Ten things NOT to do in Italy

Jan 3rd, 2015, 08:25 AM
  #81  
 
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sandralist, I've seen Italian kids eating pancakes while drinking Coke. It was in the U.S. where the family was on vacation.

Personally, I don't care what anyone eats or drinks. And I certainly don't care what some waiter, foreign or domestic, thinks about what I order. I'm lucky on one point, though. I don't like ice, so at least I'm not upsetting anyone with an ice addiction.

On the oversize luggage thing... We drove some friends to the airport for their first ever trip to Europe. We were astounded at the amount of luggage they were taking for a 2-week trip (not a cruise). They had the sets (3 pieces for each!) of a particular line: Small tote, carryon and must-be-checked sizes. I think because the pieces were displayed in a set (and perhaps priced that way), our friends thought they needed all of them. We barely fit it all in our SUV! When they came home, they admitted that they'd taken too much.
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Jan 3rd, 2015, 08:30 AM
  #82  
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lilsebastien: the pasta sauce question SHOULD not arise as any expert pasta eater - as all Italians are - will get to the end of his/her meal with not a speck of pasta left on the plate! It's an art.
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Jan 3rd, 2015, 11:36 AM
  #83  
 
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Many cruise ships have rules about dressing formally to enter the dining room on some or all nights. This is an important attraction for many cruise ship travelers, the chance to dress in ball gowns and tuxedos and relive the Gilded Age.


Jean,

Many school-aged children in Italy drink coke every day for lunch. It has become popular in Italy, and I have noticed it especially turns up in small towns where the local middle school or high school has no cafeteria, and instead the kids have vouchers or pocket money to eat lunch at the local bars. Those places will have a "student menu" every day, and one of the typical choices can turn out to be: Soup, hot dog, coke = 7e

Pancakes are not common in Italy, and are considered an iconic food for Italian tourists traveling to America. It wouldn't surprise me in the least to see an Italian family order a meal of hamburgers, pancakes, cokes and brownies -- since I would imagine every tourist guide to America written in Italian identifies these as "must eat" American foods.

When I was a child in school, I can remember at least half of my school mates would squeal, shiver and make gagging noises when the other half ate black licorice. I happen to dread breakfast meetings in restaurants where any of my colleagues might be given the chance to eat oatmeal for breakfast (it looks to me like someone is eating vomit), and my husband confessed to me, fortunately, at the very beginning of our relationship, that the mere sight of mayonnaise, and especially someone across the table from him eating it, nauseated him. I love the stuff, but I save it for when he's not around.

I'll give people who tell me they could care less what other people eat the courtesy of not challenging their claim, because I rather suspect my mother could watch anybody eat anything and not bat an eye. But I would say that most of the people I have met not only have personal aversions that provoke a gag reflex -- note the word "reflex", beyond their conscious control -- but also can't help but raise an eyebrow if they see somebody sprinkling their steak with sugar, or pouring chili oil in their coffee, or putting grated cheese on their tuna. And I think that is quite normal.
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Jan 3rd, 2015, 12:59 PM
  #84  
 
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What are the rules for picking up vegtables in the supermarket?
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Jan 3rd, 2015, 01:14 PM
  #85  
 
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two words:
NON TOCCARE !
(unless you ask politely)
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Jan 3rd, 2015, 03:26 PM
  #86  
 
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In supermarkets, wear one of those disposable gloves.
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Jan 3rd, 2015, 07:49 PM
  #87  
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Right Peter. We have to distinguish between supermarkets and "generi alimentari" (general food stores) which can be small but not necessarily. I think what kawh must have come across is a fairly large "generi alimentari" where the proprietor usually serves the customers himself. In supermarkets you serve yourself but DO use the gloves.
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Jan 3rd, 2015, 08:00 PM
  #88  
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On the question of looking or not looking at what other people are eating I'll say this: Italians tend not to trust menus. They prefer to ask the waiter/waitress (please don't ask me to call them servers) what's good today and/or look around them to see what others are eating. My wife will often give me a nudge and ask me to scrutinize the next table along or will simply ask the waiter/waitress what "that lady in the blue dress" is eating, and then order that.

(I'm not talking about Michelin starred restaurants here)
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Jan 3rd, 2015, 08:32 PM
  #89  
 
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NON TOCCARE !

I grew up in a Jewish-Italian neighborhood and girls and their brothers said that a lot.
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Jan 4th, 2015, 02:00 AM
  #90  
 
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" but also can't help but raise an eyebrow if they see somebody sprinkling their steak with sugar, or pouring chili oil in their coffee, or putting grated cheese on their tuna."

This reminds me of the British couple in a family-owned Spanish restaurant who proceeded to eat their roasted chicken and fries with their fingers. I must say the whole restaurant was fascinated, patrons, waiters and cooks alike.
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Jan 4th, 2015, 02:30 AM
  #91  
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Not ALL the chicken, surely?!
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Jan 4th, 2015, 02:50 AM
  #92  
 
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Half a (small) chichen for each.
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Jan 4th, 2015, 03:08 AM
  #93  
 
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My wife will often give me a nudge and ask me to scrutinize the next table along or will simply ask the waiter/waitress what "that lady in the blue dress" is eating, and then order that.>>

Appia - one step on from that was the technique that my italian teacher employed on our trip to Rome which was to accost someone who looked like a local and ask them to recommend a good place to eat! somewhat to the surprise of us rather more inhibited brits, it seemed to work.

We're going to Venice with her in February so I'm looking forward to seeing what she does there, given what I understand to be the lack of real locals to ask. We also need to find cheap places as most of our party will be students aged 16-18. This wasn't too difficult in Rome, but may prove to be a challenge in Venice.
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Jan 4th, 2015, 03:10 AM
  #94  
 
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I'm surprised at that, because Britons tend to eat most things with knives and forks.
I remember seeing a tripadvisor thing about British etiquette. It was something like "British people eat most things with a knife and fork. You might like to practise before you go".

I couldn't find it, but I think our American friends would like this http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Travel-...Etiquette.html
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Jan 4th, 2015, 03:17 AM
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lol, MissP, I didn't read it all, but it says a lot that the first item is on tipping, before public hygiene, sexual manners, how to cross the road, etc.

I wonder at whom the advice to practice with a knife and fork before they visited the UK was aimed? clearly they hadn't met my DS who is definitely of the eating the chicken with his fingers school, even at the age of 24.
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Jan 4th, 2015, 03:22 AM
  #96  
 
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I loved the bit about flatulence. You wonder who wrote the tips and what is the target audience.
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Jan 4th, 2015, 04:19 AM
  #97  
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annhig, MissPrism: I'm of the old school, a strictly knife and fork Brit (even for chicken) with one occasional exception which ties in with what Josser said previously about the Mayor of New York eating pizza with a knife and fork. I wonder if the Mayor of New York has a beard? I have, so I have to be careful about what sort of topping a pizza has otherwise it can get messy. So I have also been known to eat a complicated pizza with a knife and fork.
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Jan 4th, 2015, 05:25 AM
  #98  
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Another no-no. I hesitated to include this one because in some countries it is contoversial. Bathing caps in swimming pools (both for men and women).
Don't enter the pool before finding out what the rule is. Each region is free to make its own laws but generally speaking it is obligatory in Italy to wear a bathing cap in swimming pools. Most will have a notice about it, probably also in English. Some pool attendants may be lenient, it depends. The one I go to on the coast of Tuscany is very strict and you'll be hauled out in a moment if you don't obey.
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Jan 4th, 2015, 05:29 AM
  #99  
 
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After Americans eat chicken and fries with their fingers, they take the bones home for secret rituals.
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Jan 4th, 2015, 07:45 AM
  #100  
 
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I don't think Italians insist on "budgie smugglers" unlike the French?
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