Know your Italian visitor


Informal greeting that can mean either hello or goodbye: 'Ciao' (chow).

Standard greeting: 'Buon giorno' (bwohn-johr-noh).

Wait until invited to use a first-name basis.

Sloppy dress. Italians are stylish, and can form lasting first impressions based on one’s appearance.

Most Italians are social and outgoing people who seek flexibility, fun and freedom from their travel; offer them interesting, interactive experiences, but don’t plan itineraries unless asked.

Food and wine are fundamental components of Italian culture; ensure that their dining experiences are good, and be sure to be able to point them in the direction of high-class restaurants.

Italians are interested in natural scenery and authentic historical and cultural experiences; know where they can experience these in your area.

First impressions last in the eyes of Italian people, and maintaining a favourable image matters. Be polite and friendly.

Punctuality is sometimes not seen as a priority in Italian culture. If invited to dinner, guests could arrive 15 minutes late, or 30 minutes late if invited to a party.

Do not rest your hands in your lap during a meal when seated, and do not rest your elbows on the table either.

It is common for several people to speak at once in social and business encounters. This is not considered bad manners.