GIFT GIVING IN ITALY*
- Gift Giving Etiquette
BUSINESS GIFT GIVING /
PERSONAL GIFT GIVING
- Refrain from giving a business gift until you
receive one first.
- Gifts are expected for social events, especially to
express your thanks after you have been invited to a dinner party at a
- Gifts are usually opened at the time they are given
- Your gift should be a prestigious brand name that is
at the same time small and not obviously expensive.
- Gifts of alcohol or crafts from your own country are
often good choices.
- If you want to give a gift to someone who has been
particularly helpful around the office, good choices include fine pens, a
framed print/picture, silver key chains, or calculators. Regardless, make
sure your gift is a reputable name-brand!
- Secretaries generally appreciate a gift of flowers
- If you are invited to a home, bring gift-wrapped
chocolates or flowers. Never give an even number of flowers. Do not give
chrysanthemums; they are acceptable only for funerals. Moreover, red roses
are reserved for romantic occasions.
- If you are invited to a home and decide to give
wine, buy a good vintage. Bring one or two (maximum) bottles. A good wine
or spirit from home could be an excellent choice as Italians are
interested in learning about other countries. If you bring a present from
home be ready with a short description of what it is and why you have
chosen it [e.g. it is from your home town and has an interesting and
unique way of being made etc].
- If you decide to bring flowers, ensure that the
bouquet is in odd numbers, in accordance with the old European tradition.
- If you are staying with a family, good gift
selections can include coffee table books about your home country, or
anything that reflects the interests of your hosts and is representative
of your country.
- Holiday cards can be appropriate, particularly as an
expression of thanks to your business associates. Ensure that your cards
are mailed in time to be received a week before Christmas. Card sending is
not very common in Italy, so your card will be received with interest.
Gifts to Avoid
- gifts showcasing your company's logo
- brooches and handkerchiefs--these items are
associated with funerals
- gifts wrapped in black and gold
paper--traditionally, these are the colours of mourning
- gifts or wrappings in purple--this colour is
considered a symbol of bad luck
- knives or any other type of sharp object--such items
may be interpreted to suggest the severing of a friendship or other close
*Burgess, Helen. Italy Business Etiquette
- Gift Giving. Executive Planet. 30 July 2004
Above: The flag of