Vacation: Beware of making mistakes: What annoys Italians most about tourists

Just a few hours' drive and you're right in the middle of the sweet life under the sun.

Vacation: Beware of making mistakes: What annoys Italians most about tourists

Just a few hours' drive and you're right in the middle of the sweet life under the sun. There is hardly a country that Germans love as much as Italy. Bella Italia has been a place of longing and refuge for decades. The German penchant for pizza, pasta and Aperol is good for the Italian economy. In return, the Italians put up with a lot of bad behavior from tourists - even if they turn up their noses. The results of a current representative survey show which types of traveler behavior particularly infuriate Italians.

Just last summer, a particularly clever tourist specimen caused a worldwide stir. The Brit carved his girlfriend's name into the walls of the Colosseum and then claimed that he didn't know how old the monument was. This is not an isolated case. When on vacation, many people seem to leave their good nursery at home. They damage landmarks, carelessly throw trash into the prairie, and take happy selfies at memorials. This disrespectful treatment of the country's historical heritage annoys locals to no end. More than two thirds of those surveyed said that this behavior of tourists bothers them the most.

It is well known that the country on the Mediterranean is extremely proud of its cuisine. After all, it is one of the best in the world. And of course the local cuisine is also one of the main attractions for tourists. The problem: Although holidaymakers love eating Italian food, they don't give a damn about the rules and behavior that goes with it. This is bitter for many Italians.

Almost one in five locals is annoyed when tourists cut their spaghetti into small pieces or eat pizza with a knife and fork. In Naples, the birthplace of pizza, people still traditionally eat it with their hands. According to the survey, the only thing that is even worse for Italians is when travelers have the nerve to order foreign food in restaurants. When schnitzel and fries are ordered in the pizzeria, many restaurateurs take it personally. A full 19 percent of those surveyed found this to be “totally inappropriate,” after all, Italian cuisine offers a wide variety.

The situation is similar with how tourists interact with Italy's coffee specialties. Even though it is common practice in Germany to consume cappuccinos and the like after lunch, this is still a no-go in many regions of Italy. Cappuccino, like other coffee specialties with milk, is considered a typical breakfast drink. One in eight Italians in the survey are annoyed when tourists ignore this unwritten rule and order something other than a caffè, i.e. an espresso, after 12 p.m.

Italy thrives on tourism, with 79 million people traveling to the country in 2023 alone. The visitors come from all over the world, with Germans making up the largest group. However, many holidaymakers don't even bother to learn the most rudimentary vocabulary in the local language, but instead assume that the other person understands their own language. Twelve percent of Italians surveyed do not appreciate being spoken to in a foreign language at all. At least five percent are annoyed that holidaymakers don't even use polite phrases like Ciao! (Hello or goodbye), Grazie! (Thank you) and Scusi! (sorry) control.

The survey was carried out by an independent market research institute on behalf of the language learning portal Preply. 1,003 men and women aged 16 and over residing in Italy were surveyed. The survey was carried out between April 5th and 9th.

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