Living in Italy with an Italian family has given me insight into the culture and customary ways of living.
Living in an Italian home means I am constantly filled with surprises and way of doing different everyday tasks.
Each day I find a new way of embarrassing myself or getting a strange look from my host family.
Here are eight tips and pieces of advice that can help shed some embarrassment from your experience in Italy.
People, learn from my mistakes! Enjoy.
1. It is customary to only fill your glass about an inch or two high.
If you fill it up any more than that, it is considered rude. I’ve been so incredibly thirsty while living in Bologna. I now keep a 1-liter jug of water in my room to chug to my own desire.
2. Pizza is eaten with a fork and knife.
I remember being at dinner one evening and eating the pizza with my hands, eventually realizing that everyone else at the table was using a fork and knife.
3. Bidets are everywhere.
When I first walked into the bathroom in my Italian home, I was taken aback because of the second, ‘lower toilet, sink looking thing’.
I thought to myself, “Wow, —- gets his own sink to himself and he is able to reach it!” Lo and behold, it is actually called a bidet.
A bidet is not common in America, at least from what I have seen. A bidet is used for washing private areas, as well as feet. I love this idea because it seems to be environmentally friendly.
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4. Do not drink a cappuccino after 11 AM.
Before my arrival in Italy, I read up on Italy’s culture and way of living.
To my astonishment, drinking a cappuccino after 11 AM is quite odd, and only tourists do this.
So if you want to live like a real Italian, do not drink or order a cappuccino after 11 AM.
5. Lunch hours in Italy are much different
than lunch break in America. Stores will close for lunch, (yes, I mean actually close in its entirety), and staff will go to lunch for about 1-1/2 hours. Some will even take naps after.
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6. Dinners are long.
Stemming off of number 5, dinner at a restaurant usually takes around 2-3 hours.
Absolutely nothing is rushed, and it is common for the restaurant owner to come around to all of the tables often, checking on the customers and making sure the food is good.
7. Keep receipts
I’m not entirely sure why, but I’ve been told to keep my receipt after every purchase from a cafe or bar.
I researched why and read that in case someone were to stop you, you would need proof of your order and ensure taxes are being paid.
I asked an Italian person about this, and they had never heard about this, but just to be safe, I collect my receipt every single time.
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8. Bars in Italy are also known as what we call a cafe in America.
There are signs that say, “Bar” all around Italy.
This doesn’t mean it’s solely a bar where you get alcohol like you would in America.
Bars are also known as coffee shops and a place where you can pick up a quick espresso. Italians will sip on espressos at the bar, (just as one would when drinking a beer in America), but it is done very quickly.
Extra: For dinner one evening, we each got our own takeout pizza. I was taken back when I received the pizza in the takeout box as well. My host family cut off the top part of the box and we used the takeout box as a plate, and I had an entire pizza to myself. Not sure if this is normal or not.
Is there a tip or piece of advice you can share for all of the people who are visiting Italy in the near future?
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