The Italian Way of Speaking: Communication through Gestures
Every country has habits and distinct cultural elements that make it unique. It is these features that become a way to identify and differentiate cultures. Where Italy is concerned, cultural behavior varies based on territory. Italians are quite famous for being effusive talkers that use hand gestures to underline most statements, but even these can change depending on which part of the country we are in: accent, tone of voice and gestures can all vary depending on which part of Italy you're visiting.
Italian Gestures & History
If you go to Italy, be prepared to find differences in the way people communicate depending on their area of origin. For instance, most Northeners speak slower and in lower tones in comparison to their louder, Southern counterparts. Despite these differences, Italians in general are known for their particular way of communicating and interacting, something that is particularly true in the South. While in Italy, don't be alarmed if you notice people waving their hands and exchanging vigorous hand gestures while speaking to one another: these are just examples of classic Italian non-verbal communication.
Neapolitans, for example, often express themselves more through hand gestures than through words: hand gestures are used in many Mediterranean cultures, each having a specific meaning depending on the place they originated from.
Research has shown that the use of hand gestures as a way to communicate is something ingrained in Italians, making it nearly impossible for citizens of the country to speak without using their hands.
Italian Hand Gestures
In addition to hand gestures, Southern Italians also have another widespread custom: speaking loudly. Someone unfamiliar with Italians in conversation may see a Southerner speaking and mistakenly assume they are yelling or angry while, in truth, they are just speaking in their regular tone of voice. So if you're in Italy don't be alarmed. Rather try to embrace the passionate way Italians speak--and if you're not sure what a hand gesture means, just ask!