Italy is a vibrant country with a rich history that has produced industry stalwarts in many respects. From the Roman empire to Catholic supremacy, Italy has come a long way in terms of architecture and cultural development. It is known the world over for its cuisine as well. People do say that you should have pizza and pasta where it originated for a reason. However, Italians are also known to be fastidious about their traditions and customs. They are welcoming of tourists if the visitors are accommodating of the Italian culture. Before you visit Italy, there are some things that you need to keep in mind.
There could be volumes written about the etiquette to be followed in cafes, and it still wouldn’t prepare you enough. Let us take this step-by-step. First, coffee is always paid for first and then drunk. For that reason, it is not unusual to see long queues of people waiting to pay for their coffee first in front of cafes. Secondly, it is best if you drank your coffee at the bar counter. Coffee ordered at a table usually costs extra for gratuity. Besides, coffees are generally quick affairs. They are drunk just in a few sips. There are no size differences like they are in other countries, particularly in Starbucks
Conversation and Food
Discussion during the morning coffee is usually limited. Italians have a short conversation with the bartender, or the Barista, and leave. In the morning, no one takes their coffee and sits for long hours staring at people. There is no coffee to take away. They just don’t have that. It is always better to spare a couple of minutes at the bar counter. Ordering coffee after 11 in the morning will attract stares. That is because coffee in Italy is Cafe — something that is drunk for breakfast. If you ask for a Latte, you’ll just get milk.
Water and Wine
Asking for tap water will not help you save anything. Most establishments will still charge you for a bottle of water. In fact, Italy is one of the countries in Europe where wine is cheaper than water. Every establishment has a selection of wine that you can choose from. It is prevalent to have a glass of wine during lunch or dinner. Some places indulge the tourists when they ask for house suggestions on wine. However, you should know that most of those suggestions are usually high-priced wines. In other establishments, you are expected to know your wines.
Italians are fiercely protective of their food. Garlic in pasta is one customization that will get you stares like you invoked the Devil himself. Most establishments in Italy are family-run. That means each of them has a house special and a different recipe for the same food. Be sure to try them all. Remember that wine is always cheaper than other forms of alcohol in Italy. Tips are generally discouraged, not just because the tipping culture doesn’t exist, but because the price paid for the food is considered to be the price paid for the service as well.
Some gestures are part of the colloquial culture in other countries but are considered offensive in Italy. Other gestures require appropriate facial expressions to carry meaning. The flipping-the-hand gesture signifies a positive change in most countries. In Italy, however, it means a sad outcome. The pinecone gesture usually means someone who’s being silly. While Italians use about 250 gestures in a day, you trying to emulate them can seem offensive or mockery. That doesn’t mean you should have a bland conversation. Gestures are important. Just be careful where you use it.
Exploring the Country
From Roman architecture to Turkish and to Christian, Italy is a storehouse of culture. There are so many places for you to explore. Most places can’t even be pointed out on the map. You just have to learn it from the locals. Since it is not possible to explore the whole country, you can get an agent and sign a travel agency contract so that all the famous tourist spots are covered. In fact, in the agreement, you can mention if you want to drive your own vehicle. If you do, please be mindful of the roads because not only are they poorly maintained, but they are narrow, leading to higher traffic jams.
Italy is an excellent destination for a holiday. It is home to some of the best restaurants, chefs, restaurateurs, and artists across the world. When touring, it is helpful if you carry some cash. While most establishments accept cards, tourist spots might be less willing to do so. Besides, having cash can help you in skipping the line. Be sure to check the weather when you go. If you feel doubtful, remember that an agent can help with all your queries.
Jessica, is a writer by calling and an academic. She has created scintillating and remarkable content for dozens of websites in the Business Sector. She possesses a fair understanding of the inner workings of several business establishments, making her the foremost expert in this field.
- Article: Jessica Rose [Agreements.org]
- Picture: A Sairway On A Church [Pexels]