Although Italy is known as the “China of Europe,” it is still over 8,000 kilometers away, and there are many customs here that are different from ours.

Let’s take a look at some things that are “normal” in Italy but may seem “abnormal” to us!1100

  1. Italian Beach Culture: Socializing, Picnics, and Sun Parties!

In Italy, the beach is a social gathering place, where people like to meet friends and family, enjoy the sun and the beach. They bring their own chairs, umbrellas, and beach blankets, along with food and drinks, for picnics and gatherings on the beach.

In China, although the beach is also a place for relaxation and entertainment, people generally focus more on personal leisure and relaxation, and there are rarely large-scale social gatherings on the beach.

In addition, in Italy, people usually wear more revealing swimwear. Women wear bikinis, and men wear swim trunks. They are more open about showcasing their bodies.

In China, people tend to dress more conservatively, often opting for one-piece swimsuits or more modest swimwear, with a focus on privacy.

  1. Italian Flattery Skills: They don’t spare even beautiful strangers!

Italians are generous with their compliments. Whether it’s friends or strangers, they are known for giving compliments that may seem exaggerated to us.

Complimenting others seems to be a mandatory skill for them. Whether you are a tourist or a foreign student, you may have experienced being praised excessively. In China, we rarely see this kind of behavior. If it does happen, it might be considered as sexual harassment.

  1. Italian Gesture Mania: A dictionary of gestures to express a thousand words!

For Italians, a gesture can speak volumes. They have so many gestures that they could be compiled into a dictionary. Different gestures have different meanings. In Italy, when making a phone call, they usually speak only 1% of the words and express the remaining 99% through gestures. This seems very funny and incredible to Chinese people.

  1. Kisses as Greetings:

Italians have a special custom when greeting each other, they express greetings and closeness by kissing on the cheek (air kiss).

There are rules to this etiquette: usually, it starts with the left cheek, then the right cheek touches the other person’s cheek, and each time they make a kissing sound “mua,” but they don’t actually kiss with their mouths.

This greeting method can be used when meeting and saying goodbye, especially among acquaintances who don’t meet often. It is especially common between men and women and among women, while men tend to shake hands or give a simple hug unless they are relatives or very close friends. Between relatives and couples, kissing does sometimes happen.

In comparison, Chinese people usually wave or shake hands when meeting, and kissing is generally reserved for couples.

  1. Unveiling Italian Coffee Culture: Is Cappuccino Only for Breakfast?

Italian coffee culture has a long history and is deeply rooted in the daily lives of Italians. Coffee is not just a beverage, but a way of life and socializing. People often gather in cafes with friends, savoring coffee and enjoying leisurely moments.

Even for italians who seem to be drinking coffee all day in our eyes, cappuccino is only consumed before noon, usually accompanying breakfast. After lunch, it is more common to have an espresso to aid digestion.

In China, it is not uncommon to order a cappuccino at any time (As a Shanghai lady long lives at the Netherlands, 5 cups coffee every day, influenced by Dutch coffee culture, I personally would only have a latte after lunch, typically Americano, but never cappuccino after lunch).

On a side note: compared to the Netherlands, Italy emphasizes the rich flavor of coffee and the social atmosphere, while the Netherlands focuses more on coffee quality and environmental awareness, particularly in the roasting process of coffee beans.

  1. Drinking Iced Water in Winter and Not Wearing Long Johns:

Italians hardly drink hot water and prefer iced water throughout the year. Ice water is their source of happiness.

Moreover, in winter, they do not wear long underwear. These habits are quite rare in China, as we believe in drinking hot water to keep warm during winter and wearing long underwear in cold seasons.

  1. Tardiness:

Italians are probably the most notorious for being late among all nations. In China, we value efficiency and punctuality, and completing work and appointments on time is regarded as a virtue and a sign of being a good employee. In italy, time seems to be a relative concept.

They prioritize enjoying life, relaxing, and are not too strict on fixed schedules. Whether it’s professors teaching classes, work meetings, or private appointments, it’s difficult for them to show up on time. You may see people gathering in cafes or parks in Italy, spending the whole afternoon carefree.

In Chinese work environments, being late is seen as a lack of time management and unreliability, while in Italy, it is a common national trait.

  1. Italian Street Art and Performance Culture:

In China, street art activities are relatively rare, but in Italy, you can find various forms of street performances in every corner of the city, such as artists, musicians, and jugglers. These performances bring endless entertainment and surprises to people.

Source: by ShanghaiTraveller (Chinese reading中文阅读)