by Rachelle Favorite
I am a very punctual person. I was taught that being late to any event or when meeting someone is very rude if you are late. In my everyday life I am usually about 10 minutes early to anything just to make sure I am not disrespectful to the person I am meeting. Also to guarantee my on time arrival. Growing up in the U.S. I always heard of "Island time" meaning a slower way of life in other parts of the world.
Upon arriving in Italy I started to slowly see this more relaxed way of living. Every afternoon shops would close for about three hours in the afternoon for "piazza." This is the time when Italians go home for relaxation and lunch. I thought to myself, "man I could get used to this lifestyle."
This was not a problem for me on this trip until we took a day trip to the quaint town of Urbino. We arrived in Urbino around 10 am, once there we immediately went to the famous Renaissance museum in Urbino. Along the way we passed by a few shops that looked interesting to browse in for souvenirs for loved ones back home. By the time we were finished exploring the museum it was lunch time. My classmates and I went to a fabulous pizza place for lunch that took about 2 hours to get through the whole meal. By this time it was 230 pm and all the shops were closed for their afternoon piazza. However the sign on the door showed that most shops would reopen at 330 pm.
We were told to meet up with the group at 400 pm to catch the bus, which by the way was on the bottom of the hill, whereas the shops were all on top of the hill. If we did not show up at this time we would have to figure out how to find our way home on our own. A few of us decided we would get our last minute souvenirs at 330 pm. We arrived promptly in front of the shop we wanted to visit however it was still not open. We waited until 350 as this was already pushing the time for us to run to catch the bus and the shop was still not open.
The times here seem to be a good guesstimate or an approximate of when to open, but Italians do not consider this behavior rude or disrespectful as some other countries may view it. I have learned that Italians are living life in a such a way that they can enjoy their surroundings. This has taught me to be patient in my own life, maybe not be late to things but to maybe give others a little bit of slack if circumstances do not allow them to be on time.