If you think that Italians cannot drive (at least not politely) and that in Italy traffic laws are considered as mere suggestions to drivers who otherwise are used to act like cavemen… you might be right.
Nevertheless, Italy does have traffic laws, sometimes even tricky, and Italian, as any other language, has a whole section of its vocabulary about the semantic field of driving. So, if you are an expat, an au pair or a student living in Italy and you intend to get your driving licence here, you might want to learn some very important word that could get you behind the wheel.
Click here for a whole new and original Italian Language Lesson about driving and respecting traffic laws in Italy… Enjoy!
Dogs, cats, birds, gold fishes… it’s becoming increasingly common for Italian people to keep animals at home and a growing number of Italians consider their cat or dog not just a pet but a member of the family. Most people choose a dog due to its loyalty and intelligence. Usually dogs, even the small varities, provide their owners with a feeling of protection. So if your dog barks maybe something unusual is going on… But don’t be afraid to get close to it, can che abbia non morde (barking dogs don’t bite)!
And if you are planning to add a new pet to the family and are thinking to get a cat, please think twice and remember the old saying essere come cane e gatto (to fight like cat and dog). Regarding the cat, it’s known to be a smart and clever animal. That’s why quando il gatto non c’è i topi ballano (while the cat’s away the mice will play).
Otherwise, if you hate noises and are looking for a calm animal, I think a gold fish could be the right solution for you. Your fish will keep you company and you could talk to it about anything… it will remain muto come un pesce (quiet as a mouse)!
Some people prefer to get a bird, maybe because birds are known to be extremely intelligent and very social. Ok, it’s true, you can spend a lot of time interacting with it, but don’t forget that birds love freedom and maybe someday your bird could become un uccel di bosco (to be nowhere to be found) and leave you alone…
When we think about Spring, we usually think about rebirth, blossoming flowers and growing plants. But during the Spring months we usually expect also a changeable and unpredictable weather. That’s why it’s advisable to wear several layers of clothing – that is to say vestirsi a cipolla (“dress like an onion”) – and to take an umbrella before going out.
I’m warning you: if you will be caught out in a sudden downpour and will go back home with a bad cold, non piangete sul latte versato! (“don’t cry over spilled milk!”). And if also an Italian friend will be caught out in the same sudden downpour, certainly you will hear he/she screaming: Cavolo! (literally “cabbage”, but actually it means “damn!”).
Onion, milk, cabbage… Italians used to be known for having a great passion for food and that’s why Italian language is full of food-centric idioms .
Take a look at the most common food sayings:
– essere buono come il pane: to be as good as bread. This is a really useful expression when you are talking about a good person but don’t have no more words to describe him/her:)
– essere una pentola di fagioli: to be a grumbler. Have you ever cooked beans (“fagioli”)? Usually Italian grandmothers put them in a crock pot, covered with water, and cook them at low temperature for several hours. Close your eyes and listen to the continuous sound coming from the pot… it doesn’t seem like someone muttering?:)
– essere in mezzo come il prezzemolo: to be always in the way like parsley, referring to the wide use of parsley in Italian cuisine, especially with seafood and vegetable sauces. You can use this idiom talking about someone who stick his/her nose in other people’s business. I’m sure you know someone like this:)
– essere alla frutta: the party is over. When the fruit appears on the table, all Italian people know that the meal has come to an end. Well, when you are fed up with a situation and can’t do nothing to make things better, you are at the bottom of the barrel…
– essere pieno come un uovo: to be as full as en egg. An Italian friend has invited you to dinner and his/her mother has cooked for you. After the second course, you can’t eat anymore, but she fills your plate again and again… Dont’ you feel full just like an egg?:)
And I could go on for a long time… So, if you are planning to come to Italy, I higly recommend you to learn some of these idioms. The right expression at the right moment will be like il cacio sui maccheroni… don’t you agree?:)
If you live in Italy and are thinking about starting a diet, maybe this is not the right time.
That’s because Easter Sunday is coming and a long queue has already started forming outside supermarkets and pastry shops to buy the traditional Easter foods.
Have you been invited to the party of someone you don’t know well and have no idea what to get him/her? Well, keep calm and don’t panic. All of us know that flowers are universally appreciated gifts. So if you will bring with you a bunch of flowers, surely you will not look foolish. But if the host is Italian, be careful not to buy a bouquet of chrysanthemums, you will make a bad impression…
Have you ever heard about the story of a wooden puppet who is able to walk, speak, eat and whose dream is to become a real boy? Of course you did! We are talking about Pinocchio, the main character of one of the most famous Italian children’s novels, “Le avventure di Pinocchio”, written by Carlo Collodi from Firenze.
This is the first part of the transcription of our speech at the workshop Le parole sono importanti, organized by our friends from Happy Languges and hosted by our school on July, 28th 2014. We are confident it can provide some useful guideline to those, Italians or foreigners, are willing to implement the use of movies in their teaching method. The transcription is, of course, in Italian, but you can contact us and request a translation.
Italian cinema is a worldwide recognized excellence, so what better way to learn Italian than using movies? Today we learn how to describe a movie plot, starting from one of Benigni’s most famous comedies: “Il mostro”.
Check out our all new Italian Language Lesson available on our website.
Italians are definitely one the most superstitious people in Europe. From popular religion to the akward and sometimes criminal business of professional foretelling, when it comes to approaching magic, horoscopes, card-reading and faith the Italian way seems to be well epitomized by the saying “non è vero ma ci credo” (“it’s not true, but I believe it”), which by the way gave the title to a legendary three act piece by Peppino De Filippo.