Italian Culture


Basic Etiquette
  • It is common for Italian friends and families to kiss on the cheek when they meet, irrespective of their gender.
  • Since bella figura is important in Italian culture, Italians generally dress well and tend to be more formal in their attire.
  • Cover your mouth when yawning or sneezing.
  • Hats should be removed indoors as a sign of respect.
  • It is uncommon for Italians to make phone calls between 2pm to 4pm, since this is when many people have a ‘pisolino’ (‘nap’). If they must call during these hours, they will apologise for disturbing the household.

  • Some Italians find it rude to take off one’s shoes in front of others.
  • Punctuality is not mandatory. It is acceptable to arrive 15 to 30 minutes after the designated time.
  • Dinner guests often bring a gift of wine, chocolates or flowers. However, avoid giving yellow or red flowers. Yellow flowers can indicate jealousy whilst red flowers may indicate secrecy.
  • Offering compliments about the hosts’ home or provided meal are a good way to break the ice.
  • Typically, elders enter a room first.
  • It is common for men to stand when a woman first enters a room. This is the same for children when an adult first enters a room.
  • Guests are not expected to help the host clean up after a meal.

  • Italians generally wait for their host to sit before they do so and wait for them to indicate it is time to eat.
  • Meals can take hours to finish as conversation continues.
  • It is improper to put one’s hands on one’s lap, or to stretch one’s arms while at the table.
  • Resting one’s elbows on the table is also considered to be poor manners.
  • Do not leave the table until everyone has finished eating.
  • Drinking beverages other than water or wine with a meal is quite uncommon.
  • If someone does not want more wine, the typical custom is to leave the wine glass nearly full.

Gift Giving
  • It is common for Italians to wrap gifts in decorative and beautiful wrapping.
  • However, avoid wrapping a gift in black or purple, since this symbolises bad luck or mourning.
  • Gifts are often open in front of the giver when received.
  • Avoid giving knives or scissors as gifts. These are considered bad luck.
  • With the exception of alcohol, giving specialty foods from one’s country may not be well received by your Italian counterpart.
  • It is considered poor manners to clearly showcase how much was spent for a gift. Take care in removing or covering the sticker price.
  • Population
    0.84% of World Population
  • Languages
    Italian (official)
    Other regional dialects
  • Religions
    Christianity (80%)
    No Religion (20%)
    Islam (1.67%)
  • Ethnicities
    Small groups of German, French, Slovenian, Greek
  • English Proficiency
    Well (54.02%)
  • Cultural Dimensions
    Power Distance 50
    Individualism 76
    Masculinity 70
    Uncertainty Avoidance 75
    Long Term Orientation 61
    Indulgence 30
    What's this?
  • Australians with Italian Ancestry
Italians in Australia
  • Population
    [2016 census]
  • Average Age
  • Gender
    Male (51.1%)
    Female (48.9%)
  • Religion
    Catholic Christianity (91%)
    No Religion (3.3%)
    Jehovah's Witnesses (0.9%)
    Other (2.6%)
  • Ancestry
    Italian (93.1%)
    English (1.1%)
    Australian (0.7%)
    Other (2.5%)
  • Languages
    Italian (80.8%)
    English (17.8%)
    Spanish (0.2%)
    Other (0.7%)
  • English Proficiency
    Well (74.3%)
    Not Well (24.2%)
  • Diaspora
    Victoria (41.5%)
    New South Wales (27.8%)
    South Australia (11.2%)
    Western Australia (10.5%)
  • Arrival to Australia
    Prior to 2001 (89.7%)
    2001-2006 (1.4%)
    2006-2011 (2%)
Where do we get our statistics?
Country IT Flag