5 southern Italian habits

Everyone has different habits and that is what makes us different. Some nationalities like southern Italians  tend to follow the same ones. I suppose that is what makes southern Italians unique. Southern Italians tend to stand out because of their habits such as wearing sunglasses or making hand gestures when speaking. Some of us want to imitate them as they look so cool. I would like to share with you five of the most common habits southern Italians follow:

Coffee bar habits

Coffee bar habits

When someone invites you to a bar for coffee, you must let the person who invited you pay. It would be offensive if you gave that person money. At times, you will not even know if that person has paid. At one point of the conversation he will discreetly leave the table. He will then head straight to the cash desk and pay. Afterwards, he will walk casually back to the table and join in the conversation as if he had never left.

When you ask for the bill, the bar owner or staff member will say “all paid”. You will probably be wondering who paid for it. You can be sure it was the person who invited you for coffee who settled the bill.

So remember if you invite someone for coffee, they expect you to pay. I also noticed this whenever it is someone’s birthday. If you invite people to a dinner or party, you must pay for everyone. Thus be careful when you suggest this in southern Italy.

Bring pastries to someone’s home

Gift habits

When someone invites you to their home, you automatically think that you should bring wine or flowers. This would not be appropriate as flowers could mean something else. Southern Italians are more likely to appreciate pastries than wine. Most families make their own home-made wine and are likely to have gallons of it.

The most appropriate gift is to take pastries or cakes. It is no wonder the pastry shops and bars do great business with this. People are always inviting friends and relatives to each other home’s for lunch or dinner, especially Sunday lunch.

Wrapping habits for those perfect gifts

They carefully wrap these pastries in pretty paper that could almost resemble Christmas paper. They then tie a bow around it making it really look like a Christmas gift. The recipients are usually more than happy when this little gift falls into their hands not to mention the other diners.

I love it when they try to carefully unwrap the paper. They try very hard not to tear it any way whatsoever. Some people put the paper away in a drawer for recycling or even to cherish it.

Ship lemons or typical products to loved ones

Lemon habits

It is common for many southern Italians to have loved ones in the North of Italy or abroad. Many are in the habit of buying all the typical products from the area as well as preparing one’s favourite dishes and packing them in a box ready to ship them. I have noticed that beneath the depths of that well-packed box, you can always spot 6 or 7 lemons. There are of course bottles of home-made tomato sauce as well as all the typical products one loves.

I have seen this in many families but I would like to share with you the box my Sicilian mother-in law prepares for my husband’s sister who lives in the North of Italy. First, she layers the box with lemons, then bottles of tomato sauce and marinated vegetables. She then adds pistachio paste, cream of pistachio, pistachio raw nuts, pistachio liqueur and some of her favourite dishes such as aubergines in tomato sauce.

You can read more here about pistachio in Sicily. My sister-in law loves pistachio. I often ask my mother-in law why she puts bread and lemons in the box and the usual response is “ours are different.” Nobody can argue with her. I was even more surprised when the same box was sent to us in Calabria with lemons.

Hand gesture habits

Southern Italians have always been renowned for using their hands when they speak. They would not be who they are if they did not. Some of them can be very amusing even when they are angry. Actually, they are even more amusing when they are angry as they enthusiastically wave their hands in the air.

If you do not know the language and want to communicate with Italian people, you do not need words. You can usually guess the meaning from their expressions and hand gestures.

The habit of wearing sunglasses

Everyone in southern Italy has the habit of wearing sunglasses even when it is not sunny. Of course, they look very attractive wearing those glasses, but also some look as if they want to hide their eyes. It is a good thing if you have been out the night before and do not want people to know you have a slight hangover.

Nevertheless, these sunglasses make them look so cool. Now they can also wear them indoors and outdoors. These so-called adaptive sunglasses have made many Italians happy as now they never have to remove them.

There are many more habits and customs that make southern Italians different. You can read more here. If you know of any other habits, perhaps you can share them with us You can write them in the comments box. Here are more facts about Italians.

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