How to spot a tourist in Italy?

The GenoNurse project consortium met for a face-to-face meeting in Italy in late October 2023. With each face-to-face meeting, while working together, we get to know each other a little bit better. As an added bonus, we also get a glimpse into the local culture and customs.

We were finishing a delicious Italian lunch. Judging by the way I was feeling, I could have easily just had either the primi or the secondi. Both were excellent, but together a lot of food to eat in one sitting. We had come here to work, but now the food was making me drowsy and unable to think clearly. “I need a coffee”, I thought to myself and headed for the coffee machine. An Italian colleague was making coffees. Enthusiastically, I ordered a cappuccino. My colleague looked at me, shrugged his shoulders and a moment later handed me a cappuccino. “You know”, he started, “in Italy, we don’t drink cappuccinos after breakfast”. I did not know this.

It turned out that there were a lot of things we didn’t know about the intricacies of Italian food customs. For example, an Italian would not even consider having a cappuccino and a glass of wine during the same meal. This would simply not happen. In addition, we came to learn that something that is a staple product in pizza places in Finland, and goes by the name of pizza Hawaii, is the equivalent of a big NO-NO in Italy. Italians will never put pineapple on pizza!

These local customs prompted us to discuss the most essential Italian food as well: pasta. In Italian cuisine, spaghetti is not broken when placed into boiling water (unless for making soup), and seafood pasta dishes do not include Parmesan Reggiano cheese. Can you imagine that?!?

After working together for a week in Italy, we left the meeting with an impressive version of the GenoNurse model (one of our main project objectives) and a bit more cultural knowledge.


TAMK team


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