Italian Business Etiquette in 2023 | 6 Effective Insights You Need to Know

Italian Business Etiquette

Italian Business Etiquette in 2023 | 6 Effective Insights You Need to Know

When it comes to Italian business etiquette, oftentimes the business culture in Italy seems as diverse and complex as the Italian landscape itself. From the business expectations to the challenges of doing business in Italy, The Italian Planners is here to help you navigate it all.

Italian Business Etiquette

A Quick Overview of Italian Culture

Italian culture is often better understood by breaking the country down into its three unique regions. These regions are the North, Center, and South. Each region has its own special characteristics in terms of linguistics, geography, culture, and economic practices.

For example, the North of Italy is home to the country’s richest cities such as Milan. The international hub of Milan is where you will find the headquarters of the many multinational corporations in Italy. As a result, Northerners tend to be much more direct, reserved, business-focused, and global-minded. You’ll find that it’s most important to know about Italian business etiquette in the region. Click here to learn all about doing business in Milan.

On the other hand, the Southern region of Italy offers wind open landscapes, plenty of sunshine, and the freshest ingredients. As a result, you’ll find that Southerners are warm, friendly, traditional, and family orientated. It is amazing to see how such vast differences are seen in a single country.


6 Effective Insights of Italian Business Etiquette You Need to Know for 2021


Italian Language and Magazines

Italian Business Etiquette
TIP 1 – Language

In Italy, English is the Lingua Franca when it comes to Business. English is also the 2nd most widely spoken language in Italy. However, it is important for you to know that the level of English fluency in Italy is not as strong as you will experience in other countries. For this reason, The Italian Planners recommends that you use an interpreter during your business meetings in Italy as it is an accepted and common business practice.

Business TIP: Knowing a few common words and phrases in Italian will absolutely delight any Italian businessman or woman. It shows respect and appreciation for our country!


Italian Business Etiquette
TIP 2 – Greetings

When arriving at your meeting, it is important to greet others with a firm handshake and confident eye-contact. Exchanging business cards is also a common practice. As we mentioned earlier, it is recommended to have a translator at your side when conducting business meetings in Italy.


Giant Italian Clock


Italian Business Etiquette
TIP 3 – Flexibility and Punctuality

In Italy, it is very common for Italians to show up late for meetings. It should be expected and never taken as a sign of disrespect. Is a strict deadline for a project or meeting is needed, the urgency must be communicated frequently, and well in advance. This also applies to negotiations in Italy, as they also take time. Trying to be pushy, forceful, or creating too much urgency will not strengthen your negotiation and will likely only weaken your leverage and business relationship.


Italian men in front of Italian Business


Italian Business Etiquette
TIP 4 – Business Relationships

In Italy, the strength of personal relationships is essential. As a result, Italians will spend a lot of time learning about their potential business partners, so be sure to take time to arrange plenty of introduction meetings and appointments before you come to Italy.

Oh, and be ready for some very long (and enjoyable) lunches. Lunch meetings are a way of life here.


Art Museum in Italy


Italian Business Etiquette
TIP 5 – Creatively Centered

In Italy, you’ll find that aesthetic value holds more strength than efficiency and urgency. We value art, cuisine, design, fashion, and beauty over almost anything. If your presentation is tailored to our love for the arts, you will be certain to win our business interests.



Italian Business Etiquette
TIP 6 – Dress Code

General business etiquette in Italy recommends formal business attire. This includes a dark-colored suit for men with a white shirt and tie. For women, smart and elegant attire is the norm, unless you are working in the creative industry. In that case, you are free to express your unique style.




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