Carol Forster column

Venice.
Venice.

Italians are impressive people.

Of course, it would be silly to suppose that an entire country has one personality, but you can certainly find some common character traits that are particular to Italy.

Firstly, they are often very kind.

Although, as with anywhere, reserved at first, very soon you will find a very loyal and attentive friend who will go out of their way to help you.

There’s a natural warmth and ebullience which emanates, as well as a great sense of humour.

This sense of humour is compatible with our own, which is great, not least because there are fewer cross-cultural misunderstandings.

They understand absurdity, banter, irony and our national habit of saying the opposite of what we really think, to comic effect.

All of these are second nature to Italians, so it is a joy to spend time with them.

Another typical quality is evident wherever you go.

Spend a day in Rome, Venice or Florence and you will see immediately that this trait is innate and omnipresent – that of an exquisite artistic eye.

Italians are unrivalled in this department.

Everywhere you go, you will see evidence of their attention to aesthetic detail.

Of course, we all know of famous historical artists from Italy, such as Botticelli and Michelangelo.

However, this bent is not confined to a distant past.

In every town, alongside splendid architecture, you find shop displays or interior decoration that is second to none.

Art and photography exhibitions are everywhere alongside flower or food displays which bear witness to this national quality.

They really know how to put on a great show.

Perhaps the biggest giveaway to their innate artistry, however, can be found in their dress sense.

Italians are amazingly stylish and will always look perfectly presented.

Their knack of creating a flawless look is legendary and you won’t find fraying hems, or worn heels here.

This is, of course, reflected in one of Italy’s biggest trades, the fashion industry.

On balance, however, the greatest thing about our Italian friends is their warmth and humour.

Simply wonderful.