My whole life I have been told that Italians despise Americans. Most of this information comes from my amazing father, Gregg, who travelled Europe in the 1980s. Gregg claimed that Italians hated tourists, particularly Americans, and also never showered or wore deodorant, but that is a blog for another time. I have been pleasantly surprised by the amount of acceptance Italians have had for all of us. We have received a minimal amount of dirty looks, way less than Germany. Of course not every moment has been welcoming so far but it has been much more welcoming than I anticipated. For instance, on our first day in Cinque Terre, we stopped to get gelato at a small shop near the ocean and the man welcomed us in with a smile. He then proceeded to tell me how to pronounce the gelato flavors in Italian and seemed pleased when I gave my best, yet probably very poor, effort with the pronunciations. In addition, our first morning in Cinque Terre, we visited a small breakfast restaurant with an outdoor patio and was given great service by the nicest server. Her customer service was impeccable, something Jacey would say is very hard to find in Europe. For example, when I was unsure of what crepe to get she recommended her personal favorite, off the menu, Nutella with strawberries (which was delicious). Also, whenever any of us wanted to make big changes to the food on the menu she was so accommodating, more than most American restaurants. The place was so good that we went back the next morning. The town is probably used to tourists, but we felt more welcomed here than we did in Germany, a place that I was always told loved Americans.
I was pretty shocked that I felt more welcomed in Italy than I did in Germany because I assumed it would be the other way around.
I think this might be because Americans are more like Italians than Germans. Italians talk on the phone, loudly and angrily, in any public area whether on the train or at work. This loud and aggressive display is similar to our loud and obnoxious group of Americans. In addition, we have tried to be gracious so hopefully that makes us more palatable. Not everyone is nice to us, but that happens all over the world. It was a relief to find that we were as accepted as we are. Maybe in Rome we will be shunned, but hopefully not. Considering that certain Italian cities are hubs for tourists, Italians must be used to us bumbling Americans. I hope to continue the welcoming attitude in Rome by being quieter and acting with some semblance of grace.