Italian Culture

In preparation for your trip, research was done to help you with the many cultural differences you may encounter in Italy. Cultural awareness helps us remember to honor beliefs and sensibilities that are not necessarily our own, so that as we interact with people from other cultures, no unintended breach of good manners or conversational blunders occur (Terry, 2008). To make things flow a little easier, Italian culture has been divided into categories: Self and space, Communication and language, Dress and appearance, Food and feeding habits, Political System, Religious system.Knowing these cultural differences will help with your transition. Self and Space * An arm’s length distance or a bit less is usually an appropriate amount of personal space during conversations. This space tends to be considerably less between friends and family. * Italians tend to touch quite a bit during conversations. This is more common with good friends and family then say in business or formal situations. * It is common to see people hug in public; couples kiss in public, women interlock arms with men while walking in the street, etc. Public physical contact is considered normal within certain limits.Communication and language * Italians tend to be direct but in a diplomatic way. The will tell you the truth but often in a polite manner. * Communication tends to be more on the formal side when in public and much less so in private. * Italians are known for being very animated and dramatic (sometimes overly) during conversations. * Large displays of emotion are very common and acceptable in public situations. Often times it may appear that people are arguing when in fact they are just having a conversation. Dress and appearance * Fashions and fashion design are trademarks of Italy.Therefore, in the business world, good clothes are a signature of success. * Men should wear fashionable, high quality suits. *  Shirts may be colored or pin-striped, and they should be paired with an Italian designer tie. * Women dress in quiet, expensive elegance. * Quality accessories such as shoes and leather goods will make a good impression with the Italians Food and feeding habits * Lunch will not start before 1:00 and dinner not before 8:00. * Restaurants close between lunch and dinner. In large tourist areas, you may find restaurants open all afternoon. Political system Italy is currently a democratic republic, after monarchy was abolished in 1946. * There is a president, the cabinet which is headed by the Prime Minister, a legislative branch which consists of 945 members. * The different political parties include: Forza Italia, Democratic Party of the Left, National Alliance, Northern League, and Democracy is Freedom-The Daisy, United Christian Democrats of the Center, Communist Renewal, Italians of Values, Greens, Rose in the Fist, Italian Communist Party, and Union of Democrats for Europe. (Italy’s Government, 2001). Religious system Roman Catholicism is the largest religion in the country. 84% of Italians identifying themselves as Roman Catholic although only about one-third of these are active members * Other Christian groups in Italy include Eastern Orthodox Christians (1. 2%), Greek Orthodox, Pentecostals and Evangelicals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists, Mormons, Baptists, Lutherans and Methodists. * The country’s oldest religious minority is the Jewish community but because of large-scale immigration from other parts of the world, there are sizable populations of Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs and Hindus as well.Also, included are emergency numbers to keep handy during your extended visit. They are 112,118 for ambulance, 112, 115 for fire, and 112,115 for police. United States Embassy’s are located in Rome, Florence, Naples, and Milan. More information can be obtained via the internet at http://www. usembassy. gov. Being prepared for differences in cultures will help ease the transition. This research was done to provide you with the ability to adapt to any situation and environment. Ignorance is ot an excuse and you can find yourself breaking the law unknowingly, so being aware of traditions is paramount. (“Be prepared for,” 2013).References Be prepared for cultural differences. (2013). Retrieved from http://www. theiet. org/membership/career/career-options/working-globally/culture. cfm Italy’s Government. (2001). Retrieved March 26, 2008, from http://library. thinkquest. org/J0112187/italy_government. htm. Terry, J. (2008). Why is cultural diversity important cultural awareness? Retrieved from http://www. agcseminars. com/why_cultural_diversity-imp. htm

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