Being late could almost be called a trait that Italians are known for. They are typically relaxed about issues from minor to critical, relating to the time. Here is my first hand experience as an international student with the Italian sense of time. When I was trying to get a Permit to Stay in Italy I was told previously that the application should take about a month to process but unfortunately it actually took about 4 months.
Getting documents issued in Italian time pretty much depends on each government office’s protocol combined with your own luck. If you ask ten students I am sure they all have different stories to tell regarding this matter.
Another running late story was told to me by my Italian friend about when he went to school in Germany. The Germans of course are well known forbeing punctual. So this Italian friend of mine had a dinner appointment with his two German girl friends. No doubt, the Germans showed up on time and had to wait up for him for a long time. Finally they just left. In the mean time, the Italian was rushing, making sure not to be late. In fact, his idea of not being late was to show up at 6.30 not 6 p.m. as scheduled!
However, I do not mean to generalize about every Italian and that they are always late. From my observations, all my professors were always on time for classes. One thing I am certain of, the Italian way of living, or La Dolce Vita – “The Sweet Life”, represented through their world class art, architecture and food, is what attracts people to want to learn more about them.