We all have stereotypes about people and perhaps in particular about nationalities. Italians are not spared these stereotypes. It is worldwide believed that Italians are really loud, only eat pizza and pasta, go crazy over football, are terrible drivers and use “Mamma Mia!” at all times. But…is everything true?

It’s up to you to discover the true. Challenge your prejudice and keep an open mind! But first, let’s see some common Italian habits:

Coffee

Italians love coffee and there seems to be an almost endless amount of options. They drink coffee at breakfast, they drink coffee during the day, they drink coffee after their meals. Anytime can be time for a coffee, alone or with someone!

Here you can find some options for coffee:

  • Caffè: Simply a shot of espresso, it’s served in a tiny cup.
  • Cappuccino: 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk and 1/3 foam
  • Macchiato caldo/freddo: An espresso with a bit of steamed milk (hot milk or cold milk)
  • Caffè d’Orzo: A caffeine-free alternative, made from barley                                                       

Gestures

When going to Italy it is of course important to learn some Italian but there is another language you need to learn and it is the language of gestures. Italians like speaking with their hands and they have gestures that have specific meanings. Try to learn some!

Happy hour – Aperitivo

An aperitivo (or apéritif) is often described as being similar to the American happy hour, but in reality, it’s much more than that. It is a pre-meal drink specifically meant to whet your appetite. So at around 18/18.30 p.m. Italians meet to relax over a glass of wine or a light cocktail and finger foods.

The speciality of Brescia is the PIRLO (known as Spritz in the other cities). It contains white wine (usually Franciacorta), Campari (or Aperol) and seltzer!

Presentation

When you meet someone new in Italy, it’s normal to shake your hands. Giving two (or sometimes three) kisses on the cheek is common between friends or people from the same age!