La Dolce Vita: 5 Etiquette Rules Italians Go By 🇮🇹

La Dolce Vita: 5 Etiquette Rules Italians Go By 🇮🇹

Italy. Known for its rich history, delicious cuisine and eye-catching fashion designs, is a country that also boasts a set of social norms. I recently took a trip to the Eternal City of Rome to talk to the locals and decode what these social rules are.

After indulging in heavenly food and pointing my face towards the surprisingly warm January Sun, here is a list of 5 most-mentioned rules to go by on your next trip to the country of la dolce vita

In Italy, coffee is a serious matter, and so are the rules surrounding it. One of the cardinal sins is ordering a cappuccino after noon (in some areas after 11am). Italians believe that the combination of milk and coffee aids digestion, making it an ideal morning beverage. So, if you're in Italy, indulge in cappuccino for breakfast, but switch to an espresso later in the day to avoid puzzled looks.

Pasta and Italy could be used almost interchangeably. It is then no surprise that there are rules around eating pasta, especially the long-shaped one such as spaghetti or tonnarelli. Whether you order the former or latter, both will be served with a fork only. Using a spoon to assist is seen as unnecessary and somewhat foreign. Instead, embrace the Italian way of gracefully twirling your pasta on the edge of the plate with fork only. It just needs a bit of practice!

Italians are known for their warm and affectionate greetings. When meeting someone, be it a friend or an acquaintance, expect an air kiss on both cheeks (starting with the left). This traditional gesture is a sign of friendliness and closeness. Now, this technique might vary a bit depending on the region, but in general, a brief pat on on the back only won’t cut it in Italy.

In Italy, giving flowers is a common and appreciated gesture, often used to express various sentiments. However, giving white flowers, especially lilies and chrysanthemums, is traditionally associated with funerals, condolences and mourning. If you wish to cheer up a friend or a colleague with a bouquet of flowers, opt for a different, more joyful colour instead.

Italy has a rich religious history and the country is dotted with churches and other sacred places as a part of the country's cultural heritage. Respecting these places helps preserve and honor Italy's cultural legacy. Upon entering them, we should always keep the volume on our phone down, speak quietly and only take photos/videos where it is allowed. 

Dear readers, my trip to Italy has come to an end but I can already tell I will be back soon. If you, just like me, have an adoration for the Italian way of living, our next visit will be armed with etiquette skills so we can blend into the charming tapestry of Italian culture seamlessly. 

Yours sincerely,

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