Living like a local in Italy

Italy | Photo by Yulia Grogoryeva
Italy | Photo by Yulia Grogoryeva

Living like a local in Italy

by Elizabeth Jones
Stripes Europe

As things start to settle down with your move to Italy, it’s best to immerse yourself in the culture as soon as you can. It may seem intimidating at first, but with your installation’s resources, understanding Italian culture and learning easy Italian phrases — you’ll be adjusted in no time! 

Welcome tours

Contact your installation’s ACS or AFRC for information on “Benvenuti” or “welcome” tours. These tours are designed to introduce you to an Italian town near you. You may stop in a restaurant, grocery store, farmer’s market or other shops. The goal is to show you the ins and outs of how to order food and drinks, make purchases in stores and embrace the Italian culture overall. 

Everyday life in Italy


• Expect meals to last at least two hours.

• You can order tap water in Italy since it is safe to drink.

• Restaurants will close between lunch and dinner. 

• Lunch times are around 12:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. 

• Dinner times start around 7 p.m. and may stay open until midnight. 

• Be sure to ask for the check. 

• Pay at the register. 


• You’ll need a 50 cent or 1 euro coin to insert into shopping carts for use. 

• Use a glove when touching grocery produce. 

• Weigh your produce before checking out. 

• Bring a bag to bag your own groceries. 

• If you forget a bag, you’ll need to pay for one at the register. 

• Many shops close for “riposo” which tends to take place between 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. 


• Italians tend to drive more fast-paced than what drivers in the States are used to. 

• Don’t attempt to drive like the Italians to keep up with their pace. 

• Italians also do not consider it rude to tailgate. Don’t get upset when they’re tailgating you – however, don’t form a habit of trying to tailgate them back. 

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