Do Not Ask For Pizza With Pineapple
It might be normal for Americans or non-Italians to order a pizza with pineapple at the restaurant but for us it is a kind of blasphemy, like when you step inside a church wearing exposing clothes or when you ask a Scot if Scotland is in England. Even though I doubt in Italy you can find pizzerie whose menu offers a pizza with pineapple – and if you find, most likely they are tourist traps -, you should not even bother asking as they would look at you very weirdly or just with much hatred.
I do not know why this pizza is so much adored abroad (I remember that even my Thai friend had a thing for this pizza) but for Italians, it is just a mix of tastes badly put together. Contrarily of what you might think of pizza, it was not born as a junk food but rather as a very simple and healthy food, the toppings were just a few: sardines, basil and tomatoes. I have no idea when and where – even if i suspect it happened in the USA – this dish became this unhealthy and popular but certainly I know that this fame made it into a new junk food. Now every country has its version of pizza and they put everything on it from french fries to raisins (check out Korean Pizzas, you will be shocked).
Do Not Drink Cappuccino After Lunch Or Dinner
Yep, you normally do not do it in Italy…now I am imagining you with wide open eyes and totally shocked by this statement of mine. I have read in many websites and blogs how Americans – and people from other countries too – were so pissed off when they asked for a Cappuccino for dinner or lunch because the waiter gave them a cold look or gazed at them as if they were martians. Having a Cappuccino after meals, it is a bit like drinking in the morning for us Italians. There is more than one valid reason for not drinking cappuccino after lunch or dinner:
- drinking it after lunch or dinner would not facilitate the digestion as it is made up of milk and is quite heavy. One normally does not drink milk if he wants to digest…or do you do??
- it is supposed to be drunk in the morning as it is a high-calorie drink and provide you with a strong burst of energy that will last all day long
Do Not Attempt To Eat In A Fast Food Restaurant
To start with, in Italy you will not come across many international chain restaurants such as Pizza Hut or KFC – yeah we do not have any of these, just Mcdonald’s and Burger King – and very hard to find (they are usually next to train stations or in malls). Secondly it is not totally worth it. I mean you find these places everywhere in the world so when you travel try to change your lifestyle and try to adapt to the local lifestyle, you will not regret it.
Italy is mainly known for its culinary heritage, besides its great historical heritage, so it will not harm trying out some new food. You will also realise that the Italian food that we cook here is much different from the Italian food you eat in your home country (for example Spaghetti Bolognese and Meatballs Spaghetti do not even exist and do not dare to order or you will get the same effect as ordering a cappuccino for dinner, if not worse). I do suggest to try Pizza in Naples, Pesto in Liguria, Tortellini in Bologna and Pici in Siena.
Do Not Use Bidet For Weird Purposes
I am sure that the concept of bidet is obscure to the most of you as only a few of my followers are Italian. Bidet is an extra bathroom furniture that every Italian MUST have in their house. It is usually situated near the WC and we do not use it to wash hands, nor to develop films nor to wash wet clothes (all of these are real facts that occurred, the last one was what my boyfriend did the first time he came to Italy and saw the Bidet).
Bidet is usually used to wash ehhm the lower parts of your body and occasionally to wash your feet. I decided to write about Bidet because by reading blogs and online reviews, I have realised many people are clueless about what this mysterious thing is used for; I even came across a video tutorial… Now another mystery in the world has been unraveled.
Do Not Go To Eat Whenever You Want
It seems that Italy is full of rules: do not drink Cappuccino after lunch or dinner, no pizza with pineapple, etc “My god, these Italians are so annoying, they cannot even let me eat when I want!” – I am sure this is what most of you are thinking right now. I do not know why we have this strict etiquette when it comes to food but do not expect that in Italy you can eat whenever you want. We have fixed time for meals: we never eat before 12.30 (it is already quite early) and never before 19:30 (it is actually the time my grandmother makes dinner at home, so only elders eat at this time).
Attempting to have dinner or lunch before the mentioned time is almost impossible. I saw that in some touristy areas, restaurants are open all day long and serve food also during the day, ignoring the Italian times, but this happens just in those places (I guess Rome or Milan) and not in small towns or more authentic places (for instance Siena). If you really want to have dinner at 19 then try Aperitivo, you will not be disappointed – always if you fancy buffets.
Do No Eat Fast
Italians are known for having a very very slow lifestyle, shared also by other south europeans like Spaniards or Greeks. This is totally true, we have our own pace, we follow our rhythms and rarely eat fast. At the restaurant you need to wait to be seated, you need to wait to order and you need to wait to pay the bill. Do not get offended if waiters do not come often to your table, this does not mean they do not care about you, it is just that our eating time is longer than in some other countries.
For instance in Hong Kong you must eat within one hour so you must be fast and waiters often come to take your order and bring you the bill but in Italy it is the other way round. We never eat fast, we take our time, we chat, we discuss and savour the food. Do remember to ask for the bill otherwise you will wait there for looong time xD
Do Not Stay Quiet In A Restaurant
Never stay quiet in Italy! Abroad we are known for talking very loud and I do not deny it. We talk loud in restaurants – I actually had a culture shock when I went to Germany and realized everyone was keeping quiet or whispering, I have always thought that a restaurant is a place where a family or a group of friends talk as loud and as much as they want -, on trains, on buses, literally everywhere.
Even on the streets, you will see people shouting, they just call out their friend on the other side of the road or on the balcony to greet him or maybe just arguing with someone. So do not worry being loud here, nobody would scold you 😉
Do Not Expect A Train To Come On Time
Italy is that country where nothing comes according to the scheduled time. Never rely on the timetable, it might be changed the day before or just trains or buses will come late for no evident reasons. I always take into account a 10 minute delay for everything ahaha Trains are often cancelled as well as buses, they sometimes just do not come because they forgot or it broke down.
Always keep an eye on days when a strike might take place because if so, you are screwed up! I got to talk with many tourists who met this destiny and tried to help them to no avail. I guess that this inefficiency of our public transportation is the main reason why most of Italians own cars; not by chance Italy is one of the countries with the highest percentage of cars and you can tell from the countless cars parked on the sides of the streets .
Do Not Depend On Your Credit Card
In Italy we tend to pay the most of our purchases by cash instead of using credit card. I really do not know the reason why but this is how it works here so if you come to Italy thinking that your credit card will be enough, you are mistaking it. You cannot buy stuff whose price is less than 15 euros by using credit cards even though a law implemented recently is changing this habit of ours of paying everything with cash. Anyway prepare yourself and bring enough euros to sustain yourself throughout your stay here.
Do Not Grab Fresh Vegetables And Fruit By Hand
This is another thing that is typical of Italy or at least I think it is. I have never seen similar practice in any other countries I have been to. When you will step in an Italian supermarket, you will realise that vegetables and fruit are just handled using gloves by the locals. You should always use the gloves provided by the supermarket, usually located near the vegetable and fruits section and put them in the bag found at the same place as you can take the gloves.
This is meant so that if you need to check the fruit or vegetables out and choose which one is the best, you will not dirty it with your hands and other people that will come after you can buy the same fruit you picked up without worries. If you do not know how to do, just ask someone nearby (it happened to me, an Asian girl asked me to teach her), it is much better than touching it, people will think you are very rude.