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Tips For Successfully Starting Conversation With Italian Locals

By Jenna Busch


Language isn't the only communication barrier you'll face when you're in another country. In many places, there are unspoken etiquette rules, and Italy is no exception.
In a friendly conversation in Italy, don't discuss controversial topics like politics and religion. Also, know that being interrupted while chatting is common, as is gesticulation.
When talking, avoid rude gestures like flicking fingers in the air, chopping motions with one hand, holding up a fist and hitting your bicep with your hand, or "rock on" horns.
If you're invited to someone's home, bring a small gift like a bottle of wine or flowers, but don't wrap it in purple paper. If elders enter the room, it's courteous to stand up.
It's rude to take off your shoes unless requested or refuse a drink or snack. At meals, don't begin eating until the host says "buon appetito" and let them serve the drinks.
Don't be put off by lateness, as it's common to be a bit tardy for gatherings. Finally, don't point at people, ask before you take a picture of someone, and smile in conversation.