Italian Culture

Greetings

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  • Italian greetings are usually warm and rather formal.
  • The common greeting is a handshake with direct 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 a 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 afternoon) 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).
Italy
  • Population
    62,007,540
    [July 2016 est.]
  • Languages
    Italian (official)
    English
    French
    Spanish
    German
    Other regional dialects
  • Religions
    Christianity (80%)
    No Religion (20%)
    Islam (1.67%)
  • Ethnicities
    Italian (92.0%)
    Romanian (1.81%)
    Asian (1.11%)
    North African (1.07%)
    Albanian (0.77%)
    Other (2.61%)
    [National Institute of Statistics, 2014]
  • Cultural Dimensions
    Power Distance 50
    Individualism 76
    Masculinity 70
    Uncertainty Avoidance 75
    Long Term Orientation 61
    Indulgence 30
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  • Australians with Italian Ancestry
    1,000,006 [2016 census]
Italians in Australia
  • Population
    174,042
    [2016 census]
    This figure refers to the number of Australian residents that were born in Italy.
  • Average Age
    68
  • Gender
    Male (51.1%)
    Female (48.9%)
  • Religion
    Catholic Christianity (91%)
    No Religion (3.3%)
    Jehovah's Witnesses (0.9%)
    Other (2.6%)
  • Ancestry
    Italian (93.1%)
    English (1.1%)
    Australian (0.7%)
    Other (2.5%)
  • Language Spoken at Home
    Italian (80.8%)
    English (17.8%)
    Spanish (0.2%)
    Other (0.7%)
    Of those who speak a language other than English at home, 74.3% speak English fluently.
  • Diaspora
    Victoria (41.5%)
    New South Wales (27.8%)
    South Australia (11.2%)
    Western Australia (10.5%)
  • Arrival to Australia
    Prior to 2001 (89.7%)
    2001-2006 (1.4%)
    2006-2011 (2%)
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