Different cultures make the world more exciting as there is always something new to learn. Every country has its fair share of traditions and customs that make it stand out and unique. Countries in the same region may share some practices, but there will always be small differences. This time we highlight the natural beauty of Italian culture.
Italian culture is best known for its fine cuisine, which has greatly influenced many parts of the world. Although their food is succulent and valuable, they have many more traditions than just their tasty cuisine. These customs will stand you in good stead the next time you make friends with Italians.
1. Kiss on the cheek
Italians have their own traditions and customs that set them apart from their European counterparts. In Italian culture, greeting is not limited to a handshake. People greet each other by kissing each other lightly on each cheek, starting on the left. It is important to know that this is not a real kiss, but two cheeks touching without lips.
Humans still make noises with their lips in the air, but only their cheeks come together. However, this type of greeting is usually limited to people you know very well. One does not greet strangers with a kiss on the cheek, but a handshake would suffice. Most men only greet family members with kisses on the cheek. When a man greets a woman who is not related to him, he could simply pat her on the back to show his affection.
Although this tradition has its roots in Italian culture, it is a well-known greeting method in other parts of the world as well. In Europe, France and Spain are other countries with a tradition of cheek-kissing. Other parts of the Arab world also use this method to greet close friends and family.
2. Respect the elders by standing up
"Respect the Elderly" is a worldwide tradition that many mothers continue to teach their young children. So this is not surprising since it is shared. The difference here, however, is that in Italian tradition, respect for elders is not limited to not answering, saying inappropriate words, or even raising your voice. This includes getting up when an elderly person enters the room.
People who are sitting in a room and an elderly person is walking show respect by standing up. It would be better if you didn't greet the seated old men; it is a sign of disrespect. It would be better if you always shook hands while standing. On the other hand, if you enter the room with an elderly person, wait for them to enter first.
3. No hats inside
Have you ever seen a movie where people go into a restaurant and hand their coats and hats over to the waiter? In Italian culture, one is supposed to do the same thing when entering someone's home, but not give them to anyone unless they offer it. Hats in the house are a sign of disrespect in Italian culture.
Wearing a hat means protecting yourself from strong sun, rain or dirt. For this reason it is important when you get home to take off your hat to show that you think the house is clean and not the other way around. The same happens when you enter a church; You never keep the hat. It also facilitates eye contact as it is important to look people in the eye while speaking to them.
4. Open doors for women
In classic movies we saw men opening doors and chasing women. They also opened the car doors and let the woman in front of them. We call this kind of gentleman and now it is not a common practice among the younger generations. However, in Italian culture, a man should always open the door to women and the elderly.
You don't have to be lovers for this to happen. A gentleman in Italian culture is one who is decent even to strangers. When a man leaves a seat with a woman behind him, he should not let her run to the door and knock. In this way it is seen as disrespectful and rude.
5. Use bread at the end of meals
Italians like to eat a lot.Time, much more than you think you know. Their food is often drenched in sauces and marinara, which of course are left behind when they're done eating. This happens in other cultures, but Italian culture has different ways of leaving empty plates after eating.
Scarpetta is one of the most famous Italian customs. You use this method to get any leftover gravy and bits of bread to mop up the gravy. The funny thing is that you can tell an Italian by the look of the dish. Thanks to its small bread-making tradition, it's usually empty and clean of sauces and leftovers.
6. No unannounced visits
In many countries, it's okay to visit family and friends without texting or calling first. However, showing up unannounced is considered disrespectful in Italian culture. You should always ask the host if they're available before knocking on their door so they don't get in the way of your plans.
People always plan their social gatherings to fit everyone's schedules and plans. However, the unannounced visits take place in Italy, although only in the village. Unannounced visits are welcome and encouraged in rural areas.
7. Bring gifts during dinner parties
Italian culture is not one of those cultures where you accept dinner invitations and just show up. In Italy it is considered impolite to go to someone's place for lunch or dinner empty-handed. It's always important to bring flowers or a box of chocolates to show respect to the hosts who took the time to clean the house and prepare a sumptuous meal for you.
You can also bring a small gift or souvenir to show your appreciation for their efforts. If someone shows up empty-handed, flowers will be sent the day after dinner. However, the flowers should never be yellow or red and should only be present in odd numbers.
8. Cover your mouth when you yawn
When someone yawns, they have to cover their mouth with their hands, according to the rules of Italian culture. This is an act of respect in Italy and most people do it even if it has no real meaning. Interestingly, ancient people also covered their mouths when yawning, but that was because they believed it was a way to keep the soul from leaving the body.
Sneezing and coughing are other actions that require covering the mouth. However, this isn't unique to Italian culture, it's something universal, meaning everyone everywhere should do it. This helps prevent the spread of disease or infection, especially when someone is sick. It became even more critical after the Covid 19 pandemic. But even if you're not sick, covering your mouth when you sneeze or cough is a sign of respect.
9. Pray before meals
Praying before meals is a universal tradition for all religious communities. It's a way of thanking God and thanking him for providing him with food and health. The majority of Italians are Roman Catholic, meaning they are considered a religious population. So saying thank you before eating is an integral part of Italian culture.
When guests are present for lunch or dinner, it is important to respect this short prayer time, even if they are of a different religion or none. At the time of prayer, everyone waits until the host or the person sitting at the head of the table has finished giving thanks. Then everyone can eat as soon as the host announces "Boun appetito".
10. Never wrap gifts in dark colors
Gifts play an important role in Italian culture. Everyone loves receiving a nice gift, especially if it's something they've always wanted or needed. However, there is an art in the way you present your offer.
Colors have a significant connotation for Italians. You care about the color of the wrapping you use to wrap your gifts and dark colors are frowned upon. Italians get offended if you give them a gift in black or deep purple packaging. You should always wrap gifts in bright, vibrant colors that represent joy and happiness.
11. Have seating etiquette
Italians don't just walk into someone else's house and sit where they find it empty. There are rules for sitting in Italian culture that may apply in other countries as well. When you are at a social gathering, you should always wait for the host to seat you. Also, never sit in front of older people.
On the other hand, as a host, you should always wait for your guests to be seated before sitting down. It's also important not to stretch your arms out on the table while you're seated. When sitting in a living room, Italians are careful not to cross their legs when there is an old man in the room.
12. Taking off your shoes also has rules
Most cultures around the world consider it polite to remove your shoes before entering someone's home. In Italian culture, however, things are a bit different. It is not appropriate to remove shoes in front of guests. Also, you are not allowed to remove your shoes unless the hosts ask you to. Otherwise you should keep your shoes.
On the other hand, Italians generally never wear shoes. They often take them off when they arrive and opt for slippers. This is how they prevent unknown germs and bacteria from getting into your clean home from the street.
13. Nature is essential in summer
Alfresco might sound like the name for Italian food, but it's an Italian word meaning "outside." In Italy, people like to eat outdoors in the summer. Spending time outdoors is an important part of their tradition, especially on hot summer days.
Alfresco doesn't always have to be for dinner; It can include fun activities, barbecues, or fun social gatherings. Whatever you choose, it must be done openly.
14. Remove price tags from gifts
There's a good reason why many retail stores offer "gift receipts." These receipts show the date of purchase but not the price of the item. In Italian culture, giving someone a gift with a price tag is inappropriate. It implies that you are trying to show this person that you spent a lot of money on his gift, which could be offensive to him.
The reverse also applies in this case. Some people may be offended if the gift isn't expensive and think you're giving away something cheap. Therefore, regardless of whether the gift is expensive or not, its price should not be revealed to everyone.
15. No yellow roses
Italians like flowers. Sending flowers home to someone is always a great gesture, especially after a nice dinner party. However, the color of the roses plays a big role. Yellow flowers are poorly perceived. People consider yellow a symbol of jealousy. Therefore, sending someone yellow roses can be offensive and means that you are jealous of them.
White and red are always the most popular. The white color symbolizes purity and sensitivity, while red is a symbol of love and passion, that's why we see red flowers every Valentine's Day, right? Therefore, it is important to know that Italian culture is not only about the flowers given, but also about the colors chosen.
16. Going out without eating or drinking is impolite
Italians have a lotlabelBasics, especially when it comes to food. Such traditions are deeply rooted in their roots and come from the past. One of the essential practices of Italian culture is to have something to eat or drink with every home visit.
If you get up and leave without eating or drinking what the host serves you, you will be considered rude and uneducated. Another important rule in Italian culture is never to leave the table after eating. You have to wait for someone else to finish, especially if you are the host. However, as guests, everyone must remain at the table while everyone else has finished eating.
17. Do not roam freely in another's home
When someone invites you to Italy, you have to follow them to every room they go. It's also important not to question their place, but to look down and only see what they want you to see. Italian culture treats people's homes with the utmost respect and privacy.
When the host sits in the living room, he cannot roam freely in his house. Even if you intend to use the bathroom, it's important to ask the host to show you the way. He then walks straight into the room he was sitting in and does not walk easily and comfortably.
18. Never touch food with your hands
Italians respect their traditions very much and apply their rules in their daily life. They don't even like foreigners coming to their country and they don't appreciate Italian culture very much. Therefore, it is important to learn how to behave towards Italians and not violate their beliefs. One of the most important rules to remember in Italy is never to touch food with your hands.
You should always use a fork and knife. This is not only a rule in Italian culture, but also an integral part of dining etiquette. Even the fruit is served in small bites so you can enjoy it with a fork. The same applies to the famous Scarpetta method; They don't just take the bread with their hands. Instead, she cuts the bread into small pieces and uses her fork to scoop the sauces off her plate.
19. Only wine accompanies meals
In different parts of the world, you can always accompany your meal with a glass of fresh juice, your favorite cocktail or beer, or even a lemonade. However, all these drinks do not go well with food in Italian culture. The only thing they seem to like to serve with meals is wine. However, there is an exception for pizza, which you can enjoy with a can of soda if that's what you prefer.
There are more rules about wine when it comes to Italian culture. If someone is sitting on your right and needs to pour wine and you have a glass in your hand, don't pour it. This position results in you serving the drink from below, which means the back of your hand is facing the table, palm up. Italians see this gesture as bad luck, meaning wishing that person drowns and dies.
20. Always accept payment offers
When someone offers to pay for coffee or food, you usually insist you don't. However, in Italian culture, refusing such an offer is considered rude and insulting. Italians take it as if you don't believe that person has enough money to pay. So it would be better if you always accept offers and pay both next time.
The division is also not so common in Italy. Many like to have the honor of paying for their family and friends. They change bills one by one until they are almost equal, but splitting bills at first isn't part of Italian culture.
Italy is a beautiful place with great traditions and a rich history. It's one of those places where you can make friends with amazing people and enjoy amazing food. If you want a great travel experience, learn about Italian culture in advance so you can blend in easily.