Desiderius Erasmus, 1499:
Letter to Fausto Andrelini: “Here are girls with angels' faces, so kind and obliging that you would prefer them to all your muses. Besides, there is a custom here never to be sufficiently commended. Wherever you come you are received with a kiss by all; you take your leave, you are dismissed with kisses; you return, kisses are repeated. They come to visit you: kisses again; they leave you: you kiss them all round. Should they meet you anywhere, kisses in abundance; in fine, wherever you move there is nothing but kisses.”
Since I got the above translation from Wikipedia it was necessary to check by finding the original Latin; my Latin is too rusty to translate it myself but I can at least say the above translation is reasonable. And this is a famous passage.
Nam ut e plurimis unum quiddam attingam, sunt hic nymphae divinis vultibus, blandae, faciles, et quas tu tuis camenis facile anteponas. Est praeterea mos nunquam satis laudatus. Sive quo venis, omnium osculis exciperis; sive discedis aliquo, osculis dimitteris; redis, redduntur suavia; venitur ad te, propinantur suavia; disceditur abs te, dividuntur basia; occurritur alicubi, basiatur affatim; denique quocunque te moves, suaviorum plena sunt omnia.
It's certainly taken me a very, very long time to get my head even partly around the practice of touching cheeks as though to kiss and pointing your lips the other way. To me it just seemed bizarre and insulting; if you are fond of someone why would you not kiss them? If the person is a cousin or a friend of the family older than yourself, then you kiss them on the cheek; immediate family get a peck on the lips. With personal friends it varies, but they get a sincere hug, with or without a kiss, but probably with. For a person you are sleeping with, not to greet them with a peck on the lips would be downright insulting, as though you were ashamed of the relationship, unless it is of very long standing and known to all, in which case it's not necessary. Colleagues and formal relationships mean some combination of handshakes or verbal greetings. I've eventually managed to accommodate the cheek-to-cheek touch into my repertoire as a friendly greeting, but it still isn't wholly natural. It feels as though it should be for someone I'm only pretending to like, or someone I am supposed to pretend not to like; or someone I would like to like, but I know doesn't want my affection.
Nowadays I'm just confused; I do the cheek-touch now, but I'm completely random about how many, and all the borders are muddled.
I think the customs of my family, before we had to accommodate ourselves with the big city, would have been perfectly recognisable to Erasmus.