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 🙂
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!
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 😀 So, if you’re not used to strong coffee I definitely suggest you to go for a cappuccino! 😉
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 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! 😀 ) :
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!”
Literal Translation: “Delicious!”
Explanation: 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 “Anni fa ormai…”
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…”
Literal Translation: “This is so boring..”
Explanation: Keeping that position but moving the left arm up and down is generally a sign to express boredom towards something ( such as a speech, a way to long lunch or dinner…ecc.)
6. ” Vai, Vai!” or “Corri, Corri!”
Literal Translation: “You better go..” or ” You better run..”
Explanation: 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!”
Literal Translation: “Perfect!”
Explanation: 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! 🙂 ]
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.
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 (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. 😀
6 | THAT LITTLE SINK IN THE BATHROOM IS NOT JUST FOR WASHING YOUR FEET
Myth debunked: That little 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]
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 😀 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 😉
What about you, have you ever been to Italy? Which are the tips you would add to this list? 🙂
Or if you’re an Italian reading this post, would you have any other suggestions? 🙂
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