Ten Southern Italian Health, Wellness & Survival Tips

Ten Southern Italian Health, Wellness & Survival Tips


It’s August 1st and that officially means all of Italy will be on vacation for the next month. It is important to stay healthy and hydrated throughout this salubrious period.  To keep your constitution intact, we are sharing some particularly helpful wellness tips, courtesy of our friends in Italy’s South. 

 Southern Italians, given their penchant for smoking and fried food consumption, are often a confounding resource for all matters related to your general health and wellbeing.  Whatever you think you know about your liver, there is a strong possibly they know better.  They might be wrong.  But Neapolitans share their health convictions with such gravitas, it is hard to convince them (or yourself for that matter) otherwise.  Here are some tips they hold sacred. 

1)    Don’t Drink Cold Water in the Morning 

Cold water will shock your delicate system at that vulnerable moment as you enter a wakeful state.  This cold water could alternately cause you to have a seizure or a cluster headache.  Better to drink room temperature water until you have your morning coffee, cigarette and constitution- not necessarily in that order.  Double health points if you do all three at the same time.  

2)    Wait at least two hours before swimming after eating 

Failure to heed this advice will result in certain and untimely death.  Better to eat a full buffet off a rickety picnic table perched on a rocky beach, fall asleep for 4 hours in the sun without sunscreen and then take a small but theatrical dip in the sea.  

3)    Black pepper is bad, especially when pregnant

Black pepper makes babies angry apparently.  Never really figured this one out. But no summer hot taralli for all of you expectant ladies. 

4)    Cigarettes in moderation are OK, air conditioning causes cancer

Yes, you read that right.  It is ok to have the occasional post digestive cigarette or a morning caffe and cig.  BUT central air of any sort is carcinogenic.  Stay away from all forms of air conditioning this summer.  Get yourself a nice fan!

5)    Bare feet are bad.  Bare feet while blow drying your hair worse!

Never walk around a house, even a summer beach house barefoot.  You must always wear slippers…. Inside slippers.  Also, don’t even think of blow drying your hair while barefoot-this will electrocute you. 

6)    If you’re skin is not burnt to the crispy consistency of a rotisserie chicken in August, then you are a pallid invalid

Burn baby, burn.  Italians want to see that skin of yours crispy and brown.  They will almost always without fail comment upon seeing less than spectacularly crispy skin… Are you not taking and bagnos (visits to the beach) this year? Get yourself to the beach and sizzle up.  Or be like me, and slather yourself with St Tropez sunless tanner after summer break to satisfy enquiring Italian minds. 

7)    If there is an earthquake, don’t take the stairs 

Apparently stairs crumble first in old buildings.  Also, you can’t really take the elevator either.  So I guess that means you are screwed if you happen to be in Nonna’s old beach apartment during a little earth rumble. Perhaps assess options for jumping out the window- also a valid option when family starts pontificating about the general lack lustre state of your life..  

8)    If it all goes to pot, probably someone gave you the evil eye 

If your vacation starts going terribly wrong, someone might have cursed you with the malocchio, evil eye.  Seek the immediate counsel of any old lady. Just say malocchio and she will whip out a travel sized bottle of holy water from her cavernous purse and sprinkle said water in your general direction.  You are cured.  Go back to having fun.  

9)   Pasta makes you skinny 

Yes pasta makes you skinny.  But only good durum wheat pasta from Gragnano. All other pasta causes morbid obesity.

10) Airplane trips of any kind require at least 7 working days of preparation

If you are getting on an airplane of any sort, even if you will only be air borne for an hour, your trip will definitely require at least one week of solid preparation and consulation with all family members, especially those who have never been on an airplane before. These family members in particular will tell you all about the current state of airport security (they will have a lot of information inspite of never having traveled by air before) and lots of advice for smuggling charcuterie and cheese through customs if you are travelling internationally.  This advise usually involves copious amounts of cheap perfume and socks.

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