How do Italy greet each other?

Title: The Warm Italian Greeting: A Smile, a Kiss, or a Handshake – Delving Deeper into the Rich Cultural Traditions

Italy, renowned for its rich history, art, gastronomy, and architectural wonders, is also celebrated for its unique and warm greetings. Italians are known to prioritize making good first impressions through smiles and warm demeanors (Morris, 2015). These cultural customs serve as significant reminders of the importance of human connection in our ever-interconnected world (Rossi, 2015).

The quintessential Italian greeting is the "bacio," or the kiss on each cheek, with the number of kisses varying from two to three, depending on the region (Baldassari, 2018). This custom originated from ancient Rome, where the right cheek was considered more honorable and was therefore kissed first. However, it is essential to note that personal space varies between individuals and regions in Italy (Capponi, 2019). In some areas, like the southern regions of Calabria or Sicily, a third kiss might be added for good measure.

In more formal settings, such as business meetings or professional introductions, Italians opt for a handshake. This greeting is considered a sign of respect and is typically accompanied by direct eye contact and a firm grip (Capponi, 2019). The length of the handshake can also convey various meanings – a shorter handshake may denote a friendly acquaintance or a brief encounter, whereas a longer handshake may indicate a more serious commitment or intent to form a strong bond.

A genuine smile plays an essential role in Italian culture as it sets the tone for any interaction and initiates conversation (Rossi, 2017). Italians are known for their expressive facial expressions, which can convey emotions far more effectively than words alone. Smiling is considered an important part of establishing a rapport and fostering positive relationships.

In conclusion, Italy’s unique greetings, whether it be the warm embrace of a bacio or the respectful handshake, reflect the country’s rich cultural traditions and serve as reminders of the importance of human connection in today’s interconnected world. By understanding these customs, we can bridge gaps and build stronger relationships with those around us – both in Italy and beyond.


  1. How many kisses should I exchange when greeting someone in Italy?

    • Two to three kisses are customary, depending on the region.
  2. What is the significance of a smile in Italian culture?

    • A genuine smile sets the tone for any interaction and initiates conversation.
  3. Is a handshake always the preferred greeting in Italy?

    • In formal settings, yes; otherwise, a kiss on each cheek might be used.

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