Being the best you can be is complementary to a country that is revered for beauty in art, architecture, landscaping, fashion, cars, etc, etc. That’s the obvious….An Italian man in a meticulously coordinated suit while riding his bicycle to work; a women resembling a runway model while buying milk at the local market; a table setting, skillfully choreographed from linens to china to chargers; a store window dressed like a work of art; a beautifully wrapped gift.
But the not so obvious is how strong the “
” is hard-wired into the Italian’s DNA, sometimes to their detriment. An Italian may publicly exude great confidence in unfamiliar territory, meanwhile he/she is quietly panicking. Setting the bar really high inhibits the ability to learn new things for fear of making a ‘brutta figura’ (bad impression). An Italian would rather avoid learning a new language, than be embarrassed while fumbling through new sounds and syllables.
And there’s a gray area too my friends! For example, making a reservation at a favorite restaurant for friends, and also paying the tab in advance. Though done in good faith, it could be misconstrued as too 'show-offie'.
Also, most often a ‘brutta figura’ crime is committed inadvertently, but it’s still subject to high penalties. Showing up a day late to a dinner party will get you at least 5 years in prison, even if not by the dinner hosts, for sure by your spouse. (Happened to me).