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How to spot and avoid Italians when traveling

Last updated on 03/07/2017 at 15:52:17

Poor Italians! Pizza, mafia, mandolino!” No, really. I’ve been thinking about for years and finally, after my last trip, I decided it’s time to write this: your ultimate guide on how to spot and avoid Italians when traveling!

Why?” Because we are annoying under several aspects, and I don’t see the reason for you to have to deal with us when you’re traveling. I’m writing this for your own good; you’ll thank me later.

Being Italian myself, I’m the best one to write about this subject without involving some stupid nationalism or prejudices between countries. If you are not a touchy Italian, go on and read.

I met several specimens of Italians during my trips, and I have to say that, except for a minuscule minority, I often tend to feel ashamed when I recognize some of my compatriots. Like a continuous facepalm. Am I presumptuous? Maybe, but after being a “pizza eater” for more than 30 years, I know what I’m talking about!

Luca walking towards the city - Luca Travels Around

What I don’t like about us it’s our lack of respect for everything we don’t know, or it’s not as in our country. For example, we always speak in Italian with everyone. Really, no matter if we’re in Spain, India, America or Finland (no wait, in Finland it’s too cold!), we just insist on speaking Italian and you have to adapt, sorry. In Italy, we usually joke about the Spanish language, that for us it’s like the Italian with an “s” at the end of the words (for example, thank you is grazie in Italian and gracias in Spanish), but even with these simple words of courtesy… gosh.

Another thing I really can’t understand is why we often look for an Italian restaurant to eat something that it’s Italian only by the name and then complain later about it. Now, our cuisine it’s world-renowned, but why don’t give a try to what other countries have to offer?

What I have been thinking for years, now, is the fact that maybe we are spoiled: we are, for example, the country with the most Unesco Heritage sites in the world. We have thousands of years of history and art, sacred and profane. We are home to Vatican City and the Pope. We discovered lands, invented things, dressed up VIPs, and made people happy with our food. So, we denigrate everyone else.

I don’t like this behavior, and I’m sad about it, but you shouldn’t! You will be happy as soon as you learn how to spot and avoid Italians!

By now I have all the knowledge necessary to spot them from far away, like a shark with a drop of blood in the ocean. I’m going to tell you how to recognize them as well, so you can be aware too.

How to spot Italians

I put the list following an increasing ratio of proximity/recognition: the closer you get to your suspects, the more you’ll realize their nationality.

  1. When we have children, usually they’re on the loose. Look for little, adorable brats, and you’ll find Italians. Italy now seems one of the countries with the lowest birthrate in the world, but in the meanwhile, you can use children as a trail to their Italian parents.
  2. We gesticulate a lot. It’s not a karate match, it’s not a fight, it’s just some Italians speaking.
  3. We can dress appropriately. Deal with it, in Italy we know how to match clothes from young ages, the rest of the world is still learning. So, if you spot someone fancy looking, no matter the age, Italian alert!
  4. We shout. If we don’t, we speak aloud. Or we are noisy. In any case, you can hear us. We are not very discreet, and we do nothing to hide the contrary. When you hear someone calling someone else from afar, 90% it’s Italian. Same goes talking on the phone: sometimes you can also hear the one speaking on the other side.
  5. We gather together, in communities. The bigger the group of people, the most probable is the chance they come from the belpaese. You might also find 3 or 4 generations all together, from a newborn to the one who endured WWI.

That said, with these five essential points you will spot an Italian person with an approximation of 96.31%.

Think about it: you’re peacefully eating with your partner in a restaurant when you hear some children throwing a tantrum. And the parents maybe even care. You got it, Italians. Perhaps in this situation, it will be already too late to avoid them, but with the following rules you’ll be able to travel hassle free, satisfaction guaranteed!

People hand gestures - Luca Travels Around

How to avoid Italians

Thanks to my previous, extremely useful tips, I give for granted you’re already a black belt in sighting Italians. You already know how to spot us, so you should also understand how to avoid us. In any case, next step is trying to avoid or get rid of us also when we are disguising well. These rules only apply outside Italy.

  1. Don’t EVER talk to us. If we approach you, don’t say a word. Just nod, smile or whatever, even if you understand what we are saying. We’ll eventually go away. Swearing at you, of course.
  2. Don’t go to an Italian restaurant. That’s easy. Then, c’mon, if you want to try our cuisine, come to Italy!
  3. Don’t speak about football (soccer). We are particularly chatty about football, and we always think to know everything better than the trainers. We don’t even care about the language you speak if we hear the name of some players or teams, we just intervene.
  4. Don’t go where you see kids. Another easy one. If you remember #1 from the previous list, you should have already taken precautions!

Mamma mia!!! (now you should nod). You see? You learned how to avoid Italians! Now you’re ready to enjoy your trip, without us around. You deserved it. I can already see it in my mind: ordinary, silent, predictable, and bland.

You know how to avoid Italians, but should you? Tell me in the comment section!

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Avoid Italians - Luca Travels Around


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45 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Lol, this is brilliant. I really have troubles understanding why we Italians feel the urge to go to an Italian restaurant when we’re visiting a foreign country for just a few days. Apparently we can’t go without pasta or pizza for more than 3 days, and are ready to spend a fortune to enjoy them while visiting Stockholm or New York or any other place. Beats me. However, I’m personally guilty of unstoppable gesticulation and, sometimes, of being quite loud when talking. I can’t help it, it’s my DNA!

  • I have to admit, I almost didn’t read this, but we did just have an Italian exchange student living with us, and she did fit a few of these. Of course, I think you could easily change the title and every reference to Italy to several other countries and it would apply. Especially lack of respect for anything else.

  • Hehe … Cheeky stuff. Indian here; some of us would fit your description of Italians except for one fact : we are unavoidable. There’s just so many of us.
    Had fun reading this. Just met one Italian yet but she was quite sweet.
    Happy travels!

    • Thinking about it yes, you are fare more than us! And I noticed it also blogging speaking: there are a lot of Indian travel bloggers.

      • Oh yes, India is a huge country; both geographically and culturally. There is a lot to explore and travel. And Indians love telling stories (Do Italians tell many stories too?). So here we are, the lot of us 🙂

        • India is a place that fascinates me, I’d like to visit it sooner or later (sooner would be better 😀 )
          Regarding the stories, it depends. In the south of Italy people are more friendly so it’s more common to start talking with anyone, in the north is the opposite.

  • Ha! A very entertaining read and I think a lot of these things could be applied to other nationalities. As someone from Northern Ireland and someone who is very proud to come from there, I still find myself avoiding other travelers from my home country on the rare occasions that I encounter them abroad. Why? I think it prevents getting into the same silly arguments from back home plus, meeting a co-compatriot almost presents us with a mirror as to how the rest of the world sees us. Great stuff!

    • I didn’t think about the conversation side of it, but it’s a good point. Why should I spend time with someone talking about the same things I hear every day in my country?

  • We are going to Italy next month and I’m sure we can spot Italians, but definitely won’t be able to avoid them 🙂 Jokes apart, I think every nationality has its own characteristics and I believe in seeing the positive side of things. So cheers to Italians, and everybody else too!

  • I guess we are all the same and we like to find excuses for avoiding our co-nationals when we travel. I know I do it, I know friends who do it, and it doesn’t matter what nationality they are. I actually like Italy and Italians and I always enjoy my trips to your country.

    • I admit that usually I pretend not to be Italian when I’m traveling, but usually it’s not the first country people say when trying to guess where I’m from.

    • I’m sorry, unfortunately you’ll have to deal with us, but in my opinion we give the best on our soil, and the worst when abroad, so cheer up!

    • I agree on our food, but it’s really, really difficult to find a good Italian restaurant outside Italy. Usually because they have to deal with local traditions and different tastes, so they need to adapt the cuisine. Plus the fact that Italian food is an attractive “brand”, sort of trendy, so in my opinion some restaurants are only money driven, don’t really care about the authenticity of a pasta or pizza, they just put some Italian sounding name to a dish and that’s it!
      Satisfy in Italy your passion for our food! 😀

  • LOL, that was a good read. Especially after I have just gotten back from Italy. My friend who I was staying with in Italian complained all the time about the local Italians not be very friendly enough. She would enjoy this read.

    • Thanks! I can say we are “funny” form a foreigner point of view, or interesting. For sure not boring.
      From my point of view, instead, we often tend to be annoying ^^

  • Hahaha, I love this, I always wonder how different nationalities are around other people. Almost all your point describing Italians applies to South Africans. We may have been confused, if it wasnt for the language 😉

    • I’ve never been to South Africa so far, I’ll try to spot differences, if any, as soon as I’ll have a chance to go there! (I absolutely want to cage dive with the white sharks!)

  • An interesting stuff. We have never got a chance to know an Italian from so close as to define their characteristics but thanks to you; We are sure to spot some from next time. 🙂 Italian Cuisine is our favorite too, and not only the Italians even we can go with pizza and pasta in any foreign country.

    • I could have started a family game: spot the Italian.
      Now you know how to, a new activity for kids eheh. But asking it’s not allowed!
      Just a tip if you happen to go to Spain: they DON’T know how to cook pasta, it’s A L W A Y S overcooked. It’s frustrating. That’s why we always complain about the food when we eat something “Italian-ish” in another country.

  • Oh, grazie mille for these tips! Do you think they’ll also work on Swiss-Italians? 😉
    I found some similarities to my Italian speaking co-nationals (especially their stubbornness to talk to me in Italian even though I don’t understand a freakin’ word!) but at least their Swissness tends to make them a bit more quiet. And probably less well-dressed… 😉

    • I’m sorry but I don’ know any Swiss-Italian! But, as you say, I guess they are a little less Italian and probably more tolerable hahaha

  • Aww this is great! It’s funny how not just Italians, but many nationalities want to avoid others from their country while traveling. I guess people judge their own more unfairly. So I wouldn’t avoid Italians on my trips, but if I saw Czechs or Ukrainians, I’d probably hide under my table until they left 😀

    • Ahahah, so try to be silent while you’re hiding yourself!
      It’s true that we tend to judge ourselves more unfairly, but that in my opinion means that we are intelligent and aware enough to valuate our behavior towards the others, especially when it’s not good.

  • Every country and its people have their share of pluses and minuses, not only Italians. We all should understand our weaknesses and look for the positives in other cultures. The aim should be to understand other cultures and respect their uniqueness.

  • This was a hilarious read! And I’ve heard most of the statements above from other Italians as well. I love Italy and the language so I don’t mind listening to it on the street at all even if it is loud. It is true though that usually Spanish and Italian people are very loud and tend to talk in their own language… even when the other people can’t understand them. But I think counts for Balkan people as well and as someone coming from the Balkans I can say this can relate as well.

    • Unfortunately I have never met people from the Balkans, so I can’t say, but between Spanish people and Italians seems to be a challenge on who’s the louder 😀

  • That was a fun post!
    Actually pretty much everything that you’ve said could be applied to Spaniards as well… easy to spot us for being loud and always walking in huge groups, trying to find Spanish restaurants as the local food is always worse (with the exception of Italian food 😛 ).
    Something that I’ve wondered sometimes when I visit Italy is how Italians can travel to a different country and be surprised by what they see. You have some of the best monuments, churches and food in the world, so I’m not surprised that you have high standards when travelling!

    • I lived in Spain for several months so I agree with you, we are very similar, no matter how much we’d like to admit!
      And you’re right too about the last statement, but it’s also true that very often we don’t realize what surrounds us, and we don’t really appreciate our country as well.

  • I have met few Italians here in the Philippines nad yes I agree they speak so loud. I thought they were screamibg at us and debatibg but then I realized that how they converse. Lol

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