Florence is the treasure city, the cradle of Renaissance, the hometown for Dante, Amerigo Vespucci, Donatello, Machiavelli and Botticelli to name a few. Hundreds of historical and cultural landmarks, special artistic atmosphere and mouth-watering Italian cuisine attract about 16 mln tourists yearly.
Italian national traits and regional peculiarities
Florentines are friendly and welcoming however not with a bit of snobbery. One of their distinctive character traits is that they are real hotheads. Florence locals take well to tourists taking an interest in the city’s landmarks and admiring the Tuscany beauty. If you astonish a Florentine with your knowledge of Florence culture and history, you will win respect.
Florence locals are characterized by refined manners and true taste. If you want to look like a local, don’t dress ragged or provocative clothes. This especially concerns visiting churches – no one can enter a church in shorts, and females are forbidden to enter with naked shoulders. During a lunch break and church service, it is forbidden to do sights inside the temple.
Florence has its own peculiarities in carrying on negotiations. The majority of Florentine businessmen prefer doing it in an informal setting. Even serious business meetings can take place in restaurants or at home. They say that informal communication helps establish and improve relationships with colleagues and find common ground.
Etiquette in Florence restaurants
Florence restaurants boast a wide choice of alcoholic drinks. However, these are mainly for tourists. Local people are not great fans of alcohol; the only exception is low-alcohol wine. Even lunch can be accompanied by a glass of wine.
In spite of the extensive use of complex prices that include restaurant service fee, 10% tips are still common in Italy. However, this is up to you whether to leave tips or not – they are not obligatory. Don’t forget about the famous Italian siesta. Approximately from 2 to 3.30 pm the majority of shops and offices close (however in the city center where everything works for tourists they can work without any lunch break). Some cafes and restaurants still have a break from 3 to 6 pm when they are closed, so make sure you have lunch in advance. Shops in Italy are generally open from 9 am to 7 pm with a siesta from 1 to 4 pm. And keep in mind that on Saturday and Sunday the majority of shops are closed in Italy.
Useful hints for your trip to Florence
Italian railway system is very flexible in giving discounts. If you travel around Italy with kids, name their age. If you are a student, don’t forget to mention it when buying a ticket. And very important: before getting on the train punch the ticket in a special machine on the platform, otherwise you will be fined.
Take into consideration that the majority of the population in Italy doesn’t speak English. Or they speak it in a way which is hardly comprehensible. What is more, you can meet people who don’t speak English even among restaurant and hotel staff. It will be wise to have an Italian phrasebook with you.
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