Italian customs

Our customs of Italy They are those of a country with Greco-Latin roots, the same ones that have shaped Spanish traditions over the centuries. Therefore, they are not very different from ours, at least with regard to the most important and ancestral.

However, despite what we have just told you, the customs of Italy present singularities that distinguish them from the habitual ones in other nations whose culture also possesses Latin substrate. They have nothing to do, for example, French gastronomic traditions (here we leave you an article about them) or Portuguese with those of the transalpine country. Therefore, we are going to tell you about some of the most peculiar Italian customs.

From expressiveness to religious tradition

The first thing we must tell you about the customs of Italy is that we are going to tell you about a country that, like everyone else, is plural. In the same way that the Andalusian traditions differ from the Galician ones, the Sicilian ones do the same from the Piedmontese ones. However, also as in all nations, the common cultural substrate gives rise to customs shared by all Italians. Let's see them.

Expressiveness, genuinely Italian


Expressiveness, a custom in Italy

One of the things that will surprise you the most when you travel to Italy is the way of communicating of its inhabitants. From the most northerners to those who live in the extreme south, they are enormously expressive, to the point that, at times, they seem to be arguing.

Although it sounds cliché, it is true, it is not just a classic movie. Italians express themselves with all parts of your body. They gesture with their hands excessively, speak in a high tone and sometimes even accompany their gestures with other movements. In short, for the transalpinos non-verbal communication is equal to or more important than words.

Food, a ritual among the customs of Italy

Table with food

A table ready to eat

There are many Italian customs related to the world of food. They have to do both with the dishes that its inhabitants enjoy and with ancestral traditions that can give you a dislike if you do not know them. We are going to tell you about them.

You should know that if you visit an Italian at his home, food is a must. He will always offer you something to eat and drink. He will even ask you to stay for lunch or dinner with him. We could tell you that food is a whole ritual for Italians. More than feeding, for them it is a social act.

To attend a meal in the country, you must know a few things. Typically, the first thing you'll see on the table is the appetizer. With this name all kinds of starters are called which, as their name suggests, are never made up of pasta. They can be sausages or seafood. But they are more typical, for example, the caponata, a typical Sicilian stew; the frittata, a kind of stuffed omelette; the frico, a crispy cheese typical of Friuli, or the supplì Roman, which is a rice croquette.

After the antipasto, they will serve you the first course and then a second. One of these can be spaghetti and don't ever cut it or eat it with a spoon. For Italians it is a sacrilege. Finally, the meal will end with the sweet. However, the true ending will be the coffee, inevitable in Italy and about which you should also know some things.

Something you should not do, especially in areas like Tuscany, is simply order a coffee. They will look at you like an alien. Ask for a expresso machine or cut, one limited or short of coffee or a double or doppio. However, more typical is the cappuccino, which has equal parts coffee, hot milk and milk foam.

Finally, in this long section dedicated to food in Italy, we will tell you that, for a transalpine, his mother and grandmother are the best cooks in the world. For them, the mum and nonna they cook better than anyone else and don't ever question it. Not for nothing, for an Italian his family is sacred.

Religiosity, inherent to Italians

Catholic event

A catholic event

Another characteristic feature of the transalpinos is their deep religiosity. Despite the fact that, according to statistics, only 30% of Italians admit to being a practicing Catholic, religious tradition is very important to them and it is essential that you respect it. In fact, it is significant that, instead, almost 90% of the population declares themselves a believer.

It is no coincidence that in Italy the Vatican (here we leave you an article about this country), seat of the Catholic religion. Therefore, in the transalpine country there are numerous religious weddings and baptisms, as well as other ceremonies such as festivities and processions in honor of saints. Also, like everything they do, Italians they passionately live their religious fervor.

Driving, a pending issue

Traffic in Rome

Cars driving through Rome

What we are going to tell you may sound like a cliché and, furthermore, a generalization. However, believing it can save your life. Because generally speaking, Italians are terrible drivers. Or, better to say, very little respectful of traffic regulations.

In the large cities of the country, cars skip the red lights, overtake unduly and each one circulates where they want. The streets look like real racing circuits. But above all, do not cross a crosswalk believing that the vehicles are going to stop. They never do.

Clothes, back to fashion

Fashion show

A fashion show

The identification of Italy with fashion has become popular. It is true that some of the great designers have been transalpine, but it is not so important for ordinary Italians to dress according to the latest trends.

However, it is true that, generally speaking, they are very concerned about their appearance. You will not see them unkempt even in a supermarket or at the gym. They are very careful with their beautiful presence (good appearance) and this includes, not only the clothes, but also the hairstyle and accessories.

Opera, a genuine Italian custom

An opera

A representation of 'Aída' by Verdi

Generally speaking, Italians are great music lovers. And, among all musical genres, opera fascinates them. It is no coincidence, since this type of composition was born in the transalpine country.

The first creation that can be considered an opera was Daphne, James Peri, who wrote it in 1537. However, it would be in the nineteenth century when the genre reached great heights of popularity with authors such as Gioachino Rossini, Francesco Bellini and especially Giuseppe Verdi.

The latter is responsible for the popularization of opera. Italians turned their works into symbol of the unification of the country and with it, they became enormously popular. Since then, it has been a passion for Italians only comparable to the one they feel for the football, another of the great customs of Italy, although this is common to many other countries.

Protesting, inherent to the Italian character


A protest in the street

Another thing that will surprise you if you travel to Italy is that its inhabitants spend their time protesting about everything. Something that is also accentuated by his passionate temperament. It does not matter if it is because the public transport they were waiting for has arrived late, because the Government steals from them or, precisely, because their football team is bad, the transalpinos always have a complaint.

Yet they are just as fond of protesting as jealous of their land. This means that you should not complain about Italy. If you do, they will become the most nationalistic in the world and will make your behavior ugly. Only they can criticize their country.

Expressions and phrases


An aperitif

We finish this tour of the customs of Italy by talking to you about some expressions common to the whole country that are equivalent to our set phrases. Although they belong to the colloquial language, if you use them, you will look like a true Italian.

For example, to quattr'occhi means four eyes, but it is used to say that an issue must be resolved by two people, without anyone else intervening. To send someone to shut up, they say water in mouth. For its part, the expression ligarsila to the dito it translates as tying it to the finger, but it means that a person remembers the damage that has been done to him to take revenge later. If it is said cadere della padella alla brace it means to fall from the pan onto the grill, but it means that you have gone from a bad situation to a worse one. It would be like our going from Guatemala to "guatepeor." Finally, if they say that a person is brutta eat i sette peccati capitali They are indicating that it is ugly like the seven deadly sins, that it would be equivalent to our ugly nose.

In conclusion, we have shown you some of the most important customs of Italy. Logically, you cannot forget that it is a whole country with different regional traditions, but all the ones that we have mentioned you can find from the north to the south and from the east to the west. And we have still left other customs such as the habit of introduce a person with the university degree they hold (for example, lawyer Buscetti) or his fondness for the appetizer.

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