Preparing to Interact Socially in Italian

1) Italian Culture and Traditions:

  • Riposo = Ranging between the hours of 12-4pm, Italy shuts down to allow the locals to rest after a long and hectic morning, and they prepare for the busy afternoon. Riposo takes place in a comfortable place, such as the bed or sofa, where one can take a peaceful, undisturbed nap, after having a good and long lunch with friends or family.
  • Cicchetti/Stuzzichini = These snacks, usually in the form of finger foods, (or tapas) originated in Spain, but are common in many countries. They are also known to Italian Americans as antipasti.
  • Meeting/Dining/Business Etiquette = When introduced, the proper thing to do is shake hands with direct eye contact and a smile. Italians use calling cards that exhibit name, address, title/academic honors, and telephone number, in place of the slightly smaller business cards, in social settings. Once established, an air-kiss on both checks for both genders (starting with the left), along with a pat on the back for the men. Also, wait until invited to move on to the 1st name basis. If invited to an Italian’s home, feel encouraged to bring a gift-wrapped (not in black or purple) bottle of good vintage wine or chocolates. If you choose to send flowers (not chrysanthemums, or red/yellow), have them delivered the same day. If you do not want more wine, leave your glass nearly full. When doing business, allow sufficient time for letting new colleagues get to know you (your 1st ‘business meeting’ may consist of a personal discussion before any business begins). Face-to-face contact is preferred to telephone/written communication. This can be solely a perception/opinion, but it has been said that Italians are expressive communicators, being emotional, wordy, eloquent and demonstrative.

2) Useful Italian Words & Phrases for Travelers:

  • Hello!
 = Ciao!/Salve!
  • Good morning!
 =Buon giorno!
  • Good day!
 =Buon pomeriggio!
  • Good evening!
 =Buona sera!
  • How are you?
 =Come va?
  • Fine.
  • Very well.
 =Molto bene.
  • So-so.
 =Così così.
  • What’s your name?
 =Come si chiama?
  • My name is…
 =Mi chiamo…
  • It’s nice to meet you.
 =Piacere (di conoscerla).
  • Goodbye. =Arrivederla/ci.
  • See you soon.
 =A presto!
  • Goodnight. =Buona notte!
  • Thank you.
  • Thank you very much.
 =Grazie tante.
  • You’re welcome.
  • Please. =Per favore.
  • Yes. =Sì.
  • No. =No.
  • Excuse me.
 =Mi scusi.
  • I’m sorry.
 =Mi dispiace.
  • I don’t understand.
 =Non capisco.
  • I don’t speak Italian.
 =Non parlo italiano.
  • I don’t speak Italian very well.
 =Non parlo molto bene italiano.
  • Do you speak English?
 =Parla inglese?
  • Speak slowly, please.
 =Parli piano, per favore.
  • Repeat, please.
 =Ripeta, per favore.
  • What’s your name?
 =Come si chiama?
  • How are you?
 =Come va?
  • Do you speak English?
 =Parla inglese?
  • Where is the subway?
 =Dov’è la metropolitana?
  • Is the tip included?
 =Il servizio è incluso?
  • How much does that cost? (singular-sg./plural-pl.)
 =Quanto costa/costano?
  • Is there a public phone here?
 =C’è un telefono pubblico vicino?
  • Can I get on the internet?
 =Posso collegarmi con internet?
  • Can you help me?
 =Mi può aiutare?
  • Where is the bathroom?
 =Dov’è la toilette?
  • Where do you live? (singular/plural)
 =Dove abiti/abitate?
  • I live in… = Abito a…
  • This is my friend. (masculine/feminine)
 =Ti presento il mio amico/la mia amica.
  • This is my boyfriend.
 =Questo è il mio ragazzo.
  • This is my girlfriend.
 =Questa è la mia ragazza.
  • This is my husband.
 =Questo è (il) mio marito.
  • This is my wife.
 =Questa è (la) mia moglie
  • Please visit me!
 =Vieni a trovarmi!
  • I had a wonderful time. (masculine/feminine)
 =Mi sono divertito/divertita.
  • Where is a good restaurant?
 =Dove si mangia bene?
  • A table for two, please.
 =Una tavola per due, per favore.
  • The menu, please.
 =Il menu, per favore.
  • The wine list, please.
 =La lista dei vini, per favore.
  • I would like something to drink.
 =Vorrei qualcosa da bere.
  • A glass of water, please.
 =Una bottiglia d’acqua, per favore.
  • A cup of tea, please.
 =Una tazza di tè, per favore.
  • Do you have vegetarian dishes?
 =Avete dei piatti vegetariani?
  • That’s all.
 =Basta così.
  • The check, please.
 =Il conto, per favore.
  • To your health!
  • It’s delicious!
 =È delizioso.
  • I like my steak rare/medium/well done.
 =Preferisco la bistecca al sangue/cotta al punto giusto/ben cotta.
  • Another, please.
 =Un altro, per favore.
  • More, please.
 =Ancora un po’, per favore.

There are so many beautiful places in the world. But it is something about Italy. A must visit…ASAP!! Stay tuned… I will add more to this post, and will provide future posts for other cultures. If you have any area preferences or questions, please ask in comment section below. Please also see tips on entering a foreign country. Gracias!

I dedicate this post to Indeciso on my Advice page. Buona Fortuna!!