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This is not a sign of homosexuality or gayness, simply an extension of the warmth and depth of Italians. The action of the kiss is usually:

  • right cheek
  • left cheek
  • right cheek

It is a quick but gentle peck, nothing more! Signs (gesturing, facial expression etc) - coming...

< Use of language in Italy | Italian sayings >

Culture and customs

Italy, being an ancient civilization (or, at least, descended from one), is full of rich customs and cultural behaviour. This section will describe some of the more interesting rural customs to be found in Le Marche and Abruzzo.

Greetings and salutations are central to italians but there are correct and incorrect ways by which to address and greet an Italian. It's not all about shouting "ciao" [hi] at strangers - this section describes the correct and more subtle ways.

"Ciao" means "hello" and "goodbye". However, it is used in an informal sense and you usually use it when you are familiar with someone. You should not use it the first time you meet someone (even if that person is introduced to you) - see if they say "ciao: when leaving you, and then you know it's Ok to use it when you next see them. A safer way of greeting someone is "Salve", the polite and formal "hello". Rather than saying "ciao" when leaving the company of someone, use the formal "Arriverderci" ("Goodbye").

When you get to know an Italian, they may wish to kiss you on the cheek as a recognition of your friendship. The difference with some north European cultures is that Italian men often kiss men on the cheek (typically N. European males only kiss women as a greeting).


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