However, it makes they quite rigid when it comes to doing things a certain way and there are things that foreigners do that they just can’t stand. If you ever want to wind up your Italian friends, here’s how. Here’s 15 ways to piss off Italians.
MESS WITH THEIR FOOD
Don’t mess with Italians’ food, they take it so seriously that to see it prepared the wrong way physically upsets them. For them it’s like watching a puppy being tortured. Foreigners routinely blunder into Italian cuisine and make all sorts of errors, oblivious that the Italians can take this as a personal insult, against their country, their state and their family. Invite an Italian friend to your home; tell them you’ve been taking lessons in Italian cooking and that you are a convert to the real Italian way of cooking. When they are sitting at the table, present them with any kind of perversion of a traditional Italian recipe – carbonara made with cream, spaghetti with chicken, spaghetti with meatballs, pizza with pineapple… They may be too polite to say anything, in which case you can just watch them squirm like they have a wild animal inside them, or they protest with every fibre of their being. Just don’t make them eat it, that’s just cruel.
VERY, VERY SUPERSTITIOUS
This brings us on to the next way you’re going to make your Italians freak out. Every culture has its superstitions but the Italians take it to a whole other level. Try walking under a ladder while holding a black cat with an open umbrella, throwing a hat and a clothes hanger onto the bed while spilling salt and vinegar around you and see what happens. Read the full list of superstitions to piss off your friends properly
TELL THEM PARIS IS THE CENTRE OF THE ART/FASHION WORLD
The French tell everyone who’ll listen that France has the best of everything and they absolutely believe it; the best food, the best art, the best women, the best lovers, cars, etc. The Italians on the other hand, absolutely believe they have the best of everything, but they’re reluctant to say so, in case foreigners come in and take it all away. Italians keep the best wines for themselves; the French make a huge deal about selling the best of theirs around the world, there’s the difference in a nutshell. If you really want to piss off an Italian, tell him that Italy is second to France in the very things they are most proud of. Tell an Italian that Paris is the centre of the fashion world and you’ll get a reaction. Tell them, French is the most romantic language in the world and they’ll make you see otherwise, tell them the French are the best lovers and your Italian friend will see this as a challenge.
TELL THEM BIDETS ARE ‘DISGUSTING’
There are some things that divide cultures and no amount of hegemony can change that. The bidet is one such thing. By insulting the bidet, you’re insulting the Italian way of life, so by calling it ‘disgusting’ you’re not only insulting your Italian friend’s personal hygiene, but their whole nation.
ADD KETCHUP TO ANYTHING
We in the English-speaking world are of the belief that ketchup makes everything taste better. We are wrong. But if a friend cooks dinner for you, or if you are, for example eating at a fancy restaurant and you’ve ordered tagliolini can tartufo (with truffles) add ketchup to the food is a tragedy in their eyes. Take the ketchup bottle and hold it aloft, your Italian friend will grab your wrist and try and rest the bottle from your grasp as if he were trying to take a knife from you to stop a murder.
MAKE THEM INSTANT COFFEE
Italians refer to English instant coffee as ‘dirty water’ and after living for years in Italy I concur. The thing is, living in a foreign country you tend to tolerate certain things. Italians have standards, that’s why they live well, so offering them a cup of steaming dirty water, is exactly that. They’re not going to drink it, but give it to them anyway.
ORDER CAPPUCCINO AFTER DINNER
You’ve dinner in a restaurant and the waiter comes to ask if you want caffè. Italians simply respond with a ‘si’ or ‘no’ for coffee, so the waiter knows that the table wants 4 or 5 coffees. And that’s it, coffee is always espresso after 11 in the morning, so if you raise your hand and order a ‘cappuccino’ your Italian friends will probably laugh at your ignorance.
WEAR YOUR SUMMER/BEACH CLOTHES WHILE VISITING ROME
Foreigners often make the mistake of wearing their ‘holiday clothes’ even if they’re visiting the Eternal City. Just because you’re on holiday, doesn’t mean you should traipse around the place in flip-flops flashing skin, you’re not at the beach. Italians take great pride in stripping down, but only at the beach, in the city, you should be dressed correctly, even in the heavy heat of August. So try doing Rome in Bermuda shorts or bikini top and see what happens.