Cultural Contrasts: Embracing the Distinctions Between Italy and the United States

Italy and the United States, two nations with rich and distinct cultural histories, are a woven tapestry of countless traditions, beliefs, and practices. Here, we will explore the cultural contrasts between Italy and America and uncover the nuances that make these countries unique while appreciating the common threads that unite them.

Cultural Contrasts: Embracing the Distinctions Between Italy and the United States - image 2

What are the Cultural Similarities Between the US and Italy?

Family Values:

Families play an important role in Italian and American culture. From family gatherings and celebrations to support systems, these roles are pivotal in the lives of individuals in both nations.

Cuisine Appreciation:

A shared love for food is a cultural bond between Italians and Americans. Each country boasts its culinary traditions. Italy is renowned for its distinct ingredients, pasta, and pizza, while the US is famous for its diverse culinary influences.

What are the Cultural Differences Between Italy and America?

While studying abroad in Italy, you may come across various cultural differences in Italy. Here is a list of differences between Italy and America:


Known for its passionate and animated discussions, Italians value face-to-face interactions and vibrant dialogues. Speaking over each other loudly is not rude – it’s how you contribute to the group conversation. In America, conversation styles are typically direct, open, and informal. Studying the Italian language at SRISA can help you join the conversation and open doors to Italian culture.

Dining Etiquette

When and what to eat are integral to Italian health and well-being. Italians savor their food, enjoy long meals, and appreciate the art of gastronomy consisting of multiple courses. A typical lunch (pranzo) or dinner (cena) with family and friends can last up to four hours, especially during the holidays or celebrations. In comparison, Americans tend to favor quick, convenient dining, preferring single-course plates. 


Italians are polychronic, where human interaction and living in the present take top priority. Time is fluid, and being fashionably late is acceptable. Events often start a bit later than scheduled. Americans are monochronic, where punctuality and schedules take precedence. Embrace your inner polychrome while in Italy. It will change your life.

Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck Roman Holiday

Fashion and Style

Renowned for its fashion industry, Italy places pride on stylish attire and individual expression. You may need to wait to get home before making a run for coffee in your pajamas and Uggs. Explore the history of Italian fashion and get inspired to find your personal style.   

What is the relationship between the US and Italy?

The US and Italy share a deep, multifaceted relationship:

  • Diplomacy: Established in 1861 when Italy unified.
  • Economy: The United States and Italy maintain robust economic relations. Italy is one of the United States’ top trading partners.
  • Culture: The US hosts Italian cultural events, and Italy provides opportunities for Americans to immerse in its culture.
  • Education: Academic collaborations from study abroad programs to research partnerships each contribute a deepening of cultural und
  • Tourism: Mutual tourist visits boost connections.
  • Italian-American Community: The Italian-American community in the United States is one of the largest ethnic groups. Their heritage and cultural contributions have left an indelible mark on American society.

This partnership continues to evolve and grow, reinforcing the bonds between the two nations.

The cultural contrasts and similarities between Italy and America reveal a dynamic interplay that enriches our global heritage. As we explore these distinctions, we find common threads that unite us and celebrate the beauty of our shared human experience. When you appreciate the differences and similarities you start to enjoy the beauty of both countries.

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