Sometimes it’s the small things that set experts and connoisseurs apart from clueless tourists. We have compiled a list with tips to help you to appear confident and to make a good impression. Not only that - you will also have more fun during your holidays.

What you should NEVER do:
  • Call locals Italians, Austrians or Germans. They are South Tyroleans.

  • CIAO! Everyone knows this and it sounds friendly. But you only greet friends in that way, never waiters or landlords or people in other formal situations. Nor should you ever kiss the cashier in the supermarket on the cheeks.

  • Do not order dry wine in a bar or restaurant. It goes without saying that wine is dry and you simply out yourself as a clueless tourist.

  • Eating spaghetti with fork and spoon is considered to be extremely coarse. And pasta is not a side-dish.

  • Never ask for ice in your wine or “G’spritzter” (spritzer).

  • If you order “Törggelen” in a restaurant, be prepared for the waiter to stare at you with surprise. “Törggelen” is not the name of a dish but an ancient, traditional South Tyrolean autumn custom.

  • The classic blunder of all blunders: ordering a cappuccino or a latte macchiato after dinner. Show that you have some style and order an espresso or a „caffè macchiato“.

  • Do change your sweaty shirt at the end of your mountain tour. But please not in the restaurant or on the terrace. That’s about as cultivated as visiting a church wearing your swimming trunks.

What you should ALWAYS do:
  • Visit a “Gasthaus”. South Tyrol benefits from many elegant gourmet restaurants. Nevertheless, you should not miss a visit to some of the wonderful traditional inns. Hearty cuisine, a welcoming atmosphere and friendly hosts await you.

  • Venture off the beaten track. Why not go on a hike early in the morning or after sunset? Enjoy the magical atmosphere and the unique peace of the South Tyrolean mountains.

  • Greet strangers when out and about. Don’t worry. In many mountain villages and on hiking paths it is still customary to greet people, even if one has never met them. Greet back! It doesn’t cost anything and often earns you a friendly smile.

  • In South Tyrol people are relaxed about life and go with the flow. Even if the ordered meal in a restaurant takes that little bit longer, there’s no need to panic. People here don’t go out just because they’re hungry, but to meet others and to chat. Relax a little and you will be surprised how soon the time passes and how much more you enjoy yourself.

From: Südtirols Süden Magazin 2006 | Georg Weindl