Italian Life Rules – Italians Hate Wall-To-Wall Carpeting

It used to be that British and the French perpetuated the myth that the Italians were peasants, living in filth. Read books and essays published in the early 20th century and after WWII in England. Listen to the French, today, as they cross the border in Liguria.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Wall-to-wall carpets prove it.

Pink Shag in California
Pink Shag in California

Remember the shag carpets so popular in the 60s and 70s throughout Britain and the U.S.? Even now, most American and European homes have carpet in the bedrooms and livingrooms. The Swiss rank first in their disdain for wall-to-wall carpets. The Italians run a close second.

Terra Cotta Tiles Made in Italy
Terra Cotta Tiles Made in Italy

Few Italian families tolerate wall-to-wall carpeting because there is no control of the dirt clinging to a rug, especially one that can not be taken out, hung on a line and beaten clean. Not even the strongest vacuum cleaner, used every single day, can assure the Italian homemaker that what is lurking deep in the pile of a carpet has been sucked away.

The Germans argue that allowing the carpet to cling to dust and spores lessens allergic symptoms. They say the dirt on ceramic and wood floors swirls up into the air every time a door is opened or shut.

Wall-To-Wall in NYC
Wall-To-Wall in NYC

Italians declare that is much better to have floors that can be swept every day and mopped with hot soapy water every other day. To some, small washable throw rugs or shakeable area carpets are acceptable to break up the cold and noise of tile, marble and terra cotta floors.

In England and France, you will not see the lady of the house wash down the front stoop every day or store owners washing the sidewalk and street in front of the shop door. In Italy it is a common occurrence.

It is true that Italians are litterers and frequently fail to clean up after their dogs, which infuriates the Americans and the British, but not the French. Outside a radius of a couple of meters from their street door, Italians know that the world is a filthy place and there is nothing much they can do about it.

Italian Ceramic Tiles
Italian Ceramic Tiles

In the Italian home, however, with a ban on outside shoes, the use of pantofole (slippers) and no wall-to-wall carpets, the environment is dust and germ free.

Italian Food Rules: The BookItalian Life Rules (the book) is coming in Summer 2014. Italian Food Rules by Ann Reavis is available now. You can buy Italian Food Rules by using these links:

Amazon. com (U.S.) eBook for Kindle & Kindle Apps

Amazon. com (U.S.) paperback (United Kingdom) (Italy) (Germany) (France)

Barnes & Noble (U.S.) eBook for Nook

4 thoughts on “Italian Life Rules – Italians Hate Wall-To-Wall Carpeting

  1. I am the daughter of a woman who was born in Sicily but came over as a small child. (ok, we can leave for another day the whole “Are Sicilians really Italians question?”) But, I cannot help but say that my mother did like wall-to-wall carpeting, but in her favorite house she only had it in the upstairs and on the stairs going up to it…..the living room, dining room and den were hardwood floors with oriental rugs on them. I could not believe it, but the carpet was WHITE. I am the kind of person who bought a black leather couch so my dog could sit on it with impunity. Great piece. Thanks. Mary S, italophile

  2. Thanks for the comment, Mary. I would be willing to bet that your mother was a “shoes off in the house” Italian mom, also. Ann

  3. I live in northern Italy, here most people clean up after their dogs.
    I didn’t know that French and British said this bad things about us (filthy…), here in northern Italy our streets are clean (leave alone big cities like Milan or Bologna, they don’t represent us anymore), we use trash bins, our houses are very clean. We take a shower every day and we have bidet. These stereotypes are offensive.

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