Spending a week holidaying with an Italian family was something out of a dream. The Alps, skiing, 4 courses every meals, a pillow menu, all expenses paid, living in luxury.
It was also a lesson in etiquette, although I have been working for this family for five months I have never eaten with them at a formal restaurant, and what an experience that has been. Italians are very proper when they dine, and my Australian simple no elbows on the table, don’t eat with your hands table manners were far from acceptable here.
Who knew when using a fork your other hand should always be sitting on the table, and when your hands are without cutlery they should remain flat on the table, you should never lift a glass to fill it, and you should sit with perfect posture precisely a handspan away from the table!
And the old knife and fork together in the middle once you’ve finished… Don’t even think about it! Your cutlery must only be rested on the right side of your plate here.
Pool procedure here is also on another level. Forget, chuck your bathers on, wrap your towel around you and run to the pool, here slippers and dressing gown must be worn to and fro, left close enough to the pool that one will never be forced to touch the ‘disgusting’ ground or be exposed to air without being covered. Everyone must also shower, wash and dry hair, wash and dry bathing suit before exiting the pool area, safe to say if i was Italian I would never swim.
This past week has been another eye opener in my Italian adventure, and I am now starting to see what people mean when they say their image of Australians is easy going and carefree.