Italy DOs and DON’Ts – pushing in is fine, just don’t touch the apples!

The Uffizi Gallery has just issued a list of rules for visitors to the museum.

It got us thinking about etiquette generally in Italy.

For instance, when you entre a store, you should ask permission to browse. In Italian you say, ‘Permesso?’ -as in, ‘May I?’-  when you walk into a shop.

It is considered rude to touch items in store window displays just as it is also frowned upon to help yourself in some smaller fruit and vegetable stores, where the owner will select and bag the items at your request.  Even at market stalls, unless the grocer hands you a bag first of all, it is not polite to touch.

Until recently, there were even people in supermarkets who would bag and weigh your produce for you!

Which reminds us, in supermarkets in Italy and in many other European countries, you must bag and then weigh your own produce, a price sticker will be printed out from the scales to then be charged as you pass through the checkout. Otherwise, you may be sent back from the checkout or hold up the line while the register staff run off to price your items for you!

It is not however considered rude to push in when ordering coffee at a coffee shop. In peak coffee times for instance, when the café is crowded with people in a hurry to get their early morning coffees. The custom is to walk in, pay at the register (usually off to one side) and then go to the coffee bar with your ‘scontrino’ (receipt) and ask for your coffee in the most direct manner without all the ‘Good morning, how are you? Could I please have a ?.’.

When you dine in a restaurant, and especially at someone’s house, it is considered offensive to not eat all that is on your plate. It is much better to request a half-serve which you will eat in its entirety than to leave anything. If you just can’t fit another bite in (which does happen, what with the starter dishes, entrée, main course and desserts that comprise a standard Italian meal!), then you should very sincerely explain that whilst it was all delicious, you simply can’t squeeze in another mouthful.  Doggy bags are not custom in Italy.

And as to the rules and regulations for a visit to the Uffizi  Gallery in Florence,  below is the list of things you are not allowed to do inside one of the world’s most famous museums.

For most people, the important point that could need considering on a visit to Florence would be number 11 ? don’t bring in large bags which could inadvertently damage a priceless artwork in one excited turn! We understand that with the fantastic shopping to be had in the land of hand-crafted leather bags, shoes and jackets, stunning 18k gold in traditional Florentine designs, and in one of the world’s fashion hot-spots, it is hard not to shop* up a storm! Just try not to immediately before going to the Uffizi Gallery.

Inside the Uffizi Gallery, it is absolutely prohibited to:

1.       Touch the artworks

2.       Lean on the bases of the sculptures or on the walls

3.       Smoke

4.       Take photographs or film

5.       Throw chewing gum on the floor

6.       Eat or drink

7.       Sit on the floor or on the barricades

8.       Speak at high volume

9.       Run

10.   Behaviour in a manner which is not appropriate for the dignity of the museum

11.   Carry backpacks, bags or umbrellas

12.   Use mobile phones

* Out-of-context shopping in Florence tip: We suggest that if you are concerned about transporting breakable valuables  home, that you buy a pair of shoes AND a lovely big leather bag so that you can wrap the precious smaller items in clothing you’ve purchased on your trip, place the bundle inside the shoebox and then put the box inside the handbag for the best protection of precious breakables travelling!

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