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20 Things That Scream “I’m Not Italian” in Italy


There are many ways how you can spot an Italian and a tourist in Italy. The differences are just way too obivous (especially for Italians), they can be seen in the way how people dress, what or how they eat or just in general behaviour. Here we will list 20 things that will scream “I’m not Italian” in Italy.

Read also: The 9 Prettiest Paradise Beaches of Sicily

Quick Sicily Travel Guide

Sicily Accommodation: San Domenico Palace and Grand Hotel Timeo for luxury accommodation in Taormina, and Casa Nostra Boutique Hotel or Palazzo Natoli Boutique Hotel for intimate vibes in Palermo. Dome or B&B Oriental Palace in Catania. Room Of Andrea Hotel or Gaura Apartments in Trapani. Le Tre Campane Ortigia or Palazzo Alfeo Aparthotel in Syracuse. Principe Di Salina Boutique Hotel or Il Gabbiano Relais in Stromboli on the Aeolian Islands.

Top Sicily Activities:


1. Flip-flops

Italians wear flip-flops only in the summer and only on the beach. If you wear flip-flops elsewhere, you can’t be a real Italian!

2. Baseball hats

Unless you’re not playing baseball, you should never wear a baseball hat or other large hats when you’re going around in the city streets.

3. Shorts

Most of the Italians will never wear short trousers. And especially if it’s not July or August, you just can’t wear anything too short!

Photo by @michelstock via Unsplash

4. Men wearing tanktops

Italian men just won’t wear a tanktop. It’s the same thing as with flip-flops, baseball hats or shorts, it’s not something that you wear while walking in the streets. Probably the only place where Italians can accept tanktops is on the beach or just nearby. Instead of tanktops Italian men love elegant shirts, it’s common to wear a long-sleeved shirt for everything: to go to work, to have an aperitivo, to go shopping and often even before going to the beach.

5. Not wearing warm clothes

If it’s not summer, you must wear warm clothes! Especially if the calendar is saying that it’s November, December, January or February, you just have to wear warm winter clothes, it doesn’t matter what the weather is like. Even if there are 20°C (68°F) and the sun is shining, in the winter months the rule is to wear winter clothes!

6. Not wearing sunglasses

Italians love sunglasses. As soon as there’s a little bit of sunshine, it doesn’t matter if it’s summer or winter, wearing sunglasses is a must.

7. Sense of fashion

Italians are known to have a great general sense of fashion. Very often people love to put more attention on the small details and accessories like shoes, bags, scarves or sunglasses.


8. Meal hours

Italians are very strict with their meal hours. Typically you eat lunch between 1pm-2pm and dinner between 8pm-9pm. If you’re hungry and you would like to have a proper meal for example at 6pm, you must be a foreigner!

9. Cappuccino hours

Cappuccino and milk in general are only for breakfast. An Italian would never order a cappuccino after 11am or even worse would be to drink it while having a lunch or a dinner.

10. Pizza ingredients

Some things are just not meant for pizza. The worst crime of all would be to add pineapple on top of you pizza. It would be hard to find a pizzeria in Italy that offers such a pizza or otherwise it just must be a very touristy place. There are also some other things such as chicken or ketchup that never must be eaten on a pizza.

Photo by @zanilic via Unsplash

11. Heavy drinking

Even though Italians love wine and beer, ther are never heavy drinkers. Especially strong alcohol will never be served before or during mealtimes. Italians love to drink, but they will (almost) never get drunk, if this happens, it’s just a consequence but never a purpose as for some other nations.

12. Eating while walking

For Italians the mealtime is a moment that you must enjoy. It’s about food and socializing. Obviously it can happen that you are in a hurry, but it’s not very common to see Italians eating while walking.

13. Adding ketchup to pasta

Ketchup is never ever added to pasta, even not for rice. It would be just disgusting to any Italian. Instead of ketchup Italian love the [homemade] tomato sauce. Ketchup can be used while ordering french fries, sometimes also for grilled chicken or meat.

14. Eating bread with every meal

In abroad it’s very common that while ordering the so-called “Italian food”, every meal comes with bread. That’s not how it works in Italy. The first rule (and also the healthy choice) is not to eat bread while eating pasta. But it’s common to accopany a fish or meat meal with some white bread.

15. Ordering pasta with meatballs

Pasta with meatballs is not an Italian dish, even though it’s served so in other countries. It’s an American meal, which origin started with Italian immigrants coming to the U.S. in 1880-1920. This recipe probably made its first appearance in New York or New Jersey.

16. Cutting pasta or using knife while eating pasta

Italians never cut the pasta, unless it’s meant for small kids. You should never cut or break the original shape of the pasta. While eating it, use only the fork to take smaller pieces if needed. If you use a knife, you can’t be an Italian!


17. Forming an orderly queue

You just doesn’t need an orderly queue in Italy. First come, first serve.

Photo by @aykapog via Pixabay

18. Not being a big football fan

Every Italian has it’s own favorite football team than he/she supports. It doesn’t need to be necessarly the team of your native city, but you will always be informed about the football world if you’re an Italian.

19. Following traffic rules

It Italy you don’t need traffic rules, because nobody is follwing them. Just be careful to follow your own road without causing any accidents and the rest would be fine.

20. Sitting down to drink a coffee

It’s true that in Italy you mostly follow the slow pace of life, la dolce vita, but while drinking your coffee, you never sit down, because 95% of the times you just order an espresso (the quantity must be max. half of the small cup), so it takes just a few seconds to finish drinking your coffee. No need to sit down, everything can be done standing next to the coffee bar counter.

Please let us know what screams to you “I’m not Italian” in the comments below.

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Chiara Magi
Chiara Magi
I'm a photographer and filmmaker, and most of all probably the biggest lover of Sicily! I am also the creator of Sicily Insider, sharing the best travel information, tips and advice.


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