Portrait of Carlo Truccolo, a Typical Italian
If there is anyone who embraces the la dolce vita lifestyle most fluently, it is my friend Carlo Truccolo. Carlo is not a business-owner. He is not an heir to a wealthy family, nor is he the holder of any fancy college degrees. Carlo is a member of the Italian working class. Yet, between his outlook on life and his cultural habits, Carlo practices a lifestyle more abundant and fulfilling than that of any upper-middle-class American I know. An Italian thing? Absolutely. This post will introduce you to Carlo, a prototypical Italian, while simultaneously outlining characteristics so common in modern Italian men and lifestyle.
Italians Love Soccer. Carlo was born in Rome, although moved to Florence as a young man approximately 25 years ago to begin working at the national headquarters for the Italian Football Federation (“FIGC”) in a section of Florence called Coverciano. Carlo continues to work at FIGC today, and is heavily involved in Italian soccer in both his personal life and through employment. When it’s soccer season in Italy, Carlo loves attending games with his many friends, followed by an evening of drinking, dancing and romance. Indeed, the only thing that Carlo may love more than soccer, is women.
Italians Love Espresso, Cigarettes, and Pizza. Carlo drinks about six espresso shots per day, or as the Italians call it, “caffè“. With his morning caffè, Carlo always eats a pastry, and for his after-dinner caffè, he mixes the espresso shot with an Italian liquor called grappa. Following his daily espresso shots, Carlo always enjoys a cigarette. Carlo has smoked cigarettes for over 30-years. For dinner, it is common for Carlo to order a pizza, as it is his favorite Italian food. Carlo’s favorite hangout to eat, drink and smoke is at a place called Ristorante I’Giuggiolo (www.igiuggiolo.com) outside of Florence’s city center.
Italians own Fiats. Carlo owns an old Fiat 500 and has a lot of pride for owning this historic automobile. When the historic Fiat 500 parade is in town, Carlo always participates and drives his car around the city along with the hundreds of other historic Fiat 500s. See my blog post at new.italianenthusiast.com/driving-italian-style for more information on the Fiat 500s.
Italians Love Social Media. Carlo’s social media platform of choice is Facebook. It is not uncommon for thousands of Carlo’s Facebook friends to know precisely how Carlo spends his days, as Carlo often publicizes his eventful life through a series of daily photos, always eliciting comments from his followers. Selfies from his morning shave, to photos with soccer stars at work, to videos during a weekend drive to Lake Trasimeno – all common media that can be found on Carlo’s page. Carlo’s Facebook name is “Carlos Charlie’s” and I’m sure he would be happy to receive your friend request.
Italians are Political. Carlo belongs to the political movement called Movimento 5 Stelle (Five Star Movement), which was apparently founded in 2009 by a famous comedian. The movement emphasizes five key issues: public water, sustainable transport, sustainable development, right to Internet access and environmentalism. I am not too familiar with Italian politics, but it seems like whenever I travel to Italy, I always overhear some heated discussion about politics, particularly how the politicians are stealing all the money from the working class. If Movimento 5 Stelle doesn’t work for you, don’t worry, because in Italy there is never a shortage of diverse political movements.
Italian Men Love Women (even if they are married). Carlo is a true lover of women, like Casanova. He is a romantic man, and adores being with an affectionate woman. But one interesting thing about Carlo is that he is a married man who has been separated from his wife for 17 years. Rather than obtaining a divorce American-style, Italian men prefer to remain married, even if they never see their wives again and instead have meaningful relationships with other women.
Italians Love the Sun. For an American, a couple hours on the beach with sunblock may be sufficient to get a nice base tan without the risk of being burned. But not for Carlo. Carlo does not use sunblock, but instead uses oil to enhance his suntan during a typical 8-hour sunbathing session. If Carlo is not vacationing in Miami, Mexico, or Ibiza where he would normally sunbath all day and everyday, he enjoys sunbathing instead on a small boat in Lake Trasimeno where he spends quality time with his father. Any chance Carlo gets, he relies on the sun to recharge him, just like a solar panel needs the sun to produce energy.
Italian Men Wear Bracelets. When I met Carlo, one of the first things I noticed was his style. Carlo doesn’t wear clothing produced in Milan and made from fancy fabrics, and neither does Carlo where handcrafted leather shoes from Naples. He is a casual man. A jeans man. With his loosely rolled up jeans, Carlo wears converse sneakers, t-shirts, a gold necklace of a Catholic saint, and bracelets. In fact, Carlo has a very cool collection of bracelets – each one coming from a different part of the world with its own unique story.
Italians Love Wine and Vasco Rossi. Carlo’s drink of choice is always red wine. Whether it’s a glass with his afternoon pasta, or with his evening pizza, drinking wine for Carlo is a necessity. Sometimes Carlo likes to hang out at home and drink wine with his Florentine girlfriend, Ilaria, while listening to his favorite singer, Vasco Rossi. In fact, Vasco Rossi is a favorite among Italians and he is considered the Bruce Springsteen if Italy.
Italians are Social. Carlo has a lot of friends. It seems like wherever I have gone with Carlo, whether it be Florence, Milan, Lake Trasimeno, or even Miami, Carlo always runs into respected friends. Carlo’s philosophy is, “vivi e lascia vivere” (live and let live), and his life embodies this expression. Quality time with family is important to Carlo. Cultivating friendships is important. Creating and maintaining memorable experiences with each other is what Carlo lives for. He has a beautiful life, and I encourage all of you to live vicariously through Carlo by following him on Facebook. Search for “Carlos Charlie’s” and you will find him.
Italians wear Tighty Whitie Swimwear. This post would not be complete if I did not point out Carlo’s swimwear of choice. When Carlo goes to the beach, he always wears speedo-style bathing suits – a custom practiced by most Italian men, without shame.
Disclaimer: Obviously this post speaks of generalities, and not ALL Italians smoke cigarettes, and not ALL Italians are social, and not ALL Italians are political. But I see Carlo’s characteristics and habits prominent in many other Italian men, so I am speaking in this blog of common behaviors, patterns or trends of Italian men.
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