Resource links for Etiquette & Customs in Italy

Jos Deuling,  Tuesday, 8 August 2017

shopping in 

A selection of links to articles about Etiquette & Customs in Italy. The links are grouped by the following topics: Books, Bureaucracy, Business, Dating, Dresscode, Eating, Family Live, Integration, Meeting and Greeting, Rudeness, Stereotypes and Working.

Last updated on August 8th, 2017.


: John Hooper refuses to succumb to easy cliche while explaining the best and worst of Italy. Mixing the amusing titbit with the big picture, he provides context for the question that perplexes the occasional visitor: how come a country that has produced Berlusconi, "bunga bunga" parties, the mafia and an extraordinary bureaucracy is still so attractive?

: When Tobias Jones first travelled to Italy, he expected to discover the pastoral bliss described by centuries of foreign visitors and famous writers. Instead, he discovered a very different country, besieged by unfathomable terrorism and deep-seated paranoia, where crime is scarcely ever met with punishment.

: How does an Englishman cope when he moves to Italy - not the tourist idyll but the real Italy? When Tim Parks first moved to Verona he found it irresistible and infuriating in equal measure; this book is the story of his love affair with it. Infused with an objective passion, he unpicks the idiosyncrasies and nuances of Italian culture with wit and affection. Italian Neighbours is travel writing at its best.

: Steve Emmett sold Italian country homes for almost twenty-five years and lived there for a decade. He is now an acclaimed horror writer who has combined his writing skills with a deep knowledge of Italy and an acid wit to create this highly amusing and informative booklet. It's wicked, very non-PC and full of sweeping generalizations but, if you have an interest in Italy and Italians, it's bound to make you laugh.


: “Good morning, I need to apply for a Permesso di Soggiorno,” I smile at the police officer behind the reception desk in Siena’sQuestura. He looks at me blankly.

: Although Dante didn’t know it at the time, he perfectly described the labyrinth of Italian government offices and bureaucracy when he wrote ‘Abandon hope all who enter here’.

: There are a few things living in Italy has taught me. There’s nothing quite like a plate of fresh, handmade pasta. Italians are passionate about food, family and football, not necessarily in that order. And Italy is extremely bureaucratic. Or at least that’s what everyone keeps telling me but I’ve never tested it, until now.


: punctuality, gift giving and Corporate Social Responsibility

: The safest practice when organising and attending meetings in Italy is to ‘act local’; your business partner will appreciate your cultural sensitivity. The following sections should provide you with some useful information on local attitudes to establishing and running business meetings, conducting negotiations, etc.


: Ilaria Perrone, sex columnist, the go-to magazine for the "It" girls of Milan, has given up on dating. “Italian men are romantic but they are also liars”.

: Looking for an Italian boyfriend? A new social network is trying to overturn traditional Italian attitudes by giving women the chance to “shop for men”. The Local speaks to the founder to find out how it all works.

: Finding love in Italy is as hard as it is anywhere else. But many are drawn to the Latin lovers, particularly in the southern part of the country, where the men still have swagger and the women are sultry. Before you call your zia in Italy to start playing matchmaker for you, learn these 6 facts about the single scene in the homeland.

: “I’m Italian.” “Lucky you. That means you date Italian men!!!” During my life I’ve heard this hundreds of times. And, being Italian, my answer wouldn’t be so enthusiastic. The first thought of every Italian woman, would be –Yes, and I’m tired of all the “Ciao Bella” in the street - they’re just pathetic.


: What to wear when on a trip in Italy. What are Italians wearing in Summer. Dress code in Italy. How to dress and what not to wear when traveling in Italy. Formal and informal Italian dress code.

: Fashion is important in the Italian culture, and Italians typically pay close attention to a person's clothes. If you are planning a visit to Italy and you would like to fit in with the Italians, then follow some important guidelines when learning how to dress in Italy.

: Italians take great pride in the way they look. Even if just popping out for a pint of milk, they will dress smartly. It all seems so immaculately effortless. Following on from a recent story about a local mayor banning bikinis at the marina in his seaside town, The Local provides some Italian style tips.


: When it comes to food, Italians love etiquette. It doesn't matter if you're at a fine-dining establishment with jacketed waiters or chowing down on pizza at a plastic table: There are some things that will always get you dirty looks. Or snide comments from the servers. (Yes, the people you're paying for for the food. That's a subject for a whole other day...)

: If you live in Italy you'll know that a large amount of your time will be spent eating. So you'd better make sure you do it right. The Local spoke to Alberto Presutti, an etiquette and manners expert who's given us ten tips for Italian dining etiquette.

: Menus, wine, rating and prices

: We’ve heard stories of tourists being ripped off at cafes or restaurants in Italy. We’ve even experienced it ourselves – paying far above the given price, being confused by service charges (and tipping ettiquette) – it’s not always the case when eating in Italy (far from it) but it is worth being aware of a few of the most common scams.

: Here's a quick guide on Italian eating habits.

: Italian food culture is probably very different from what you're used to at home. And, since Italians have been perfecting it for over 1,000 years, try going with the wine and olive oil flow instead of fighting against the current when you're in Italy.

: How To Avoid Making An Ass Out Of Yourself At The Dinner Table

Family Live

: The stereotyped image of the large and traditional Italian family, with more than six children, is just an old memory. In fact, in the last thirty years the structure of the Italian family has dramatically changed from the traditional model we were used to seeing in old movies.

: Lack of jobs, benefit cuts and traditional family living arrangements blamed for lack of independence.

: It’s no secret that my in-laws do not like me. Why? I have no idea. I mean, I know I’m weird, but they hated me way before they had a chance to get to know me. Given the way that they pronounce my nationality, like a disease, saying it to others as though they’re apologizing to God, tells me that maybe it has something to do with where I’m from.

General info

: 15 Things Every Visitor Should Know.

: You may be going to Italy on business, for a visit or even hosting Italian colleagues or clients in your own country. Remember this is only a very basic level introduction and is not meant to stereotype all Italian people you may meet!

: Tipping, Tickets, and More

: Everybody knows (or at least assumes) that Italians are a warm, friendly people. But beneath the surface of this easy, genteel exterior lays a refined undertone of rigid customs and etiquette in Italy that might not be apparent to the foreigner at first glance.


: Since living in Italy since 2007 —I have definitely gone through my own personal ups and downs adjusting to life in beautiful Florence. Because it happens to be a city full of American students , expats, and foreigners, a common misconception is that if you fall under one of those categories,life will flow easily since you are so close to your counterparts. Sometimes I think us english-speakers would have a more meaningful time, and speak more Italian if we were in a smaller town surrounded by only Italian speakers etc.However that being said, I am just as addicted to this city of art as everyone else and can’t imagine life anywhere else, at least not right now.

Meeting and Greeting

: All countries have peculiar social customs and Italy is no exception. As a foreigner you’ll probably be excused if you accidentally insult your host, but you may not be invited again.

: When you arrive in Florence the first thing that you’ll notice is that people are staring at you. They stare at you when you walk into a restaurant, they stare at you while you’re eating, they stare at you while you walk down the street. Believe it or not, it’s not because you’re foreign, or a woman, or because of your hair. Sure, they might stare a little more for these reasons but the truth is that Italians stare. They stare at other Italians too. It’s not considered rude here and people are really into watching other people. It’s annoying but eventually you’ll get used to it.


: Every culture is a world of its own. Verbal communication and day to day way of life are the true expression of what the culture of a certain place is like. However, some behaviors could be misunderstood and considered inappropriate, as we tend to view them through the lenses of our own culture. We should understand, though, that things might be different in another place and that many times a particular habit we consider rude, may not be such for people with other cultural backgrounds.


: Spaghetti, mafia, musical accent, gestures, romantic, loud, fashion, chaos - these are all words often used to describe Italians. How much truth is there in the stereotype?

: Everyone has heard of The Godfather and Super Mario but do they represent the real Italy? With the help of Martin Solly, the Turin-based author of Xenophobe’s Guide to the Italians, The Local has debunked (and confirmed) some common Italian stereotypes.

: We're good-looking, sharp dressers who talk too much and pay too little attention. We are also a bit smug, writes Massimo Gramellini


: If you've been asked to work in Italy, or if you're going to lead an Italian team remotely, there's a lot that you'll have to learn to fit in with this unique and sophisticated culture.

: Like many other countries, the Italian workplace has its problems: one that is specific to this country, though, and quite serious, is mobbing.


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