasonably priced public transportation.
  • When it comes to apparel, the US may provide more affordable options than Italy. However, whether you’re shopping in Milan or New York, the cost of luxury brands remains high.
A family of three walking around a supermarket purchasing groceries.
If you enjoy cooking at home, you'll be glad to discover that groceries in Italy are less expensive than in the US.

Healthcare system

The state of Italy covers most healthcare needs. In other words, Italian people can access free primary or inpatient treatments from their selected provider. This starkly contrasts with the US healthcare system, primarily managed by private firms and is therefore quite expensive. Even if you have health insurance in the US, it probably covers a few selected services. It has expenses like copays and deductibles because hospitals, clinics, and insurance companies are primarily privately held. Another added benefit to the Italian healthcare system is that it is accepted by any other member of the European Union country you visit or temporarily reside in. You only need to apply for a free European Health Insurance Card before your next trip.

Different mealtime and shopping preferences

Mealtimes are another significant difference between life in Italy and the US. While Americans eat lunch around 11-12 PM and dinner at 6-7 PM, Italians eat lunch between 1-2 PM and dinner between 8-9 PM. It may need some getting used to.

As for shopping, most Italians prefer purchasing groceries on a day-to-day basis, so they only purchase what they need to prepare a fresh meal. In comparison, Americans prefer grocery shopping the week before to have most of the things they need to cook. If you enjoy eating out, do not be surprised when you notice all the shops are closed for lunchtime. In Italy, a lengthy lunch break is an integral part of their culture, and they never skip it. 

However, if moving to Italy is not an option, try New Jersey. Many areas, such as New Jersey, have Italian Americans managing such establishments. In other words, if you ever feel like trying a proper Italian meal, you’ll have plenty of options. Furthermore, most shops work throughout the whole day. So if you have an interstate move and you’re on the lookout for movers, a reliable team can get you there, so that you can enjoy a cheesy pizza in no time.

Two women having a meal together in a restaurant while enjoying some drinks as well.
A difference between life in Italy and the US is that you may need to reschedule outings to a few hours later.

Way of life

When it comes to how people live their lives, Italy and the US differ significantly from each other. Compared to the US, life generally seems to move slower in Italy. Italian people are less likely to be workaholics and to prioritize money. Moreover, as indicated earlier, Italy frequently has lengthy meal breaks. Most people prefer spending such breaks sharing a meal with their coworkers and spending quality time. So grab a nice cup of Italian coffee, sit back and relax. 

Another important way of life differences:

  • Italians have more days off on average than Americans.
  • Tips and taxes are already included when purchasing products or services in Italy.
  • Americans change employers often, while Italians don’t.
  • Recycling is mandatory in Italy, while in the US, it isn’t.

 

Ease of traveling

As previously mentioned, the ease of traveling differs between the US and Italy. In the US, you may have better deals on fuel. However, the majority of big cities are crowded with commuters. This makes it challenging to reach somewhere on time. Especially when you have to move your items from one city to another, in most cases, you will need the help of movers, and professionals from bestcrosscountrymovers.com can assist you in finding those who suit your needs.

However, compared to the US, public transportation is more easily accessible in Italy and costs less. Even though most individuals drive, they prefer public transport between cities because it is more convenient. Lastly, travel within the European Union is quite economical, allowing for inexpensive visits to many other countries.

A woman in a gray coat is reading a book while on a bus.

Punctuality

Most often than not, punctuality is not essential to Italians. If you’re moving from the US to Italy, this difference between life in Italy and the US is one that you’ll most likely struggle with. However, a delay in schedule is not a sign of disrespect, even if you may feel it is. Whether you have plans to get Italian Gelato or an appointment, you may have to wait for some time. On the other hand, punctuality is not only respected but expected in the US. So if you’re relocating from Italy to the US, be sure to be on time!

People move for many reasons, but they can often overlook small things. As mentioned above, the differences between life in Italy and the US mainly affect the way of life. This unique distinction may not be the best option for everyone. However, if you think it will give you plenty of opportunities for your wishes and needs, don’t hesitate to start planning your move.