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Traveling in Italy Posted by on Feb 28, 2020 in Culture

Consigli culturali per viaggiare in Italia, Cultural tips for traveling in Italy

Se pensate adesso di fare un viaggio in Italia, purtroppo ci pensate due volte su a causa del Coronavirus. Ma pensiamo al futuro, e ad una bella vacanza nel Bel Paese.

If you are thinking about a trip to Italy now, unfortunately you might think twice because of the Coronavirus. But let’s think about the future, and to a beautiful vacation in the Bel Paese.

Florence, my favorite Italian city.

Qualche consigli culturali per fare una gita in Italia:

  1. Even though the summer months become extremely hot, make sure you have a sweater or something long to cover up your shoulders and knees when entering holy places. You will be stopped from entering a church in a tank-top and shorts.
  2. Stores and other businesses will close for lunch from around 12:30 – 3 pm, and a lot of stores will be closed on Sundays.
  3. You may get strange looks if you order a cappuccino in the afternoon, Italians consider it too milky and thus a meal itself and won’t order one past 11 am. But honestly – I do it anyway, much to the chagrin of my Italian friends. Mi piacciono tanto i cappuccini!
  4. Iced coffee is not a thing, in fact, they don’t ever use ice. If it’s hot out and you drink something ice-cold, they think it’s bad for your health.
  5. You won’t see any Italians walking around carrying a “to-go” coffee, or even eating anything “to-go” on the street. Slow down – sit and enjoy your cornetto and latte macchiato in the morning. Very opposite to my common morning routine of eating while driving to work.
  6. Italians are very appreciative when you try to speak their language. They usually become very excited and impressed. So, try!
  7. You will not see Italians in “athleisure” types of clothing on the street. Leggings, tank-tops, sports bras, gym shorts – that kind of clothing is strictly for when you are working out. In fact, expect to stick out like a sore-thumb in the sea of perfectly dressed Italians. Leave your graphic tees at home, buy a button-down. Italians always want to fare la bella figura, or impress.
  8. Speaking of other no-nos when it comes to clothes – if you want to fit in, do not wear flip flops.
  9. At the beach? You’ll see men in speedos and women are often topless. Warn your kids!
  10. Always greet the shopkeeper when entering shops- and if you’re in small towns, greet the people you see on the street as well with an exuberant “buongiorno!” They will appreciate it tremendously. I’ve been invited to many peoples homes for coffee and lunch just by being polite on the street!

I wish I knew about the no legging, no flip-flop rule in 2010 when I was in Rome.. whoops.

Tocca a voi! There are so many other little cultural differences between the US and Italy – what else have you noticed?

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Comments:

  1. Heather Sinclair:

    Italian women don’t wear hats to protect their faces,as we do in Australia. I stick out like a sore thumb in Bologna with my wide-brimmed red hat. Consequently,the beggars in the street make a bee-line for me,knowing I’m a tourist! Although I have received appreciative comments from men,usually,and once,a man on a bike,whizzing past.

  2. Ray Lambert:

    In Mesagne, a small town in Puglia, pouring your morning espresso over a 2nd cup with ice in it was popular when I was there in 2017. It was August and very warm.

  3. Steven Monk:

    Puoi scrivere in L’Italiano ed Inglese? Grazie. Mi piace leggere i suoi articoli.

  4. Mercedes:

    Thank you for such useful advice. It’s so good to hear about dress standards. Flip flops are ugly, dangerous and I find them comfortable. Leggings? Oh dear. Especially on a hot day! It’s so easy to spot the foreigners in Italy.
    Keep it coming!

  5. CIARAN FOLAN:

    Grazie! molto interresante per l’informazzione culturale in generale. Ho soltanto una domanda; ‘ci pensate’. Ci pensiamo // vi pensate ? Sentiamoci!

  6. Bruce Nicol:

    Non sono mai stato nel i Stati Uniti, ma mi piace molto vostro bel paese, particolarmente Urbino
    Bruce

  7. Bruce Nicol:

    Mi piaco molto la vostro bel paese, particolarmente
    Urbino il vecchio capitale d’Italia

    Bruce

  8. JimV:

    Even in the early spring the sun can be quite intense in Italy. We American men who are follicularly-challenged wear a hat outdoors most of the time and will also be quite conspicuous among the Italian men who almost never wear hats.

    A word about the Italians’ appreciation for those who attempt their language. Your tip is 100% correct, but comes with a warning: JUST SPEAK TO THEM IN ITALIAN – don’t start by asking “parli inglese?” especially in the less-frequently visited areas, because they will almost always say no, even when their English is passably good. Be a good tourist and just TRY – they will always appreciate the effort and even if they cannot speak English well, they will always try to meet you halfway.

    Even my spouse, who speaks not a single useful Italian phrase was greeted warmly with a simple “buongiorno.” He navigated the crowds with a “scusi” and thanked everyone with a “grazie” and many Italians were happily surprised to hear those words coming from an American.

  9. Christine Percival:

    AAAhhhh…bella Italia…I love everything about it. My husband and I have been throughout Italy many times. We usually stay in apartments to hang out around the locals, get to know them and a chance to practice my Italian. Once, when in Rome, we went to the little market, late in the day. I wanted a loaf of bread but didn’t bring a bread knife. There was a storekeeper in the back behind the bread counter and she was busy packaging up bread. I asked her for a loaf and if she would kindly slice it for me (bread slicing machine was in plain view). She got very agitated and spoke in an angry tone in Italian. Seems I should have taken the bread as is -whole – and not made special requests. I learned from that and realize that one can’t behave as we would in the US. Now I bring a bread knife when I travel!


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