Cultura-On-The-Go: Communication in Italy

Jun 29, 2023
Communication in Italy

Ciao and welcome to another exciting cultural adventure with CulturaGo! Our next destination is Italy - where breathtaking landscapes, rich history, stunning art and delicious food intertwine in a unique and fascinating way. Living in Italy is truly a one-of-a-kind experience and communication is the key to making the best out of it!

Italians are known for their warm and welcoming nature, but interacting with them might seem a bit daunting at first. Knowing the language surely helps, but it’s not the only thing that matters. Known for its passion, directness and a good dose of hand gestures, the Italian communication style is a captivating world waiting to be explored!

In this mini-lesson, we will highlight the most prominent aspects of communication in Italy to help you immerse yourself in the culture and build meaningful relationships with the locals. 

Pronti, partenza, via!


Communication in Italy

Module 1: Italy at a Glance

Italians can be quite direct and intense when expressing their ideas and opinions, which can be slightly shocking for those coming from countries with more indirect communication. For some, sugarcoating opinions and feedback is a sign of consideration. Beware that in Italy is often felt as inauthentic and a lack of interest.

In Italy, frank and honest confrontation is seen as a natural part of relationships both in private, in school and in the workplace. If you are not comfortable with it make sure to mention it, because people can assume otherwise. It can also happen to you to witness heated arguments in public spaces between friends or partners. Rest assured, most of the time they are not as serious as they sound. Italians tend to express their feelings, make up and move on.

Lucrezia comments on Italians’ tendencies to be very expressive and dynamic when speaking and how this may come across to some people.

As Italians tend to express their opinions and emotions without tiptoeing around, this open attitude can be both a blessing and a curse. If they appreciate someone, they show it genuinely and if asked for an honest opinion, they will give it without hesitation. Saying “no” is not considered rude as long as there is an explanation and boundaries are respected. Expressing uncertainty is also natural and Italians often use the word “boh” meaning “I don’t know” or “I have no idea”.

Valentino advises on being direct and open with your feelings when talking with Italian people.

Last but not least, Italian hand gestures are often stereotyped, but they make up a complex and precise vocabulary that allows you to embody your inner world. Physical contact is also common in Italy, including hugs, kisses on the cheek and gentle tapping on your arm or leg while talking. While this may feel unusual for some, these gestures are not meant as sexual but they aim to create an intimate space between friends. Of course, if it is not consensual is not appropriate.

If you enjoyed the lesson and want to learn more, enroll now in our course Introduction to Italian Culture and access all the country-specific and identity-specific information that will help you thrive in Italy. Don’t miss out on this opportunity!

Keep exploring with us as you journey through the diverse destinations of Cultura-On-The-Go. Learn how to Make Friends in Spain, discover more about Wellness and Health in the UK and gain insights on how it feels to Be a Non-Asian Foreigner in Japan.  

To provide your students, clients or employees with CulturaGo’s cultural preparation courses, get in touch with us! Learn more here and book a demo call.

CulturaGo. Keep learning, keep connecting.


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