Looking for luck while traveling in Italy? Whether it’s avoiding bird feathers or appreciating a cat’s sneeze, Italian superstitions are unique. Here’s a guide to the most common Italian superstitions to keep you in good spirits on your trip:
Malocchio or “Evil Eye,” is one of the Italians’ main superstitions. It is best known as a curse, but can be most accurately compared to a “jinx” in America. In order to ward off tempted fates of this “jinx,” Italians extend their pinkie and index finger, while holding the others down.
Corno • Be on the lookout for this horn-shaped charm! It’s hung from cars and used in necklaces for good luck.
Cats • Black cats are considered bad luck in Italy, but if you’re lucky enough to hear a cat sneeze, you’re believed to have good luck for the rest of the day! Aaachoo!
Tocca Ferro • Similar to our phrase “knock on wood,” the Italians have a “knock on iron” phrase to avoid any bad luck. Ironically, “tocca ferro” is most commonly used when nuns walk by, because they are considered to be unlucky. Go figure!
Salt • Salt is believed to bring peace to the deceased. Italians place salt under the heads of those who have passed away to prevent them from returning back to earth in the afterlife.
Colpo di Aria • Also known as “a hit of air,” the Colpo di Aria is a medical superstition. Italians believe that air can be extremely dangerous – that’s why grandmothers warn you to dry your hair before going out in the cold air.
First Friday in March • Make sure you’ve done all your grooming before this day – the Italians find it very unlucky to shave on the first Friday in March.
New Year’s Eve • If you’re looking for love, wearing anything red on this day will bring good luck in love in the coming year.
Birds and feathers • You won’t see any birds or feathers in any Italian’s household – it is believed that the feathers (especially from a peacock) resemble the “Evil Eye” and symbolize a bad omen.