If you’re wondering what the best places are to see while visiting Italy, we have suggestions for you from a local.
Alessandra Favaro, 44-years-old, lives in Northern Italy in a small city named Angera, which offers lake views and windsurfers, plus it’s within one hour from Milano. Favaro tells us what it was like being quarantined in Italy, as well as what the dating scene is like for locals, plus the best spots to find pizza.
Favaro also shared what life is like for local women in the city, how the job market is for them, and much more. Learn a little about what Italy Living is like.
What do you love best about living in Italy?
I love my culture, and mostly the lifestyle and food culture.
How was being quarantined during the pandemic in Italy?
It was very hard. We were very scared last year. Now we are scared, tired, and many are much poorer. Unfortunately, even today, there are people who deny the existence of the virus and do not respect the rules
How is it going now?
We are all very tired and psychologically exhausted.
What did you learn during quarantine about your community?
I learned good and bad things. I learned that we are very superficial and take too many things for granted. But I also learned that when you are in trouble, Italians help each other a lot. A beautiful thing is the renewed attention to nature, the environment, the beauties of our country. I have learned that my community is very interested in these issues and [seek] advice on travel in nature even close to home.
What’s your day-to-day like where you live (what city/region)?
I used to travel a lot before COVID. Now obviously not. I do smart working and I feel great, I have improved the quality and productivity of my work. I think I will continue to do so. And I take a lot of walks in the green [environment around me].
Do you own a car or use public transportation—if public transportation what’s the best way to get around there?
Car or bike without a doubt [are the best ways]. Trains for workers in Italy are bad. I don’t feel safe.
Tell us a little bit about living in Italy (and your city/region)— what are the perks in your opinion? Why do you love where you live?
There is a lot of nature and art, it’s a relaxing lifestyle, while still living close to the city. I also love being close to Switzerland, and I hope to go there as soon as this [COVID] is over.
What do you love about the Italian Culture?
Italian Culture 🙂
What do you dislike?
I don’t like that Italian people always complain about Italy. Many are unable to see its beauty. Almost more foreigners like Italy than Italians themselves.
What’s the dating culture like there? What are the customs and norms?
Italians are very sociable. There is no rule, but there must be “naturalness”. In Milan I know that many use Tinder, especially millennials.
Is dating tough or is it easy to meet someone?
It really depends on where you are. In general, people are friendly, but maybe in some areas they are more closed and in others more open.
What do you miss about your hometown when you’re traveling or away for a while?
My cats and my boyfriend.
What’s the work culture like for women in Italy?
Out of 101.000 new unemployed, 99.000 are women. The pandemic has widened the problem of gender inequality worldwide, working women have paid a painfully high price during the pandemic as many quit jobs to care for children when schools closed or saw employment evaporate in hard-hit retail and hospitality businesses. But, Italian women went into the COVID-19 crisis already struggling for decades to expand their presence in the workforce.
Among the 27 European Union nations, Italy ranks next to last, just above Greece, in terms of women’s participation in the workforce. About 54 percent of women in Italy had jobs in 2019, before the pandemic hit, compared with 73 percent for men and an EU average for women of around 67 percent. The rate dropped to about 49 percent for women and 67 percent for men in Italy by the end of last year, reflecting the pandemic’s blow to the economy.
Is finding a job as a woman difficult? Do women stick to certain industries— if so, which ones?
Yes, it is more difficult than a man because family and home care are still considered a “business” for women, even though things are changing. But it’s not always like this! In the communication agency where I work, men are in a clear minority.
Are women seen as being the main one in charge of the kids and household or are they given the opportunities to find work equally?
Unfortunately, they are still seen as caring for children and families and have fewer opportunities to find work
What’s the work culture like there?
Work is seen as an opportunity to realize one’s talents and as a precious key to independence.
If a woman were to get pregnant, how do jobs in Italy see this? What time off does she get?
I don’t know the law well for that. She has a period of maternity and then can gradually return with some facilitations. In theory. Basically, I know it’s very hard for a new mother to combine work and children at first. But here you can discover more (in English).
Tell us a little about the secret spots— where do the locals go for breakfast, lunch, dinner?
The best pizzas with lake view: in restaurant—Miralago in Angera city. Beautiful view and super food.
What’s a park or activity that locals love to visit/do?
Angera, where I live: It’s a town on the lake that’s rich in nature, with beaches for swimming, good food, and still not too touristy. There is a natural oasis, you can visit the Rocca Borromea (an ancient castle). There are vineyards and a local wine is produced here. There is also an open-air museum with the paintings of the artist Andrea Ravo Mattoni. (If you want know more go here.
Where’s the first place you would take a tourist visiting you?
What would you tell Americans visiting your city about where you live?
Unfortunately, I should warn them that not all places allow you to pay by credit card.
What would you tell Americans about communicating/behaving in Italy?
Americans are very nice people, interested in culture and friendly. Maybe they need to know that not everyone knows English. But we always understand each other.
What’s a good spot for drinking/dancing…a bar or club?
Milan has many bars and clubs. Corso Como is one of the richest nightlife areas.
What’s your favorite local bookstore in the area?
Libreria del Mondo Offeso, piazza San Simpliciano, Milano (books, coffee, dinner, readings…)
What’s one-must-do local activity tourists might not be aware of?
Take the chairlift to Laveno Mombello to have a happy hour on top of a mountain and enjoy the view of the lake.
What’s one cultural activity locals should check out?
The walks with the guide of the open air Museum of Angera.
For those who would like to visit during a major cultural event—which one would you suggest and why?
I suggest Lago Cromatico in Summer: a series of concerts of various types of live music, outdoors, on Lake Maggiore.