Tag Archives: italian customs

How many kisses in Italy?

Many people around the World greet each other with kisses on the cheek, although the number of kisses changes across countries: one in some European countries, two in Spain, and up to three or even four in other European countries. So, before your trip to Italy, you might be wondering: how many kisses in Italy?


Italians are known the world over for being romantic and very family orientated, but what is acceptable behaviour between friends?  In general, Italians follow the traditional European custom of kissing someone they know, or have been introduced to, on both cheeks. However, in Italy, the number of kisses which are acceptable can vary from region to region.

In Rimini, in Emilia-Romagna, for example, it is considered good manners to have three kisses on the cheek. Friendly people there insist that this is their tradition, and, after all, who could possibly object to receiving three kisses from a handsome Italian stallion?!

So next time you are sitting in a sunny piazza and watching the world go by, take note (discreetly!) of how many kisses Italians greet each other with. Will it be two or three? If it’s more, then it’s probably fair to say that they are slightly more than just friends!

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Italian Customs: Wearing Purple to the Theatre

Italian TheatreItalians have a number of unique customs and traditions, calling back to their 2000 years of history and ever-evolving culture. One of the more interesting customs is that of not wearing purple when going out to the theatre. It’s considered extremely bad luck to do so and is heavily frowned upon by many Italians and theatre-goers alike. This seems to have been a uniquely Italian custom that has gained traction and popularity in many other parts of the world, but remains firmly rooted in Italian tradition.

While the exact history behind this custom is unclear, there are two possible explanations for why wearing purple to the theatre is bad luck. The first is that in Italy, purple is associated with funerals, which is also why no Italian will present a gift wrapped in purple paper and no bride will have purple as part of her wedding colour scheme or allow any of her guests to wear it.

The second explanation has to do with the presence and influence of the Catholic Church in Italy (which may also explain why purple is associated with funerals). In medieval times, the Catholic Church banned theatre during Lent, the 40 days before Easter. During Lent, the higher ranked clergy wore purple and purple was the dominant colour of the 40 day period. To show respect and sympathy for the starving singers, actors and all other people involved in theatre during the time, most people stopped wearing purple to any play during the rest of the year.

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