So you want to teach in Italy? Congratulazioni! Soon you may be living in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. You might be asking yourself, “How am I supposed to pick one place out of almost 8,000 cities, towns, and villages?” This is a fair question that I am afraid no one can really answer for you. In order to help you narrow it down, I have included 3 things to take into consideration when picking a city in Italy to live in.
Each region, and even town, in Italy is so unique. The food, accents, lifestyles, and attitudes can change from place to place. In this article I have included 3 aspects of Italy that differ throughout the many regions.
Each town has its own typical dishes. While usually it is some variation of meat, cheese, or pasta, there are so many possibilities! The photo above is of a plate I ordered in Orgosolo, Sardegna. Living in Bologna I obviously consume a lot of tortellini and tagliatelle al ragù. If you visit the south, you will most likely be eating a lot of pizza, seafood, and tomato-based pasta dishes like pasta puttanesca. You will certainly eat well in any Italian city, but do a little research about typical dishes in each region to see what piques your interest. However, it’s safe to say if you love pizza, Napoli might be your best bet.
The Accents and Dialects
Italy is known for its diversity among cities and regions. This includes having different accents and dialects even among neighboring towns, especially in smaller villages like the old shepherds’ town above, San Pantaleo. The stereotypical Italian accent most foreigners are used to is most likely the Florentine dialect. If you venture outside of Tuscany, you might find it difficult to understand the other accents. However, it is important to expose yourself to different accents and make an attempt to understand the uniqueness of each region and the people who live there.
Culture and Attitudes
I’m sure you have picked up on the theme by now: things change a lot from region to region. Customs and attitudes can also differ drastically between regions. Many of these differences are based on stereotypes, but there may be a grain of truth behind some of them. People from the south of Italy are generally known for being more friendly and outgoing, whereas northern Italians are generally considered to be less outgoing and more business-oriented. Maybe you can blame the sunny beaches, but Italians from the south are known for being more relaxed and less punctual. Again, these are stereotypes so do not take them too literally.
A quick note about teaching English in Italy: if you’re main goal is to teach English while you are abroad, choose a city with a big enough market for English teachers. However, don’t always assume that you’ll have a guaranteed job in Rome or Florence. The markets are bigger, but there is a lot of competition among aspiring English teachers.