The Italian coda (the line or queue)
How do you line up in Italy?
First of all we must understand what we mean with the word “coda” (translation for line/queue).
“Coda” in Italian refers to the tail of the animal and therefore by definition something that moves here and there. Something that is not static, straight and perfect as “the line” of the Anglo Saxon world.
Visually, the Italian queue is chaotically beautiful because it is not clear where it starts nor where it ends and so the only way to understand when your turn is, is to raise a little your voice and ask: “Who is the last one?”.
Once understood, check everybody else around you and only then follow what the person that said “I am” does: your position has to be firmly maintained because there is always somebody that trys to fit in.
Experiencing the “coda” is a unique Italian experience, that I suggest everybody to give a try.
I am talking about the queues that Italians do and not the ones you can find by museum (where there are only foreigners). I am talking about hospital’, bakery’s, post office’s queues…
When in line Italian gossip or better they communicate. It is inconceivable for an Italian to stay quiet, to sit in complete silence for 10 minutes: how boring!
It is necessary to say something, talk about anything: illnesses, the phenomenal medicine, children, politics, government….
In short, the queue is a great place to understand what Italians think important for them and Italy.
The longer you wait, the greater is the opportunity to participate to the most interesting conversations. This way you make sure and will understand that standing in the “coda” is much more fun than simply wait for your turn.