Posted by: Melissa C | March 17, 2010

Cultural Awareness – Italy

CLICK HERE to access a PDF file of this presentation!



  • Capital – Rome
  • Language – Italian
    • Various dialects from different regions
  • Population – 58,126,212
    • 23rd in world
  • Religion – Roman Catholic (90%)
    • No official religion
    • Mature Protestant and Jewish populations
  • Area – 116,348 square miles
    • 71st in world
    • Slightly larger than Arizona
  • Independence – March 17, 1861
  • Literacy – 98.4%

Business in Egypt

  • Romans invented many business practices used today
    • Banking, insurance, double-entry bookkeeping
    • Friendly but astute businesspeople
  • Behave in a refined manner (bella figura)
    • Includes personal appearance, dignified behavior and good performance
    • Reflected in all aspects of life
  • Invest effort to develop strong relationships
    • Prefer to deal with people they know first (even acquaintances)
    • Then concerned with factual information
  • Do not use first names unless invited to
    • Between executives and subordinates in offices
  • Businesses usually closed during July and August
    • Will extend weekends for holidays
    • Each town celebrates feast of patron saint day as legal holiday
  • Business conducted with efficiency, especially in the north
    • Punctual
    • The more important a person, the later he/she will arrive
  • Schedule appointments between 10 and 11am, after 3pm
    • Break during lunch (largest meal)
  • Importance of corporate hierarchy
    • Cordata – Horizontal chain of authority
    • Status exceedingly important

Some Useful Facts…

  • Everyone tends to speak at once at gatherings
    • Do not take offense to being interrupted
  • Bureaucratic and legal systems are notoriously slow
    • Burdened with over 2000 years of laws
  • Index and little fingers straight up is obscene
    • Fingers pointed straight out or down represents devil horns (ward off the evil eye)
  • Considered rude to drink too much wine
    • Food that is to be sipped
  • Keep receipt for restaurant  bill
    • May be stopped by “tax police” outside to ensure adherence to tax laws
  • Central focus on family life
    • Respect for age
    • Stems from pride in distinct region
  • Appreciate refined clothing
    • Center of fashion
    • “Bella figura”
    • Will take note of garments; will help you be successful

Implications in our Fields

  • Tourism and Hospitality – 5th most visited country (43.7 million tourists/year)
    • Historical sites
      • Coliseum, ruins of Pompeii, Vatican City, cathedrals/basilicas…
    • Cultural attractions
      • Art museums, operas, gondolas in Venice…
    • Food and wine
      • Distinct food between regions
      • Numerous vineyards throughout country
    • Fashion
      • Milan – Fashion capital of Italy and world
    • Sicily and Sardinia
      • Archaeology
      • Beaches/seascape
  • Sport and Recreation
    • Soccer
      • Most recent winners of World Cup
    • Basketball
      • Strong history
      • One of top leagues in Europe
    • Volleyball
      • Top ranking in world leagues (male and female)
    • Cycling
      • Giro d’Italia – 1 of 3 Grand Tours
    • Winter sports
      • Winter Olympics – Torino 2006
      • Skiing, luge
    • Traditional sports
      • Bocce ball
      • Numerous team ball games

Temple University Rome

  • Located in the heart of Rome
    • Short distance from Spanish Steps
  • Semester and year programs
    • Directed toward 3rd year students
    • (Landscape) architecture, international business, liberal arts, Italian studies, visual arts
  • Internships
    • International business
  • European and American professors
    • Italy and other countries
    • Main campus



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