Dottore is usually used when addressing anyone with a university degree ( dottoressa if it’s a woman) and employees may refer to their boss as director ( direttore) or presidente.Professionals should be addressed by their titles such as professor ( professore), doctor ( dottore), engineer ( ingegnere), lawyer ( avvocato) and architect ( architetto).If you don’t know someone’s title, you can use signore (for a man) or signora (woman); a young woman may be addressed as signorina, although nowadays all women tend to be addressed as signora.Italian families and friends usually kiss when they meet, irrespective of their sex.
‘Hello’ ( ciao) is used among close friends and young people, but it isn’t considered polite when addressing strangers unless they use it first.
Women may find that some men kiss their hand, although this is rare nowadays.
When being introduced to someone in a formal situation, it’s common to say ‘pleased to meet you’ ( molto lieto). It’s also customary to say ‘good day’ or ‘good evening’ ( buonasera) on entering a small shop, waiting room or lift, and ‘good day’ or ‘goodbye’ ( arriverderci or, when addressing only one person, arrivederla) on leaving (friends say ciao).
Buongiorno becomes buonasera any time after the lunch break (around 1pm), although if you choose buonasera (or buongiorno), don’t be surprised if the response isn’t the same.
However, Italians are much more formal than most foreigners imagine and newcomers should tread carefully to avoid offending anyone.When you’re introduced to an Italian, you should say ‘good day’ ( buongiorno) and shake hands (a single pump is enough).