Italy’s biggest business is tourism—the country is considered the world’s fifth-most-visited tourist destination.
Culturally, there are two Italys: The North tends to be industrial, aggressive, and “time is money” in its outlook (though Venice is a world apart). The South is hotter and more crowded, poor, relaxed, farm-oriented, and traditional; families usually live in the same house for many generations. Loyalties are to family, city, region, soccer team, and country—in that order.
Italians are obsessed with soccer (called il calcio). Star players are treated like movie stars, and fans are passionate. On big game nights, bars are packed with men watching TV screens. After a loss, they drown their sorrows. After a victory, fans celebrate by driving through the streets honking horns and waving team flags.