- By AbruzzoCibus
- On Aug 29, 2019
Guide to Italian customs and etiquette: 15 things you need to know
Are you planning a trip to Italy? Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, it’s important to be well prepared. And we’re not just talking about making sure you have your passport and an extra pair of comfy shoes. It’s about getting familiar with Italian customs and etiquette, in order to avoid inadvertently offend anyone and to pleasantly get along with locals. Below some small tips!
1. When you are first introduced to someone, it’s best to say “buongiorno” or “buonasera”. “Ciao”, instead, is rather used only amongst close friends.
2. Friends greet with two kisses on the cheeks. When meeting a new person instead, it’s best to just shake his or her hand.
3. After 1:00 p.m it’s customary to greet someone with “buonasera” or “buon pomeriggio”.
4. Italy is full of churches and many of those host important artworks. Since they are also religious sites, you should make sure you are dressed properly. Avoid wearing shorts, vests, and sleeveless dresses. An advice? Always bring along a sweater or another garment you can use to cover your shoulder before entering the church.
5. Eating inside the church is inappropriate. If you have a phone, turn it off before entering the church.
6. Men should always take their hats off when entering a public place.
7. At the restaurant, once you have finished eating, ask for the bill. Unless is closing time, no waiter will put the bill on your table until you ask for it.
8. Italians like to drink high-quality drinks. This means that beer, wine, and other cocktails are customarily consumed during meals and aperitivi. Drinking excessively in public is highly frowned upon.
9. In Italy it is forbidden to smoke in public spaces!
10. When an Italian friend invites you to a dinner, never show up empty-handed. Always bring with you flowers, chocolates or a wine bottle.
11. Italians tend to communicate with gestures and facial expressions, so don’t be alarmed when you see someone waving their hands or speaking effusively.
12. For your stay, try to learn some words of Italian. Do not necessary aim at being fluent; knowing some basic terms is sufficient for handling more gratifying conversations.
13. “Per favore” means please, “grazie” means thanks, and “prego” means you’re welcome.
14. While Italians are known for being late, it is always best to arrive on time during business meetings!
15. Family is extremely important to Italians. It can happen, especially in smaller villages in the South, to find extended families living together in one house.