How Italians greet you also depends on what part of Italy they are from. In the south of Italy, Italians greet everyone they meet with a kiss on each cheek. In the north of Italy a kiss on each cheek is usually for close friends and relatives and a firm handshake is for meeting acquaintances.
Do’s and Don’ts of Meeting and Greeting;
- Please remember to use either Signore (Mr) or Signora (Mrs) along with their surname unless you have been asked to call them by their first name.
- If an Italian acquaintance wishes to hug you, do not pull away as they will be very offended. Instead embrace him/her in return. Finally, never point with your index finger and pinkie finger at the same time as it is considered extremely rude manners in Italy
- It is impolite to ask a woman her age.
- Always wish each other good-day (buongiorno) or good evening (buonasera) when both meeting and leaving. Ciao (which is hi and bye in Italian) is not normally used unless you know the person very well as it is very informal.