The people, in particular... I am American, and have decided to move to one of these countries. I've done a lot of research on both countries (extremely beautiful!) but... can anyone tell me about how the people really are? (warm, energetic, artistic, cold, serious, etc.) And are there good relationships between people of different races and cultures? I want to be somewhere that embraces good art, literature, food, and especially cultural diversity. please help!
Answer on What is the difference in cultures between Italy and Spain?
I've actually lived in both countries. Although I love Spain, I have bought a hoiuse in Italy and will go there to live permanently next year.
The reasons I chose Italy rather than Spain are :
1. Most of Spain is now very built up, even areas which when I lived there were not such as the north coast and the south west coast.
2. Spain has many more British people living there than Italy (although Italy's numbers are growing) and I want to live in a different culture, not the UK in the sun.
3. Spanish people are lovely but many of them became very disillusioned with people from other countries, especially the UK and USA, who always seemed to want something for nothing. So Spanish people got their own back by starting the charge much more for more or less everything, and began to try to rip people off wherever they could. I don't blame them for doing that but it wasn't a nice atmosphere to live in.
4. Italian people are almost always hugely hospitable, kind, generous and not as cynical as the Spanish. They also have a higher opinion of English and American people.
5. Italy has a more diverse landscape. Where our house is (Le Marche) there are beaches and a beautiful coastline, mountains and ski resorts, and beautiful rolling hills in the countryside, all within easy reach.
6. The Italian language is beautiful, more melodious than Spanish (although I speak Spanish more fluently) - a very romantic language. Both Spanish and Italian are easy to learn.
7. Italy's cities are more interesting. Although I absolutely adore Barcelona and Madrid, there is nowehere on earth like Rome. The amazing mix of ancient and modern in Italy is always fascinating.
8. Although Spanish people have a very 'laid-back' approach to life, the Italians are more 'buzzy', always full of life and laughter. For example, the huge number of Italian village 'festas' in even the tiniest villages are always places where you can eat, drink, sing and dance all night!
9. I think both countries have good relationships between people of different cultures and races. Both are predominantly Roman Catholic countries but both are very tolerant of others - far more so than France for example.
10. Italy's regions are all very distinctive : each one has its own accent and sometimes language, food, traditions, and culture. And the people are very very proud of their regions and their village, far more so than in Spain.
11. For me, Italy scores hands down for art and architecture., The legacy of Ancient Rome is everywhere, and the buildings and artwork are truly incredible. There are incredible places in Spain too of course, but nothing like on the scale of Italy.
My advice to you would be to try to live and travel in both countries for a while. Perhaps you could rent a house in one and then the other. Once you have done that, it will become much clearer to you as to where you want to be and which country best suits your personality, needs and the way you want to live.
If I can help any further please do let me know - and good luck with your adventure!