Not many people have bad things to say after an iconic trip abroad to Italy. Tourists never leave hungry, thanks to mounds of cheese and carbs, and every scene is the perfect snap for a viral Instagram post. It doesn't even matter if you're in the North or South of Italy — you're in the motherland!
Like many countries, each culture has customary guidelines that its people follow. Tipping may be customary in America but it's not in Italy. Likewise, it might be totally chill to run errands in ripped denim and a crop top, but in Italy? There's a touch more done to make their appearance presentable in town.
To make sure you're fitting in and respecting the culture that's humbly hosting you, here are 10 etiquette tips to follow before touching down in Italy.
10 DON'T ASK 'HOW ARE YOU?' UNLESS YOU REALLY MEAN IT
Anyone who's spent some time abroad will know that when you say "How are you?" in passing, Europeans think you're actually asking how they are. So don't be surprised if the person you're talking to gives you the full rundown on their day.
In America, saying "How are you?" is sometimes more of a greeting than a genuine question. Before you begin conversing with someone in Italy or need information, they appreciate you getting to know them first and creating a human connection, according to Take Lessons.
9 LEARN A FEW GREETING PHRASES
Let's be real, it doesn't matter if you're in Italy, Germany, or France — it's always a smart idea to learn general phrases and numbers before heading abroad. This will come in handy when greeting your hotel staff, ordering off a menu, or simply trying to read a street sign. Italians will also appreciate your effort and will help you learn more if you're looking for it.
8 BE AWARE OF WHERE YOU ARE
When I say, "Be aware of where you are," I don't mean recognize that you're in a different country. That's obvious. What I do mean is that even though Italy is a proud country, they are small and have different histories in the North and the South.
Trip Advisor reminds us that we shouldn't compare different Italian cities. Comparing cities may offend Italians, especially if one has an issue with the North or vice versa. Simply appreciate each city for what it is and compare all when you're in the privacy of your own home.
7 DRESS THE PART
Knowing that Milan Fashion Week takes place in Milan, Italy should be warning enough that they take fashion seriously over there. And not just in Milan — in Italy, in general.
There are hundreds of Italian designers who have a real knack for fashion and the people of Italy try to show that off in what they wear. Now, that doesn't mean you need to wear a ballgown while sight-seeing, but dressing in a respectable manner can go a long way.
6 CARRY SOME CASH
Many of the larger cities in Italy may carry credit card machines, but not every shop, cafe, or restaurant will follow suit. Cash is still king over there in Italy and they appreciate the Euros. You also need to pay for most restrooms you use so keeping some loose change in your pockets is the best thing you can do in case of emergencies.
5 HAVE SOME RESPECT IN OLD BASILICAS AND CHURCHES
You can see the Florence Cathedral in Florence, Saint Mark's Basilica in Venice, the Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome... whatever Basilica or church you find yourselves in in Italy, be sure to show respect.
We know venturing through Italy can be hot in the summer but try not to roam through an ancient church in ripped garb. And understandably so, don't stroll in eating gelato or blasting music from your earphones. Make sure your shoulders are covered and bring no food or drink in with you.
4 DON'T OVER CONSUME
Italy has the gorgeous reputation of enjoying wine throughout the day. The difference between the Italians and the North Americans is that the Italians don't drink to over-consume. Drinks are typically served with bread, antipastas, and meals. Food and wine are meant to be enjoyed slowly together. So while you may be excited to be in a new city of love, getting drunk quickly won't make too many locals pleased.
3 NO NEED TO TIP
Tipping in Italy isn't as big a deal as it is in America. This can make many tourists happy as they can try to save money while parading around through Europe. Most restaurants charge a "Coperto" to your bill, which means a cover charge for dining there. Because of this, there's no need to tip.
Likewise, you won't need to tip your cab driver or barista either. You can, however, tip tour guides as they're doing a lot of work and have a more personal relationship with you by the end of the day. If you do prefer to tip, you can spare two to three euros.
2 IT'S ALL IN THE EYES
You know when you're preparing for a job interview, and your mom or dad reminds you to look in the person's eyes when you shake their hand? Well, Italians also appreciate this small gesture. Many locals have thought tourists to be shady if they're looking around while shaking a new friend's hand. Living in the moment and taking things as they come is a sign of respect and understanding in their country.
1 IT'S TOTALLY OKAY TO BE LATE
Okay, so it's not always okay to be late, however, there's no need to be 15 minutes early for a train, bus, or tram because it's most likely going to be late. This isn't Germany where the public transportation runs a strict time schedule. The same can be said if you were invited to a dinner party by some locals. Showing up a few minutes late gives the host enough time to prepare and get ready.