|An Italian man kisses the right hand of his mother, aunt or elderly friend and the left hand of his sweetheart.|
If the woman who visits Rome wishes to follow tradition and “do as the Romans do,” she will be careful never to take her escort’s arm in a Catholic church. Indeed, the guides instruct those who stroll innocently arm in arm about St. Peter’s looking at the pictures, frescoes and altars of that wonderful cathedral, that they are committing an impropriety. Italians are very particular about the etiquette of kissing the hand.
A man kisses the right hand of his mother, aunt or elderly friend and the left hand of his sweetheart. It is not permitted him to kiss the palm of the hand except in great and affectionate intimacy. It is regarded as a token that he is very much in love. Upon arriving at a formal dinner a gentleman takes the hand of his hostess and bends low over it as if about to kiss it, but does not do so. After dinner etiquette demands that he take her hand again and kiss it. —New York World, 1893
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