Learn Italian words (and grammar): la colazione in Italia!

As every grandma uses to say, “breakfast is the most important meal of all”. And that is indeed true, especially if you consider that generally it helps your body recovering from a night of fasting! So what’s the deal with Italian breakfast?

From a country whose diet is renowned worldwide, with an outstanding variety of ingredients and a cookbook stuffed with delicious recipes, you would expect excellence even when it comes to the first meal of the day. Yet, breakfast in Italy is very different from what many expats and Italian language students would expect, as it is usually a very fast and light meal, the mainstay being a cappuccino or an espresso accompanied by some pastries (cornetti) and, occasionally, corn flakes and cereals (fiocchi d’avena e cereali). In a regular Italian breakfast there is no room for cheese, eggs, beans or bacon, and actually most Italians tend to consider the idea of having a “salty breakfast” (or eating anything salted before midday) quite disgusting.

Even in Italy, of course, you will be able to find bars, pubs and hotels which regularly serve English or American breakfast, but if you really want to get the full Italian experience, you should really try to melt in and have a quick and light Italian breakfast in a local bar, peeking at a quotidiano and catching the occasion to have a chat with Italian natives on the latest news

For all of you who want to be prepared when having your first breakfast in Italy, here’s a new infographic… with a quick grammar overview about si passivante included!

 

Learn Italian words and grammar: breakfast in Italy, Infographic

Advertisements

What I learned in Italy

To honor to my sixth month here in Rome (which sadly will be also my last) I would like to share with you today some VERY informal thoughts on what I learned in Italy. I will take you back to 11 August 2016, the day I arrived here in the beautiful Rome. The sun was shining and it was a summer day like all others in Italy so the streets of Rome were full of Romans (surprise! They don’t go on vacation that much: Rome is a really busy town), which brings us to the first thing you should learn in Italy:

  • it’s REALLY important to learn the language and make an effort to practice it on the streets and in stores with locals. Not everyone is able to speak English and, as you will figure out, a lot of things are only available in Italian, although, especially in the city center, you will find amusing examples of broken English. For that purpose, certain internet pages packed with Italian Language lessons and exercises are a blessing. Or you can always do it the old fashioned way and learn Italian by joining an Italian Language Course (as I did, and my Italian is so good that I am still writing articles in English! :P).

Being installed in my new home for this six months, I had to go out for grocery shopping, which I know is not the most fashionable shopping you can do but it has to be done. Anyway, this brings us to the second thing I learned:

  • when in Italy, you should get to know your local Italian cuisine – because no, there isn’t just ONE Italian cuisine. Not all of the food that you are familiar with in your home country will be available in the supermarkets, that’s why it is important to learn how to cook with the food that is available in Italy. The Italian cuisine is more than only pasta or pizza: make the best out of it and join an Italian Cooking Class where you will also be able to practice Italian and make new friends which share with you the disgrace of being totally incompetent in preparing a decent Italian dish.

Last but not last there is the thing that I enjoyed the most here:

  • learn how to appreciate Italian culture. It’s maybe quite different from yours and it the difference can be disorienting at first but, believe me, these people really know how to live. The culture of having an aperitivo after work with your friends, enjoying a good meal for (at least) a couple of hours, having a walk through the city center or just spending your afternoon while doing nothing and drinking espresso should be included in the world heritage list. The Italian culture is about the importance of family and friends in your life and that’s what will make your new Italian friends the unforgettable ones. Or, at least, this is what happened to me!

 

Arrivederci Roma, alla prossima avventura! xoxoxo

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

(Italian) boys, boys, boys

When I moved to Rome as an expat, everyone I knew was daydreaming about “the Italian boys”. Italian boys are more a category of spirit than an actual group of people: you know, those guys that know how to love and teach you how to be loved, that take their special one on romantic dates at least twice a week and are still frozen in time with all their gentlemen manners. Their black hair and clear brown eyes and their accents, if anything, can only make you fall in love even more. In my 4th month of living in Rome, I will give you my experiences with Italian boys in the city center of this wonderful city!

First of all, when in Rome you should get used to the Italian words bella or bellissima, since it is very common to get this kind of compliments, even from strangers. In Rome even on the worst hairday ever you will get compliments on your looks! And that, indeed, is one proof of the fact that #ITALIANSDOBETTER.

ruth-orkin-italian-men-stare

The acts of Italian boys are funny and sweet: they are always trying to get a smile on your face. I can give you more than hundred examples of this, but here are just the ones that I remember the most. Let’s start with some funny “icebreaking” sentences I heard like: “Do you have a passport to heaven, because you are an angel for sure” or “Your eyes are like the most beautiful Italian rivers, I used to be a sailor so let me sail you” or “I know you like Vespas and I have one, how about a ride right now”. Also, there are boys who show you acts instead of words like street musicians who serenade you on the street, waiters in restaurants that give you extra sweets and cakes by your coffee or taxi drivers who don’t let you pay the taxi ride.

nordstrom_mens_shop_daily_blog_anniversary_sale_expert_picks_andy_comer_marcello_mastroianni2Of course, these guys are just strangers, who mostly like to flirt with you. But since I happened to have an Italian boy as a flatmate, I can also tell you about how it is to have one as a friend and… well, Italian boys as friends are very friendly and aren’t different from the rest of the world (surprise!). The little difference for me was in the fact that they will make sure that you discover all wonderful experiences from their city/country and don’t make you miss Italian culture knowledge. Ask them about great restaurants, bars or activities etc. and they will be happy to advise you… and even if they speak English, their incredibly thick Italian accent turns every word they say in pure cuteness. When it comes to the famous “Italian hospitality“, I guess this is part of the package.

And what about you guys? If you want to share your experiences with Italy and Italian boys, feel free to comment (and share)!

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

“Cosa ti ha colpito di più dell’Italia?”

E’ quello che abbiamo chiesto ai nostri studenti di Italiano di livello B2, sperando che loro notassero aspetti della cultura italiana che noi nativi, anestetizzati dalla routine culturale, non siamo più in grado di evidenziare. Le risposte, a volte, sono sorprendenti! 😀

Italian Language Class - B2 levelDell’Italia mi hanno colpito tante cose. Ho visto che la gente si salutava con i baci, anche fra maschi e fra femmine.

L’altra cosa è quando ho visto il traffico, le persone non sono gentili. Non hanno pazienza, suonano il clacson e sempre usano il cellulare quando guidano.

La terza cosa che mi ha colpito è il cibo. Prima di venire in Italia non avevo mai visto così tanti tipi di formaggi e affettati freschi. E’ proprio vero che il cibo italiano è buonissimo come si dice nel mondo.

Joanna (Malesia)

Una cosa che mi ha colpito durante il mio soggiorno in Italia è il suono “boh” che a quanto pare è veramente fondamentale nel discorso italiano. Ho cercato una definizione su internet e risulta che la traduzione più semplice all’italiano “ufficiale” sarebbe: “non lo so”. Mi sembra un’espressione divertentissima e unica.

Ben (Inghilterra)

A cena fuori per praticare l'italiano!Una cosa strana è quando l’inverno le donne italiane mettono sopra il cappotto pesante e sotto mettono le calze leggere. Per me questa abitudine è strana, perché se hai freddo dovresti mettere i vestiti pesanti sia sopra che sotto.

Un’altra cosa che mi ha colpito molto è il saluto, perché [gli italiani] si baciano per salutare, sia la donna che l’uomo. Questa abitudine per noi cinesi è un po’ strana: i cinesi si stringono la mano.

Jing Xing (Cina)

Una cosa che mi ha colpito quando sono venuta in Italia è vedere i belli campi di girasole in Toscane. Il bel paesaggio lì è veramente qualcosa di particolare e stupendo, mai visto.

Evelyn (Brasile)

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

Welcome back! A preview of what’s coming on this September

Aaaaand we’re back! It has been a long, hot and even troubled summer, but here we are back on track, with the intent, now more than ever, to share the beauty our language and culture carry.

Besides our standard learning programme, with Intensive, Extensive, Flexible and Standard Italian Language Courses, we are glad to present our cultural activities for September 2016:

il-museo-agostinelli-di-roma-4Friday 16th, from 3pm – Vist @ Museo Agostinelli with Veni Vidi Visit
Where: meeting point @ Piazzale Ostiense
Participation fee: free
One of the most peculiar museums in Rome, a collection of 60000 objects from all over the world. An original insight on popular cultures and folklore.

cena8Thursday 22nd, from 7pm – Summer Ending Rooftop Aperitif (meetup event here)
Where: Mille13 Bistrò, Via Dei Mille 13a
Participation fee: 10€
Our classic rooftop aperitif to practice Italian, make new friends and spend an evening together in a charming roman terrace!

dsc_0195m-678x381Saturday 24th, 10am-1pm – visit @ Parco delle Energie/Lago exSnia
Where: Parco delle Energie, Via Biordo Michelotti
Participation fee: free
A lake in the heart of one of the most suggestive neighbourhoods in Rome, Pigneto, sorrounded by flourishing nature and inhabited by an extraordinary variety of wild fauna. A fantastic chance to discover a hidden treasure of the Eternal City!

Bus Lover

I have been called strange many times in my 20 years, usually for different reasons, however since moving to Rome I have found that the number one reason now is that I like riding the buses. When I have to go somewhere I go early enough so that I can still make it to my destination if I have to ride two or more buses; and while all of my friends loathe taking the bus, I will take one even if they decide they want to use the metro or a taxi. There are many reasons that I prefer the buses over the other forms of transportation here in Rome, and today I’m going to list them for you. Maybe you too will become a bus lover ;).

Reason #1- I like seeing the city.

standard-bus-ext        Yes, you can always just take a tour bus around and see all the cool tourist places, like the Vatican and the Colosseum. That’s not what I’m referring to though. I love being able to hop on an ordinary public transport bus and let it show me streets and places I didn’t know were there. For example, I found that if I take a certain bus near my house and ride it for about twenty minutes, there is a little dress shop that is hidden away in a tangle of ivy, that I only noticed as the bus passed by it. I pass by churches and make mental notes to come back and go in them, because I love seeing old churches.

Reason #2- It helps my mental map.

        One thing I miss about driving a car around my old hometown is how easy it was for me to remember where everything was and how to get there. Now that I can’t drive (I mean I can, but I won’t on these crazy roman streets!) So riding the bus has replaced that. Once I’ve ridden the bus three or four times both ways I can usually tell where I am, and more importantly, I know how to find my way home, or to a friend’s house. This is especially important if you are lost at 2:00 in the morning in the middle of Rome and your phone is dying. If that happens to me I know the entire route, stop-to-stop so I can find my way home.  It also helps me avoid the sketchy parts of town because I can remember where they were on the bus route and take a different route home (using another bus route).

Reason #3- It gives me time to myself

        I know it’s a bit ironic, going somewhere full of people to get away from people, however for me, it’s a bit similar to sitting down and reading a book in a secluded place. Yes, there are people all around me, but I ignore them to the point where I sometimes forget they are there because I’m so focused on the story in my head, or what I will be writing for my next article. My music up loud, I sit there and I don’t even think about the people around me, I’m too lost in my own thoughts. I still get texts, but I don’t have to answer them right away. I can wait until I’m ready to come down from my world, and I’m ready to face reality again.

Reason #4- I can practice Italian, and see the real culture.

roman-bus        Some of the time, I like to take off my headphones and listen to the conversations around me. It allows me to hear the language as it is meant to sound, natural. The people on the bus have no idea that I don’t speak Italian, and they aren’t going to pay me any mind; the small woman looking out the window, leaning her head on the glass. I’ve also had the privilege to see the people of Rome up close and personal after witnessing two different fights on the bus, one between a bus driver who wasn’t going to take crap from some dude yelling in the back, another between a pregnant lady, her husband, and some guy on the phone. Only one of them ended in a fist fight though, but man… did that pregnant lady know how to swing.  

Now I know that many of you will still dislike the bus for various reasons, like how they never seem to come on time, how they take forever to get anywhere, how you can never get a seat, how close everyone is to you. I get it, and I can understand all those things because they frustrate me too at times. But every experience has pros and cons, and in my humble opinion, the pros of the bus outweigh the cons by more than just a few points. Do you like the bus, or have I missed another con? Please comment below, I would love to hear from you!

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

A meal in a Roman square

474411420Sitting down at an outside table, I set my cappuccino on the table and dig into my beat up purse to find my notebook. The sun is relentless today and sitting under the large crimson umbrella that blooms over the middle of my table is the only reason my skin isn’t lobster red. I put my purse under my seat and open my notebook, then turn my head to look out into the square. In the middle rests a large fountain, with steps leading up to see into its waters. Art students are perched all over it and look around the square as I do, reminding me of a flock of pigeons, their heads bobbing up and down as they draw. Speaking of pigeons, they of course are all over the place. I remind myself not to drop any of my sandwich when they bring it to me, because otherwise death-by-pigeon will be on my coroner’s report.

Around Rome (8 of 49)-LSipping my cappuccino, an elderly couple walks by with a fat dachshund, who is merrily waddling along in front of them. A lady passes them going the opposite way and honestly I’m impressed at how well she is walking on the old cobblestones, which are riddled with cracks and holes. I can barely manage to walk on them in flat shoes. Brava, lady, brava. An elderly woman stands in front of the church across the street begs for money from anyone who walks in or out; and I have to look away, because its painful to watch. I try to give money when I can, but I can barely afford to feed myself as it is.

The birds’ chirping is a sweet melody that twines together with the smell of the lavender plants that blanket many of the buildings in the square, and its calming qualities make me lean my head back and just listen. With my eyes closed I can hear the clicks of someone’s shoes pass my table to go into the bar, and a deep voice bellows out a cheerful greeting that is reciprocated wholeheartedly from the female bartender. I imagine they are old friends, who see each other everyday and yet never run out of things to talk about. And as they begin to chat loudly among the tinks of the china and the bubbling of steamed milk, my mind wanders to a different sound. I assume one of the street musicians has set up shop somewhere near the fountain because now there is some lovely violin music drifting steadily to my ears. Oh, he is playing Ave Maria I realize, and find a newfound love for whoever this street performer is, because that is one of my favorites.

2929081691_1a89901780_bI hear footsteps approaching and slowly open my eyes to the crimson umbrella above me. I can see little dots of sunshine peaking through, which dance and sparkle when I move my head. Wow people probably think I’m high right now I think to myself and crack a smile.

Signorina, il tuo panino.” Says a handsome bartender who is hold a plate with my sandwich. I smile and take it from him with a Grazie. Setting it down, I take the last sip of my cappuccino and once again have to remind myself not to feed the birds, even if a little brown one just happened to land near me and chirp with an otherworldly cuteness. As I breathe in the hot Italian air filled with lavender (and now salami from my sandwich), and I hear the birds and violin sing in a natural harmony, I set my cup down and sigh with content. I am the luckiest girl in the world if I can call this beautiful place my home, even if only for a short while.

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