Italian dating traditions
(Italians believe that many foreigners are shameless in the way they dress and act in public and have no self respect.) They also choose the occasions when they wear jeans carefully, as these aren’t thought appropriate for a classy restaurant or church.Bella figura refers not only to the way you look, but also to the way you act and what you say.‘Hello’ ( ciao) is used among close friends and young people, but it isn’t considered polite when addressing strangers unless they use it first.Women may find that some men kiss their hand, although this is rare nowadays.It’s customary to use lei in conversations with shopkeepers, servants, business associates and figures of authority (the local mayor) or those with whom you have a business relationship, e.g. If you’re invited to dinner by an Italian family (a rare honour), you should take along a small present of flowers, pastries or chocolates.Gifts of foreign food or drink aren’t generally well received unless they’re highly prized in Italy such as single malt whisky.Some people say you must never take wine, although this obviously depends on your hosts and how well you know them.
However, although they rarely loaf around in shorts or jogging pants, they also tend not to go to the other extreme of tuxedos and evening gowns.It’s common in Italy to invite people to come after dinner ( dopo cena), e.g. Italians dress well and seem to have an inborn sense of elegance and style.Presentation and impression are all-important to Italians and are referred to as bella presenza or bella figura (literally ‘beautiful presentation or figure’).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!
Don’t use the familiar form ( tu) or call someone by their Christian name until you’re invited to do so.