Things You Should Never Say/ Do In Italy


This section will be about thing you should never joke/jest about because Italian find them so annoying, forget what you seen on Hollywood!

Feel free to add yours please.

  1. Don’t say “Fugget about it” or “Mamma Mia” or “It’sa me, Mario!”

Italians don’t say any of that stuff. I guess Hollywood lies to all of us. Also, don’t claim to speak fluent Italian and start going Pasta, pizza, spaghetti, Mario, Luigi, fettucini, etc.

  1. Don’t put cheese on seafood Pasta

In Italy, cheese and seafood are two completely different things that should never, ever, EVER mix, according to my friend.

3.Never, try to bathe in fountains. Regardless of the heat, don’t you dare think of stepping into a monument.

  1. Don’ t drink cappuccino while eating. That is blasphemous.

  2. Don’ t sit on the floor in museums. I know it is perfectly acceptable in some places, but in Italy museums are often historical buildings.


I’m embarrassed to say but Americans, today are not as good about saying please and thank you like our parents were. If I sat down on a museum floor, I wouldn’t have been able to sit anywhere else for a long, long, time. As for the slang speech, if I said that my mother would have popped my head (like Gibbs to DeNoso). Where did our manners go? Did parents just stop teaching them? My daughter learned the hard way, just like me. It is just plain rude to make fun of people’s language especially if they are standing right there!


Postergirl, I do think that times change and people are not as formal / polite anymore as they used to be. Of course, not everyone is that way, but in general, we might have lost at least some of our manners.

In the series of things not to do or say…

In Italy, don’t park in the wrong spot. Tourists might not be aware of this… the parking spots are indicated with lines on the pavement. Those lines have different colours.
Yellow is for disabled drivers, white is free, and anyone can park there, blue is paid. You can park but you have to pay, and pink is for pregnant women. Don’t park in the wrong spot!

Don’t visit the Vatican if you are not dressed properly. A tank top, any flimsy clothing, it’s not allowed when you visit Holy places. Make sure you are dressed properly or you might end up going back to your hotel without visiting anything.

Don’t overcook the pasta. If it’s not al dente, it’s not going to be good - at all.

Kissing? Italians aren’t much into it, but when you do kiss as a greeting, left cheek first. This is a bit uncommon to many, as in most countries it would be right cheek first.


Thanks for all the great information! I’ll be sure not to make those common mistakes. I’m sure that I will exert every effort to put our best “American” foot forward. You seemed to be a wealth of information and I really look forward to your posts. See you around!


Mario is actually based on a stereotype of Italian men through the eyes of Japan. How he acts and talks is nothing but insulting to those people so you never want to assume people will be like this over there. He is a short, hairy, obese super hero with an eating problem.

Also I am glad you mentioned the cappuccino thing, I would not have known otherwise!


The clothes you wear can also peg you as a tourist. When I did a study abroad in London, they recommended we not even bring shorts because it’s not something Londoners wear.

For Italy in particular, one of the biggest no-no’s is sleeveless tops in churches and sacred places. If your top is sleeveless, you must cover your shoulders before entering. Otherwise, it’s an insult to the sacred.


Those are some pretty understandable rules. There are some things you just don`t do, even as a tourist. And making fun of Italians by quoting Hollywood stereotypes is just rude.


I think Italy is like most places. Don’t do anything you wouldn’t do at home but try to adapt to the local culture when possible. If you do something that you think is fine but Italians don’t find culturally acceptable, I am sure they’ll let you know and let you adjust accordingly.


I also think that Italians are quite forgiving towards any offenses, especially if you have a nice attitude and apologize. They will tell you what is alright or not, but generally speaking, don`t do anything that you would think is generally offensive.


As a person from the United States, I’m afraid that sometimes my mouth gets ahead of my mouth. I have a bad habit of things coming out that I really don’t want to say out loud. I guess I better get a grip before I go to Italy!


@Lauren Although I understand perfectly the accent one needs to use when reading those phrases, Italians actually use the phrase “Mamma Mia” quite a lot. But yeah, with a totally different tonality :smiley: hahah!!

So, to add more things on the list:

  1. Don’t refuse an invitation for coffee. It’s considered rude, since coffee is more than “just coffee”, to Italians, it’s part of their culture.

  2. Don’t ever put ketchup on pizza! It may be OK in other parts of the world, but if an Italian sees you do it, they might fain. Or never speak to you again.


The pizzaiolo itself could beat you if you do this (unless you’re a kid).
Really (they don’t beat you), but ketchup or mayonnaise on the pizza are absolutely forbidden in Italy, like these:

and don’t drink milk for lunch or dinner.


I think, putting ketchup on Pizza is a really big offense in Italy. It is also disgusting to do so. Pizza in Italy is so good, by default, that ketchup would only destroy the natural flavor. You would also not get access to ketchup in Pizzerias anyway.


Wow! I have learnt a lot. This is really informative. But taking about; ‘‘Don’t refuse an invitation for coffee’’, I think there should be consideration owing to the fact that it’s not everyone that loves taking coffee. Personally, i think someone’s feelings should be considered crucial.


You have a point :slight_smile:
Not everyone drinks coffee, but you can still accept and order something else. Like juice or a Ginseng (I LOVE Ginseng drinks, they’re so delicious!) or a Marocchino :slight_smile:


So many interesting and useful things. I’ve learned a lot. You definitely need to consider the culture of any place you visit so you don’t get into unpleasant situations and offend the locals. Italian culture is so big that a person should do some research so he can have the best experience.


I agree, but not completely :slight_smile:
Doing research before your trip to Italy is indeed recommended, but even if you’re not familiar with the locals and their habits, it shouldn’t be a problem.
I’ve lived here for the past 10 years and am still learning new things every day :hugs: