Italian Culture and Your Host Family's Expectations

When in Rome, do as the Romans do...
Food and Meals
  • Breakfast
    • Very small, and very quick
  • Lunch
    • Eaten anywhere from 12 pm – 4 pm
    • Usually accompanied by a siesta
    • Siesta: a 90-min to two-hour break in the afternoon, sometimes taken with a nap
      • Most businesses are closed during this time
  • Dinner
    • A big deal; it’s a social event
    • Served usually around 8 pm, but can be as late as 10 pm
    • Lasts long into the evening, especially if with friends
    • Each dish is served separately
    • It's polite to help with setting the table and preparing, as well as clean up
  • Double-cheek kiss greeting do’s and don’t’s:
    • Do lean left offering your right cheek, then switch to the other side.
    • Don’t actually kiss the other person’s cheek (it’s an “air kiss”)
    • The more you know someone, the more cheek kisses
      • 1 kiss = a quick hello or goodbye to a friend, acquaintance/stranger
      • 2 kisses = friend/close friend/family member
      • 3+ kisses = very close friend/family member
  • “Ciao” is pretty casual, used among people that you know well
  • "Buongiorno" (Good day) is more formal
    • When entering and exiting shops, greet the store owner
      • “Buongiorno” for during the day
      • “Buona sera” for the late afternoon/evening
      • "Salve" also can be a formal farewell
Are They Mad?
  • Italians may sound angry, but they usually aren’t
  • If your host mom gives you some feedback/criticism, don't take it personally!
  • Italians speak their mind and rarely hold grudges
  • They're just telling you what they think, so incorporate their feedback and move on :) 
History and Literature
Famous Italians
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