Here you can find a sort of handbook of things to know (or not to do) when visiting Italy.
- Don’t say Ciao to everyone! In Italy it is very important to use the correct greeting depending on who is greeting you. Unless the person you refer to is a friend, use a more formal greeting like Buongiorno if it’s morning or Buonasera if it’s evening.
- Dinner. Between 7.30pm and 9.00pm. Italians prefer to have aperitif before dinner and then to eat usually after 8.00pm.
- Shops close in the afternoon. This can surprise many foreigners. Almost every shop is closed from 1pm to 4pm, especially outside city centers. At that time Italians return home to have lunch and relax. Do it too!
- Taxi. You have to call or go to a dedicated taxi station. In Italy you can’t stop a taxi on the street.
“Italian. It is the current language! Learning some words and few sentences will make a big difference. “
Rather than rushing immediately into English, it is polite to first ask: “Do you speak English?”.
- Cover. Everyone pays a cover charge that includes table service and bread; it is the amount charged per person when you sit at a table. It’s not a scam to get you money. It is not mandatory to leave tips in restaurants but, if you are happy with the service provided, the waiter would be happy to receive some cash.
- Ask for the bill. It is not brought directly to the table after a meal at the restaurant. This does not mean that they are ignoring you. Everyone must enjoy food and conversation without haste. When you are ready to go, ask for the bill or go directly at the cashier.
- Stay hydrated. Tap water is drinkable everywhere in Italy and above all you can fill your water bottle from public fountains. Each city has a different name that defines the style and origin of its fountains. In Rome they are called Nasoni and are one of the legacies left by the ancient Romans. The water that comes out is not only safe, but is also fresh and clean.
- Coffee is a daily ritual for millions of Italians. Do you want a latte? I recommend not ordering a milk, because in Italy you will be served a simple glass of cold milk. The cappuccino should be enjoyed for breakfast and not after meals. In every place try the espresso, maybe macchiato (with some hint of foamy milk) if you want to dampen the intense flavor of coffee.
- Smile. You are in the country that has inspired and attracted visitors for centuries. Immerse yourself in the beauty and lifestyle, in the art, the music and the literature. Smile at the Italians and take home with you the memory of a truly magnificent country, unlike any other in the world.