Visiting Italy? A not-to-do list

They say when in Rome, do as Romans do. However, travellers know quite well that there are also some behaviors they should avoid if they don’t want to be labeled as tourists. So, for those of you visiting Italy, I’ve decided to write a brief not-to-do list: 1. Don’t use ciao to greet someone you don’t know, or in situations requiring formality. Use buongiorno (good morning) or buonasera (good evening), instead. 2. If you’re invited to someone’s home, don’t bring chrysanthemums as a gift. These flowers symbolize death in Italy. 3. Don’t do this gesture. This means cornuto (your wife…

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Eight common stereotypes about Italians

Every country has some stereotypes about other countries and their citizens. And it’s said that each stereotype contains at least a grain of truth. So, in today’s article I want to focus on eight of the most common stereotypes about Italians, and give you my opinion about them. 1. ITALIANS GESTURE A LOT That’s true. We generally use gestures to emphasize what we’re saying. In Italy gestures are considered an important non verbal language. We have gestures to indicate that we’re hungry, thirsty, bored, and so on. So, if you want to fully understand Italians, gestures are definitely something that…

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How to get rid of bad luck – Italian practices

Bad luck

One day, you wake up late: your alarm clock didn’t go off. Damn it! You have an exam today! You rush to get your car but you stumble and fall. When you finally get to school, you fail your exam. And, on the way back to your car, a bird decides to poop right on your shoulder.  If you normally experience these situations, congratulations, you are like Donald Duck or Ugo Fantozzi. In short, you are having bad luck – or someone evil-eyed you1 – and you’d better batten down the hatches… Italians usually believe that some things can bring…

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How to deal with the days of the blackbird: coconut biscuits

The days of the blackbird – i giorni della merla – is an Italian expression meaning the coldest days of winter – specifically the 29th, 30th, 31st of January. No one knows exactly the origins of this expression, but there are some folk legends about it. The most famous one is about a female blackbird and her three chicks. The legend tells of how, a very long time ago, all blackbirds were white as snow and, during winter, stayed in their nests, waiting for spring to come. One year, when winter days just seemed to be over, a huge blizzard hit…

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Twelve things you should know before visiting Italy (Part 3)

Twelve things you should know before visiting Italy (Part 3): Coffee

This is the third and last part of the article Twelve things you should know before visiting Italy. If you haven’t read the first two articles yet, you can do it now -> part 1, part 2. DON’T TOUCH THE VEGETABLES, EVER! If you want to grocery shop in Italy, be aware that there is the silent rule don’t touch the fruits and vegetables with your bare hands or just don’t touch them at all. After all, no one wants to eat food that has been touched by hundreds of people, doesn’t it? So, in supermarkets, you can touch the…

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