- In Italy, chewing gum is considered vulgar however smoking is widespread, even in nonsmoking sections in restaurants.
- When answering the phone, say “Pronto”, which means “ready”, not “Buon giorno.”
- Sitting down for coffee is much more expensive than standing at the bar, which is why you will often see a crowd of Italians crowded at the bar drinking espresso.
- It is polite to stay at the table until the meal is finished, rather than visiting the bathroom during the meal.
- Bread and bread sticks are an accompaniment to the main meal, so don’t start nibbling until the food arrives!
- Don’t use the OK sign, it means ‘zero’ in France.
- Good posture is very important and a sign of class. Keep your hands out of your pockets, don’t slouch or chew gum.
- Only use first names when invited. It is customary to address your elders with Monsieur or Madame.
- It is normal for people of the same sex to walk hand in hand as a sign of friendship.
- Carry Identification with you at all times-it is required by law.
- Don’t cross your arms while facing someone, it is considered rude.
- Shaking your head means “I don’t understand”; it doesn’t mean no. To say ‘NO’, raise your eyebrows and make a “tsk‘ sound, or tilt your head backward slightly. Nod to say yes.
- On public transportation, women should not sit next to male strangers.
- The drinking age in Greece is 16.
- In many restaurants you are allowed (and even encouraged) to visit the kitchen to see how the food id being prepared and to decide what you would like to order.
- Raising an open palm at face level is insulting. The OK sign is considered a rude gesture with obscene connotations.
- When you are invited to a Greek home, make a big fuss over the children. Greece is a very child-oriented culture, so don’t exclude them when talking to adults.
- In a Greek home, expect to be offered many seconds and thirds at meals. Eating well is a compliment to your hosts. If you are dining out, your host will usually pay the whole bill.