Other 6 Things You Should Know Before Coming To Italy

After seeing the great positive feedback (by the way, Thank you very much!!) of my first post about the Things You Should Know Before Coming To Italy and after other points come into my mind, here’s another hopefully useful list about other things you should know before coming to Italy πŸ™‚

1 | SAVOURY BREAKFAST IS NOT EVEN CONCEIVED

Welcome to Italy, where unless you’re in a hotel where continental breakfast is served, the only savoury food you’ll see served in the morning is bread (which Italian people eat with butter and jam so not savoury at all). Indeed, the typical Italian breakfast can be described from two different points of view:
At home, people generally eat bread with jam or cornflakes or homemade cakes or biscuits and as drink, coffee, milk, tea or juice.
– Not at home, typically called “Colazione al bar” [= breakfast at the bar] where breakfast is composed by cappuccino/coffe + croissant (or brioches)/pastry which you can choose between maaaany different favours from chocolate ones to the ones with fruit or honey or…well there are many different tastes!

colazioneitaliana
Italian Breakfast at the bar

Try to even pronounce the word egg or bacon or cheese to an Italian person in the morning and he/she will probably look at you as if you come from the moon. [not all though okay, for example I love scrambled eggs and I know other people who like them too but for sure I couldn’t eat them every day…)

2 | COFFEE IS SMALL

As you can see in the picture above, Italian coffee is that brown liquid on the left, served in a very little cup. When you ask for a coffee that is what you’ll be served, and even if you’ll ask a “long” coffee what you’ll be given is similar: same cup but with slightly more coffee. American coffee is starting to becoming popular but still not all the places have it or understand what you want πŸ˜€ So, if you’re not used to strong coffee I definitely suggest you to go for a cappuccino! πŸ˜‰

3| HANDS GESTURE IS A PARALLEL VOCABULARY

It is globally known that Italian people use hand gesture very often when talking and during my stays abroad I’ve noticed that often non-Italian people when imitating us they use them too but what I’ve noticed is that they are not Β used in the correct way. Okay, I totally get it, it’s just an imitation but actually each gesture is used for a precise meaning or statement so I’ve thought to to this mini gesture dictionary (who knows, maybe next time you’ll come to Italy you’ll need it! πŸ˜€ ) :

Β  Β  Β 1. “Ma che dici?!” or ” Ma vaaa!”

Literal Translation: “What are you saying?!”
Explanation: Both of the two gestures have the same meaning and are usually used when the person who you’re talking with is saying something which is not correct or true.

2. ” Taglia!”

Literal Translation: “Cut!”
Explanation: This is just one gesture done in sequence and used to tell a person who is talking from too much time to “cut their speech”, in other words, to finish what they want to say quickly.

3. ” Delizioso!”


delizioso
Literal Translation: “Delicious!”
Explanation:Β The hand is in the same position as gesture #1 but this time you’ll have to bring it to your mouth and kiss it. This gesture is used when what you’re eating is really good and tasty.

4. ” Tempo fa…” or Β “Anni fa ormai…”

longtimeago

Literal Translation: “Long time ago…” or ” It’s now been years…”
Explanation: Keeping that position but moving the arm back and forward is used when talking about a thing happened many years ago.

5. ” Che noia…”

noia

Literal Translation: “This is so boring..”
Explanation:Β Keeping that position but moving the left arm up and down is generally a sign to express boredom towards something ( such as a speech, Β a way to long lunch or dinner…ecc.)

6. ” Vai, Vai!” or “Corri, Corri!”

vaivai

Literal Translation: “You better go..” or ” You better run..”
Explanation:Β Keeping that position but moving the hand up and down is generally used when you’re really annoyed with a person and you invite them to go away. It is also used ironically for example when a son/daughter does something wrong the mother does that sign to warn them.

7. ” Perfetto!”

perfetto.jpg

Literal Translation: “Perfect!”
Explanation:Β Keeping that position but moving the arm in parallel to the floor from right to left expresses satisfaction towards something, such as a work done well.

[These are just the gesture that came to my mind, I’m sure there are many more… but at least you know the basics! πŸ™‚ ]

4 | APERITIVO IS A PRECISE MOMENT OF THE DAY…

“Doing Aperitivo” is that moment before Lunch or Dinner (sometimes even in the afternoon but it’s not that common) when you reunite with some friends/collegues to eat and drink something together.

aperitivo
Aperitivo with Aperol Spritz & Chips

The eating part is not that much since afterwards you’re supposed to eat your real meal so it’s generally just chips, olives, nuts or little slices of pizza. The drinking part it’s generally a glass of wine, prosecco or if you come to my area (Northen part of Italy near Venice), SPRITZ is the must-order during aperitivo. Spritz is an alcoholic drink, the original version Β (my personal favourite) is composed by sparkling water, prosecco and Aperol but there are many different variations.

5 | …SUCH AS ABBIOCCO

Abbiocco is that moment right after a super long and devastating family Sunday Lunch (or important event lunch) which normally lasts between 1.5/2 hours, when your stomach is super full, the food baby you have to carry is too heavy and the only thing you desire to do is to sit on the sofa and sleep. This is exactly what abbiocco is: sleeping on the sofa or bed after an eating marathon of Italian food. πŸ˜€

6 | THAT LITTLE SINK IN THE BATHROOM IS NOT JUST FOR WASHING YOUR FEET

Myth debunked:Β That littleΒ sink, often positioned near the toilet, you’ll find in the bathroom of your hotel or apartment is not just for washing your feet, actually its principal purpose is to be used to wash your intimate parts after going to the toilet [I know many of you’ll be shocked after reading this but yes…we use it for that]

Appartamento Specola 2

 

So you can imagine how much of a shock is, after living 18 years using it, moving abroad and not having it anymore…I mean, you survive, luckily showers exist everywhere but still without that you have a kind of feeling you’re always dirty πŸ˜€ but I guess it’s just an obsession..

 

 

Of course there are more tips I could give you about my country soooo #staytuned for part #3 πŸ˜‰

What about you, have you ever been to Italy? Which are the tips you would add to this list? πŸ™‚
Or if you’re an Italian reading this post, would you have any other suggestions? πŸ™‚

 

 

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This post was written by Lisa, an Italian girl globetrotting around Europe, blues&soul music lover and singer, addicted to crafting & healthy food. Oh yes, and in the meanwhile she’s a Marketing student.

Mmmm what else? She’s definitely a morning person, really lazy when it comes to make up and could spend more time in a stationary store than in a clothes one –

She loves sharing thoughts, feelings and reactions so do not hesitate to comment or contact her!

53 Comment

  1. I love these. I wish I could use “taglia!” with my husband more often without sounding rude. haha

    1. Haha I’m glad you liked it! πŸ™‚

  2. Emma says: Reply

    I’ve been to Italy a couple of time and reading your article made me smile because this is so true ! (especially the “gestures” part lol). It makes me want to go back there ! xx

    1. Glad you could relate Emma! Thank you for reading and commenting XX

  3. Debbie says: Reply

    Lisa, thank you!! I love these tips, and great info on the gestures. Not sure I’ll remember them though. ☺ Anyway, another uplifting post. Blessings to you, Lisa. Smiles!

    1. Thank you very much Debbie!! So happy you liked it! Have a lovely day πŸ™‚

  4. Great post Lisa, this definitely brings back memories for us. Especially the sweet breakfasts (which we weren’t a big fan of) and the teen tiny coffee!

    1. Ahh yes I can understand, if you’re not used to sweet breakfast it’s not so appealing! Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  5. Olaf says: Reply

    very great blog

    1. Thanks! πŸ™‚

  6. This is so interesting, Lisa πŸ™‚ I also read the first part, and although I knew most of these things about Italy, it’s still very fun to read.
    I have only been to Rome and I was surprised at how drivers and pedestrians ignored the traffic lights. It was a struggle to cross the road.. It was a bit shocking for me after having lived in colder part of Europe (Finland and Poland) for several years. Although I am familiar with the chaos since I am from Nepal. But I wasn’t expecting that in Italy until I went to Rome πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you very much for reading!
      Haha yes I totally feel you, I had the opposite problem, when I lived in Denmark I was shocked about the fact that cars stopped even before you were thinking to cross the Street πŸ˜€ Unfortunately in Italy this doesn’t happen, especially in big cities such as Rome and Milan :/

  7. Oh I love that you talk with your hands!

    1. Haha thank you! πŸ™‚

  8. sileas says: Reply

    Hahaha this is great! I really love the different types of croissants they have for breakfast (con crema being my favourite) and aperitivo! And I actually do have a bidet in my bathroom and it was so funny when my bf didn’t know what that is for πŸ˜€

    1. Thank you Julia! Oh I feel you about the crema croissant πŸ™‚ And also about explaining what the bidet is for, it happens so many times when my friends from abroad come to visit me! Quite embarrassing but funny moment πŸ˜€

  9. tati says: Reply

    Great travel tips Lisa! Italy is definitely on my bucketlist. The hand gestures are so cool and yes I know that’s not just a feet washing sink lol! <3

    coralbuttons.wordpress.com

    1. Thank you very much for this nice comment!:) I’m glad you liked it and that you knew about the bidet haha

  10. Snow says: Reply

    Love this post, but the hand gestures are my favorite! Great idea to include a little guide for interpreting them!!!! πŸ˜‰

    1. Thank you very much for this sweet comment! πŸ™‚ I’m so glad to read this, thank you!

  11. A perfect read!! Wanna visit so bad! πŸ™‚

    https://alifyalifestyle.com/

    1. Thanks Alifya! πŸ™‚

  12. OMG I loved these tips, ESPECIALLY the guide of hand gestures, so helpful!! And I very much enjoyed getting an insight into local eeating culture, I truly didn’t know the meaning/importance of aperitivo or abbioco. Thanks for sharing!! πŸ™‚ xoxo, nano | http://www.travelwithnanob.com

    1. I’m really glad to read it was useful! Thank you Nano for your kind words and for stopping by! πŸ™‚

  13. I LOVE bidets! I lived in Milan for 8 years and now I think it’s disgusting to not have one. But I cannot get used to Mulino Bianco biscuits for breakfast at my mother-in-law’s house – they are for mid-morning or afternoon only…

    1. Hahaha I’m glad to hear that!! πŸ™‚
      Oh yes I feel you, I’m also not a fanatic of eating biscuits for breakfast πŸ˜‰ Thanks for reading and commenting! πŸ™‚

  14. I love love love the fact that you actually had pictures with the hand signal translations! That is so great, and I totally wish I had known all of these BEFORE going to Italy. Did so much wrong, oops!

    1. Thank you so much!haha well, now you know it for next time you go πŸ˜‰
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! πŸ™‚

  15. Emily says: Reply

    I love this, especially the hand gestures! I’m trying to learn italian so this is really useful to know!

    1. I’m glad to read this Emily! Happy it’s useful πŸ™‚ Thank you for commenting!

  16. This reminds me of my time in Italy (writing about this on my blog this week) when I really missed omelettes and fried eggs. The idea of pastries in the morning is not for everyone πŸ™‚
    Love Italy though, can’t wait to go back.

    1. Haha yes I can understand, when you’re used to fried eggs, pastry doesn’t sound appealing at all! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed your vacation though!
      Thanks for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  17. I already liked your first post, so of course I had to read this one as well! It’s so useful to know these things before travelling to Italy!! πŸ˜€ so please do continue with this and make it a regular thing maybe? πŸ˜€

    1. Omg thank you so much Christina for your kind words ❀️ I’ll make my best to continue!! πŸ™‚

  18. Roy says: Reply

    Thanks for the tips on Italy, I hope to visit one day in the near future. Hand gestures, very different angle. I really enjoyed that.
    I’m also studying marketing and getting my practice with my blog. Your blog is something that I aspire too. Keep the good work up! Look forward to following.

    1. Thank you very much for your comment Roy! I’m glad to read you liked this post and I hope you’ll manage to visit Italy soon!
      Great to hear yous study marketing too! Thanks for your compliments, I’m gonna check out yours right now πŸ˜‰

  19. Haha! So true especially the little sink beside the toilet! In UAE there is a special hose to clean it and the small sink is really for the feet to wash. I’ve been to Milan twice as I have cousins there and gosh! I only recently find this out unfortunately after washing my feet on them! Cousin laughed after explaining it to me.

    1. Hahah well at least now you know! Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  20. Hi Lisa, I am currently reading through your blog and I absolutely love it. You have such an upbeat writing style! I wish we had all of the hand gestures in England haha πŸ™‚

    Kate

    http://www.seewhatkatiedidnext.wordpress.com

    1. Thank you so much Kate ❀️ I’m so happy you like my blog!
      Hahaha well, it’s never too late! πŸ™‚

  21. […] know what Aperitivo is? Click here to bridge this gap! πŸ˜‰ […]

  22. Lisa says: Reply

    OMG after reading this fabulous post, I wanna go to Italy and experience it’s rich culture! From drinking some fine coffee to perfecting hand gestures, I’m on it! haha πŸ™‚ PS: I absolutely love your writing style! Keep it up!

    1. Hahaha great, you’re ready then! πŸ˜€ Oh thank you, means a lot! πŸ™‚

  23. Hi Lisa,
    I’m VERY impressed with your English!
    We will be in Sicily for two weeks next May, so I immediately went to this post. Nicely done.

    1. Thank you very much Shelley! I really appreciate πŸ™‚
      Thanks for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  24. Isabel says: Reply

    So useful! I love how expressive Italians are!

    1. haha thanks! πŸ™‚

  25. Nicole says: Reply

    I’ve just read both parts 1 and 2 and love them! I’ve been to Rome twice and fell in love, something I would love to do is travel the whole of Italy. I was reading through some of these (breakfast & roads in particular) remembering my experiences.
    The hand gestures made me laugh because I do this anyway, mine don’t mean anything but I now wonder if I’ll get myself into trouble if I accidentally say something using my hands!
    Last time I went with a friend and we did a day trip to Amalfi and Pompeii (which were incredible) the Italian man driving was using hand gestures, which I remember really freaked out the other passengers whilst we were going up the mountain.. I barely noticed, maybe it’s partly do to with my being Greek? Who knows.

    This post really made me smile at my memories and has me itching to make new ones, thanks for the tips! I’ll be sure to remember them!

    1. Ohh Thank you so much Nicole for this nice comment! SO glad to read you enjoyed both of the posts and your time in Italy! Haha yes I’ve also noticed that sometimes also not italian people notice immediately when a person uses hand gesture and might be annoying… I think is how the person is use to talk or maybe how you said due to it’s own origins! πŸ˜‰ Your trip to Amalfi and Pompeii sounds really interesting though and I’m happy this post refreshed your mind about your memories there! πŸ™‚

  26. […] wouldn’t appreciate that kind of coffee, we are used to another kind, as you can read here […]

  27. Italy is in my bucket list. Thak you for sharing an awesome tips! 😊

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting! Hope you’ll manage to get there soon! πŸ™‚

  28. […] Know Before Coming to Italy” posts (if you haven’t check them out yet click here & here πŸ˜‰ ) and since it seemed you’ve enjoyed them quite a lot I thought about writing a […]

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