"If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change." is a famous quote from Italian writer, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, in his novel 'The Leopard'. That sentiment, echoed across Italian society, is why heritage and tradition are so valued in Italy.
Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
The Italian Family
The family unit is the most important thing in the lives of Italians. All of their heritage and traditions are bound up in their family unit and its place in the local comune. They will resist change at almost any cost.
The most important thing in Italy is the family. In contrast to many other modern societies that focus their attention on the nuclear family, the Italian concept of family is much wider, encompassing many different branches and all generations. It is not unusual for Italian families to enjoy frequent gatherings of 20, 30 or even more, celebrating annual events, religious festivals and family occasions. You can often see three or four generations enjoying their time together in the company of parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
The focus of this family time is 'Pranzo' (lunch). Lunch is not a fast-food snack that is grabbed on the way to somewhere else. It is the focus of the whole day. With the table overflowing with a delicious variety of home-made treats, it is long and leisurely, filled with animated conversation and accompanied by wine, laughing and joking.
We have a wide range of traditional Italian, hand painted, ceramic tableware that perfectly captures the spirit of traditional family life in Italy. Click here for more details
Italians are extremely attractive people, warm-hearted and welcoming. They are sincere, sensitive and value style over fashion. They are a very hard-working and concientious people, working hard to maintain the traditions and values that they were brought up with. They are very animated, energetic and talkative, often carrying on several conversations at the same time.
They are extremely tactile and affectionate with little concept of personal space.
Italians are deeply loyal to the comune, province and region in which they live. Often to the extent of dismissing any good qualities belonging to other regions. There is a phrase for it in Italy: 'Campanilismo' (the love of one's own bell-tower). This loyalty seems to last forever, passing on through the generations, even when the family emigrated many years before.
The stemmi and gonfaloni that represent each comune, province and region of Italy, carry with them the heritage of all the people that live there, or have lived there in the past.
That heritage is immensely important to Italians. Local festivals are highly cherished and Italians are happy to repeat the same sequence of events year after year, taking genuine pleasure in maintaining these local traditions.
Gonfalone of Cosenza, Calabria
A selection of stemmi from different places in Italy
We can find your family's local Stemma, and produce a hand painted tile for you to treasure. Click here for more details
Large numbers of Italians left Italy in the late 1800s and early 1900s, as well as later, after the second World War, settling in many different countries all over the world. Wherever they went, Italians took with them a cultural heritage of thousands years of history, art, traditions, music and cuisine. It is the mission of their descendants to keep that great heritage of Italy alive. They are often keen to find out more about their Italian roots, visit the areas that their ancestors came from and forge stronger links with their past
In the USA, there are said to be over 17 million people of Italian descent. The majority of them had origins in the south of Italy and settled in the Northeastern states of the USA. There are many organisations that are active in promoting the traditional values of Italian life and celebrating this Italian heritage.
Italy has made a profound mark on the world since before the Roman empire, through the Renaissance and right up to the present day. Many people around the world express a love of Italy and Italian heritage. It could be the result of a magical holiday that they will never forget, or just an affinity they feel with the heart and soul of Italy.
There are also many people around the world who are of Italian origin, proud of their Italian heritage and who feel a passionate affection for the culture, traditions and the people of Italy, remaining deeply proud of their Italian roots.
Many people also value the high quality of Italian made goods, such as this leather bag, hand made by expert craftsmen from some of the finest leather in the world.
We have a wide range of hand crafted Italian leather bags in many different styles, to suit all budgets Click here for more details
But what is Italian heritage. Above all, it is a feeling of quality. Quality of life, sunshine, scenery, food, wine and good company. Then there is history. The dramatic events of thousands of years woven into the fabric of Italian society.
History runs through almost every aspect of Italian life. It is visible in almost every village, town and city in Italy. Italians have many things to be proud of in their history and they treasure their heritage, culture and traditions throughout their everyday lives.
Italians take a particular pride in doing things well. You only have to look at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel to see that!