Etiquette

  • Greetings The standard form of greeting is a handshake. If you know someone well, air-kissing on both cheeks (starting on the left) is the norm.
  • Be polite Say mi scusi to attract attention or say 'I'm sorry'; grazie (mille) to say 'thank you (very much)'; prego to say 'you're welcome' or 'please, after you' and permesso if you need to get past someone in a crowd.
  • Cafe culture Don’t linger at an espresso bar; drink your coffee and go. It’s called espresso for a reason.
  • Paying the bill Whoever invites usually pays. Splitting the bill between friends is common enough, but itemising it is molto vulgare (very vulgar).
  • Boating Always allow passengers to disembark first before boarding boats. For those in need of assistance, the crew are happy to lend a hand.