Italian Customs Every Traveller Needs to Know
Just like organising what you are going to pack for your trip to Italy, researching the destination and the attractions are an exciting part of the planning process. Additionally, reading up on the customs and etiquette of the country you are travelling to is also a vital part of preparing for your trip, and an area that many tourists forget to look into! That is why we have decided to provide you with a helpful guide that outlines some of the important customs and etiquette points that will help you familiarise yourself with the culture before you arrive at one of our Italian villas.
Appropriate greetings are a standard part of everyday life in Italy. When you meet or leave an Italian, friend or stranger, it is customary to wish each other a good day or evening (buongiorno, buonasera). Good evening (buonasera) can be used any time after lunch (1 pm).
It is important for tourists to know that ciao is reserved for greeting people that you are familiar with, so stick with a good day (buongiorno) or good evening (buonasera) greeting when talking with the locals. Upon meeting a new person, it is normal to shake hands because a hug and kiss on the cheek greeting is something traditionally shared among friends and loved ones.
Like any other country, it is appreciated by the locals if the tourists can speak a little bit of the native language. Mastering a few of the basic terms will help to make the communication with the locals a lot smoother and avoid confusion on either part. Two words that should be on the top of your list include please (per favore) and thank you (grazie). We would also recommend taking a translation guidebook with you as this will be particularly useful if you are interacting with locals in the shops or restaurants.
When you are eating in a restaurant, most establishments will be quite formal. It is not customary for diners to call across the room for attention from your waiter; be patient, the waiters tend to make their way around the restaurant checking on tables or try to make eye contact with a waiter to draw them over.
Once you have received your meal, it is frowned upon to ask for any other condiments other than olive oil or balsamic vinegar (which will usually be on your table already). Italians are very proud of their considered meals and believe us; your meal won’t need any condiments!
When you require the check (il conto), you will need to ask for it. Waiters will not put a check on your table until it has been requested.
Many of the attractions in Italy that appeal to tourists are the magnificent churches and places of worship. While the weather may be hot, travellers who visit these sites should consider dressing appropriately to be respectful of the traditions and rules within these establishments. Shorts, tank tops and sleeveless garments are considered taboo in many of the churches in Italy.
We would recommend wearing a light pair of trousers so that your knees are concealed. Additionally, carry a light sweater with you, which you can use to cover your shoulders before entering a church. Men should remove their hats when entering a church, or any other establishment for that matter.
Other etiquette tips for churches include no eating or drinking, including water bottles, as well as turning off any mobile devices.
Our team are always on hand to answer any questions you may have about your holiday to Italy. Get in touch with us today via email, phone or on our social media; we’d love to hear from you!