Americans in Italy: 22 Cultural Mistakes You’re Probably Making

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Ai, ai, ai, my dear American bambinos, come closer, sit down, and listen carefully to Nonna. I’ve seen with my own eyes, you crossing the seas and coming to our beautiful Italia, only to make a spectacle with your strange ways. Bless your hearts, you try, but listen to Nonna, and next time, maybe you won’t stick out like a sore thumb at the Sunday dinner table, eh?

1. Wearing Shoes Inside

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Ground Picture

Ai Dio mio, why? Our homes are not the streets of New York! Leave your shoes at the door. Nonna doesn’t want to clean your footprints from her clean floors!

2. Asking for Parmesan on Seafood Pasta

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Image Credit: Pexels / makafood

Madonna mia, you want to give me a heart attack? Fish swims in the sea, not in cheese. Remember this, and Nonna won’t have to cut you with her spoon.

3. Cappuccino After 11 AM

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Image Credit: Pexels / Pixabay

This is not Starbucks, tesoro. Drinking milk after breakfast? It’s like wearing white after Labor Day, but worse! It confuses the stomach. Espresso, always espresso.

4. Eating Pizza with a Fork and Knife

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Image Credit: Pexels / Pranjall Kumar

Look at this, a crime against humanity! Pizza was made for hands, not silverware. Fold it, embrace the mess, live a little!

5. Talking Loudly

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Image Credit: Pexels / ELEVATE

My dear, are you calling across the Alps? Lower your voice. Italians speak with passion, not volume. Except Nonna. Nonna can be loud.

6. Overloading on Salad Dressing

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Image Credit: Pexels / Shameel mukkath

Insalata is not a swimming pool for your ranch dressing. Olive oil, vinegar, a pinch of salt—perfection. Why drown the lettuce? It’s already dead.

7. Not Greeting Properly

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / fizkes

When you enter, you say “Buongiorno” or “Buonasera,” not “Hey.” We’re not herding cattle here; we’re showing respect.

8. Wearing Shorts to Church

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / silverfox999

Madre di Dio, you’re in a church, not on Miami Beach. Cover up those knees; God doesn’t need to see them.

9. Expecting Everything to be Open Midday

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / NEOS1AM

Ah, the siesta, tesoro. Italy sleeps after lunch. Don’t bang on closed doors. Rest, relax, recharge. Learn from us.

10. Dinner Before 8 PM

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Monkey Business Images

Eating with the birds, are we? Dinner is late here; the night is young, and so are we—at heart, anyway.

11. Ignoring Bread Etiquette

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Image Credit: Pexels / Valeria Boltneva

Bread is for eating, not for playing. And for heaven’s sake, it’s not a utensil to push your food. Nonna is watching.

12. Cutting Spaghetti with a Fork and Knife

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Image Credit: Pexels / Klaus Nielsen

You’re breaking Nonna’s heart. Twist it, my child. The fork is a dance partner for your pasta, not a lumberjack.

13. Drinking Espresso in Three Gulps

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / stockphoto for you

Espresso is a pleasure, not a race. Savor it, feel it, let it whisper sweet nothings to your soul.

14. Walking Around with To-Go Cups

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Image Credit: Pexels / cottonbro studio

This is Italy, not a marathon. Sit down, enjoy your drink. Life is passing you by while you sip and run.

15. Tipping Excessively

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / New Africa

Generosity is one thing, but in Italia, we don’t tip like Americans. Service is included. Keep your coins, buy yourself a gelato.

16. Asking for Tap Water in Restaurants

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Image Credit: Pexels / Yan Krukau

We have wine, we have sparkling water. Tap water is for plants. Let’s keep it that way, yes?

17. Expecting Ice in Your Drink

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Image Credit: Pexels /

Ice is a luxury, my dear. Your drink won’t get lonely without it. Embrace the lukewarm love.

18. Eating Cheese with Seafood

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Image Credit: Pexels / Public Domain Pictures

Again with the cheese? Cheese and fish are like oil and water; they don’t mix. Trust Nonna.

19. Not Trying to Speak Italian

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / DavideAngelini

A “Grazie” or “Per favore” never killed nobody. Show some effort; we appreciate the try more than the perfection.

20. Being Impatient

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / fizkes

Everything takes time, amore. Your food, your coffee, your bill. Breathe, watch the world, be Italian.

21. Ignoring Local Customs

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / gurb101088

When in Rome—or anywhere in Italy—do as the Italians do. Embrace our ways, and you’ll find the sweet life, la dolce vita.

22. Forgetting to Enjoy the Moment

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / DavideAngelini

Life is beautiful, my bambinos. Don’t rush, don’t stress. You’re in Italy. Eat, love, laugh. That’s an order from Nonna.

A Final Blessing from Nonna

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Igor Link

Now, go, my dear children, armed with this knowledge, and sin no more against our beautiful Italian ways. Nonna loves you, but remember, she has a wooden spoon and isn’t afraid to use it. Enjoy Italia, and remember, when in doubt, just ask yourself: “What would Nonna do?”

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The post Americans in Italy: 22 Cultural Mistakes You’re Probably Making republished on Passing Thru with permission from The Green Voyage.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / mcroff88.

For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

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