Italy: Finding Beauty Amongst the Chaos

As my time abroad is coming to a close in a couple of months (boohoo), I was thinking about the struggles i’ve faced during my year in Italy. In deciding how to approach this post, and it appeared to me that I could take it one of two ways. I could a) write about the truly big obstacle which everyone has experienced whilst living away from home – the fact that you are, in fact, away from home. Whilst that undoubtedly is the toughest part of my year abroad, it’s also the most obvious. So, that led me to b) the little obstacles that have peppered my time away – which I suppose could be summarised with my Study Abroad department’s beautifully clichéd phrase of ‘cultural differences’.

A world apart biggest obstacle

my Erasmus society getting a little confused (but still making it work!)


The lack of organisational skills possessed by Italy is simultaneously mind-boggling and impressive; impressive that there is still a country left to run underneath the mind-boggling lack of organisation. If you ever find yourself in Italy with something important to do, something with time constraints or an essential outcome at stake, I would urge you to go anywhere, be anywhere, except Italy. My German friend studying Medicine here quite frankly told me that should any medical emergency occur, I must put her on the first flight back to Germany and get her treated there. Coming from someone with firsthand experience of the Italian medical system, I’ve tried my hardest to remain healthy this year, however I did come down with a sore throat (I know, I know – poor me) in March. Thinking that a trip to the local pharmacy would suffice, I struggled down the street, only to be greeted with a sign that informed me that they are in fact closed from 12.00-16.30 every day. Whilst the notion of an illness which respects the shop owner’s need for an afternoon nap seems absurd to us Brits, one can only assume that Italian ailments are much more flexible with their scheduling…


It is a beautiful but shambolic version of a normal society, and while this chaos was what frustrated me beyond comprehension at the start of my time in Verona, I have to begrudgingly admit that there is something to admire amongst all the pandemonium. I’ve learned to worry less about tomorrow, and live in the moment a lot more. Whilst I’m prone to intermittent bouts of worrying (just like any good Englishman) and I’ll never be truly Italian in that respect, I do think that we can take something from their love of life and lack of anxiety. When Italians have free time, they really have free time – it’s a lovely thing to see them drinking and enjoying themselves at 11pm Sunday evening, just because it’s their Sunday evening. Work can wait, deadlines can wait and tomorrow can most definitely wait.

just your normal Sunday night drinks in Italy