Do's & Don'ts in Italy
Do's & Don'ts in Italy
How to behave whilst visiting Italy!
Italians value their culture and customs in high regards, so much so that doing or saying certain things may cause offence, although most Italians are lenient towards tourists.
1- Remember your Ciao, Salve and Boungiorno, when to use them and who with! When greeting a stranger, always use Buongiorno or Salve especially if they are older than you, only use Ciao for friends, people younger or if they say Ciao first! Saying Ciao to a police officer, or some one older than you can cause offence.
2- Get your kisses right! - Here in Italy people are very touchy feely with greetings. Right now with Covid touchy feely is down to a minimum, but when greeting people who may be extended family or friends of a friend, remember it's 2 kisses one on each side. This does not apply to STRANGERS.
3- Guys keep your tops on - This isn't Ibiza, walking around topless will get you arrested, ok maybe not arrested but you will get stopped and fined, not to mention it's highly disrespectful to Italians. Whilst on the beach it's ok to be topless but entering towns and shops put it on!
4- Remember to look in the right direction when crossing the road! In Italy people drive on the RIGHT. Here drivers will NOT stop for you even if you are on a zebra crossing and have right of way so DO NOT presume the car will stop, it will not! If you are driving again remember to look left when approaching a round about.
5- Always a good idea to have some cash with you. Being in Italy is like stepping back in time, not all places take card especially if you are wondering around a small village away from popular tourist areas. When entering a shop you can always ask by saying "posso pagare con la carta qui" Can I pay by card here?
6- Do try an Italian coffee - Here coffee is not like anywhere else in the world, not saying it's better, just different culture, so don't expect a big take away cup with your name on it. Italians drink a "caffe" after a meal (espresso) which is a short shot of coffee, but you can ask for one of these anytime, just don't ask for a cappuccino after 12pm as you will get a funny look! Caffe normale is your basic espresso shot, caffe macchiato is your espresso with small amount of foamy milk still in an espresso cup. Caffe lungo as the name suggests is a slightly longer espresso. I will cover all the coffee's in a separate blog post!
7- Be prepared to walk, or hire a car! Here in Italy there are not many taxis like you see in London or NY. In the bigger cities like Rome and Milan you will find taxis but forget about catching an Uber, especially anywhere that is not a major city. Private hire is available but will cost you an arm and a leg, you will not see them parked along the streets waiting for a fare, you need to pre arrange the booking. "Dove posso trovare un taxi?" Where can I find a taxi? The standard response (if you're outside of a city) is sorry their are none you need to call and book one!
8- Women - carry a cardigan to cover your shoulders! If you plan on visiting historic churches some but not all will require women to cover up shoulders and knees out of respect, same goes for men, no vest tops in gods house - especially if you are covered in tattoos!
9- Don't be "that" guy! - Don't ask for Ketchup or Mayonnaise when ordering pizza or pasta, you will find they will go all "mafia" on you!
10- Don't talk or ask about the M word (Mafia) Italians get very uneasy and uncomfortable if you start asking about the M word - This is not a God Farther movie, Italy has a long history with these organisations and it's a taboo subject especially if you are in the south regions!