Italians are warm, welcoming people who enjoy sharing the pleasures of life with others: a comforting meal, an inspiring sunset, and yes...a clever joke. Most important thing to Italians' usually is their families.... and "Mama" is queen. Sons frequently live at home until well into their 20s. Parents often live in their children's homes and care for the grandchildren. Aunts and uncles play a big part in the children's lives as well. The extended family is getting smaller, but is still the major source of security. Daily life in Italy may appear relaxed, especially in small southern villages, but do not assume that efficiency in commerce is not appreciated. Italians are serious about business and expect alliances to hold the same high standards. Still, practically every Italian city celebrates the feast of its patron saint as a legal holiday, and much of the city literally shuts down in a formal observance.
Many holiday observances are just for "fun," another practice taken seriously in Italy.
Italians enjoy rituals, and not more important ritual is that of a romantic meeting of the sexes. Italians usually do not date like in other European countries and America, but they like going out in good-sized mixed groups of their peers and doing things together. They enjoy this social approach more and feel less under pressure to act in an artificial manner. It also becomes more difficult for anyone to step out of line. Newcomers can get to know each other in a natural context and observe the others' behavior with out having to penetrate a myriad of facades.