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Archive for the 'Living in Italy' Category

Everything You Should Know about Italian Customs and Etiquette

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Every culture in the world have their own customs and etiquette regarding the most important aspects of social life: from dining to celebrations, from greetings to traveling, and so on. For someone coming from a different culture, they can be hard to understand and adopt, but they’re indeed an important element in communicating with the local population and learning their culture.

In order to help you with this, ItalianPod101 has written a guide to the Italian customs and etiquette. With our Italian etiquette tips under your belt, you have no reason to be nervous when an Italian friend invites you to dinner or when you’re going to travel to Italy for business reasons. Everyone will remember you as the educated, nice foreigner who surprised them by perfectly knowing the Italian customs. For tourists, knowing even a small bit of Italian etiquette can go a long way!

Table of Contents

  1. How to Talk about Etiquette in Italian
  2. Italian Dining Etiquette: The Do’s and Don’ts for Dining in Italy
  3. The Do’s and Don’ts for Sightseeing
  4. The Do’s and Don’ts for Greetings
  5. The Do’s and Don’ts for Visiting a House in Italy
  6. The Do’s and Don’ts When Riding Public Means of Transportation
  7. The Do’s and Don’ts for Business
  8. The Do’s and Don’ts for Celebrations
  9. Learn Everything about Italian Culture and Customs with ItalianPod101

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1. How to Talk about Etiquette in Italian

Bad Phrases

First of all, a super-short language lesson. Let’s say, for example, that you find yourself in a new situation and you’d like to know the Italian culture customs regarding the circumstance. You’d like to ask an Italian friend or colleague, but how? What are the verbs and sentences to talk about etiquette in Italian? How do you know about proper Italian etiquette for your current situation?

1- Dovere

When talking about customs and etiquette, you usually use the modal verb dovere and/or the imperative form. Dovere means “to have to,” and can also mean “should” and “must.” Let’s see a couple of examples:

Example: Quando ti presenti a qualcuno, devi stringergli la mano.
Translation: “When you introduce yourself to someone, you should shake their hands.”

Example: Quando saluti una persona giovane, devi dire ‘ciao.’
Translation: “When you say hello to a young person, you should say ‘ciao.’

2- The Imperative Verb

ItalianPod101 has prepared a couple of great lessons on the affirmative imperative and the negative imperative.You can check them out to know everything about this form. But for the purpose of this article, here’s a couple of examples regarding Italian etiquette:

Example: Mangia con la bocca chiusa.
Translation: “Eat with a closed mouth.”

Example: Non toglierti le scarpe quando entri in una casa.
Translation: “Don’t take your shoes off when you go into a house.”


2. Italian Dining Etiquette: The Do’s and Don’ts for Dining in Italy

Here’s some Italian etiquette for tourists willing to explore the universe of Italian food and wine. The most important rules of Italian dining etiquette are:

  • Wait for everyone to be served before starting to eat: In some cultures, eating together is more about sitting at a table together than it is about actually consuming the food. The Italian culture is not one of them. Before starting to eat, make sure that everyone is served and ready to start. Not waiting for everyone to start at the same time is considered very rude.
  • Always say Buon appetito!: This is another key rule of Italian dining etiquette. Before starting to eat, you should always say Buon appetito! to your tablemates. Literally, this expression means “Good appetite,” but it really means, in context, “Enjoy your meal.”
  • Always serve your tablemates before yourself: When helping yourself with food or wine, always start with the others at your table and serve yourself last. Don’t worry; you don’t need to serve thirty people if you’re at a big dinner, just focus on serving the guests next to you. Kindness and generosity are highly appreciated at Italian tables.
  • Make a toast before starting to drink alcohol: Like the Buon appetito! is mandatory before starting to eat, so is a toast before starting to drink. Raise your glass and say Salute! or Cin cin!, then wait for your guests to join the toast.
  • Don’t talk with your mouth full: Italians really don’t like to see how the food looks in your mouth.
  • Don’t burp: In some countries, for example in India, burping is a sign of satisfaction and satiety. But in Italy, it’s unacceptable. Basically, you should avoid every loud sound—slurping is another good example.
  • When eating in the streets, beware of municipal rules: This isn’t properly about etiquette, but more about local laws. Given the huge number of tourists and the current boom of street food, some Italian municipalities have forbidden eating on the street. You should ask your host or tourist office about this to avoid expensive fines.
  • You’re allowed to use your bread to clean the plate as long as you’re NOT holding the bread with your hands! Make sure to cut the bread into bite-sized pieces, and to hold it with your fork to clean the plate. That’s a delicious rule.

Dining


3. The Do’s and Don’ts for Sightseeing

Thank You

Some tourists don’t really know how to behave when visiting a foreign country. And as Italy is a very popular destination, this becomes clear. Follow this list of Italian etiquette do’s and don’ts for tourists to be the visitor every Italian likes. Also note that specific Italian culture customs come into play here.

  • Talk with a low voice in churches and other holy places: Holy places are usually very quiet in Italy, and everyone visiting them is requested to respect this silence. You’re allowed to talk, but only with a low voice.
  • Turn your mobile phone off or on silent in churches and other holy places: People that don’t do this are considered very disrespectful.
  • Don’t go where people are praying: People who are praying need calmness and respect. Don’t go next to them, and be quiet when you pass near them. This includes the “clicks” of your camera or cell phone. Some churches, especially the most-visited ones, have an area only for prayers. Don’t go there.
  • Don’t point to people: Italians don’t like people pointing to them with their fingers. It makes them feel like animals at a zoo.
  • Ask for permission before photographing someone: For the same reason, you should always ask their permission before taking a photo of someone.
  • Be sensible with selfies: Selfies are a fun habit but also a curse of the current era, because they make us behave stupidly sometimes. We think about the people that will look at our photo on social media, and not about those around us. So, be sensible. Before taking a selfie, make sure that you’re not acting disrespectfully. For example, if you’re taking a selfie in front of a monument for the victims of WWII, this is considered disrespectful.

Sign


4. The Do’s and Don’ts for Greetings

We’ve already written a super interesting guide about greetings in Italy, but here are a few Italian etiquette tips.

  • Smile: Italians communicate a lot with their facial expressions and body language, and have a really hard time with people who don’t. If you don’t smile to someone when greeting or introducing yourself to them, they’ll think you’re rude or hate them.
  • Shake hands: Shaking hands is a key part of Italian etiquette when you meet someone new or when you greet a business contact. It’s also common among acquaintances, especially among men.
  • Kiss your friends and relatives twice on their cheeks: Italians do kiss, a lot. Not as much as the French do, but almost. You should kiss your friends and relatives twice on their cheeks when saying hello and goodbye. All of them. Yes, it’s a lot of kissing and they love it.
  • Don’t be too formal: Italians tend to be warmer in their manners than many other populations, and generally don’t like formalities too much. Just try to adapt to the level of formality they use toward you.


5. The Do’s and Don’ts for Visiting a House in Italy

Hygiene

Here are Italian etiquette rules for being a good guest in an Italian house. These simple tips for etiquette in Italy for tourists can go a long way toward impressing your host and leaving a good impression on potential friends.

  • Don’t take your shoes off: In many parts of the world, you have to take your shoes off to show your respect in someone else’s house. In Italy, it’s the opposite. So, if you’re not asked to, don’t ever take your shoes off.
  • Don’t wander around alone: Moving freely around someone else’s home is considered rude and inappropriate.
  • Accept something they offer: Leaving a house without having a coffee, a piece of cake, or even just a glass of water might disappoint your host. Let them welcome you.

Etiquette


6. The Do’s and Don’ts When Riding Public Means of Transportation

Busses and trains are often crowded and stressful, which is why you should be super kind when riding them. These are the basic rules of etiquette in Italy for tourists using public transportation:

  • Give your seat to old people, the disabled, pregnant women, and children.
  • Don’t speak too loud, especially on the phone, and don’t listen to music without headphones.
  • Say Permesso when you need to pass: This is the magic word that shows kindness to those traveling with you, like “excuse me” in English.


7. The Do’s and Don’ts for Business

Business Phrases

Knowing the Italian etiquette is especially crucial when doing business with Italians. Here’s some good advice when it comes to Italian customs in business.

  • Don’t talk about money right away: Yes, it’s weird, but money is a delicate issue for Italians. Don’t forget that for many centuries, the Church called it “the devil’s poo,” and even in today’s more secular century, there’s still something dirty about it. Don’t start talking about it at the beginning of a conversation, especially if it’s a large amount. It’s better to spend a few minutes talking about other aspects of the business before discussing the financial side.
  • Appreciate other people’s work: Be sure to show appreciation toward other people’s work, even if you won’t close any deal. You’ll leave a good impression and be able to build a good reputation.
  • Shake hands: After you’ve reached a business deal, shake hands.

Doing


8. The Do’s and Don’ts for Celebrations

What if you’re invited to a wedding or, unfortunately, you have to attend a funeral? Check out our advice here.

  • Don’t dress in bright colors at a funeral: Instead, dress soberly, using dark colors.
  • Say Condoglianze to offer condolences.
  • Don’t eat at a funeral: In Italy, mourning isn’t considered an occasion to eat together. Instead, eating at funerals is almost a taboo. People at funerals just gather together and remember the deceased.
  • Say Congratulazioni to offer congratulations: For example, you can say this at a wedding, a baptism, a graduation, etc.


9. Learn Everything about Italian Culture and Customs with ItalianPod101

What do you think about Italian customs and etiquette? Does your country have similar expectations? Let us know in the comments!

ItalianPod101 isn’t simply a place to learn the Italian language. It’s also a hub of information covering Italian culture and customs from many different points of view. Care to know more about how friendship works in Italy? You got it! Or do you want to move there to work? We got you covered!

And with our apps and tools, you’ll learn faster and in a fun, entertaining way, like you’ve never experienced before! Let us be your ladder to success as you master the Italian language!

Still don’t feel like you know everything you need about Italian etiquette and customs? Check out our in-depth articles and guides, like the ones we linked to throughout this article.

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How to Find a Job in Italy: Work in Italy in No Time

Italy is best known as a holiday destination. With its 7.500 kilometres of coast (much of which consists of beaches), majestic mountains, amazing cities, and stunning countryside, it’s by definition a place to spend some time doing nothing but enjoying it all. And let’s not start talking about the food and wine!

Well, for some people all of these are also good reasons to move to Italy and start a new life there. Especially if they also have an Italian significant other. But how can you work in Italy as a foreigner? Where should you start looking for a job?

Here on ItalianPod101, we’ll explain how to move to Italy and get a job. So, if you’re planning to start your own Dolce Vita, just keep on reading to learn about finding jobs in Italy.

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Table of Contents

  1. What Do I Need to Work in Italy?
  2. What You Should Know Before Starting to Work in Italy
  3. What are the Most Sought-after Jobs in Italy?
  4. Where Can I Find the Best Job Opportunities?
  5. How to Look for a Job in Italy
  6. Some More Advice
  7. ItalianPod101: Learn with Us and Build Your New Life in Italy!

1. What Do I Need to Work in Italy?

In order to work in Italy as a foreigner, you must act according to the Italian immigration laws, which vary depending on your nationality:

  • EU citizens: EU citizens have very few requirements in order to find a job in Italy and start their life there.
  • Non-EU citizens: For non-EU citizens, things are harder, since they need a work permit.

In both cases, since many Italians, especially the older ones, don’t speak English or any other language except their own (and maybe a dialect), it’s better for you to learn Italian, at least to an intermediate level, before starting to look for a job there. Highly specialized jobs in a few scientific and engineering fields may be an exception, as English might be accepted as a language in the workplace.

1- How to Work in Italy as a EU Citizen

Holding a Red Pen

All EU citizens have the right to free movement within all the EU countries, which are: Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, United Kingdom, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Czech Republic, Sweden.

This means that EU citizens have the right to move and to work in Italy without a special permit. Though they still need to deal with a bit of bureaucracy. In order to be hired in Italy, they need:

  • A valid ID document (passport or identity card).
  • A codice fiscale (“fiscal code”), which is a unique identifier based on full name, place of birth, and birthday. It’s used for a great number of things, from submitting a residency request to getting a library card. Requesting this codice fiscale is pretty simple, especially compared to any other bureaucratic operation in Italy and—good news!—it’s also completely free.

You just have to go to your local Agenzia delle Entrate and issue a request. You’ll immediately receive your code. There are even sites where you can calculate your fiscal code in advance, in case you’re curious.

EU citizens have the right to free movement, as we said, but they still need to apply for residency in Italy if they plan to live in the country for more than three months.

2- How to Work in Italy as a Non-EU Citizen

Things get harsher for non-EU citizens. This said, working in Italy as an American is a lot easier than working there as a person from Asia or Africa, due to the different ways non-EU immigrants are generally treated, according to their nationality.

Anyway, this is what they all need:

  • Visa: A Visa is issued for a specific purpose and therefore there are different kinds—tourist visa, student visa, employment visa, and so on. It has an expiry date and it establishes for how long you’ll be allowed to stay in the country. If you have a visa for the Schengen area, you don’t need another one to enter Italy.
  • Residence permit (permesso di soggiorno): Within eight days of entering Italy, you must apply for a residence permit, which is the most important document for a non-EU citizen in Italy. The permit will reflect your visa (so you’ll receive a student permit if you have a student visa, an employment permit if you have an employment visa, and so on) and must be requested to the local Police Headquarters (Questura).

Depending on the kind of permit you need, you have to make a request at the post office or directly at the Questura. Since the matter is complicated, we advise you to seek out more information at a local union office or association. The times for the release of the residence permit can vary greatly, from a few weeks to several months. In the meantime, you must keep the receipt they give you.

2. What You Should Know Before Starting to Work in Italy

Italy’s one of the most developed countries in the world. However, it’s facing a hard economic crisis that’s still far from being resolved. This means that it has a less-vital job market in comparison to other EU countries and a higher unemployment rate (which is 9.7% as of summer 2018). Moreover, undeclared employment is pretty common, regarding at least 3.3-million workers in Italy.

The Italian laws grant equal rights for every person in the job market. There are many different kinds of contracts that an employer can offer you. These are the most used:

  • Permanent contract (contratto a tempo indeterminato): A contract without an expiry date. It can be part-time or full-time.
  • Fixed-term contract (contratto a tempo determinato): A contract with an expiry date, after which it can be renewed or not, according to the employer’s and the employee’s will. It can be part-time or full-time.
  • Interim supply contract (contratto di somministrazione): A contract made between the worker and an agency (agenzia interinale) supplying workers to companies for a short period of time.
  • On-call contract (contratto a chiamata): A contract without a fixed number of hours. The employer can request the employee to work according to the company needs with short notice.
  • Apprenticeship contract (contratto di apprendistato): If you’re younger than 29 years old, you can be hired as an apprentice to learn a job. This kind of contract usually lasts between six months and three years.

3. What are the Most Sought-after Jobs in Italy?

Is it hard to find a job in Italy?

If you have highly valued skills and a good knowledge of Italian and English, you probably won’t have any issue finding a job in Italy.

For example, it’s pretty easy to find marketing jobs in Italy if you have experience in this field. It’s the same for engineering, IT, management, and so on. You’ll also find good opportunities if you’re a qualified factory worker. For example, there are many jobs in Modena, Italy if you have skills and experience that can be useful in the mechanic industry.

Jobs in Italy for English speakers include language teachers, interpreters, or jobs in the tourism industry. There can also be good jobs for Americans in Italy in companies working with American clients or seeking to expand in the USA.

4. Where Can I Find the Best Job Opportunities?

There is a strong wealth gap between Northern and Southern Italy. So, if you’re willing to work in industry, marketing, fashion, IT, technology, and so on, you’ll probably have better chances of finding good jobs in Milan, and in the North in general. You can also happen to find IT jobs in Rome, Italy, but the real economic capital of the country is Milan.

Jobs in Rome are mostly in the tourism field, or in anything related to university and the public administration. It’s pretty much the same for jobs in Florence, Italy, except for the fact that in Tuscany there is also a strong and lively textile industry. Jobs in Calabria, Italy or in basically any other Southern region are harder to find.

That said, what’s the best way to find jobs in Italy?

5. How to Look for a Job in Italy

There are many ways to look for a job in Italy:

  • Sites: Indeed Italia, LinkedIn, Infojobs, Trovalavoro, and others can be useful for finding job offers.
  • Agencies: The aforementioned agenzie interinali (“supply agencies”) can be a good way to find temporary jobs, especially in fields such as manufacturing, tourism, and food.
  • Centro per l’impiego: The public job center. It can help you have an idea of the opportunities in your city and province.
  • Relations: This is by far the best way to find a job in Italy. Try to meet new people working in your field, by going to expos, congresses, and so on.

6. Some More Advice

1- How to Work as a Language Teacher in Italy

Woman holding a chalk

Wondering how to find a job in Italy for English speakers? Being a language teacher is among the most common jobs in Italy for American citizens, or for people from the UK and Australia. As for how to find a job teaching English in Italy, you can start by introducing yourself to language schools and universities, or place some ads on message boards by universities and schools, or put yourself out there online.

2- How to Work as a Blue-collar in Italy

To work as a blue-collar, you’ll need to know the Italian grammar and written language. Moreover, it could take some time to get used to the Italian bureaucracy.

3- How to Work in the Healthcare Field in Italy

Blood Pressure Test

In order to work in the healthcare field in Italy, you must have a recognized degree or diploma, and know the Italian medical terms.

7. ItalianPod101: Learn with Us and Build Your New Life in Italy!

Start building the foundation of your new life in Italy with ItalianPod101.com! Learn the Italian language according to your current level and improve everyday, in a fun, engaging platform that will both teach and entertain you. Discuss with the other members of our community on our forum and learn everywhere you are with our amazing mobile apps! Finally, you can find out everything you need about working and living in Italy with our articles and guides!

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Carnevale: How to Celebrate the Carnival Season in Italy

In Italian, it is said that “anything goes during Carnival.”

Some countries simply feast to their heart’s content during Carnival, the holiday just before the Lent period of fasting. Others participate in lots of dancing. Some countries hold to more religious celebrations.

But in Italy, this is a time of Masquerades and rule-breaking—in addition to feasting and other merry activities.

Let ItalianPod101.com show you all the unique facets of Italy’s Carnevale!

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1. What is Italian Carnival?

Many aspects of the the content and nature of the current Carnival—such as Saturnalia—can be easily traced back to their ancient Roman origins. As for the etymology of the word Carnival, it most likely derives from the Latin expression carne levare, which means “eliminate the meat.” This makes reference to the religious practice of abstaining from meat during the period of Lent.

During the Carnival, Italy allows everyone to eat at will, and above all, break the rules, while wearing a mask (maschera). The Italy Carnival season is truly a unique feature of the country’s culture, and in this article you’ll learn how Carnival is celebrated in Italy.

2. Italian Carnevale Date

Single Mask

The date of Carnival in Italy varies each year, as it depends on the date of Easter. For your convenience, here’s this holiday’s date for the next ten years:

  • 2019: March 4
  • 2020: February 24
  • 2021: February 15
  • 2022: January 31
  • 2023: February 20
  • 2024: February 12
  • 2025: March 3
  • 2026: February 16
  • 2027: February 8
  • 2028: February 28

3. How is it Celebrated?

Clown Float

Today in Italy, this holiday is primarily a festival for children, but Carnival in Italy’s history
was a festival especially for adults. The rule of the Carnival is that you have to break the rules and do everything that is normally prohibited during the year. This is where the custom of masquerade originates—so that those who break the rules cannot be recognized.

The typical dishes of Carnival are sweets, one of the most popular being the chiacchiere made of sugar-coated fried pastry.

In Italy, there are various mask traditions that began many centuries ago and are well-known all over the world today.

Among the most famous is Harlequin, a mask from Bergamo, and Pulcinella, a typical mask of Naples. Both Harlequin and Punchinello represent clever servants, always ready to play a joke on their master. Both of these masked men are the symbols of the revenge of the servants on their masters.

Even though the Carnival takes place in winter, there are many events that are held outdoors. Italians, both adults and children, are very fond of attending the parades of the allegorical wagons, which are huge papier-mâché wagons representing traditional masked men or famous public figures in an ironic manner.

However, the Carnival of Venice may be the most famous of the Italy Carnevales, because of its particular beauty and the sophistication of its masked men, of which everyone has seen a picture at least once.

4. Reading Practice: Oranges!

Read the Italian text below to learn about another fascinating aspect of Carnevale in Italy (you can find the English translation directly below it).

—–

Sapete perche’ a Carnevale piu’ di duecentocinquantamila chili di arance vengono portati nella citta’ di Ivrea, in provincia di Torino?

Perche’ tra i riti del Carnevale c’e’ anche la battaglia delle arance, durante la quale i partecipanti si tirano le arance addosso.

—–
Do you know why, during Carnival, more than 250 kilos of oranges are brought into the city of Ivrea, in the province of Turin?
It’s because one of the rituals of the Carnival is the battle of the oranges, during which the participants throw oranges at each other.

5. Must-know Vocab

Harlequin Costume

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Carnival Season in Italy!

  • Carnevale — “Carnival”
  • Maschera — “Mask”
  • Costume — “Costume”
  • Scherzo — “Joke”
  • Festa — “Celebration”
  • Mascherarsi — “Cloak”
  • Arlecchino — “Harlequin”
  • Chiacchiere — “Chiacchiere”
  • Carro allegorico — “Float”
  • Sfilata — “Parade”
  • Quaresima — “Lent”

If you want to hear each word’s pronunciation, visit our Italian Carnival vocabulary list. Here you’ll find each word accompanied by an audio of its pronunciation.

Conclusion

What do you think about Carnevale (and Italy’s Carnival masks)? Do you celebrate Carnival in your own country, or a similar holiday? Let us know in the comments!

To learn more about Italian culture and the language, visit us at ItalianPod101.com! We offer an array of insightful blog posts, free vocabulary lists, and an online community to discuss lessons with fellow Italian learners. You can also check out our MyTeacher program if you’re interested in a one-on-one learning experience with your own personal Italian teacher!

We hope you enjoyed learning about Carnival season in Italy with us. Continue delving into Italy’s culture and practicing your language skills, and you’ll be speaking like a native in no time!

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Do People Understand Where You’re Coming From in Italy?

Imagine you have landed in Italy and are out and meeting people and exploring your surroundings. After you say “Ciao!” ( the equivalent to ‘Hello’ in English), your Italian friend may become more curious about you and your origins. And if your new friend asks you:
Da dove vieni? 

Don’t be surprised! Your friend just wants to know where you come from. Da dove vieni? (informal) or Da dove viene? (formal), translates to “Where do you
come from?” 

In this case, you should answer with your country of origin. For example:
Vengo dall’Italia (I come from Italy)

You may also hear Di dove sei?, which also means  “Where do you come from?” , with the small difference that Di dove sei? requires a more specific location, and you should answer with the name of your hometown or the most famous city you can think of that can give your Italian friend an idea of the location or environment that you come from.

And you can be sure that there will be many different countries of origin around you. With its historical heritage and panoramic views (not to mention its world-recognized cuisine!), Italy is is a very popular destination for travelers all around the world, attracting over 4 million tourists every year!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year From ItalianPod101.com!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from everyone here at ItalianPod101.com! We’re grateful to have listeners just like you, and we’re eagerly waiting for the upcoming year to learn Italian together!

And when the New Year comes around, be sure to make a resolution to study Italian with ItalianPod101.com!

Have a healthy and happy holiday season.

From the ItalianPod101.com team!