Bologna Inside - Second Edition

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3 > HOUSING

ITALIAN NEIGHBORS

You’ve found the place. You’ve paid the deposit and put your basil plant on the windowsill. You are about to enter into an established Italian tradition – condominium life. News travels fast in a Bolognese apartment building. More often than not, your new

High-density living is the norm, most Italians live in flats instead of detatched houses with gardens. That brings you into close contact with your neighbors. Curtains or shutters are therefore a must to avoid prying eyes! I have never had negative experiences with my neighbors. Having a foreigner in the building has sometimes aroused suspicion, particularly amongst elderly neighbors, but more often than not, just friendly curiousity to find out who I am and where I am from. And of course, if I am available for English lessons!

Kate Porter

neighbors will know your name, country of origin and how much rent you pay even before you arrive. They may be eager to know more. Then again, they may not, especially if it means speaking with you directly. The Bolognese tend to be reserved and many foreigners have remarked that their sense of neighborliness is understated compared to the Anglo-Saxon variety. Sometimes years can go by before your relationship develops into something deeper than a “hello.” So don’t expect your neighbors to pop by to welcome you to the building with a freshly baked cake. Following basic rules of etiquette will help ensure a smooth transition into your new community. A cheery “buongiorno” or “buonasera” every time you pass someone on the stairs is a good start. If you hear a loud knocking noise coming from your floor, it’s probably your downstairs neighbors banging on their ceiling with a broom because of the noise coming from your apartment. Shhhh! Try not to slam doors or play music after 23 and remove shoes with heels in your apartment.