5 unspoken rules for acting like a local in Italy

Italians have a reputation around the world for not being especially attentive to regulations and laws.

And while that might be true when it comes to driving or queuing, there are several unspoken rules you’ll find Italians sticking to that immediately mark anyone who doesn’t follow them as a tourist.

And no one will be surprised to find out that most of them are about food, the table, and meals in general.

So if you really want to act like a local on your next trip to the Bel Paese and feel as Italian as possible as you stroll around Rome or Florence or Milan, here are five things to keep in mind.

The great cappuccino debate

Cappuccino is a delicious drink, but one that has a very specific time limit to Italians.

You’ll find them ordering a cappuccino (or “cappuccio,” as it’s also called) all throughout morning, especially if they have time to sit down and chat for a while.

But it’s no longer socially acceptable to order one once midday hits – because it’s a breakfast drink and so it has no place later in the day.

Funnily enough, you can order a macchiato (espresso with milk, so the same two ingredients that make up a cappuccino) anytime throughout the day and no one will question it in the slightest.

Drink of choice

When it comes to meals, Italians stick with only three choices – water, wine or beer.

You’ll see red wine with meats and white wine with fish, for example, while beer mostly goes with pizza.

What you definitely won’t see (and so shouldn’t order if you want to truly pass as a local) is sodas and juices, or even worse, coffee and other hot drinks, accompanying a nice plate of pasta.

Kids do get a bonus pass, though, and they can get a can of Coke or iced tea whenever they want.