Italian Mean Time


I’ve found Italy and Italians, and other latinate countries in Europe (Spain, France) live to a different rhythm than anglo-germanic countries (the UK, Germany, Scandinavian countries etc). This is partly influenced by the warmer climate and the associated development of the siesta after lunch.

In Italy, shops and other businesses are closed between 1 pm and 3 pm and many banks are open only in the mornings. There is also something called “Italian Mean Time” which I know exists in France where it’s called “French Mean Time”. A 9.30 am breakfast meeting (for example) with a friend actually means anytime between 9 am and 10 am.

They are never late. And if they arrive at 9 am and you arrive closer to 10 am they are cool about it.


This is interesting, and my very first time ever hearing about Italian Mean time,
(and French Mean Time for that matter).

I’m not very familiar with the practice and all it entails, but I definitely have heard of the siesta, or a siesta, not quite sure how one should word it. I’ve heard of siestas via various travel channels and shows that talk about certain aspects of different cultures.

I think it’s great to have a name for meeting someone “between this hour and that hour”. I suppose here in America we have something similar but very informal, when we say “ish” as in, “Let’s meet around 12 ish.”
That’s saying around 12, but it doesn’t need to be exact.

Mean times seem like a great idea to me because as you said, then one is never late. Takes some of the pressure off, in my opinion.