“Chi Trova Un Amico Trova Un Tesoro”
(Who finds a friend, finds a treasure) –Abruzzo Proverb
The Abruzzese culture is deeply rooted in tradition. There is a strong sense of friendship and family that pervades the lifestyle. Throughout Abruzzo one senses a strong humanistic tone, but it is a humanism tinted with deep religious sensibilities. Friends and family are the most important things to any Abruzzese person. Friends huddle in groups. Their architecture encourages this gathering together. The piazzas of each town or village are well-known for the pageant of people frequenting them at night, with friends and relatives walking arm in arm, often accompanied by song and laughter. Public spaces are meant to be used by the people, and their enjoyment is not taken for granted.
Sharing meals is a way of establishing and maintaining ties among family and friends. No one who enters an Abruzzese home will fail to receive an offering of food and most likely a glass of wine, too. Typically, breakfast (la prima collazione) consists of fruit or a bread roll or croissant, a cup of espresso coffee and/or some fruit juice. Lunch (il pranzo) is traditionally the largest meal of the day, and is served quite punctually at 1 PM. Some type of Pasta is always served as a first course (il primo piatto) along with bread, and possibly a bean or lentil soup. A second course of lamb, veal, sausage or steak (in the mountain areas) or seafood (nearer the ocean) is customarily served. Supper (la cena) is usually a very light meal consisting mainly of salad, vegetables, cheese and cured meats. There are also special foods for special occasions. In the case of members working outside the home, families have adopted the American model and use supper as their family meal. The custom of the afternoon nap (siesta) can still be found in the rural towns but is changing in the cities, as a heavy lunch may no longer be practical. Nonetheless, stores will close during the lunch period, and reopen after 3 PM.
The Abruzzese people are strong-willed. They work hard and they care deeply for their family lives. They are generally effusive in their public behavior. Don’t be surprised by the great deal of public embracing and kissing upon greeting people. Gazing intently at strangers is also common, and folks here expect to be looked at in public. Abruzzese gazes are particularly intense. The feeling here is that someone who cannot look you in the eyes is trying to hide something. There is great attention paid to preserving one’s good appearance (bella figura), and dignity. Launching a quick “buon giorno” will usually result in a pleasant smile and a returned greeting. AbruzzoPresto! will introduce you to and have you interact with some of the region’s finest people.