Foreigners in Italy

on Thursday, June 23, 2005

In a previous post I mentioned an encounter I had last week in Milan, about the poll of Italian's opinion of foreigners here in Italy. For the most part I haven't had any problems. I get the usual question of "Where are you from?", of which I have NO problem with, since it's a normal question in the States. But when I get the sarcastic reaction of "She's a foreigner?!?!", which has happened on more than one occasion, it bothers me. Call me sensitive if you want. But when a person finds out I'm American, oh then their tone of voice changes totally. Then they're all nicey nicey.

Once I was at a small shop, asking if they had a certain Estee Lauder product. Here you can find pretty much any Estee Lauder product you want, so it's not like an "exotic"/typical american thing. So anyways, I went into this shop, asking for this product, asking in Italian, polietly. One shop asssistant was very nice and helpful. Then another walks up, very rudely in Italian says "Maybe in the United States, but not here in Italy". What the hell ever lady! I responded back with "I have bought this before, in Milan". Then she shut up and I walked out of the store, never to return to that one again. I went to another store a few blocks away, where the shop assistants were friendly and bent over backwards to help me. Now if I ever need any cosmetic products, the second shop I went to is usually the first place I stop.

Another time, I had to go to the local police station to pick up my permesso di siggorno (foreigners permit to stay, kinda like the American green card). One of the officers was helping a guy, don't know where he was from. The officer was rude with the guy, treating him as if he were an idiot. Once the officer found out I was American, he was being ooo soo polite with me.

With the influx of immigration, whether it be legal or illegal, I wonder if some people are "prepared", dealing with different cultures etc. In Milan and Rome it's probably a bit different, big cities. But in the small towns, some people are not so open minded.

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Anonymous said...

Dear Italy for ITALIANS;
am a cameroonian resident in Italy for the past 15 years but then i still remain and am still seen as someone comming in yesterday.the truth is the Italians (most if not all) HATE foreigners; and you know the type of foreigners?AFRICANS and mostly BLACK AFRICANS.just put two blacks out there for either a job offer, contest,housing on rents,etc and ask an IOtalian who he prefers for the two ;he will tell you none.but differentiate them-call the black African an American and the American a black Afrcan and ask that same question, they will all fall for the black African as an American.
in short italy is a very very conservative society , the people are NAIVE,IGNORANT,DOLLIES,