Life in the colony was like living in an middle class Italian province. Typical Italian goods were very expansive, but they were locally produced as well, so that everyone could afford buying them. In the principal cities of the Country, such as Asmara and Massawa it was possible to find any kind of shop: goldsmiths, artisans, mechanics etc. In Asmara there were also a theatre, three cinemas and a Officers’s Club.

During the years before the Fascist regime,  certain occupations and facilities were not open to the local population. With the rise of Fascism this segregation policy was intensified and with the passing of the “racial laws” soon became a real system of apartheid. Eritreans were segregated from residential areas, bars and restaurants reserved for the white population. However these laws did not support the idea of the superiority of the Aryan race. Italy wanted to stop relationships between Italian men and local women in the colonial territories. In those years there were 2,700 single white men in Eritrea, while only 450 single white women. This imbalance would obviously cause unions between white men and Eritrean women. The result was a growing number of meticci (mulattos), that if recognized by their Italian father would receive Italian citizenship with all its privileges. However in 1940 the laws were modified and all meticci were considered “natives”. Consequently they lost all privileges as Italian citizens. In spite of all this, the number of single white men always exceeded the one of white single ladies. The racial laws were almost impossible to implement and there was an increase in prostitution and illegitimate children.