When it comes to visiting Italy, it doesn’t hurt to do some basic introductory research for what to do and how to act. While visiting Italy, here are some tips that you can use to avoid being the obnoxious tourist during your stay. Follow our do’s and don’t tips for Italian Etiquette so you fit right in with the locals.

Italian Etiquette

#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 can’t bring those flip flops with you!

#2 DONT try to say “ciao” when first meeting someone
“Ciao” is reserved for greeting acquaintances & friends; instead, say “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.

#3 DO remember to look after your belongings
As like any big city, you have to be very careful about your belongings. Make sure that you keep all valuables out of our pockets and always bring a bag that zips closed so that it deters anyone from trying to get to your belongings.

#4 DONT 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.

Italian Etiquette

#6 DONT 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 DONT 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 DONT 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?

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  1. Absolute solid advice! Especially on the shoulder/knee coverings. I visited Italy in late August which was, of course, hot! Some churches had temporary paper shawl coverings but most did not and many women were turned away from entering churches. Having a small sweater with you that can be tucked into your bag is the way to go when cathedral touring. Great post, LivItaly!

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