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-   -   Ten things NOT to do in Italy (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/ten-things-not-to-do-in-italy-1033313/)

Appia Jan 1st, 2015 12:01 AM

Ten things NOT to do in Italy
 
Fodor's Top News & Features currently includes this topic. BUT ONLY TEN ?

What about:

-Do not buy from street vendors. You can be fined as well as the vendor.

-Do not start a political discussion. Not even with your Italian brother-in-law. Italians are passionate about politics, the problem is that no one Italian agrees with another Italian, so discussions can get heated.

-This is an old chestnut but still true: do not drink capuccino with your lunch or dinner. Drink wine, drink water, drink beer if you have to, but not capuccino. Italians do not drink capuccino after about 10.30 a.m. unless they have had a very late night (such as today New Year's Day). Yes I know, in touristy places anything goes and you can drink your capuccino any time you like and nobody will flinch. But it's not done elsewhere. An espresso after lunch is fine.

Has anybody else got any no-nos for Italy?

MissPrism Jan 1st, 2015 01:05 AM

I don't do any of the above, but it was years before I knew not to hand money to a shop assistant, but to put it in the well on the counter.

Cathinjoetown Jan 1st, 2015 02:01 AM

"Don't drink cappuccino after 10:30" is just stupid.

If you want it and it's on offer, who would take offense? And if someone flinches, why would you care?

You're a tourist and will be pegged as one whether you order cappuccino or not. I don't usually drink it but if I wanted one, I would order it.

Other than advice about good manners and obeying local laws, these lists are silly.

justineparis Jan 1st, 2015 02:10 AM

Drink what you want when you want,. its silly to pretend you are not what you are.. a tourist.. get over that. If a place will make and sell you a cappuccino.. buy it and drink it..


Secondly.. I love talking heated politics.. its very popular in France too.. difference being people in Europe seem to be able to disagree and still sit at same table with you.. sure maybe yelling and waving arms.. but they will still sit with you and not disown you .. like some folks on this side of the pond do..

Appia Jan 1st, 2015 02:28 AM

<<Other than advice about good manners and obeying local laws, these lists are silly.>>.......but entertaining!

Cathinjoetown Jan 1st, 2015 03:05 AM

Justine,

You're certainly right about the French and political discussions. We tend not to initiate them but will join in once they get going.

During the last national election our "outsider" opinion was actively sought. As you mentioned, lots of give and take, some of it heated but at the end, everyone has a drink together or carries on with the meal.

We can't vote (husband can vote locally) but we follow it all closely as it affects our lives.

sandralist Jan 1st, 2015 04:51 AM

I don't find these lists entertaining but very annoying and usually filled with misinformation and cliches: Pesto was not "invented" in Genova and Naples is one of the great pasta cuisines of Italy, not just about pizza. Many important things in Italy do start on time -- including train departures and tours. i have never encountered any difficulty in talking with Italians about politics, whether it was Italian or American politics, or European politics.

These lists are presented with a smug and mocking attitude on the part of the writers, and they must be an awfully easy to sell to editors. It is curious aspect of American culture that so much written material -- books, magazines, message boards -- starts from the premise of telling people who read and are trying to learn more that, first off, we writers and editors want to let you know you are a dummy, and you need to be talked to like a nasty kindergarten teacher, with sarcasm and eye-rolling. No wonder people in America quit reading after awhile.

Italy has a different culture, but it would be nice if its differences were at least occasionally presented to visitors in positive ways, instead of "no-no's" and "nah-nah's".

For instance. when it Italy:

Note the special respect given to women over 50 and the elderly in general, and join in.

If you appreciate the community of small stores of Italy and their smiling owners, help out by giving them the correct change when making a purchase, and bring your own little tote bag.

Before coming to Italy, listen to Italian music. It will help you understand the language and the culture better.

Appreciate the curvaceousness of the Italian aesthetic. Roads, domes, fountains, and even the pasta and pizza on your plate, very often celebrate the circular and the flexible, rather than the straight and inflexible. Getting used to the idea of things going in circles as being the most natural form of life can be an interesting way of slipping into the rhythm of a culture that is not as Cartesian as most of the ones we are used to.

bilboburgler Jan 1st, 2015 05:09 AM

My pennyworth

Some bars you order in one place and you pay in another. Daunting to the foreigner.

Smiling and hand shaking is really very important.

Stuff happens on time and then somethings happen when they happen.

Slow down

It is easy to agree with an Italian, harder if there are two :-)

There is always another restaurant around the corner and the best ones are the noisiest.

Holly_uncasdewar Jan 1st, 2015 05:35 AM

"Many important things in Italy do start on time -- including train departures . . ."

Yeah, except when they're on strike.

bvlenci Jan 1st, 2015 05:44 AM

It's not true that you can't buy from street vendors. You can't buy counterfeit merchandise, such as fake Gucci bags, from anyone. If a street vendor is selling things that don't pretend to be what they're not, you can buy them freely. If he's not got a proper vendor's license, he may get in trouble, but you won't.

neckervd Jan 1st, 2015 07:06 AM

"Many important things in Italy do start on time -- including train departures . . . except when they're on strike."

Italian railway strikes (and the trains running despite the strike) are announced long in advance. Italian railway strikes begin in time and end in time, as announced in advance.
http://scioperi.mit.gov.it/mit2/public/scioperi

annhig Jan 1st, 2015 08:03 AM

Note the special respect given to women over 50 and the elderly in general, and join in.>>

happy to do that, especially as I fall into the "woman over 50" group.

on our langugae-learning trip to Sorrento last year when we were lodged with an elderly lady in her apartment, she certainly had no hesitation in sharing her political views with us, whether we understood them or not. Politicians were all thieves, according to her, apart from Renzi who was praised as being young and energetic. [even if we'd not understood first time round, we'd have got the meaning eventually]. We didn't dare disagree with her, anyway.

Christina Jan 1st, 2015 08:03 AM

Never been to Italy except passing through, but I couldn't believe you shouldn't buy from street vendors ever, either. I would think it depends on the merchandise and type of vendor. This is true anywhere, of course, so it's not an Italy rule (like NYC, tons of fake stuff there sold by street vendors).

I also think it's stupid to tell people what they should drink when. People should drink whatever they want, it's their taste and their money.

Calabria62 Jan 1st, 2015 08:08 AM

I think that perhaps, rather than a list of dos and don'ts, it might be more satisfying to learn about the culture in advance, customs, and some of the language, and then enjoy. I am of Calabrian descent,look Italian, speak some Italian, and have been to Italy several times, BUT, it's always clear to natives that I'm NOT Italian. And really, who cares? I AM a tourist.

And rather than generalize, we can remember that sometimes things go well, sometimes they don't, sometimes you meet rude people, sometimes you will meet lovely people, trains may run on time, sometimes they won't. This happens everywhere. And Italy is so diverse from north to south, if we stick to lists of "must sees", "best restaurants", and only eating pizza in Naples, we'll miss out on a much richer experience.

As for cappuccino, I would order it if I wanted it, no matter what time of day.

Just my two cents.....

Happy New Year!

Appia Jan 1st, 2015 08:10 AM

Here we go again! I posted this topic today as a follow-up to the one a couple of days ago "Who wears the trousers?" to provide a bit of fun on the forums over New Year.
I can only conclude that there are a lot of serious minded folk out there. I won't do it again. Promise.

sandralist Jan 1st, 2015 08:22 AM

Bravo, Appia, for showing a willingness to learn about a new culture you've entered, not just memorize lists.

Appia Jan 1st, 2015 08:35 AM

Let me try to explain the cappuccino thing. Cappuccino is considered a breakfast drink. It's 95% milk after all. An Italian breakfast is a brioche and a cappuccino, standing up at the bar.
For the rest of the day, including after lunch and dinner, we drink espresso coffee in those tiny cups. Never WITH a meal though, only after.

bilboburgler Jan 1st, 2015 08:44 AM

Appia, I never knew anyone drank coffee with a meal, disgusting. Still I find Cappuccino disgusting all the time.

I guess some of us bend with the wind and some just stand up straight. :-)

vincenzo32951 Jan 1st, 2015 08:47 AM

What I I wake up at 1:00 PM? OK to drink cappuccino?

annhig Jan 1st, 2015 08:54 AM

Cappuccino is considered a breakfast drink. It's 95% milk after all. An Italian breakfast is a brioche and a cappuccino, standing up at the bar.For the rest of the day, including after lunch and dinner, we drink espresso coffee in those tiny cups. Never WITH a meal though, only after.>>

Appia - the people here KNOW this. [mostly anyway] They just don't care. They do care [some of them to an extraordinary extent] about what they wear when they visit Europe, but if they want a cappuccino at 3pm, they are just going to go ahead and have one, no matter what the waiter thinks.

As for us brits, well we like something we are pleased to call a "cafe latte", and we try to order that in Italy to the puzzlement of the natives. We also persist in trying to order tea, even though we know that it's going to be disgusting. I shall take some teabags with me to Venice - a good example of the triumph of hope over experience. [though I did once have an excellent pot of tea there, greatly to my surprise].

Please don't stop trying to educate and entertain us, Appia, even if some of us are resistant to the process!


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