These are some lessons I've learnt over the years from having flat shared with Italians, both in Italy and the UK, and just generally observing the behaviour of my many Italian friends!
1. Always dress for 5 degrees colder than it actually is. I remember feeling thoroughly under-dressed whilst living in Italy during the summer and noting that my fellow commuters, instead of shorts, were still wearing jeans and leather boots. Getting your legs out is strictly reserved for when the temperature hits 30 degrees. The good news is that you never have to be cold on a night out again - as Italians will always take a coat so you can forget the British man-up-and-take-the-cold attitude on a Saturday night.
2. Observe strict coffee drinking rules. Never order a latte. Full stop. Cappuccino is acceptable before lunch ONLY. After that you must stick to black coffee, i.e. espresso. Sugar is OK. Expect disparaging looks if you break any of these rules in the presence of an Italian.
3. Don't put chicken on things. Specifically, don't put chicken on pizza or pasta. (Or pineapple for that matter although this is pretty much common knowledge now). There are quite a few unspoken food rules, this being one of them. The reason, it seems, is simply because it just doesn't go. Sorry protein lovers!
4. Stop apologising for everything. We have a tendency to be overly polite in the UK (this has to be a good thing, right?). In the presence of Italians you can afford to be a little more direct and drop the please and thank yous.
5. Eat pasta every day. This is my favourite! I'm not claiming every Italian does this but when I've stayed with friends this is what we've had everyday for lunch. Apparently this is the secret to Audrey Hepburn's slim figure!! I'm not sure of the science behind that, but perhaps its because they often combine it with a very light breakfast - usually just a black coffee and some biscuits. What's not to like!
I'd love to hear if you have any amendments or other Italian-isms to add in the comments below!
And if that hasn't given you enough to get feeling Italian, then you can also take a look at the MADE IN THE MED eBay page to see the Made in Italy jewellery and more we have for sale!