When in Rome do as the Romans do

  • Always shake hands when meeting and departing.
  • Do not use first names unless asked to do so.
  • Anyone you even suspect has graduated from university should be called “dottore” or “dottoressa”.
  • Italians who are familiar with each other will exchange kisses on the cheek.
  • Italians in the north are quite reserved, while those in the south are more expansive.
  • Effective communication and successful business in Italy revolves around personal relationships and trust.
  • A good business relationship is often built over the dinner table, where family, art, music or football is discussed.
  • Italians do not like to talk about how much they earn. It would be considered impolite.
  • A good relationship with one local contact opens up access to their network.