The Italian culture is perhaps one of the richest cultures in the entire southern Europe. It has a very rich history in respect to its popular customs and traditions, classic architecture and art. The Italian people are very agreeable, welcoming and warm towards strangers. They are a people who derive pleasure in sharing the exciting pleasures of everyday life with their neighbors. Getting bored in Italy is quite an understatement since the Italian land offers the most exciting, delightful and stimulating beauty that nature has to offers. Coupled with this is the charm and the elegance of its residents who share a variety of regional cultures.
Perhaps the most exciting aspects of Italian culture is the richness of its wine and food, artists with an admirable reputation, glorious engineering and design. Italian musicians and filmmakers offer very captivating forms of entertainment. Any one who has gotten a chance to visit Italy will bear me witness that our architecture and monuments provide quite an enthralling experience (Killinger, 2005). Our language, Italian, offers a sensuous pleasure and any one who is keen enough to observe it in actual usage can not help falling in love with the way Italians use nicknames and diminutives in creation of intimacy and familiarity with those surrounding them. Most intriguing are the tragedies and scandals that accompany Italy’s history as well as politics since the ancient Roman times through to the renaissance up to the present age offers quite a wonderful experience for any one who explores the Italian history.
Family Roles and Rituals
The family forms the core of the Italian social structure. It is often credited for the stability of its members. Family values are the building blocks of the Italian society which help in maintaining very close and strong social links. All Italians are expected to sustain strong bonds with their siblings, other relatives and parents regardless of whether one is married, single, or divorced. A typical characteristic of the northern families is the nuclear families living together while in the south the extended family are normally found living as a unit in one home. The family is entrusted with responsibility of providing for financial and emotional support for all its members (Killinger, 2005).
For the past few decades the Italian society has undergone a couple of drastic social changes which are characterized by both problems and advantages. There has been drastic increase in the number of women working away from their home as well as the swelling number of youths thirsting for higher education. The legalization of divorce In addition to the above has brought about a lot of profound changes on the structure of the family. Elderly persons are supposed to be taken care of and respected regardless of whether they reside with their children in their home or independently (Cuilleanain, 2006).
Communication/ ExpressionItalians are people who value appearances hence the mode of dressings means a lot to them. They are a people who are extremely conscious of fashion. The Italians can learn a lot from you from your dressing code for instance the family background, level of education and social status even before the listen to your mannerism in speaking. The first impression to them is very important since it is normally the last hence they value the ‘Bella Figura’ concept which means good image (Cuilleanain, 2006). They can so easily assess ones social standing or age unconsciously even before they utter their first word.
Religious Beliefs and Values
Italy is very rich in holy places some of them which are worth over 2000 years. The Vatican City and Rome alone has thousands of churches, shrines and relics. For instance St Peters relics other saints and popes, sites that the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared, sites that were holy to ‘Saint Francis of Assisi,’ and other numerous sites associated with miracles. Religious ceremonies are common phenomena in Italy. For instance Easter, Immaculate Conception, Pentecost, and charismas which mark the holy days of the Roman Catholic church Italy’s. Other rituals and ceremonies include sanctification of saints, blessings, and the reciting of the novenas, sodalities, reciting the rosary, masses both dairy and weekly, and feast days as well as their quasi religious activities (Killinger, 2005).
The Italian people believe in life after death. This belief is based on the conviction that the good shall be rewarded while the sinners shall be punished. They believe in purgatory a place where sinners reside before they go heaven for their sins to be purged. Hell and heaven form part of their realities. The dead are celebrated and quietly spoken to. Modern day funerals are carried out in parlors and the dead are supposed to be respected. Absentia from the funeral of a friend or for one of the family members attracts relationship breach if at all there no valid reason.
Culture Influence on My Counseling
One of the cultural values that might influence my role as counselor while dealing with a client who shares a different culture is my belief in my religion and its values. Dealing with a client who might tend to dispute my religious values taking for instance Protestants or Muslims who attach different beliefs and respects to the Virgin Mary might cause me to feel that the client does not respect my religious beliefs and values. The remedy or adjustment that I might have to adopt is to keep the therapy session professional. I would try as much as possible to avoid getting personal or involving our religious differences in our conversation and make the client realize that religion is a personal thing since it involves one adopting a personal relationship with his or her God and the beliefs and values that the religion identifies with.
Another cultural value that might influence my role as a counselor is my strong belief in the family as the central pillar of the social structure. Counseling a person from a cultural background that does not put much value on the family for instance a man who has neglected his family and does not seem to care may affect my tolerance towards him. The remedy or adjustments that I might have to make is to understand that though people are equal they might never be the same. Some hold very different values from the ones that we consider important and therefore we should take this into consideration and approach them without any prejudices or personal judgments.
See Ancient Rome, Beautiful Tuscany, and Stunning Marche
I recently returned from a two week holiday in Italy, during which I explored Rome and parts of Tuscany and Le Marche, and these are some of my favourite snaps from the trip.
A Swiss Guard on duty at Vatican City in Rome. Vatican City is actually an independent state within its own right, the smallest in the world by area and population, and the ceremonially-dressed Swiss Guards form its military.
St Peter’s Square is an enormous plaza which sprawls out before St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, Rome, and where thousands of Catholics gather each Wednesday to hear the Pope’s blessings. The Egyptian obelisk in the centre is 4,000 years old.
The interior of St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City is a staggeringly impressive feat of architecture. Photos can hint at the aesthetic grandeur, but the only way to fully appreciate it on an atmospheric and spiritual level, whether you’re religious or not, is to visit.
The Trevi Fountain, located in the Rome district of the same name, is one of the most iconic fountains not just in Rome, or even Europe, but the world. The Baroque masterpiece was completed in 1762 and nowadays attracts throngs of wide-eyed tourists.
A fine view from the hill which rears up behind Piazza del Popolo in the north of central Rome. Today’s version was completed in 1822 – relatively recently by Rome’s standards – but there has been a square on the site for centuries, and it used to be the site for public executions.
The cultural heritage of Rome is almost overwhelming in its abundance; at every turn there is something of interest. This slightly neglected statue is located near Piazza del Popolo; I have no idea how long it’s been there.
Ancient buildings always look better at night, and the Colosseum is certainly no exception. Even today, in its half-derelict condition, it’s a seriously impressive sight to behold, so one can only imagine what people thought of it 2000 years ago when it was first built.
The interior of the Colosseum looks more like a ruin than the exterior, but it’s still intact enough to give a pretty good idea of how it appeared in its heyday.
One of the many clusters of columns still standing in the Roman Forum, one of the most fascinating places in the world. This was the heart of Ancient Rome for centuries and the centre of public life. Much remains; you need at least a day to even begin to appreciate the historical significance.
The Tuscan town of Siena is arguably the most charming settlement in the region, a considerably more relaxed affair than Florence. The whole of its medieval historic centre (where this shot was taken) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Siena Cathedral is one of the grandest buildings in Italy and showcases a pristine blend of black and white marble, and a mixture of Gothic and Romanesque architectural styles. The present-day building was finished in 1263.
The interior of Siena cathedral is equally awe-inspiring. This is a shot of the Piccolomini Library, nestled within a small alcove of the main cathedral and boasting a kaleidoscopic display of floor to ceiling frescos painted in the 1500s.
The view of Siena from an unfinished wall which was originally intended to be part of the main cathedral. In the background is the Tuscan countryside and to the left is the Piazza del Campo, a huge sloping public square, widely regarded to be one of the greatest in Europe.
The multi-towered skyline of San Gimignano, a medieval hill town, is one of the most iconic sights in Italy. The town itself is as you’d expect: impossibly quaint and, apart from the hordes of day-trippers, indistinguishable from how it would have appeared 700 years ago.
The Tuscan countryside is relentlessly scenic, a constant undulation of bucolic scenes such as this.
A view within the town of Volterra, whose location – perched dramatically upon a hilltop – is typically Tuscan. This place has recently drawn the world’s attention due to it featuring in the Twilight saga; in the novels it is the home of powerful vampires.
Despite this, the town still hasn’t (yet) been overrun with tourists. Many of the Tuscan hill towns can feel like open air museums, but Volterra has retained its authenticity and local charm. This shot was taken in one of the numerous cobbled streets which meander off the main square.
Le Marche, located in central east Italy, is comparatively unknown to foreigners, which is surprising considering it is arguably even more beautiful – and distinctly less touristy – than Tuscany. This shot was taken one evening near San Ginesio, in the south of the region.
Lake Fiastra, near the town of Sarnano, is a stunning, manmade body of water, dammed at its northern end. This shot was taken from a lookout point during the 8 mile walk around the lake.
This is the road to Castelluccio, a tiny village in the midst of the Apennine Mountains, next to Mount Sbillini National Park. The settlement may be desperately isolated, but it enjoys a truly incredible location, especially in spring, when the vast surrounding plains explode into colour with wild flowers.
This was taken in Hell’s Gorge, a fantastic walking route in Mount Sbillini National Park. The trail squeezes through sheer cliffs topped with dramatic peaks, and follows a mountain stream with water clean enough to drink outright.
The countryside of Le Marche is full of sunflower fields, something I never tired of seeing.