Italian Phrases

Having a few go-to phrases for simple communication when travelling abroad can make exploring (and tasting!) a much smoother experience. Local greetings, please and thank you (because good manners are universally appreciated) and “how much” is a good place to start, however arming yourself with a few additional words will do a lot to show locals you’re respectful and willing to engage with them. While stumbling through new conjugations can be frustrating, persevere where you can with hand gestures and tone (not volume!), as doing like the locals is part of your travel plan, right? Beyond the basics, here are a few phrases for travelling foodies to take a crack at while embarking on our Tuscan Culinary Adventure!



“Due dita di vino e una pedata al medico.”
  – Two drops of wine and we can kick the doctor out the door.

Italians are known for their love of wine, so of course their version of the adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” refers to vino. Wine can be found on the table of every meal, and kids are known to start sipping from a very early age. Fittingly, purists prefer to sip DOC labelled selections, which stands for denominazione di origine controllata, or guarantee of origin.


“Sei come il prezzemolo.” – You’re like parsley.

Every Italian dish has a sprinkling of parsley – it’s as ubiquitous as forks and spoons themselves. So saying someone is “like parsley,” is another way of conveying that they’re everywhere! Like that person you keep seeing on your commute or in the coffee shop line.


“fare polpette di qualcuno,” – to make meatballs of someone

“I’m gonna make mincemeat outta him!” is an aggressive phrase we might use in English that is similar to this Italian one. Think of this Italian version as a light-hearted expression of anger (oxymoron, I know). It’s like the literal idea of grinding up meat and making it into tasty little balls is how one might ideally like to handle their frustrating boss or spiteful ex!

“Tutto finisce a tarallucci e vino.” –  It all ends with biscuits and wine.

The phrase “don’t worry, be happy,” is a universally recognized mantra, however this version speaks specifically to Italian culture. Besides the “every little thing is going to be alright,” idea of this phrase, the literal conclusion of toasting with wine and eating cookies has historical roots. According to ancient practices, some areas of Italy ended legal disputes with a handshake and these digestibles to solidify a resolution. Which is also why this phrase is used after disagreements between friends and family members.

 

Prego!  – You’re welcome!

Besides gaining some brownie points with the locals, picking up some common phrases also helps you avoid looking like a tourist. And we travelling foodies are all about that! You’ll need to know more than just the word for washroom (bagno) when travelling with us this October 2 – 5 in Tuscany! Our early bird rates are available for a limited time – so reach out to our dedicated travel representative Clara Power at 416.996.6849 or cpower@tpi.ca pronto!