In Little Day Out’s Countries of the World series, we ask expatriates living in Singapore to tell us more about their home countries, their cultures and traditions. In this feature story, we learn more about Italy.
In Singapore, the most familiar aspect of Italy to many of us would be its food. Italian dishes like pasta and pizzas are both popular and ubiquitous in Singapore.
To learn more about Italy, we asked an Italian expatriate living in Singapore, Annamaria Riccio, to share with us her personal perspectives on her country. Annamaria teaches and coordinates Italian language courses for adults and teens at the Italian Cultural Centre, APICS (Association for the Promotion of the Italian Culture in Singapore).
Little Day Out: What foods are most representative of your country?
Annamaria: Pizza and spaghetti carbonara which is very easy to cook with spaghetti, bacon, eggs and pecorino or parmesan cheese.
What is your favourite holiday or festival in your country?
The Venice Carnival. This is when all the streets are thronged with people, most of whom are masked and intent on partying, singing and dancing. Theatrical performances and ancient games are organised for the amusement of Venetians and visitors.
How are birthdays traditionally celebrated in Italy?
Friends are invited home for a meal together and celebrate with the birthday cake and sparkling wine known as Spumante. The birthday person will receive gifts from all invitees.
What is one thing that people would be surprised to learn about Italy?
Taxis cannot be hailed on the roads.
What is a traditional gift in your country?
Flowers and chocolates.
What is your favourite landmark in Italy?
The Royal Palace of Caserta. It is a former royal residence in Caserta southern Italy that was constructed for the Borboni Kings of Naples. The palace is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
What do you miss most about Italy?
Summer holidays by the seaside in a typical small village with many cultural and entertainment events.
Interesting Facts About Italy
Capital: Rome (or Roma). It is also known as the Eternal City.
Flag: The Italian flag’s colours represent hope (green), faith (white) and charity (red).
Geography: Italy is located in Southern Europe, mostly by the Mediterranean Sea. It is shaped like a boot. The highest mountain in Italy is Mont Blanc, which is located in the northern part of the country at the Italian Alps.
Famous cities: Besides the capital Rome, other famous cities in Italy include Florence (“Michelangelo’s David”), Pisa (“The Leaning Tower of Pisa”) and Venice (“Gondolas and St. Mark’s Square”).