- Italian greetings are usually warm and rather formal.
- The common greeting is a handshake with eye contact and a smile. If the greeting is between a man and a woman, the woman generally extends her hand first.
- People avoid shaking hands over the top of other people’s hands. If someone has dirty or wet hands, they may apologise and simply nod.
- It is common to give air kisses on both cheeks (starting with your left) when greeting those you know well. This is called the ‘il bacetto’. However, in Southern Italy, men generally only kiss family members and prefer to give a pat on the back to show affection in a greeting.
- The common verbal greeting is “Ciao” (Hello). This is quite casual. People may also say “Buongiorno” (Good day) or “Buonasera” (Good evening) to be more formal.
- Address a person by their title and last name, and continue to do so until invited to move to a first-name basis.
- Older Italians prefer to be addressed in the polite form, using titles such as “Signore” (Mister) and “Signora” (Missus).