Thursday, October 30, 2008

What To Do When Your Italian Relatives Come To Visit..??

OK, so I have become the unspoken social director for my family when it comes to entertaining my relatives, who are visiting from Italy. I have a few friends of mine who call or ask me what they should do with their cousins while their in town, because they have no clue what the Italians want to do or expect.

Well, let me start by saying that most Italians, expect a lot. They have no clue about our work hours or how long we stay out of the house in the course of a day. They do expect lunch, not McDonald's (maybe sometimes) and a good dinner too. They want to hit as many sights as possible (if you have younger relatives in) and for as little money as possible.

Now, my cousins have been here a few times and each time they come its awesome, but I have to prepare myself that I will be extending myself more than usual. The American lifestyle compared to the Italian is completely different, so when the relatives are might be disappointing to them if you're not available to entertain them.

At one point, I let my Italian guilt get to me and was overwhelmed because my work schedule was tough. So, I decided to give them an itinerary and time schedule and it seemed to work. A good thing was, I was working in NYC, so I had them commute in with me in the morning, brought them to the office (which I made headquarters), gave them a list of locations, landmarks and streets, and sent them on their way. I obviously gave them my cell phone too, just in case.

But you know, cutting the chord and giving them a list of things to see, really worked. Even if you live in the suburbs, you can easily put the Italians on a bus or train and just give them specifics. You also have to remember, Italians are so much more versed in public transportation than we are..I needed to give them more credit. I guess I just thought they would need more help getting around.

Well, here is a list of top things to do for your relatives when visiting:

  1. Visit the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island.

  2. Take An Apple Bus Tour--(Best way to see NYC.)

  3. Go To Hard Rock Cafe In NYC-

  4. Take A Road Trip to Atlantic City-

  5. Take a Small Weekend To Miami- (JetBlue has great specials) Italians love Miami

  6. Bus Trip to Montreal, Ottawa or Washington D.C-

So, here is the list, but believe me New York takes days to cover and there is so much to do and see. So, sometimes its best to just let your relatives figure out their own schedule and time frame. Also, I always make sure my relatives fly into Newark and not JFK. Newark is so much more accessible from this end, but if you're a New Yorker the NY airports might be better. So, always make sure you find out where they are flying into and out or talk with them before they book it and make sure its to the right airport. But when you finally get to see your family its amazing and you should savor it, I do. Good Luck and if you want more tips and info there is so much, so just email me for details. Ciao!


Anonymous said...

I agree, Italians visiting American DO expect a lot...and they definitely don't understand our (work) schedules...
I think that list you have is great!
I noticed that when my Italian relatives come to visit (besides seeing the sights) they love to hit up the stores like Marshalls, TJ Maxx, etc...for shopping, because they really don't have anything like that in Italy and you know they love American clothes and a good bargain! :-)

angela@spinachtiger said...

Conversely, I visited my relative in Italy and they were exceedingly gracious and entertaining, cooking several meals a day and making us feel very special. It's just the life style, which is a nice change. Have you ever visited them in Italy. That could be a real treat. (if they are good cooks, and usually they are)

Margaret said...

Yes, of course I am in Italy all the time with my family and you are right they go above and beyond to be gracious and expect the same when they come here. The thing is I think in America our time is less available and it gets hard to be as good as them. :)

Ann Minard said...

This is so true and I believe having our Italian relatives visit us when I was growing up helped me grow in my sometimes spoiled and selfish American ways : ) I have such wonderful and crazy memories of those times I could write as book! Also, I also have to say that they will return the favor hundredfold when you got to visit them In Italy!