What is considered impolite in Italy?

Every culture in the world has its unique customs and etiquette regarding the most important aspects of social life: from dining to celebrations, greetings to traveling, and so on. 

The differences can be difficult for someone coming from a different culture to understand and adopt, but they are an important element in communicating with the local population and learning their culture.

If you are looking to visit Italy, even a basic understanding of Italian manners can be really beneficial. To help you out, here are a few things that are considered impolite in Italy, and you should refrain from doing them. 

friends toasting at the picnic friends toasting at the picnic Italy stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

Starting eating before everyone is served

In some cultures, eating together is more about sitting around a table together than it is about eating a meal. Italian culture is not one of them. 

Before you begin eating, be sure that everyone has been served and is ready. It is regarded exceedingly disrespectful not to wait for everyone to start at the same time.

Before you begin eating, always say Buon Appetito! to your tablemates. This literally means “good appetite,” but in context, it means “enjoy your meal.”

When serving yourself food or wine, always serve the others at your table first and yourself last. Don’t worry, you don’t need to serve everyone at a large meal; instead, focus on serving those next to you. Kindness and charity are greatly valued at Italian dinners.

Like the “Buon Appetito” is required before starting to eat, as is a toast before beginning to drink. Raise your glass and exclaim Salute! or Cin Cin! then wait for your guests to join in the toast.

Italians dislike seeing how the meal appears in your mouth, so never talk with your mouth full. You also should avoid burping. 

In some cultures, such as Indian, burping is considered a sign of satisfaction and satiety. However, in Italy, it is unacceptable. Never burp. 

You can use your bread to wipe the plate if you cut it into bite-sized pieces and hold it with your fork.

If eating spaghetti, don’t cut it up. The proper way to eat spaghetti is to wrap it around a fork and use the plate to help you. The reason for this is to preserve the essence of pasta. 

Also, “spaghetti Bolognese” does not exist in Italy; it is a British invention; instead, order “tagliatelle al ragù alla bolognese,” a delicious first course from Emilia Romagna. 

If you can’t get enough of the meatballs, you can start with “spaghetti al pomodoro” and then add them as a second dish. 

Take your shoes off before entering the house.

When you are invited to an Italian home, don’t take your shoes off.

In many parts of the world, you have to take your shoes off to show respect at someone else’s house; but, in Italy, it’s the opposite. So, even if you are wearing your ballroom dance shoes for men and you’re not requested to, don’t take your shoes off.

When you are in the house, don’t wander around alone. It’s considered impolite and inappropriate to roam freely around another person’s home. 

When you are offered food or a drink, accept it. Leaving a house without a cup of coffee, a slice of cake, or even a drink of water may disappoint your host. Allow them to welcome you.

You might not like what they offer you, but you shouldn’t reject everything. You should note that you are better off saying that you will have something else instead. For example, if you are offered wine and you don’t drink, you can ask them to give you water instead, instead of saying no to everything else. 

If in Italy for business, don’t talk about money right away

It seems funny that you are in the country to make money, but you can’t talk about it, but you should know that money is a sensitive matter for Italians. For decades, the Church referred to it as “the devil’s poo,” and even in today’s more secular century, there is something unclean about it. 

Don’t bring it up at the outset of a conversation, especially if it’s a significant sum. Before getting into the financials, spend a few minutes talking about other areas of the business. 

Even if you don’t close any business, try to appreciate the efforts of others. You will leave a positive impression and develop a good reputation. Remember to shake hands after completing a business transaction.

Don’t be rude on public transport.

Buses and trains are sometimes packed and stressful, so be courteous when using them. The following are the essential norms of politeness in Italy for travellers using public transportation: 

Give your seat to the elderly, crippled, pregnant women, and children. Avoid speaking too loudly, especially on the phone, and do not listen to music without headphones. 

When you need to pass, say Permesso: This is the key word that expresses kindness to others traveling with you.

You should note that Italian public transportation, unlike high-speed trains, is not always on time. 

Regional trains, which traverse shorter distances and move slowly, are frequently late. Keep this in mind while planning your itinerary. If you need to make changes, always factor in a 10-15-minute delay to ensure you have enough time to catch the next train. 

A regional train ticket in Italy does not have a time or date because it can be purchased in advance and used whenever needed. 

Then, when you’re using it, remember to authenticate it to avoid costly fines on the train. 

It’s pretty simple, as there are machines on the platform where you board the train. Simply insert your ticket, and it will be validated with the date and time of your journey.

Parting shot

These are some of the things that are considered impolite in Italy. As you have seen, it’s not hard to be polite and enjoy your time in the home of the Renaissance

To appear interesting, take time to learn Italian language. The cool thing is that there are plenty of websites and applications you can use to your advantage. 

And you don’t need to be proficient. For a start, learn how to greet someone, ask them their name, say sorry, and then grow your vocabulary from there. 

Published by HOLR Magazine.

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