Language & Culture

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Italian Philosophy

You should indulge a little every now and then: perché no??

There are many delicious treats like gelato, mouth-watering pastries, and decadent chocolates. Much like the philosophy on drinking, Italian culture has a “Perché no?” take on treats. “Perché no?” translates to “why not?” The idea is to treat yourself by having a little bit of something tasty (because, why not?) but not having so much that you’re gorging yourself.

Drink a little bit, but not too much

Italians love their vino (wine)...but they don’t overdo it. In Italy, a bottle of wine is shared among friends or around the dinner table. Keep it classy and don’t fill the glass to the edge.

Eat slowly, locally and with others

There’s really no such thing as Italian fast food. Sure, you’ll find a McDonald’s here and there, but in Italy the concept of eating is not “fast.” Italy is all about “slow food.” Dinners are unhurried and eaten around a table (not a TV or computer screen) with one’s family. In Italy, food is natural, authentic, and sourced locally.

Stop hurrying, start relaxing

Life is less hurried in Italy. People don’t rush around with to-go cups of coffee, but rather sip their espresso at the “bar”. Meals tend to be longer, whether they are at restaurants or at home. Many Italians take a Siesta of sorts, from 12:30 p.m. – 3 p.m., to eat lunch and relax. This is called Riposo.

Having family nearby is the best thing ever

Families in Italy tend to stay in the same area, rather than move around. Grandparents often care for grand-children, siblings remain close, and extended families are huge and welcoming. Having family nearby is deeply valued in Italy. Having nonna (grandma), aunts, uncles and cousins drop by for dinner during the week or having a weekly extended family meal every Sunday is common and brings everyone together.

Maintain a “bella figura”

Bella figura literally translates to “beautiful figure” but it’s more idiomatic than that. The idea of maintaining a bella figura is more like the idea of maintaining a good public image. Bella figura is more than just looking good, it’s a way of life that emphasizes aesthetics and good behavior.

The underlying meaning of “ALLORA”

Allora (so, then, well) is one of those filler words that’s highly useful when thinking of what to say in Italian. Used by itself, it can express impatience: Allora! (Come on!, Hey!) Allora comes from the Latin “ad illa horam” (at that time) and means precisely that, when talking about the past. Allora means “then” in several senses of the word (well/so, at that time, in that case).


Fun Facts

  • The oldest olive tree is in Umbria and is reportedly over 1,700 years old.
  • With almost 40 million visitors, Italy is the fourth most visited country in the world.
  • When McDonald’s opened in 1986 in Rome, food purists outside the restaurant gave away free spaghetti to remind people of their culinary heritage.
  • An estimated 3,000 euros are thrown into the Trevi Fountain each day. The money has been used to subsidize a supermarket for Rome's needy.

Country Facts

  • The official name of Italy is the Italian Republic.
  • The official language is Italian.
  • The capital city is Rome, also called "The Eternal City” and is almost 3,000 years old.
  • According to legend, the brothers Romulus and Remus (the founders of Rome) were raised by a she-wolf in a cave on Palatine Hill. Rome's emblem is the she-wolf suckling the two brothers.
  • The population is almost 62 million people.

  • Two independent mini-states are surrounded entirely by Italy: San Marino and Vatican City.

  • While technically not part of the European Union, both of these states are also part of the Schengen Area and the European Monetary Union (EMU).


Language References

MonthMese
January

Gennaio

February

Febbraio

March

Marzo

April

Aprile

May

Maggio

June

Giugno

July

Luglio

August

Agosto

September

Settembre

October

Ottobre

November

Novembre

December

Dicembre


DayGiorno
Monday

Lunedi

Tuesday

Martedi

Wednesday

Mercoledi

Thursday

Giovedi

Friday

Venerdi

Saturday

Sabato

Sunday

Domenica

Week

Settimana

Tomorrow

Domani

Yesterday

Ieri

Today

Oggi



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