Learn Italian words: i segnali stradali

I bet many of you are coping with Italian traffic, and I am well aware that driving in Italy can sometimes be a nightmare because Italians… well, let’s just say that we have a very loose concept of “traffic laws”. This is exactly why you don’t need any further distraction or brain teaser while driving in Italy: for that purpose we have just prepared for you an Italian language lesson about all the Italian words you need to get an Italian driving licence and a brand new infographic about road signs in Italy!

Learn Italian words: i segnali stradali

Originally published on www.kappalanguagueschool.com.


Alla guida – a language lesson for those who want to get their driving licence in Italy

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!

“Ciao Mondo!” – A new webradio for Italian Language Students

Ciao Mondo! Webradio for Italian Language StudentsWe at Kappa Language School are always trying to find new ways to spread the word about our language and culture. Although the best way to learn Italian is indubitably to join one of our Italian Language Classes, we are also creating a brand new set of podcasts (in addition to our downloadable lessons and exercises and our community forum) for those who cannot travel to Rome and have the Italian experience of their lives.

So, here are the first three episodes of our webradio, “Ciao Mondo!”. More are about to come: enjoy, comment and share!

Episode 1: Al bar

Episode 2: Al ristorante

Episode 3: Una ricetta italiana

Barking dogs don’t bite

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)!


If the cat is away, we begin to dance!

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)!

A goldfish in fishbowl on white background

Don’t worry, I will keep your secrets!

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…

Read the original article on Kappa Language School’s website.

Come il cacio sui maccheroni

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.

We don't have the umbrella... cavolo!

We don’t have the umbrella… cavolo!

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?:)

Pay attention to the sound of beans:)

Pay attention to the sound of beans:)

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?:)

Read the original article on Kappa Language School’s website.

Easter Lunch is coming

If you live in Italy and are thinking about starting a diet, maybe this is not the right time.

Corallina salami... what else?

Corallina salami… what else?

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. These can vary depending on the region, but some can be found all over Italy. Let’s start with the appetizers. The must-have foods are: fried artichokes, boiled eggs, cheese pizza (pizza al formaggio, a soft cheese bread), fava beans, pecorino romano (a salty Italian cheese) and a special Italian salami called corallina.

Eggs, cheese, vegetables: the torta pasqualina is done!

Eggs, cheese, vegetables: the torta pasqualina is done!

Moreover, we can’t forget the torta pasqualina, an Easter pie prepared with eggs, cheese (mainly ricotta, an Italian soft cheese) and vegetables.

The main course for the Easter lunch is the lamb, usually roasted with aromatic herbs, garlic and red wine, served with vegetables or roast potatoes. But you can choose to prepare only the lamb ribs (costolette), fried in extra virgin olive oil or cooked on the barbecue (have you ever heard about costolette alla scottadito?).

And if that wasn’t enough, you can go ahead and eat delicious traditional desserts. You just have to choose between chocolate eggs, the pastiera napoletana – a cake made with wheat, ricotta cheese, candied fruit and scented with orange-blossom water – and the colomba, a dove-shaped cake with candied fruit and almonds.

Neapolitan pastiera. Yummy!

Neapolitan pastiera. Yummy!

But wait, Italians have a passion for eating and the Monday after Easter Sunday – called “Pasquetta” or “Lunedì dell’angelo” – many people go out for a picnic and enjoy a long Pasquetta lunch. What are you waiting for? Get up and run to the gym… Easter lunch is coming!:)

Read the original article on Kappa Language School’s website.

Say it with flowers


Look at these sunflowers and think of the sun!

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… This is because in Italy chrysanthemums symbolize death and are linked to November 2nd – il giorno dei morti -, when people commemorate their deads leaving chrysanthemums on their graves. On the other hand, sunflowers are usually associated to happiness, probably because their yellow petals remind us the light of the sun and the joy of living:)

Furthermore, if you are going to go out for a romantic dinner, make sure to have a bouquet of roses and pay attention to their colour: red roses represent love and passion, but yellow roses are symbol of jealousy and white roses are associated to pureness and innocence – that’s why white roses are usually used for bridal bouquets.

Moreover, some flowers are associated to specific events. For example, pink roses or a pink azalea plant are perfect gifts for the Mother’s Day (celebrated in Italy the second Sunday of May), red flowers for a degree and mimosa flowers to celebrate the International Women’s Day (on March 8th). And don’t forget to taste the Mimosa cake, which takes its name from the sponge cake crumbled over its surface. Trust me: this cake is delicious and it really looks like a bouquet of bright mimosa:)

Read the original article on Kappa Language School’s website.