Bella Figura

by Megan Pizzitola (University of Portland)
AS THE LAST SNOOZE BUTTON has already failed me, I woke up at the sound of my roommate packing her bag. The clock read 10:24, which was no problem considering the bus for the beach was leaving at 11:00. At a double glance I noticed the clock actually read 10:42. Needless to say when I rushed out the door 10 minutes later I was not looking my finest. As a headed down Via Lapis toward the piazza I glanced down at my tee shirt, shorts and rubber flip-flops and remembered bella figure and brutta forma.

On our first day of Intercultural Communication the enthusiastic and witty Dr. Caputo brought to our attention two phrases important in Italian culture. Bella Figura, to the Italians means looking your best at all times. In addition they would never step outside the home looking unattractive, or doing something 'odd' such as running to catch a train, which is known as Brutta Forma.

From someone who perpetually running late; wears sweats to class, and jogging to make it to class is sometimes more than necessary. So while I found it interesting, it also seemed quite impractical. I couldn't grasp that people in this culture would actually risk missing an appointment or plane, and took it with a grain of salt, but I was wrong.

I looked down at my watch, which read 10:55, and started to jog. When I reached the piazza I looked around at the many faces staring back at me. It occurred to me that it was Sunday morning. Not only was this the largest crowd I had seen inhabit the piazza so far, but also the best dressed, (as they had all most likely came from church). I kept my head down trying to avoid the stares as the crowd parted to let me run through. For the rest of my trip I guess I will have to pay more attention to bella figure if I want to fit in here in Cagli.