If you're the kind of superstitious soul who never walks under a ladder and is always confused about whether black cats are meant to bring bad luck or good, then you will want to know what twists of fate await you according to Italian beliefs.
Friday the 17th
Friday the 13th might be considered unlucky in Western superstition, but Italy has its very own date which is considered to bring bouts of bad luck - Friday the 17th. Some Italians dislike the number so much that some hotels don’t have a 17th level.
The reason for this is because when written in Roman numerals, the number 17 (XVII) can be rearranged to spell the Roman word VIXI, meaning “I have lived”. This is commonly found on ancient tombstones and the number, is therefore thought to tempt death.
Photo: Jakob Montrasio
In Italy it is believed that you should never toast with a glass of water. Nor should you cross arms with anyone when you clink glasses. You must also be sure to look other people in the eye when you toast and always remember to take a sip of your drink before setting it down on the table. Otherwise it’s seven years of bad sex.
The Evil Eye
Photo: Daniele Nicolucci
The malocchio is best described as a curse, which can be invoked simply by paying someone a compliment while feeling jealous. To ward off the evil eye you must make a gesture similar to horns and point it downwards behind your back.
Photo: Keiki Hiyami
When walking arm in arm with a friend, it is custom in southern parts of Italy and Sicily that when approaching a lamppost, you must both pass on the same side. Any straying from this rule means that the friendship could be over.
If you receive, for example, a penknife as a gift, prick the person who gave it to you, or give them a coin in return. If you fail to do this, you risk ruining the friendship forever.
It is believed that if you put a photograph of a loved one on a bed, for example if you move it whilst doing housework, then this will bring bad luck.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa
Photo: Jonathan Emmanuel Florese
It is believed that if you go to the top of the famous leaning tower whilst you are at university, then you will never be able to graduate.
Touch your nose
If you say the same word at the same time as someone else, you have to touch your nose, otherwise you’ll never get married.
Thirteen’s a crowd
Photo: Thomas Hawk
Thirteen people at a dinner table is considered bad luck in Italy. This comes from the Last Supper and the fact that Jesus’ traitor, Judas Iscariot, was the last one to be seated.
Seeing an empty hearse
Clearly this means that it could be for you. To ward off this ill fate, men must touch their groin and women their breast as a gesture of good luck.
By Ellie Bennett