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  • Wendy

Italian Idiosyncrasies

Three of the top seriously strange things you'd never think would happen

The appointment system

When you've lived in Italy long enough, you start to notice a few things that don't seem to make any sense whatsoever, but in fact, they're a pretty good idea.

One of those things is the appointment system. Doctors, hospitals, hairdressers, garages, the system is the same.

You'd expect to get an appointment by phone or letter, arrive at your allotted time and then be seen....No; that would be far too easy. At least in this part of Italy, everyone has the same appointment time.

Seriously, if you have a hair appointment at 4 pm, so do four other people. MOT, 8.30 am, along with six other people. Come back later to collect your car; we'll do it at some point today.

You might think this is strange, but it works because most Italians are always late.

Wendy Byard - Life in Italy

This month involved a trip to the Automobile Club of Italia office to renew a driving licence. The allotted time of 18:45...seemed rather a strange time by hey, maybe they are using the conventional method of appointments. Unfortunately not. At 18:40, there were at least 20 in the queue. I finally left the building at 20:00. Lesson learned.

However, one exception to the late appointment rule is hospital appointments. If you have an appointment at 4 pm, everyone arrives early to be at the front of the queue. Nonna's will get poll position to ensure nobody gets in front of them....Ordered chaos.

The Magic roundabout

Italian driving is rather hit and miss (excuse the pun) at the best of times, and one of the significant challenges when driving is roundabouts. Years ago, the rule was that you had to give way to traffic entering a roundabout; however, the law changed to prioritise those already on the roundabout. This new rule still hasn't sunk in for a lot of drivers, but recently on a trip to Sicily, I witnessed a two whole new takes on roundabout confusion....parking and reversing!

You may not believe it, but from my balcony, I witnessed people simply stopping and then reversing around a roundabout on more than one occasion because they were unsure which exit to take. I managed to video a mediocre attempt, plus a lot of queuing, but this was far from the best example.

Clapping the Pilot

It may be that passengers on some of the low-cost airlines are a little nervous about flying, or they may believe that a higher power is in control of the plane. If you fly with Italian passengers, you will notice that they show appreciation when they land safely. This strange phenomenon is clapping the pilot.

The moment the wheels hit the tarmac and they have stopped pressing hard into the back of the seat in front of them to aid braking of the aircraft, a huge round of applause goes up. The cabin crew usually smile....I wonder what the captain does?

Living in Italy is such fun, if you'd like to experience the more excitement for yourself, why not sign up for my CIAO BELLA Retreat here in Italy next year. I guarantee you'll experience some very unique experiences !

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