May 13, 2021 | Cultura

You may have noticed I sometimes find it handy to stick additional bits of information at the end of a post with  Oh, Just One Last Thing.

Sometimes the last bit is directly related to the topic of the day. Other times, it’s just one more thing I have in mind to say.

I’m engaging in the long Italian goodbye. I’ll explain.

During that first Christmas trip to Italy with my new boyfriend Lorenzo, there was one Italian trait that stood out – The long goodbye.

Here’s the scene:

We’ve just finished a lovely dinner party with friends of Lorenzo. There has been MUCH talking and discussion and argument over the course of the evening. It is late, the party is winding down, and people are leaving.  Lorenzo and I put on our heavy winter coats – we lived in Chicago at the time – and walk to the front door with our hosts. But instead of saying our thanks and leaving, what happens?

A whole new conversation starts, one that promises to go on for some time. It may be something that has already been discussed at length during the evening, where the earlier conversation is rehashed. Or it may be an entirely new topic. But there we are, standing and sweating in our heavy winter coats, talking.

Particularly in those early days when I did not yet understand Italian, those long goodbyes could be painful as my boots started pinching my toes and I became overheated under the coat. I wondered why we didn’t just go back in the apartment, and make ourselves comfortable by sitting down and removing our coats. But no, that never happened. 

We just kept standing, and sweating, and talking.

I imagine the ladies in the featured photograph above have spent the day shopping in central Turin. They have lingered over a late lunch together at one of the elegant cafés in Piazza San Carlo. They are now saying goodbye before heading home. If we had a time-lapse camera shot, I bet that in another 30 minutes, they’d still be there, their shoulders dropping under the weight of the bags, their feet stomping to get feeling in the cold. A small price to pay as they say their goodbyes.

Over the years, I’ve come to enjoy and engage in the long goodbye. So I hope you will indulge me when I ask for just a little more of your attention when I’m about to close. There are always so many more things to say…

Oh, Just One Last Thing – A number of people have asked whether I plan to send an email alert when a new post is live. The answer is no, I don’t want to annoy people with more email. These are the ways you can stay on top of new postings:

  • Follow me on Twitter or Instagram, where I will always post when a new topic goes live.
  • Bookmark STARVING FOR ITALY as a favorite on your browser, and check back two or three times a week.
  • Sign up for my monthly newsletter, which will contain new information about Italy and books, but also a round-up of posts you may have missed.

Does that work?  I love your feedback, let me know if I’m missing anything.

Until next time, alla prossima volta, A. S. Furbetta


For More Information


For a very funny take on the long goodbye in France, read The Two Hour Goodbye by the author (and pastry chef) David Lebovitz.

The Postcard of Torino features Piazza San Carlo, designed by Carlo di Castellamonte in 1642 and completed in 1650. In the middle of the piazza is the equestrian statue of Emanuele Filiberto (known as “El Caval èd brons”), sculpted by Carlo Marocchetti in 1838. The porticoed buildings surrounding the piazza are filled with bars, cafes, and restaurants, including Caffè San Carlo, which opened in 1842, Caffè Torino (1903), Caffè Neuv Caval ‘d Brons (1948), and the patisserie Fratelli Stratta, with original furnishings of 1836. If you can still look at food, stop by the gourmet counter of Paissa, founded in 1884 (and supplier to the court of Savoy).


Links are provided to sites for further information, but are not intended as an endorsement of any site’s services.
Postcard of Torino

Piazza San Carlo


  1. Being of Italian American heritage, I am well aware of “the long goodbye.” Every time I visit my Italian grandmother, three things happen: 1) the news gets out that I am there, and the aunties start making their way to the house, 2) I am offered food and beverages constantly and food is served even if I decline it, and 3) it takes AT LEAST an hour to say goodbye, often twice that long. In fact, I would say that conversations get even more passionate as soon as I say, “Well, I think it’s time to get going.” A series of new questions and conversations erupt at each stage of the goodbye – when I stand up to gather my things, when I move to the door, when I cross the threshold to the porch, walking to the car, and then yes, standing at the car with the door held open. Conversation does not end until I actually drive away, often calling out more goodbyes through the open car window. My husband has never understood this process, but I have never questioned it. It’s just the way it is — there’s always more to say, especially when it is time to leave.

    Love your posts, and all the memories and new ideas they generate!

    • So much fun reading your comment Kristin! So interesting that the long goodbye has taken root here, I love your grandmother!


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