STEREOTYPE TIME: italians vs latvians || Travel stories


When I was living in Naples, most of my friends were from Erasmus. Here, in Rome, most of people that I have been contacting with finally are true citizens of this country.

I came here with full package of my stereotypes. Most of them – true… but italians have some thoughts about latvians and northern people in general as well. Some of them were in my mind before coming, other ones still make me thoughtful – why… just why…?!

Anyway the thing is – finally I meet, as french would say ‘tête-à-tête’ [head-to-head/eye-to-eye whatever you prefer], with italian opinions, stereotypes and just thoughts about northern and latvian people (since sometimes for italians we are eastern people… not so sure how correct is their globe around here)

1. First of all – no one knows word Latvia. Here they have Lettonia. And I still haven’t figured out why… right now I already have my typical answer to question where am I from – ‘Latvia, I meant – Lettonia’. Feels like I don’t even know where the hell I come from anymore…
2. Latvia and Lithuania is not the same. Some Italians know that, but most of them doesn’t consider this topic serious enough to keep it in their heads.
3. We, northern people, are well known here as the ones who can drink a lot. As far as I have talked with different people – they are kinda admiring it. So – cheers to us, my northern friends!
4. Weird socks. I have weird socks. And no one here has any idea why we need such weird socks.
5. In italian heads in Latvia we have neverending sibirian weather. I am pretty sure that they basically think that we are living like eskimos. And they are giving me so sad eyes about it that are saying ‘oh, you poor human being, finally you will be warm…’
6. Good thing – still haven’t heard any comparisons to us being a part of russia or anything. although almost everyone who knows something about Latvia automatically generates this idea that i know russian…
7. They know that Riga is beautiful or at least have heard something about it! There are even few people who wants to visit it. At least something warms my heart truly (and if you’re italian reading this – no, don’t use it as your next pick-up line, thank you).

I am pretty sure that i will collect or remember some more… it’s like neverending story going on around here.