10 Do’s & Don’t’s of Italian Travel Etiquette

Jewish Guetto

When it comes to visiting Italy, it doesn’t hurt to do some basic research for what to do and how to behave. While you are visiting Italy, follow these tips to avoid sticking out like a sore thumb. Follow our do’s and don’t’s tips for Italian Etiquette so you fit right in with the locals.

1: DO be conscious of how you dress

Italians do judge other people based off of how they dress, and they can usually tell if you’re American and a tourist based off of how you dress and present yourself. That means you should probably live the flip flops at home.

2: DON’T use “ciao” when first meeting someone

When you enter a shop, start with “Buon Giorno” (good morning) or “Buona Sera” (good afternoon/evening). Italians love it when you at least attempt to speak some Italian with them, even if it is obvious that you only know the basics. Then use “Ciao!” as much as you would like.

3: DO remember to look after your belongings

As in any big city, you have to be careful about your belongings. Make sure to keep all valuables out of your pockets and in a zipped bag or purse to deter anyone from trying to get to your belongings.

4: DON’T forget to look both ways when crossing the street

Most of the time, drivers in Italy won’t stop and wait for pedestrians to cross the street if they’re waiting at the crosswalk, so make sure that you’ll be okay to cross before going. The best way to have a driver stop for you is to make eye contact with them. Sounds simple, but it is essential. As you are crossing the pedestrian walkway, take a glance at the oncoming traffic and show the driver either with eye contact or with a hand gesture, that it’s your turn to cross.

5: DO remember to cover your knees & shoulders

Your time in Italy wouldn’t be complete without going to St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City or St Marks Basilica in Venice, but to enter these amazing churches you should know that you have to cover your knees and shoulders. Italy is still a very Catholic country, and follows the rules of dressing modestly when it comes to going to church so you won’t be able to enter unless you’re covered up. For more on what to wear, check out our FAQ.

6: DON’T forget to learn the basics

Similar to greeting people, Italians love it when you at least attempt to speak some Italian with them, even if it is obvious that you only know the basics. Learning some of the basic Italian phrases makes it a lot easier to get around the city & speak to the locals.

7: DO remember to carry some cash around with you

Not all shops and restaurants take credit cards, and it’s better to be safe when it comes to that kind of thing so that you aren’t left feeling stranded and unable to pay after finishing a meal.

8: DON’T try to wear flip flops while walking around Italy

You don’t need to be the typical American tourist wearing white sneakers all the time, but wearing comfortable shoes while exploring the different cities will make a huge difference by the time you’re done.

9: DO try an Italian coffee

Italian coffee is very different to coffee that you’ll have anywhere else in the world. When you’re in Italy make sure you start your morning with a cappuccino and end your evening with a cafe (espresso)!

10: DON’T forget to have fun and immerse yourself in Italian culture

Visiting Italy is always a unique experience, no matter how many times you’ve visited and how long you’ve stayed. Enjoy your time, and try to experience the Italian culture as fully as you possibly can. When in Rome, do as the Romans do, right?