Usually we read a lot or articles telling us what to do, generally speaking, about a place. Sometimes, anyway, it would be good to have also a list of things you shouldn’t do. And here I come, with this incredibly useful guide of things not to do in Italy!
Being Italian I have quite an experience of our traditions, beliefs, food and everything else about my country, so this one is a list, speaking half-jokingly, of what you should not do to blend more into the Italian experience, or just to avoid at all because they’re wrong.
So prepare yourself, here’s the “DO NOT” list:
1 – Have a cappuccino with your meal
I saw it, and I can’t forget it. For an Italian this is something terrible to see, people drinking cappuccino while eating pasta or meat.
Cappuccino (Italian pronunciation: [kapputˈtʃiːno]) is made with espresso, hot milk, and milk foam, and it’s something we drink far from meals, usually in the morning for breakfast or in the afternoon break. I know it’s good but at the right time is better!
2 – Think you can cross on the pedestrian crossing
Italy is the country of Ferrari, Lamborghini, Alfa Romeo and many others. Everyone drives like he’s a pilot and a pilot doesn’t care about pedestrians since on a circuit there are no pedestrians. So, when you approach the pedestrian crossing, don’t expect cars to stop and let you gently pass, like on a red carpet. Sometimes they don’t even stop while you’re crossing. Just cross wherever and whenever you want, like we do, but be extra aware!
3 – Ruin monuments
That’s something I think I shouldn’t even write about since I believe everyone following this blog is smart enough to understand how bad it is to ruin a monument with a stupid text, or even worse to engrave it.
If you want to remember that place you visited, take a selfie! Respect the art and the cultural heritage of the country you’re visiting and remember that art is for everyone.
4 – Eat in fast foods
I mean, sometimes it’s ok, if you’re in a hurry or just want to stay cheap, but coming to Italy and avoid our food and wine tradition is outrageous, both for you and for us!
Try the pizza in Naples, fish in the south of Italy, pasta in Bologna, wine in Tuscany, etc… Every region has its typical culinary tradition, from appetizers to dessert, there’s a world full of flavors for your taste buds that are waiting for you.
With websites like TripAdvisor you can discover hidden gems slightly away from common touristic paths where you’ll eat and drink like you’ve never done before, I assure you! And take your time while eating: for us it’s a sort of ritual, enjoy the moment and relax.
5 – Be scared by hand gestures
If you’re coming to Italy, bring all the patience you have and try to learn some basic Italian. The fact is that the English language is not so common and, especially in smaller cities, it could be hard to communicate.
But we are famous for our hand speaking! It could be strange at the beginning, but if you follow an Italian speaking and look at the gestures, you could understand more than if you only follow the voice.
That’s a nice video by the New York Times. Just try some for yourself, you’ll be surprised by their effectiveness!
6 – Take an unlicensed taxi
This is something not necessarily about Italy, but it’s always good to remember: don’t take an unlicensed taxi. It’s easier to find them outside main rail stations, people coming at you asking where you want to go and telling you the fare. Avoid them.
Real taxi drivers don’t come at you promising bargains; they stay in their car. You can spot them because in Italy every taxi has to be white, with some decals with licenses, taxi phone number and eventually ads, plus the usual TAXI sign on top of the roof. Take these, there is no warranty about the others, they’re not insured to carry people around, and you can never know the real purposes of these people. And could be they’re not even cheaper than a real taxi.
7 – Avoid football/soccer discussions
We are a land of saints, sailors and… football managers! Almost everyone supports a team and knows how to deal with tactics, players and schemes better than the real manager itself.
On Mondays you can spot small groups of people speaking in the coffee bars around a pink newspaper, the Gazzetta Dello Sport: everyone disagrees with the others, energetically speaking and gesturing. They don’t bite, they’re not dangerous and trying to join them could be funny! If you know the subject, of course.
Done something strange in Italy? Confused by some Italian behaviors? Do you know something else not to do in Italy? Tell me in the comment section!
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