• Located in Southern Europeon the long boot-shapedItalian Peninsula, includingSicily and Sardinia.• France, Austria, Sloveniaand Switzerland.• The independent states ofSan Marino and the VaticanCity are enclaves within theItalian Peninsula.
Capital: RomeOfficial Language: ItalianClimate: PredominantlyMediterranean; Alpine in far north;hot, dry in south.Ethnic Make-up: Italian(includes small clusters of German,French and Slovene-Italians in thenorth and Albanian-Italians andGreek-Italian in the south.)Government: Parliamentary andDemocratic RepublicCurrency: EuroReligion: Roman Catholic
• Italians set great store by eating well.Breakfast is frequently a smaller meal,though many hotels will serve Englishbreakfast.• In Italy no one drinks a latte after noon.Lunch and dinner are served later and tendto be larger meals.• Italians take their time eating and thereare multiple courses to an Italian meal. Itspolite to order at least two courses but beprepared; an appetizer, a first course(generally pasta) and a second (meat orfish) will be a lot of food. Try to learn theregional specialties for a more positiveexperience.• Avoid cutting your spaghetti or sopping upgravy with bread.• Wine and water are served with meals;however, coffee is served after dessert.
•Remain standing until you are invited to sit down. Youmay shown to a particular seat.•Do not keep your hands in your lap during the meal;however do not rest your elbows in the table either.•If you do not want more wine, leave your wine glassnearly full.
• When being introducedduring a business or socialmeeting, shake hands witheveryone present -- men,women and children. Shakehands again when leaving.• Ladies should extend theirhand first to men.• Friends may greet eachother with a kiss on bothcheeks.
• Use last names and appropriate titles untilspecifically invited by your Italian host orcolleagues to use their first names.• Females almost always use their maiden name,especially in business and on legal documents.They generally use their married names or acombination of their married names and maidennames outside of business.
• Maintain eye contact while talking. OtherwiseItalians might think you are hiding something.• To beckon a waiter or waitress raise your indexfinger and make eye contact.• Italians are known for using the most bodylanguage of all European nations.
• Italians take punctuality for business meetingsvery seriously and expect that you will dolikewise; call with an explanation if you aredelayed. Deliberate lateness in business isviewed as sloppy.• Business cards are used only in business, notsocially, unless requested.• Business cards are exchanged only at the firstmeeting and should be handed to recipients, nottossed at them. Do not give a business card tothe same person more than once.• Present a business card to each personattending a meeting.• When receiving a business card, look at thename and title carefully, then set it on the table infront of you or in your briefcase.
• English is quite common in business, but check ahead of timeto find out if an interpreter is necessary.• Generally, business discussions begin after a few minutes ofsmall talk.• Establish personal relationships with Italians. Italians like todeal with people they know and trust. They also tend to believethat work should not be a burden or taken too seriously.• Relationships must be profitable and mutually beneficial to gaintotal cooperation.• Pragmatism and talent for improvisation are considered keys tosuccess. Protocol, rules and organization are often ignored.• Negotiations usually take time and patience. Don’t rush them.Italians may misinterpret this as a weakness.
•Italian companies are fast to identifyand exploit a niche without doing an in-depth study. Strategic plans are rarelywritten and are never long term.• Meeting style is unstructured andinformal. Formal presentations are notcommon.• Business decisions are often madeand agreed to privately beforemeetings. The purpose of a meeting isoften to evaluate the mood, sensesupport and test water -- not to makedecisions.• Meetings may be staged to exhibiteloquence, personality and status.• Decisions that are made and agreedto may never be implemented.• Do not call an Italian business personat home unless it is an emergency.
• Italy is a major center ofEuropean fashion. Italians are chic.Even people in small towns spend agreat deal of money on theirwardrobes and dress well at alltimes.• Dress elegantly butconservatively.• Jackets and ties are required inbetter restaurants.• Old, torn, dirty clothing areseldom seen and not appreciated.• Men and women dressconservatively and formally forbusiness (men: suits and ties;women: dresses or suits). Womenshould wear feminine clothing.
• Italians are very generous gift givers. Youmay be very embarrassed if you give a"cheap" or practical gift.• Gifts should be beautifully wrapped.• Gifts are opened in front of the giver whenreceived.• Gifts are generally not exchanged at initialbusiness meetings, however, having a gift inyour briefcase in case your Italian hosts giveyou one is recommended.• Gifts may be exchanged at the end ofnegotiations, but not necessarily.• High quality liquor, gifts with companylogos, desk accessories, music and booksare appreciated.
• When invited to someones home,always bring a small gift for the host orhostess.• Send flowers or a gift to the hosts home the day of or the day after a party.• Give chocolates, flowers (an uneven number) and pastries.• Chrysanthemums are a symbol of death, red rosesare symbols of love or passion.• Don’t give knives or scissors, which are consideredbad luck.• Do not wrap a gift in black with gold ribbon,which symbolizes mourning.
• The rules of etiquette expected inItalian churches are closer to thosethat should be observed whenvisiting a mosque.• Women should avoid bearing theirshoulders and avoid short skirts orshorts.• Men should also avoid wearingshorts in church. Try to not enter achurch during a religious service ofany kind.• Turn off your cell phone, speak inwhispers, dont sit down on thefloor and dont eat or drinkanything.• In Italian society, its probably agood idea to avoid blasphemy orexpressing strong opinions aboutreligion.
• Italians are open, curious and tolerant ofothers’ uniqueness and manners. They willtolerate lateness, inefficiency and sinceremistakes, but dislike arrogance andrudeness.• Italians enjoy a lot of good humor and canbe self-deprecating.• Send a thank you note after beingentertained or given a gift.• Stand when an older person enters theroom.• Give attention to or bring a small gift forchildren.• Cover your mouth if you must yawn, but trynot to yawn.• Men should always remove their hats whenentering a building.• Don’t remove your shoes in public.
•Foreign women can do business withoutgreat difficulty in Italy. Being a womanmay even be considered an advantage insome circumstances.•Only 38% of Italian women under 65 arein the labor market -- one of the lowestpercentages in Western Europe. FewItalian women hold managerial positions.•The Italians are generally not inhibitedwhen interacting with the opposite sex.Flirtation is part of the spirit of life inItaly.•Do not pour wine if you are a guest. Thisis considered "unfeminine" by Italians.