- Italians do not touch fruit or vegetables when shopping. They either tell the salesperson what they would like or, in supermarkets, they use the provided plastic gloves.
- When eating at the pasticceria, Italians use napkins to hold their pastries.
- Most Italians will not order a cappuccino after 10am.
- Italians do not eat eggs for breakfast.
- Italians generally eat their lunch anytime after 1pm and as late as 3pm.
- Cocktails before dinner are seldom served, even in private homes.
- Italians generally only drink wine with meals.
- When eating dinner, Italians start the service well after 8pm. It is not unusual to begin eating dinner at 10pm.
- Italians do not ask restaurants to take home leftovers.
- When invited into the home of Italians you will find that dinner is served immediately upon arrival.
- Italians generally eat pizza with a knife and fork.
- Italians do not add cheese to pasta with fish in it.
- It is common to serve a digestivo (liqueur) after dinner. ‘It’s good for the digestive system,’ say many Italians.
- Rarely do Italians make social engagements far in advance – in fact, the future tense in the Italian language is little used. They most likely will make plans a day or two prior to most social events, except for important events such as weddings.
- Older Italians generally do not wear shorts or levis, a custom that is rather rapidly changing.
- On the whole, Italians dress for the season rather than the weather. It is not uncommon to see, on the first day of Fall, Italians wearing wool, despite the temperature.
- Touching iron avoids bad luck.
- In some areas of Italy a nun crossing your path is the same as a black cat crossing your path. It’s bad luck!
- In most of Italy the number 17, not 13, is unlucky.
- Italians believe that one should never move into a new home on a Friday. “You’ll go barren and lose money,” were two of the threats we were told.
- In parts of Italy, Lucca included, the word excited (eccitato) refers to sexual excitement. Use the Italian word felice, which means happy, to let Italians know you are pleased to see them.
- A common Italian greeting, even when meeting a new person, is to kiss on both cheeks.
- To many Italians the Easter (Pasqua) holiday is more important than Christmas (Natale).
- Italians picnic the day after Easter.
- It is common for young children, babies even, to be out with parents late into the night.
For anyone in or heading to the Denver area in late June, I will be appearing at Clocktower Cabaret, Denver’s finest spot for entertainment, on June 24th. I’ll be doing a series of readings from the book as part of a spectacular Night in Italy, which include an Italian dinner, Italians wines and opera singers. Go to www.clocktowercabaret.com for details. I’ll also be doing a similar event in Los Gatos, California on June 30th. If you think you would like to attend that please let me know by writing to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and, if there are spots available I’ll do what I can to obtains tickets. The latter is a free event.
For the next several weeks we’ll take a pictorial tour of the stunning walled city and its’ surrounding areas. If this doesn’t whet your appetite for a Lucchese adventure, nothing will.
In the meantime, stai bene,