The shrugged shoulder is real, a daily reminder that part of Italy's charm rests on the fact that it does not much care for rules. Italians can be downright poetic about it, this inclination to dodge taxes, to cut lines, to erect entire neighborhoods without permits, or simply to run red lights, while smoking or talking on the phone, or both.BTW, if you are ever offered a set or orders to Naples, take it. You won't regret it if you have the right attitude. Oh, and try for a NATO job.
"We undervalue the law of cause and effect," said Lisa Tumino, who runs a bed and breakfast here near the Vatican. "We overvalue the law of the universe."
Beppe Grillo, the Italian political satirist, keeps a running list on his Web site of members of the Italian Parliament or Italian members of the European Parliament, 25 in all, who have been convicted of crimes, mostly for corruption.
Just last week, an Italian newspaper reported the existence of a new little town outside Naples, of 50 houses and 435 apartments, for which not a single building permit had been issued. About 31,000 illegal structures reportedly went up in 2005 alone.
Faced with greedy and hostile authority over many chaotic centuries, it is argued, Italians fell back into what is often called "familism," the idea that only the family can be trusted. Everything outside the realm of family and clan can be ignored — or tricked into submission.
"We are a people of saints, heroes, improvisers and artful fixers; above all we are cunning," a 1986 study on Italian values concluded, finding the nation's mind set little changed over time. "Our cunningness consists of believing that others will take advantage of us if we do not first take advantage of them."
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Ah, yes Italy.....and Italians.