Traditions and customs run deep within the Italian culture. Because welcoming family and friends into the home is so important to the Italian community, when someone purchases a new home, it is cause for celebration. Selecting which traditional Italian housewarming gift to give is significant due to the history and meaning behind each gift.
A gift of bread in the Italian culture expresses wishes that the homeowner will never go hungry. You can give bread in many varieties, such as in loaves to accompany traditional pasta dishes or in dessert forms such as panettone (Italian sweet bread). Wine is also given as an accompaniment to the bread to symbolize the hopes that the homeowner will never go thirsty and that his life is always filled with happiness and joy.
Many young Italian couples are given rice upon purchase of their first home. Rice is meant to symbolize fertility and the hopes that the young couple will be blessed with many children. The rice is usually given uncooked in decorative containers wrapped with festive bows and ribbons.
Candles are a popular Italian gift for new homeowners. A candle represents the hope that the homeowner's home and life is always filled with light. Candles are given as gifts in many shapes, sizes and colors to represent the idea that life is constantly changing.
Olive oil is given in festive containers to represent wishes of good health. It is also an old Italian custom to give olive oil to newlywed wives, as it is believed that olive oil will keep the husband faithful.
Italians give a new homeowner the gift of a new broom to signify the sweeping away of evil and to ensure that the home stays clean of any negativity. This is also why many Italian homeowners hang decorative brooms on the entry doors to their homes.
Another of the most common traditional Italian housewarming gifts is salt. Italians believe that placing a pinch of salt in the threshold of each door will bring the new homeowner good luck. Salt is also said to cure all wounds and ensure health and happiness.