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Cultural Gaffes

Discussion in 'General Discussion About Italy' started by Warrior, Jan 1, 2014.

  1. I would love to hear about the things that would be considered culturally offensive or upsetting in Italy. I know about several from other countries, but so far haven't come across anything that is normal to me but shocked my girlfriend.
  2. Have you ever been grocery shopping in Italy with your girlfriend? If not then you may want to ask her about it, as things like handling the produce before buying is considered a little rude.
  3. I have heard that there are only certain times of the day when it is normal to order a cappuccino. I am not sure if that means a waiter would refuse you outside of these periods, but it would probably seem weird to others at the very least.
  4. Thanks for the replies. I will check out both of the ideas mentioned and try to make sure I don't make any major mistakes. I wonder if certain coffees are not even on the menu outside of the appropriate hours for consumption!
  5. I think Italians are pretty used to having tourists invade their cities and would forgive you for not sticking to their customs. I've never heard of anything that would be considered a faux pas.
  6. I can see there are some big cultural differences between Italy and other cultures.... but I didn't experience anything out of the ordinary myself.

    Maybe.... staying more than 5 minutes to drink coffee? That's considered weird :D (comparing it to my home country, where "let's have coffee" means "let's talk or gossip for at least an hour over a cup of coffee" :p)

    I promise to think of some more examples.... right now they don't come to mind. I guess I got used to living among Italians so everything seems normal to me :D
  7. Cappuccino and caffe Latte are normally only consumed during the morning hours.

    You can order whatever coffee you like at any time of the day. It may seem strange to some drinking a cappuccino in the afternoon.
  8. I guess, if someone orders a cappuccino in the afternoon, they're definitely foreigners! :D hahah

    I thought of another one, although it's not really a gaffe...
    Italians are usually very weirded out by the fact that I don't really spend the holidays with my family... not even before I came to Italy.
    It seems they are very tight, when it comes to familly spending Christmas, New Year's, Pasqua ecc., together. The streets are practically empty during these holidays, while at home, everyone is out having fun, drinking, dancing, skiing, ecc.

    Also, what mother says is important to them. And I find that weird, so when I told them I left home at a young age and I take my own decisions because this is my life, not my mom's.... they were pretty speechless, because in their eyes, mother is always right :)
  9. For the young italians, the parents, and in particular way the mom, are very important. You think that they generally get out from home at twenty-five, thirty years.
    Excuse me for the errors , I am learning the english :):oops:
  10. Yes, I learned this now :) It's so interesting to learn about new cultures, I never would have thought there would be such a huge difference between countries on the same continent :)

    I have another one :D Came to me last night, when talking to my significant other how, in some countries (some European, but also in America I think), it is considered "nice" to leave the change as a tip, when you buy something. If you do your weekly shopping, and it costs you 29 Euros and .30 cents... you can choose to leave those .70 cents as a tip for the cashier.

    Well, this is one huge gaffe in Italy (and from what I heard, Germany as well, don't know about other countries).
    I still remember how I bought a bottle of Gatorade once, in 2008, and left .13 cents to the cashier and left.. she yelled at me so loud, I didn't know where to hide!

    So, whatever you do, don't ever leave the change to the cashiers when you do your shopping... :D
    spine likes this.
  11. You can leave the "tip" in restaurants but "in general" is not expected (like in the US).
    I was yelled in Prague, when I did not leave the tip (I just leave the money for the bill :/ )
    Rosie likes this.
  12. My family is very "Italian" when it comes to spending time with family and respecting elders. I remember the one time I couldn't make it to a family lunch on Easter Sunday and my mother kept ringing me hoping I'd magically turn up, when I couldn't make it. I do love being close to my family though and am a real family girl.
  13. I too think family should stick together :) I love this about Italians, it's so traditional and such a wonderful thing to see, they stuck with these beliefs for centuries, I think it's great!

    Another thing I found out about on my own :D
    Don't tell an Italian that the traditional dishes of the region he's from are not yummy :p LOL
    I'm not sure if this is offensive or not, but I have told this to some people and they were like "whaaat? how can you not like this food?" I felt embarrassed, honestly :D

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