9 things Italians living in the U.S. will miss

TransferWise content team
3 minute read

Italian in the U.S.? You are not alone, as there are more than 350,000 people living in America who were born in Italy.

But no matter how much you enjoy living in the good ‘ol USA, there will always be certain things that you miss about home.

TransferWise customers shared with us a few of the things that Italians living in the U.S. miss the most.



Sure, it’s possible to find pizza nearly everywhere in the U.S., but in most cases it barely resembles the real deal Italians know and love in Italy.

For one, crusts are much thicker and the mozzarella cheese it’s slathered with tends to be a bit rubbery rather than fresh. And seeing pineapples as a topping is a sight that leaves Italians pining for the pizza back home.



“I don’t believe in the concept of espresso abroad,” one Italian living in the U.S. told us.

This sacred drink is enjoyed as beloved accompaniment to sweets or simply savored by itself in the morning with milk (not in the late afternoon when many Americans seem to consume it). While it’s available nearly everywhere, its perfect blend of bitter, sour and sweet just hasn’t been achieved yet in the U.S.

The metric system


Americans like to do things a bit different than the rest of the world, and how they measure things and read temperatures is no exception.

In the summer, don’t be surprised if you proclaim, “It’s 35 degrees! It’s so hot out today!” and receive some strange looks.

Vacation time


A vacation: you know, that concept that for the rest of the developed world means time to step away from your hectic work schedule and recharge.

In much of the U.S., the only developed country not to mandate paid holidays, it’s a different story however. “I moved back to Italy eventually,” says Alessia, who lived in New York for five years.

“I loved the U.S. but it was hard to find enough of a work-life balance there.”

Optional tipping


With built-in service changes, Italians are not used to tipping at restaurants, and they are especially not used to tipping for every service under the sun -- such as to hotel receptionists or taxi drivers or even bartenders, no matter how drunk they get.

In the U.S. you’ll get more aware that the man at the gas station offering to help wipe your windows is not just being friendly.

Sense of fashion


While not all Italians strut down the street like runway models, most are used to stepping outside looking, at the least, polished.

In America, it will take some getting used to people going grocery shopping in their pajamas or regularly committing color clashing faux pas.

Expressiveness everywhere


From big family dinners to business meetings, Italians have earned their reputation for loudly discussing and debating, often with flagrant hand gestures.

While Americans are not the most quiet people in the world either, they tend to be more polite and sugarcoat their feelings, especially with those they don't know well or in professional settings.

Family ties


In Italy, it’s not uncommon to have several generations of families living close together and frequently meeting or even working together.

In the U.S. on the other hand, moving away from home, often right at the age of 18, is a norm for many. Unlike in Italy, the only time a whole family comes together is for big holidays such as Thanksgiving.



And by that we mean soccer.

Yes, the U.S. has a soccer team, and even hosted the world cup once in 1994. But the sport isn’t nearly as popular in the U.S. as it is in Italy. Unlike with American football, there are not many public viewings of it at bars and not many people gather at games to watch it live -- unless it’s their children’s Little League tournament.

Moving money back to Italy or over to the U.S.? Save money with TransferWise

Your bank might say it's "free" or offer a "fixed fee" to send money home but they hit you with as much as 3% on the exchange rate mark-up they use.

TransferWise charges just 1% or 0.7% over $5,000 with no mark-up - that means you get a far better exchange rate.

What do we mean by a mark-up? Take a look:


Want to see how we calculate this? Click here.

TransferWise is the smart, new way to send money abroad.

Find out more
Life Abroad

9 best bars in Barcelona

Whether local or visiting, make sure you experience the best of Barcelona's bars.If you’re looking for a tipple to top off your stroll down La Rambla, or...

TransferWise content team
09.09.16 3 minute read
Life Abroad

ATMs in France: Credit cards and fees

While credit and debit cards are widely accepted in France’s major cities, there may be times when paying in cash is your only option. As a savvy traveller,...

TransferWise content team
28.02.17 4 minute read

Tips, news and updates for your location