When you have a delegation from Italy, you should keep the corresponding days and evenings as well as the weekends free. Italians mix their professional and private lives, which is why, in addition to business appointments, they will also be expecting to eat together and to join in on social events. Depending on the degree of the business relationship, private invitations to the home are also welcome. Under no circumstances should you just drop off your Italian guests at their hotel after business hours and then drive home without planning to spend the evening with them.
Show your guests your personal commitment to them when they arrive, for instance by picking them up yourself at the airport.
When planning your welcome, keep in mind the hierarchical levels of the arriving delegation and ensure that the Italian company owner or small management team is not welcomed by a middle management representative. This would be perceived negatively as disrespect for the visitor/s. Depending on the hierarchical level of your visitor/s, a chauffeur driven luxury car might also be appropriate.
If you book a hotel for your Italian guests, this should be of international business standard. Depending on the make-up of the Italian delegation, it would be appropriate to choose the room category according to the hierarchical levels of your guests.
For Italians, eating together is an essential part of any business relationship. You don’t have to choose a fine dining restaurant to make your guests feel comfortable, but the food should be very good. Order several courses and explain what the regional specialties are.
For now, avoid talking about business while eating. Your Italian guests will prefer to talk about personal matters in order to get to know you better. For Italians, stable and lasting business relationships only come about when there are good interpersonal relationships. So talk about hobbies, vacation spots, sports teams and of course the family. Passing around family photos is also appreciated.
All in all, the goal is to create a deeper, friendly bond through shared interests and common ground.
This is supported by an enjoyable social program, particularly during longer visits. For example, you could organize day trips to local attractions. If your Italian guests are already familiar with your country, they are more likely to want to visit art exhibitions, cultural or sporting events.
At any rate, when you take good care of your Italian guests, you will be showing them that you respect and value them.