Culture Shock for Visitors to Italy


Did you experience a culture shock when you visited Italy? Or do you expect to experience a culture shock?

Even though I’ve been a few times I still find the physical closeness or body contact invasive. Hugs and kisses from strangers to whom you’re introduced.

I do enjoy the 3-hour mealtime though - they used to be a drag when I was younger, but now I get them. There’s a lot of noise and people get up from the table to have a wander around. Children are tolerated by all the adults.

Queuing can be a culture shock. Organized queues are rare because Italians don’t seem to do queues.

What’s your experience of cultural differences in Italy that are hard to overcome?


Yes, I found the physical closeness of strangers a bit of a shock the first time. Also, how they push to get past you or in front of you. The best way to cope is to be just as physical and as pushy. They almost seem to expect it. You’re right about the non-existence of queues, which kind of links to the physical proximity and pushiness. And the shouting level of everyday conversation. I love it.


@Pearl That’s always my biggest problem with cities in general. I’m from a really small town where no one is ever really in a rush and people far more likely to offer you the spot in front of them than they are to push you out of the way. That kind of physical proximity bothers me. As for the hugs and kisses from strangers, I don’t really mind that as much. I prefer it over people seeing right through you, which is what I experience in a lot of big cities.

@Patrick I used to hate really long meals too! My feelings toward them changed as I began to appreciate wine.


I don’t really remember getting culture shock in Italy. I stuck mostly around Rome, so maybe all of the tourism there has made it a little less ‘shocking’. If I didn’t know how to handle big cities, I might have found certain things more unsettling - like no respect for lines and invasion of personal space. I remember the traffic being the most insane part.


i think having a culture is quite common to people who visits a certain place and it is their first time to visit that place as well. Personally, even though I did not go to other country, but it was my first time to visit the place here in my country, I always got a culture shock since I did not expect something like that. Sometimes, what we have already know to that place is different from the actual thing. Culture shock, I guess, is inevitable especially if you are new to that place.


I’ve been to a number of countries already. However, I haven’t been to Italy yet. I’ve been to countries in the Middle East and also in Asia. I think I’ve seen enough people or races to not get surprised or experience a culture shock now.


I feel like other places I’ve visited had more of a sense of culture shock. Since my background is half Italian, I felt more like I was coming home in a way, rather than feeling any intense sense of culture shock. I think because I also could understand quite a bit of Italian that it wasn’t as intimidating. Communication definitely helps ease those feelings of culture shock!


Like @Pearl I found the physical closeness of people a bit of a culture shock. The physical boundaries were just not what I was used to coming from a plce where people form orderly queues and barely acknowledge each other. It soon grew on me though, and I prefer the Italian way.


I think it is really natural for people who are not a resident of Italy to have a culture shock since they are not yet familiar with the current traditions that the place is doing. There are some things that a visitor from Italy should understand well in order to adapt to their own culture.


It would be a little shocking to be hugged and kissed by complete strangers. However, I think I would just chalk it up to their way, and the way of the culture. I think it would be fairly easy to get used to.


It’s easy to have a culture shock when you’re in a place where everything looks and feels unknown to you. You will be intimidated at first, but as you mix with the native people in that area and communicate with them, it will get easier.


I think especially when you are a visitor or a tourist. It was normal for you to get culture shock. Because everything in your eyes are new, the people, the place, the food the houses the buildings the landscapes and even the language and that was normal. So I think the best way to overcome the culture shock is to when you are travelling alone, find a friend, maybe someone who is from your country of origin so that you will feel comfortable asking what are the Do’s and Dont’s in the place or if you feel or get afraid by that, I think it is good to read some article as well so that you will have an idea about the place. Thank you