Aristotle says all human beings aim at happiness. Maybe each culture does too. As a naturalized citizen of Italy who was born in Tampa, some of the rules have puzzled me. For instance, don't order pizza in the afternoon. (The oven is not heated up yet.) Other ones I simply love: belonging to a culture that has a pausa pranzo. Still others remind me of what grandmother used to say: Don't swim in Lake Garda after eating because you could die of a congestione cramp. Look out for the downward spiraling, kid-swallowing, dark vortices of Lake Iseo (where my children swim every day in the summer). Wear at least three layers when you go out in the fall. No wet hair, unless you're showering or swimming or it's summer.

Others just make for sound advice. Before dinner, one drinks aperativi, not cocktails. (Pre-dinner cocktails are for alcoholics and...

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