It’s time to learn what time means to an Italian.
We do not have a homogeneous time schedule for the working hours. Yes, something close to a common timetable, but nothing compared to Anglo-Saxon habits and practices.
We use to say “l’Italia è lunga e stretta” literary Italy is stretched and squeezed, and that means as lot.
Both for different weather than for singular culture.
I was really surprised the first time I went to Dallas, when a colleague of mine picked me up at 6 pm and took me straight to dinner. I was confused thinking of what usually happens in south Italy when you can’t have dinner before 9 pm.
Actually you do have very different habits in setting our business schedule.
In the North, the working day starts early, around 8.00 am, while in many offices in Milan it’s unusual to set business meeting before 9.30 am. And in Milan, which is a peculiar place in Italy, the working day tends to finish much later than elsewhere: up to 9 pm, and I mean usually not once in a while.
Lunch breaks in Milan starts at 12.30 pm to 2.00 pm depending on the different routines of the offices. What’s quite usual is the fact that it rarely lasts one full hour and very often people are used to have their sandwich while working or having a meeting.
Best time for meeting people? From 9.30 to 11.30 in the morning and from 2.30 to 6.00 in the afternoon. Sometime you could be asked to meet someone at the top even at 7.00 pm, when -they will say- "we will have more time and no stress at all"....
If you drive southward you can find very different situations. Let’s take the countryside: here the lunch break for instance usually can last up to 2,5 hours. The reason is that people were used to get back home for having lunch with the family and then back to work. Don’t dare to ask for an afternoon meeting before 3.00 pm then.
And what about Rome?
We will discover the Città Eterna in our next post.