I met Sabrina Verlezza Cipriani, an Italian-Venezuelan lady through various cultural events across Miami, Palm Beach, and New York. Elegant and glamorous, Sabrina‘s interests include fashion, gastronomy, art, travel, and most of all, good etiquette. She is known by many as “The Queen of Manners” and an avid educator of the Galateo rules. Galateo is the Italian word for polite social behavior whether sitting at a dinner table or going through other aspects of everyday life.
Whenever you are at an important business meeting, an elegant party, or even at home with your family, there is protocol that should be followed according to each culture. Sabrina’s passion is to share her knowledge of etiquette with people around the world and encourage its continuity over time. Besides being a certified etiquette consultant, she is also a successful realtor and a lifestyle influencer.
“Setting the table, placing cutlery correctly, decorating the table for each occasion, eating various types of foods… Ask me how to do it and I will tell you,” she says with a smile.
Bene, iniziamo dalle posate (let’s start with cutlery)….
“The fork goes on the left side of the plate and the knife and spoon on the right. Cutlery for dessert is placed above the plate. Glasses for water, wine, or champagne should be placed on the upper right side.”
How about the napkin?
“It goes to the left-hand side of the plate but it can also be placed on the plate with a beautiful knot or a flower on top as an added special touch. Being creative with the napkin can be a way to enhance the table decoration.”
Are there any rules on how to sit and start to eat?
“The host or the senior person at the table are the ones that lead the show. They are the first ones to propose a toast or to start to eat. Only after they are all seated and start to eat should a guest begin their meal.”
If you have to excuse yourself from the table, where would you put the napkin, on the table or on the chair?
“First of all, you should quietly notify someone on your side that you need to leave the table. Then, you should put your napkin on the left side of the plate, but never on your chair, as there may be germs that can contaminate it.”
What are some things to keep in mind when you’re dining at the table?
“You should never put your elbows on the table. When you are finished eating, place your cutlery aligned slightly to the right side between 3 and 6 o’ clock. That shows that you are finished eating and that the plate can be taken away.”