7 IMPORTANT Italian RULES that no Italian breaks!

Mafia, shadow economy, Calciopoli, Tangentopoli… unfortunately not everyone respects the rules in Italy. But there are some unwritten laws that nobody would break, ever! Do you know them all?

Find out the 7 RULES to SURVIVE in Italy! 


1. The KISSES rule

It does not matter how tired, nervous or angry you are. It does not matter how much you know the person in front of you. The only thing that really matter is to greet them in a proper way: that is, kissing them on the cheeks!

So, besides the verbal greetings that we all know (for example: hello, good morning, good evening, and so on), Italians say “hi” and “bye” exchanging cheek kisses. In specific, two or three kisses, depending on the country’s area you are in.

The ritual has a very precise order: you must start from the left cheek! You start slightly turning your head on the right, in order to offer your left cheek and softly touch the other person’s one. Then, you do the same on the other side.

2.The SPAGHETTI rule

Not everyone knows that, when Italians cook spaghetti, they never break them before putting them in the hot water! It is forbidden!

Spaghetti must be cooked just the way they are: intact! Then, they must be eaten rolling them up with a fork. And if you cannot eat them without breaking them… you can still have a shorter kind of pasta, like penne!

3. The TOOTH rule

This rule is deeply connected to the previous one. Because, when Italians cook pasta, another important matter is the timing: regardless the kind of pasta, you must not let it become “soft”, by cooking it too much.

Pasta must be “al dente” (literally “to the tooth”): meaning, not too hard to break your teeth, but still hard enough to chew it!

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4. The SOCKS rule

It does not matter if you live in a big city where nobody cares about the way in which you dress. There is a line that can never be crossed: wearing socks AND sandals together!

Italians are famous for their passion for fashion, we all know that. That is why socks with sandals are simply unacceptable for us. Actually, according to our stereotypes, it is a combination that only German tourists would wear! Do you confirm or deny this?

5. The DELAY rule

Every true Italian is always late.

So, when you hang out with your Italian friends, do not get offended if they show up half an hour late: it is normal! When an Italian gives you an appointment, the best thing you can do is to calculate 20 or 30 minutes of delay: in this way, you will know the actual hour you will meet!

6.  The FISH and CHEESE rule

As you can see, many of these rules are connected to food: but now we move from pasta to fish. There are many countries where you can eat fish together with cheese, but in Italy this combination is unacceptable. As a matter of fact, you would never find it in a restaurant menù in Italy!

In terms of terror, it can rival the pineapple pizza…

7. The GIFTS rule

It is true: we Italians have many weird rules, but we are also very generous. In fact, for every party or special event we go to (birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and so on…) we always bring a gift.

Moreover: when someone invites us to come over their house, we never show up empty handed! That would be extremely rude! In this case we usually bring a bottle of wine, some sweets or flowers.

Don’t miss also our lesson about 10 verbs for traveling to Italy!

Let’s see if you’ve mastered the contents of this class. Have a go at completing the exercises!

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