Cultural faux pas, Italy. To employ cultural customs is essential

Cultural faux pas [foh pahz]….Italy . to employ cultural customs is essential….in business, first impressions are often the only chance to impress. And in any case – “doing as the Romans do when in Rome”, will open doors and will give you access to experiences that other travelers may not get to enjoy….think about it . However, Italians are much more formal than most foreigners imagine and newcomers should tread carefully to avoid offending anyone. . When you’re introduced to an Italian, you should say ‘good day’ ( buongiorno) and shake hands (a single pump is enough). ‘Hello’ (ciao) is used among close friends and young people only, and it isn’t considered polite when addressing strangers unless they use it first . Now to the famous kiss on the cheek……this is usually reserved for families and very close friends only, irrespective of their sex. If a lady expects you to kiss her, she offers her cheek. Between members of the opposite sex the ‘kiss’ is deposited high up on the cheek, never on the mouth (except between lovers!) and isn’t usually really a kiss, more a delicate brushing of the cheeks accompanied by kissing noises . There are usually two kisses – first on the right cheek, then on the left. It’s also common in Italy for male relatives and close male friends to embrace each other