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Talking About Italian Weather: Rome, Italy & More

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Bella giornata, vero? (Nice day, isn’t it?)

How many times have you heard somebody start a conversation this way? Talking about the weather is, in every language, the typical topic that friends, acquaintances, and even perfect strangers often choose as a conversation starter.

In Italian, it’s no different. Talking about the weather is the perfect way per rompere il ghiaccio (to break the ice). This is why it’s so important to have all the vocabulary tools for talking about the weather (in Rome, Italy, or elsewhere).

In this article, you’ll learn practical Italian weather vocabulary, how to describe weather in Italian, the various weather conditions in Italian provinces, and how to talk about weather in Itallian like a native! Let’s get started.

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Table of Contents

  1. Italian Weather Words
  2. Talking about Temperature and Seasons
  3. The Most Common Sentence Pattern to Talk about the Weather in Italian
  4. The Most Common Ways of Discussing the Weather in Italian
  5. Popular Sayings about the Weather
  6. How ItalianPod101 Can Help You Master Italian Conversation


1. Italian Weather Words

Weather

First of all, to talk about weather, Italian vocabulary words that relate to the local climate conditions are essential. Italy has a moderate clima mediterraneo (Mediterranean climate), so you shouldn’t expect any extreme weather conditions. But given its peculiar geography, the weather in Italy can be quite varied, depending on where you are. Still, no need to know words such as tifoni, uragani, or tornado (typhoons, hurricanes, or tornadoes).

Here’s basic weather vocab Italians use often to talk about the weather conditions you’re likely to encounter when traveling in Italy. One thing that you should definitely pay attention to is the specific gender of the word (most are feminine, by the way).

Il sole (m) “the sun” Il sole in agosto è troppo forte. “The sun is too strong in August.”
il cielo (m) “the sky” Il cielo è sereno. “The sky is clear.”
le nuvole (f) “the clouds” Vedo molte nuvole all’orizzonte. “I see many clouds on the horizon.”
la pioggia (f) “the rain” La pioggia ha ripulito l’aria. “The rain cleaned the air.”
il temporale (m) “the storm” È il tipico temporale estivo. “It’s the typical summer storm.”
la neve (f) “the snow” Quest’anno c’è poca neve. “This year there is little snow.”
la nevicata (f) “the snowstorm” È la nevicata del secolo. “It is the snowfall of the century.”
il vento (m) “the wind” Il vento soffia forte. “The wind is blowing hard.”
la nebbia (f) “the fog” Con questa nebbia non si vede niente! “You can see nothing with this fog!”
la foschia (f) “the mist” La foschia arriva dal mare. “The mist comes in from the sea.”
la grandine (f) “the hail” La grandine ha danneggiato i vigneti. “Hail damaged the vineyards.”
la grandinata (f) “the hailstorm” Nessuno aveva previsto questa grandinata. “No one had foreseen this hailstorm.”
i tuoni (m) “the thunder” I tuoni mi fanno paura. “Thunder scares me.”
i fulmini (m) “lightning” I fulmini illuminavano la notte. “The lightning lit up the night.”

This list provides you with the basic weather Italian words you’ll need. Do you want more? Have some fun with an ItalianPod101 video about weather words.


2. Talking about Temperature and Seasons

Women Walking in Snow

La neve? Solo al nord (“Snow? Just in the north”)

If you’ve ever wondered “What is the weather like in Italy in December or May?”, then first of all, you should consider where you’re going to be (north, south, by the sea, in the mountains…) as weather in Italian regions varies greatly: the weather in Milan, Naples, and Florence are nothing alike.

And seasons lately aren’t as defined as they used to be… But still, here are some phrases for types of weather in Italian regions based on season. This should give you a good base to carry out the perfect conversation about seasons and weather in Italian:

1- Spring Weather in Italian

Spring

La primavera (spring) is that fantastic season when the weather starts getting warmer and all the flowers are in bloom, although it can still be rainy. No wonder it’s inspired many musicians and painters!

Here’s a phrase to talk about warm weather in Italian:

In primavera le giornate sono tiepide.
“In the spring, days are warmer.”

2- Summer Weather in Italian

L’estate (summer) is generally quite warm. The Italian weather in summer can be humid or dry, depending on the city. It rarely rains, so it’s the best time of the year to enjoy a trip to Italy. Here are some suggestions of things to do in Italy when the weather is nice and hot.

Here’s a phrase to talk about hot weather in Italian:

Le estati sono secche, ma attenti agli acquazzoni!
“Summers are dry, but watch out for downpours!”

3- Autumn Weather in Italian

Autumn

L’autunno (autumn) is when it starts getting colder and rainy, and children go back to school.

Here’s a sentence to describe the autumn weather:

In autunno comincia a piovere e cadono le foglie.
“In the fall, it starts raining and leaves are falling.”

4- Winter Weather in Italian

L’inverno (winter) is cold and rainy. This may be when you experience the most wet weather in Italian regions. However, when it comes to Italian weather in winter, it rarely snows in the south or at sea level.

Here’s a phrase to talk about cold weather in Italian:

In inverno nevica al nord e sulle montagne.
“During winter, it snows in the north and in the mountains.”


3. The Most Common Sentence Pattern to Talk about the Weather in Italian

Now it’s time to go over some common weather phrases Italian, and useful sentence patterns.

Che tempo fa? Che tempo c’è? (What is the weather like?) These two expressions are the most common way of asking about the weather in Italian, and they both mean the same thing.

Notice how, to talk about the weather in general, you can either use fa (literally “it makes” when translated) or c’è (there is).

Fa caldo / C’è caldo “It’s hot”
Fa freddo / C’è freddo “It’s cold”
Fa bello / C’è bel tempo “It’s nice”
Fa brutto / C’è brutto tempo “It’s bad weather”

You can use this same pattern to describe more extreme weather in Italian with these common colloquialisms:

Oggi fa un freddo cane!
Literally: “Today it’s dog cold.”
Meaning: “It’s extremely cold.”

In Agosto c’è un caldo da morire!
Literally: “In August, it’s hot to die.”
Meaning: “It’s terribly hot.”

In some situations, weather adjectives in Italian use c’è (there is), but they don’t work with fa (it makes). These are:

  • C’è vento (It’s windy)
    Chiudiamo la finestra, c’è troppo vento!
    “Let’s close the window, it’s too windy!”
  • C’è nebbia (It’s foggy)
    Quando c’è nebbia in Val Padana, non si vede niente.
    “When it’s foggy in Val Padana, you can’t see anything.”
  • C’è foschia (It’s misty)
    Quando c’è foschia non si vede l’orizzonte.
    “When it’s misty, you can’t see the horizon.”

Two People in Heavy Wind

If you’re talking instead about weather events such as rain, snow, and hail, you just need to put the verb in the impersonal form (3rd person singular):

  • Piove (It rains)
    Se piove prendo l’ombrello.
    “If it rains I’ll take the umbrella.”
  • Nevica (It snows)
    I bambini escono a giocare quando nevica.
    “Kids go out and play when it snows.”
  • Grandina (It hails)
    Se grandina, si rovina il raccolto.
    “If it hails, the harvest will be ruined.”

Other weather-related events are expressed in Italian with the impersonal si, where si means “everyone,” or “one”:

    - si soffoca (one suffocates), which translates to “It’s so hot, you can barely breath.”
    - si gela (one freezes), which translates to “It is freezing.”
    - si muore di freddo (one dies from the cold weather), which translates to “It’s terribly cold.”

Italians aren’t very fixated on registering temperatures, so the conversation rarely focuses on the exact degrees on any particular day. But if you do want to learn about telling the weather in Italian based on temperature, you use the verb c’è/ci sono (there is/there are).

The most common mention of temperature in Italy is when it’s very hot (and people talk of a generic 40º C) or very cold, and people start saying that the temperature va sotto zero (goes below zero).

Remember that in Italy, temperatures are registered in Celsius and not Fahrenheit.

    - Che caldo! Ci saranno 40 gradi…
    “It’s so hot! Must be 40º…”

    - Fa un freddo cane! Sicuramente il termometro va sotto zero.
    “It’s freezing. Surely the thermometer goes below zero.”

    - Ci sono 20 gradi sotto zero.
    “It’s 20 below zero.”


4. The Most Common Ways of Discussing the Weather in Italian

Complaints

Talking about the weather is not only a great conversation starter, or an easy way to fill uncomfortable silences, but it’s also the perfect occasion for complaining, giving motherly recommendations, and worrying about global climate changes…

No matter the season, Italian moms can’t help but worry about what their children are wearing and whether it’s appropriate for the season:

    - Fa freddo, vestiti pesante.
    “It’s cold, dress up warmly.”

    - Hai messo la canottiera?
    “Did you wear an undershirt?”

    - Hai messo le calze di lana?
    “Did you wear woolen socks?”

Another typical conversation when talking about weather in Italian often revolves around climate change and how the weather is very different than it was a few generations ago. In this respect, the typical conversation opener, especially among older people, is:

Non ci sono più le mezze stagioni.
Literally: “There are no more mid-seasons.”
Meaning: “Autumn and spring aren’t as mild as they used to be.”

Quando ero piccolo, in inverno nevicava tutti gli anni.
“When I was a kid, in the winter it used to snow every year.”

From these comments, you can easily get involved in a broader conversation (or dispute) about cambiamenti climatici e riscaldamento globale (climate change and global warming).

Especially if you’re on the phone or on a long-distance chat, here’s a very common opening line to get information about the weather in the other person’s country: Che tempo fa da te? (What’s the weather like over there?)

And then each person goes about describing weather in Italian respective to where they are using some of the weather expressions Italian we went over earlier. Then they may continue complaining about climate change or about how you never know what to wear…!

And finally, of course, the most popular weather conversation of all is to get the weather forecast.

    - Che tempo è previsto per domani?
    “What is the forecast for tomorrow?”

    - Quali sono le previsioni del tempo per il fine settimana?
    “What is the forecast for the weekend?”

Notice how you can say it in two ways (tempo previsto / previsioni del tempo), which both mean “weather forecast.” The forecast is particularly important if you’re planning an excursion or going out with friends. Especially if you need to decide in advance what you’re going to wear, or what you’re going to bring on your trip! And you know, as Italians, style and clothes are always important. Even during un acquazzone (a downpour)! You can practice hearing the weather forecasts at your own pace right here!


5. Popular Sayings about the Weather

In Italian economy and culture, agriculture has always been very important, and people used to depend on the weather to ensure their livelihood. Depending on the weather in Italian regions, people could assume the best or worst for the year. So it’s no surprise that there are a lot of popular sayings related to climate events:

Lightning Storm

In marzo, vedi il sole e prendi l’ombrello (“In March, see the sun and take the umbrella”)

    - Marzo pazzo pazzerello, vedo il sole prendo l’ombrello.
    “March is a little crazy, see the sun and take the umbrella.”
    Meaning: The month of March has unpredictable weather.

    - Piove sempre sul bagnato.
    “It always rains on the wet ground.”
    This is the Italian counterpart of the English phrase “It never rains, but it pours.”

    - Piove a catinelle.
    “It’s raining buckets,” or “It’s raining cats and dogs.”
    Meaning: It’s raining an awful lot!

    - Tempo da lupi
    “Wolf weather”
    Meaning: The weather is so bad that only wild wolves are around.

    - Fare il bello e il cattivo tempo.
    “To decide the beautiful and the bad weather.”
    It corresponds to the English phrase “to rule the roost.”

    - Rosso di sera, bel tempo si spera.
    “Red at night, good weather awaits.”
    It’s popular knowledge that if the sky is red in the evening, it means that the weather is going to be good the next day.

    - Rosso di mattina, il mal tempo si avvicina.
    “Red in the morning, bad weather is getting near.”
    The second part of the popular rhyme says that if the sky is red in the morning, the weather is going to be bad.

    - Piove, governo ladro!
    “It rains, blame the government.”
    This popular exclamation, that might even have originated in Roman times, is an ironic way to blame the government for everything. Even for rain!

The Sun

Il solleone (“Scorching sun”)

And there are different words to describe specific instances of the same event:

    - Piove (It rains) vs. Pioviggina (It rains very lightly)
              - This one’s great for talking about drizzly weather in Italian!
    - Pioggia (rain) vs. Pioggerella/Pioggerellina (A very light rain)
    - Sole (sun) vs. Solleone (Literally, “sun lion,” meaning “scorching sun” when translated.)
    - Freddo (cold) vs. Freddino (Just a little cold)
    - Caldo (hot) vs. Calduccio (A nice and cozy warmth)


6. How ItalianPod101 Can Help You Master Italian Conversation

Congratulations! Now you’ve learned expressions to talk about the weather in Italian and you’re ready for any conversation, planning a short trip, or to deciding what’s most appropriate to wear. Hopefully you’re prepared whatever the weather in Italian regions you go to. But don’t stop now! It’s time to have more fun and dive deeper into ItalianPod101.com.

With all the hard work you’re putting into your language-learning journey, don’t be surprised if you’re speaking fluently in no time! Best wishes!

Che tempo fa? (What’s the weather like?) Practice your weather descriptions in Italian and let us know what the weather is like in your country!

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Domenica delle Palme: Celebrating Palm Sunday in Italy

Celebrating Palm Sunday in Italy

Palm Sunday in Italy is a major occasion around the country, with many unique religious celebrations. In this article, you’ll learn the basics about Palm Sunday, Italian traditions for this holiday, and some relevant Italian vocabulary.

Let’s get started!

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1. What is Palm Sunday?

On Palm Sunday, Italian Christians celebrate Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem as described in the Bible. According to the Bible, he entered riding a donkey and people from the city welcomed him by throwing down palm branches in his path. This took place exactly one week before his Resurrection from the dead, which is celebrated as Easter one week after Palm Sunday.

In Italy, Palm Sunday is also largely associated with plants, particularly the palm tree and olive branch.

2. When is Palm Sunday in Italy?

Closeup of an Olive Branch

The date of Palm Sunday varies each year, along with Lent and Easter. For your convenience, here’s a list of this holiday’s date for the next ten years:

  • 2020: April 5
  • 2021: March 28
  • 2022: April 10
  • 2023: April 2
  • 2024: March 24
  • 2025: April 13
  • 2026: March 29
  • 2027: March 21
  • 2028: April 9
  • 2029: March 25

3. How Does Italy Celebrate Palm Sunday?

A Palm Sunday Procession

There are many unique Palm Sunday traditions in Italy. One such tradition is that of attending the Mass and receiving a palm branch (ramo di palma) or olive branch (ramo d’ulivo) there. Usually, the branches are bundled together right outside the church. For the Mass, it’s common for a priest to knock on the church doors three times, which is a symbol of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem.

At around nine-thirty in the morning, the Pope visits St. Peter’s Square in Rome. In the square, there’s a procession of people carrying palm or olive branches, which leads to the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica where the Mass takes place. Over the duration of the procession, the Pope and other clergymen give a benedizione, or “blessing,” to those carrying the branches.

Throughout Italy, many people may celebrate Palm Sunday—and the entirety of Holy Week—with some nice, home-cooked dinners. Some examples of popular Italian Palm Sunday dinner items include stracciatella soup, lamb, and Italian Easter bread.

4. World Youth Day

Did you know that in Italy, Palm Sunday has also been deemed World Youth Day according to the Christian calendar?

Because of this, the Pope’s Palm Sunday message is often geared toward the youth of today and the problems they face as they relate to Christianity.

5. Essential Italian Palm Sunday Vocabulary

Holy Water

Ready to review some of the vocabulary words from this article? Here’s a list of the most important words and phrases for Palm Sunday!

  • Ramo — “Branch”
  • Palma — “Palm tree”
  • Benedizione — “Blessing”
  • Ramo di palma — “Palm branch”
  • Passione — “Passion”
  • Seconda domenica di passione — “Second Passion Sunday”
  • Acqua santa — “Holy water”
  • Ulivo — “Olive”
  • Ramo d’ulivo — “Olive branch”
  • Processione — “Procession”

To hear the pronunciation of each word, and to read them alongside relevant images, check out our Italian Palm Sunday vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about Italian Palm Sunday traditions with us, and that you took away some valuable cultural information.

Do you celebrate Palm Sunday in your country? If so, are celebrations similar or quite different from those in Italy? We look forward to hearing from you in the comments!

If you’re fascinated with Italian culture and can’t get enough, we recommend that you check out the following pages on ItalianPod101.com:

That should be enough to satisfy your thirst for Italian cultural knowledge for a little while, but for more fun resources on all things Italian, create your free lifetime account today.

We look forward to having you! :)

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Italian Adjectives List: The Top 100 Adjectives

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Adjectives, in any language, are what we use to better describe what we’re talking about. They give color and meaning to our words. So, learning the top 100 Italian adjectives right away will help you quickly improve your conversation skills.

If you check an Italian grammar book or website, you’ll find out that there are many types of them:

  • Demonstratives: questo; quello — “this; that”
  • Qualificatives: bello; brutto — “nice; ugly”
  • Possessives: mio; tuo — “my; your”

And there are many others!

Try and memorize a big list of Italian adjectives and their opposites. Let’s have fun with easy grammar lessons and exercises on how to use Italian adjectives with ItalianPod101.com. Andiamo! (Let’s go!)

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Table of Contents

  1. Italian Adjectives Rules: How Do You Use Italian Adjectives?
  2. Italian Adjectives List of the Top 100+ Italian Adjectives
  3. Conclusion


1. Italian Adjectives Rules: How Do You Use Italian Adjectives?

First things first: Do Italian adjectives agree?

Yes, they need to agree in gender and number with the noun they refer to (and with the verbs, too!). So, when you’re speaking or writing, pay attention to the noun and note if it’s singular or plural, and masculine or feminine. And then, don’t forget to make the ending of the adjective and the noun agree, as in: una bella casa or “a nice house.”

Now, do adjectives come before or after nouns in Italian? In terms of position, the Italian adjective generally follows the noun. Yes, this is the opposite of what an anglophone is used to, so you’ll have to pay special attention to remember where to place the adjective in a sentence.

But, as you know, Italian grammar can have quite a few exceptions, and some adjectives can appear either before or after the noun, with a slightly different meaning.

This is the case with some of the most common Italian adjectives, the ones that you’ll find yourself using all the time. There isn’t a fixed rule for when you can invert the order, but here’s a tip: The adjective put after the noun is denotative (the meaning is literal). The adjective put before the noun is connotative (the meaning is figurative).

That’s why it’s very important to practice, practice, practice…can you guess the difference between the phrases listed below? If not, check this lesson!

bello* “beautiful; nice” Un bel giorno / un giorno bello
“A nice day”
buono** “good; tasty” Un buon amico / un amico buono
“A good friend”
bravo “good; able” Una brava ragazza / una ragazza brava
“A good girl”
brutto “ugly; bad” Un brutto film / un film brutto
“A bad movie”
caro “dear; expensive” Una cara amica / una amica cara
“A good friend”
cattivo “bad” Un esempio cattivo / un cattivo esempio
“A bad example”
giovane “young” Un giovane attore / un attore giovane
“A young actor”
grande “large; great” Una grande montagna / una montagna grande
“A big mountain”
lungo “long” Un viaggio lungo / un lungo viaggio
“A long trip”
nuovo “new” Un nuovo libro / un libro nuovo
“A new book”
piccolo “small; little” Una piccola casa / una casa piccola
“A small house”
stesso “same” Il giorno stesso / lo stesso giorno
“The same day”
vecchio “old” Un vecchio palazzo / un palazzo vecchio
“An old building”
vero “true” Un vero amore / un amore vero
“A true love”

*This adjective follows the same rule as the definite articles il, lo, i, gli, la le, so it changes its form according to the noun that follows, as in these examples:

  • Un bel libro, as in il libro
    “A nice book”
  • Un bello sport (lo sport)
    “A nice sport”
  • Che begli occhi! (gli occhi)
    “What beautiful eyes!”
  • Dei bei ragazzi (i ragazzi)
    “Some good-looking boys”

This irregular adjectives rule does not apply if you place the adjective after the noun, as in un libro bello (a nice book).

Venice

Una bella giornata a Venezia (“A beautiful day in Venice”)

**The adjective buono (good; tasty) follows the same rule as the indefinite articles un, uno, un’, una, so it changes its form according to the noun that follows, as in these examples:

  • Un buon amico, as in un amico
    “A good friend”
  • Una buona scuola (una scuola)
    “A good school”
  • Sei una buon’amica (un’amica)
    “You are a good friend.”

This irregular adjectives form does not apply if you place the adjective after the noun, as in un amico buono (but in this case, the meaning is a little different as it means “a good-hearted friend”).

Other irregular Italian adjectives are grande and santo (”big” and “saint” respectively). In front of a masculine noun starting with a consonant, they change into gran and san:

  • Tuo papà è un gran signore
    “Your dad is a great gentleman.”
  • Quella è la statua di San Tommaso
    “That is Saint Thomas statue.”

A very common use of adjectives is with the auxiliary verb essere (”to be”), in simple sentences such as: il mio gatto è bello (”My cat is nice.”).

In the case of demonstrative, indefinite, or possessive adjectives, as in most other languages, they always come before the noun:

  • Il mio gatto
    “My cat”
  • Questo gatto
    “This cat”
  • Alcuni gatti
    “Some cats”


2. Italian Adjectives List of the Top 100+ Italian Adjectives

Improve Pronunciation

Ready to learn Italian adjectives? Here’s our list of the most common Italian adjectives you should know, with their meanings and example sentences!

1- Describing dimensions, sizes, distance, number, and frequency

Among the most common and useful Italian adjectives are those that we use to describe how things are, relative to dimensions, distance, frequency, etc.

The best way to learn adjectives and memorize their meaning is to pair them up with their opposites:

  • grande / piccolo — “big” / “small”

    These can also be used in the sense of “older” / “younger”: Quando ero piccolo volevo fare l’astronauta or “When I was young, I wanted to be an astronaut.”

  • largo / stretto — “wide” / “narrow”

    These adjectives are used in Italian both for physical description, such as a for a street, or they can be used to mean “large” / “tight” as in clothes:

    La strada era molto larga.
    “The road was very wide.”

    Questi pantaloni sono un po’ stretti.
    “These pants are a bit tight.”

  • alto / basso — “tall” / “short” or “high” / “low”

    These opposite adjectives are also used to describe two different kinds of qualities, as they can refer to the height of something like a person or mountain, to volume, or even to moral qualities:

    Mia sorella è più bassa di me.
    “My sister is shorter than me.”

    Il volume della musica è troppo alto.
    “The music volume is too high.”

  • pesante / leggero — “heavy” / “light”

    Ho il sonno molto leggero.
    “I have a very light sleep.”

  • vicino / lontano — “close” / “far”

    Non ti sento, sei troppo lontano
    “I can’t hear you, you are too far.”

When we’re describing quantities, we can’t do without indefinite adjectives, which are used to talk in general terms without being too specific about the exact amount (of things, people, etc.). That’s why they’re called “indefinite.” There are many indefinite adjectives in Italian, but the most commonly used are:

  • Alcuni — “some” [always plural]

    Alcuni bambini piangono sempre.
    “Some children cry all the time.”

  • Poco — “little” / “few”

    Pochi giorni fa
    “A few days ago”

  • Molto — “many”

    A Firenze ho visitato molti musei
    “In Florence I visited many museums.”

  • Ogni — “each” [invariable + singular]

    Vado in Italia ogni anno
    “I go to Italy every year.”

  • Qualche — “some” / “a few” [invariable + singular]

    Ho qualche idea.
    “I have a few ideas.”

Indefinite adjectives, like possessive adjectives, can become adverbs if they’re used alone without a noun. You might want to check the rules on them.

2- Describing value

Whenever we talk, we’re always prone to judge the people or things around us. These useful Italian adjectives describe what we think about their value, and will help us in our conversations about them.

  • buono / cattivo — “good” / “bad”

    As in English, this adjective has a double meaning, both moral and relative to taste.

    Pinocchio è diventato un bambino buono.
    “Pinocchio became a good boy.”

    Questo gelato è molto buono.
    “This ice cream is very good.”

  • bello / brutto — “beautiful” / “nice” and “ugly” / “bad”

    Ho fatto un brutto sogno.
    “I had a bad dream.”

  • fantastico / terribile — “amazing” / “awful”

    Oggi è una giornata fantastica.
    “Today is an amazing day.”

3- Describing feelings & senses

Italian adjectives for sensations and feelings, or for physical descriptions, are often used around the kitchen. These, for example, are the progression of adjectives linked to temperature:

  • Gelato — “icy” / “frozen”

    Vado a pattinare sul lago gelato.
    “I go swimming on the frozen lake.”

  • Freddo — “cold”

    La zuppa è diventata fredda.
    “The soup got cold.”

  • Tiepido — “warm”

    La sera bevo del latte tiepido.
    “At night I drink warm milk.”

  • Caldo — “hot”

    Preferisco il té caldo.
    “I prefer hot tea.”

  • Bollente — “scalding”

    Attenzione, l’acqua è bollente!
    “Watch out, the water is scalding.”

Two Cones of Chocolate Ice Cream

Did you know that Gelato means “frozen”?

Other adjectives refer to the sense of touch, such as:

  • morbido / duro — “soft” / “hard”

    Questo letto è molto duro.
    “This bed is very hard.”

  • liscio / ruvido — “smooth” / “rough”

    Hai una pelle incredibilmente liscia!
    “You have incredibly smooth skin!”

  • piacevole / doloroso — “pleasant” / “painful”

    È un ricordo doloroso.
    “It is a painful memory.”

4- Describing personalities, human behaviors, and feelings

The range of people’s personalities, behaviors, and feelings are countless. And Italians definitely belong to one of those cultures that like to show their feelings and have no problem exposing their personalities in public! Let’s see the most common Italian adjectives to describe people. Try a little exercise to describe yourself!

Positive words :)

  • Gentile — “kind”

    Sei molto gentile.
    “So kind of you.”

  • Aperto — “open-minded”

    Giulia ha una mentalità aperta.
    “Giulia is open-minded.”

  • Divertente — “fun”

    Questo viaggio è stato divertente.
    “This trip was fun.”

  • Comico — “funny”

    È comico: mi fa proprio ridere.
    “He is funny: he makes me laugh a lot.”

  • Felice — “happy”

    Sono felice di vederti.
    “I am happy to see you.”

  • Contento — “glad” / “pleased”

    Anch’io sono contenta che tu sia qui.
    “I am also glad that you are here.”

  • Negative words 🙁

  • Triste — “sad”

    Non essere triste!
    “Don’t be sad!”

  • Solo — “lonely” / “alone”

    Oggi mi sento solo.
    “Today I felt lonely.”

  • Notice how the verbs such as “I feel” (mi sento) are reflexive in Italian, and need to be conjugated with the reflexive pronouns.

  • Arrabbiato — “angry” / “mad”

    La mia amica è arrabbiata con me.
    “My friend is angry at me.”

  • Matto / pazzo — “crazy”

    Sto diventando matto…
    “I am going crazy…”

5- Describing speed, difficulty, importance, etc.

Snail On a Table

Sei veloce come un fulmine, o lento come una lumaca? (“Fast as a lightning or slow as a snail?”)

  • rapido-veloce / lento — “fast” / “slow”

    Il treno veloce va da Milano a Roma in 3 ore.
    “The fast train goes from Milan to Rome in 3 hours.”

  • facile / difficile — “easy” / “hard”

    Sarà difficile da dimenticare.
    “It will be hard to forget.”

  • importante / inutile — “important” / “useless”

    Non mi piacciono le riunioni inutili.
    “I don’t like useless meetings.

6- Describing colors

What would the world be without colors? We definitely need them in our lives, and we’ll need to know all the colors in Italian:

  • Rosso — “red”

    Bevo solo vino rosso.
    “I only drink red wine.”

  • Verde — “green”

    Vorrei indossare le scarpe verdi.
    “I’d like to wear the green shoes.”

  • Bianco — “white”

    Mi sposerò con il vestito bianco.
    “I’ll get married wearing the white dress.”

  • Nero — “black”

    Compila il modulo con una penna nera.
    “Fill out the form with a black pen.”

  • Giallo — “yellow”

    L’arbitro ha estratto il cartellino giallo.
    “The referee pulled out the yellow card.”

  • Marrone — “brown”

    Ho gli occhi marroni.
    “I have brown eyes.”

  • Arancione — “orange”

    C’è una macchina arancione nel parcheggio.
    “There is an orange car in the parking lot.”

Note that while most of the colors are adjectives that need to show agreement with the noun they refer to, a few of them are invariable and don’t change into masculine or feminine, singular or plural:

  • Rosa — “pink”

    Perché le bambine si vestono di rosa?
    “Why do all the little girls wear pink?”

  • Viola — “purple”

    Il Colore Viola è un bellissimo film
    “The Color Purple is a great movie.”

  • Blu — “blue”

A Rainbow in a Field

Rosso, giallo, verde… li sai i colori dell’arcobaleno? (“Red, yellow, green… do you know all the rainbow colors?”)

And finally, colors come in all kinds of shades, so it’s important to be familiar with chiaro (light) and scuro (dark).

For even more information on colors, check out our Italian colors vocabulary list!

7- Describing shapes

Adjectives that describe shapes are not only useful when we’re studying geometry, but will also help us with describing objects in everyday life.

  • Rotondo — “round”

    Il tavolo rotondo
    “The round table”

  • Circolare — “circular”

    Una economia circolare
    “A circular economy”

  • Quadrato — “square”

    Una cornice quadrata
    “A square frame”

  • Rettangolare — “rectangular”

    Un campo rettangolare
    “A rectangular field”

  • Sferico — “spherical”

    La palla è un oggetto sferico.
    “The ball is a spherical object.”

8- Describing weather

The weather is one of the most common conversation topics of all time. So, it’s no wonder that there are a great number of adjectives to describe the weather. Some of the most common are:

  • caldo / freddo — “hot” / “cold”

    Quest’anno ci sarà un inverno freddo.
    “This year, there will be a cold winter.”

  • soleggiato / nuvoloso — “sunny” / “cloudy”

    Domani sarà una giornata nuvolosa.
    “Tomorrow it will be a cloudy day.”

  • umido / afoso — “humid” / “muggy”

    Odio le estati umide.
    “I hate humid summers.”

  • piovoso / nevoso / ventoso — “rainy” / “snowy” / “windy”

    L’autunno in Italia è molto piovoso.
    “The fall in Italy is very rainy.”

Weather Documents

Piovoso? Soleggiato…? (“Will it be rainy? Will it be sunny?”)

For more weather words in Italian, check out our fun and useful weather article!

9- Describing taste

Not only are Italians notoriously into eating good food…but they also love to talk about food. All the time! So if you want to participate in these conversations around the table, you better start practicing with essential Italian adjectives for describing tastes:

  • buono / saporito / gustoso — These are all synonyms to use when something tastes good!

    Questa pizza è molto buona / saporita / gustosa.
    “This pizza is very good.”

  • Dolce — “sweet”

    Quest’uva è molto dolce.
    “These grapes are very sweet.”

  • Salato — “salty”

    Mangiare cibo salato non fa bene.
    “Salty food is not good for you.”

  • Aspro — “sour” as a lemon
  • Acerbo — “sour” / “unripe” as not ripe
  • Acido — “acidic” / “sour” as yogurt would be
  • Amaro — “bitter” (can also mean “unsweetened” )

    Non mi piace il caffè amaro (senza zucchero).
    “I don’t like coffee with no sugar in it.”

  • piccante / pepato

    Do you prefer your food with “red pepper” (piccante) or “black pepper” (pepato)? In both cases, note that these adjectives are also used to mean the “sexy” kind of spicy!

Woman Biting a Lemon

Aspro come un limone (“Sour as a lemon”)

10- Describing situations

Adjectives describing situations will help you tell your Italian friends about what happened to you or to people you know. They are also going to be particularly helpful when describing a movie, a book or an event:

  • Divertente — “fun”

    Imparare l’italiano con ItalianPod101 è divertente!
    “Learning Italian with ItalianPod101.com is fun!”

  • Pericoloso — “dangerous”

    Questa è una strada pericolosa.
    “This is a dangerous road.”

  • Interessante — “interesting”

    Ho visto un documentario interessante.
    “I saw an interesting documentary.”

  • Noioso — “boring”

    Durante il film mi sono addormentata: era proprio noioso!
    “During the movie I fell asleep: it was really boring!”

  • Comico — “funny”

    Totò era un attore comico.
    “Totò was a funny comedian.”

Do you want to practice? Try this little exercise: describe with as many adjectives as you can the last Italian movie you saw.

11- Describing physical traits or physical conditions

Let’s finish this guide of the top 100 (and more) common Italian adjectives with a little pettegolezzo (gossip). It’s just human to notice and comment on traits and conditions of our friends and acquaintances. Nothing wrong with physical descriptions, as long as we keep it respectful. So, let’s have a little fun commenting on how people look, behave, and are dressed. What do you think…?

  • forte / debole — “strong” / “weak”

    Va sempre in palestra e adesso è molto forte.
    “He goes to the gym all the time and now he’s very strong.”

  • malato / in forma — “sick” / “healthy”
  • ricco / povero — “rich” / “poor”

    È una famiglia molto povera
    “It’s a very poor family.”

  • ordinato / disordinato — “neat” / “messy”

    La tua stanza è disordinata?
    “Is your room messy?”

  • Carino — “cute” / “pretty”

    Mi piace quel ragazzo, è molto carino.
    “I like that guy, he’s very cute.”

  • grasso / magro — “fat” / “thin”

    I miei amici sono tutti magri… come fanno?
    “My friends are all thin…how do they do it?”

  • elegante / malvestito — “elegant” / “sloppy”

    Tua madre è una donna elegante
    “Your mother is an elegant woman.”


3. Conclusion

Reading

When talking to your Italian friends, your family, or colleagues at work, adjectives will enrich your Italian conversation and make you sound like a pro! But don’t stop here. To improve even more, visit our site, or check out our apps and blog. And keep having fun learning with ItalianPod101! You’ll be speaking like a native before you know it!

Before you go, drop us a comment using some of these Italian adjectives in a paragraph! You choose the topic. ;)

We look forward to hearing from you!

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Celebrating International Women’s Day in Italy

Giornata Internazionale della Donna, or International Women’s Day in Italy, is a major holiday celebrated throughout the country. In this article, you’ll learn how Italians honor the women in their lives and about the most common traditions for Women’s Day.

Let’s get started.

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1. What is International Women’s Day?

In Italy, International Women’s Day may not be a public holiday, but that doesn’t keep people from finding ways to honor the women in their lives. Essentially, International Women’s Day is a reminder of the “discrimination” (discriminazione) and “violence” (violenza) women have faced in the past, and a day to celebrate the higher social position women have today.

This festival was first celebrated in 1909 in the United States, while in Italy, it has only been celebrated since 1922. However, it was only after the end of World War II that this day became an important holiday. This is because, after the war, women could vote and have a political career for the first time in the history of Italy.

This greater sense of “equality” (uguaglianza) continues to call for celebration today, and in Italy, Women’s Day is observed with fervor throughout the country. In addition, women often fight for greater equality on Women’s Day.

2. When is Women’s Day?

A Woman Sitting with Her Arms on Top of a Desk

Each year, International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8.

3. Women’s Day Traditions and Celebrations

Woman Smelling a Bouquet of Flowers

On International Women’s Day, Italy is abloom with love, appreciation, and respect for women. This is often done through gift-giving, of which sweets and flowers are common favorites.

Since 1946, the mimosa has been the symbol of the holiday, and today serves as the most popular Women’s Day flower in Italy. The mimosa is a yellow flower that grows in abundance throughout Italy, blooming in early March. Each year in Italy, Women’s Day flowers are available in all the shops and markets, which sell sprigs of mimosa that people then give as gifts to the women in their life.

As you know, Italians are very fond of sweets, and so naturally, there’s a typical dessert dedicated to celebrating Women’s Day. It’s called the mimosa cake, or torta mimosa. This cake is so named because it‘s yellow in color and it seems to be covered with mimosa flowers. In reality, it’s a sponge cake with whipped cream. Another favorite sweet for Women’s Day is “chocolate” (cioccolato).

4. Two Very Important Italian Women

In Italian history, there are two very notable women. Do you know who they are?

The first is Teresa Mattei, one of the first women in Italian politics. She’s the one who made mimosas the symbol of Women’s Day in 1946.

The second is an Italian woman who received the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1986. Her name was Rita Levi Montalcini, and she made important discoveries for the treatment of serious diseases such as cancer.

5. Must-Know Vocabulary for International Women’s Day

A Mimosa Flower

Ready to review some of the vocabulary words from this lesson? Here’s a list of the most important words and phrases for International Women’s Day in Italy!

  • Cioccolato — “Chocolate”
  • Donna — “Woman”
  • Mimosa — “Mimosa”
  • Parità — “Parity”
  • Diritto — “Right”
  • Uguaglianza — “Equality”
  • Torta mimosa — “Mimosa cake”
  • Giornata Internazionale della Donna — “International Women’s Day”
  • Violenza — “Violence”
  • Discriminazione — “Discrimination”

To hear the pronunciation of each word, and to read them alongside relevant images, check out our Italian International Women’s Day vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about Women’s Day in Italy with us! Does your country celebrate International Women’s Day, or honor women some other way? Let us know in the comments!

If you’re fascinated with Italian culture and can’t get enough, be sure to check out the following pages on ItalianPod101.com:

Whatever your reasons for developing an interest in Italian culture or the language, know that ItalianPod101.com is the best way to expand your knowledge and improve your skills. With tons of fun and immersive lessons for learners at every level, there’s something for everyone!

Create your free lifetime account today, and start learning with us.

Felice Giornata Internazionale della Donna! (”Happy International Women’s Day!” in Italian) from the ItalianPod101 family.

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The Best Shows & Italian Movies on Netflix to Learn Italian

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Maybe you don’t know, but Netflix can be very effective for things other than binge-watching your favorite TV series until late at night or entertaining your kids on a rainy Sunday. You can learn new things with its hundreds of documentaries, discover the history of cinema thanks to the many great old movies in its catalogue, or even improve your Italian language skills.

You heard us right: Learn Italian with Netflix!

And as always, we at ItalianPod101 have got your back! Check out our guide to the best Italian movies on Netflix and Netflix Italian series, and discover how, while you learn Italian, Netflix can be right there to help!

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Table of Contents

  1. Italy and Netflix: A Love Story
  2. Why Watching Italian Movies on Netflix Will Improve Your Italian
  3. Italian Netflix List: The Best Italian Movies and Shows on Netflix
  4. Learn Italian at Your Pace with ItalianPod101


1. Italy and Netflix: A Love Story

Best Ways To Learn

Netflix loves Italy, that’s for sure. For Netflix, Italy is a topic of great interest, and on Netflix, Italian content is available in abundance.

There’s maybe one-hundred films, documentaries, and TV shows in its catalogue that are in some way linked to the Belpaese. But not all of them, of course, are Italian films. You can find many amazing American movies set in Italy, such as The Tourist or The Italian Job on Netflix, as well as several great Italian films or TV shows that you can watch in the original language to improve your grammar, listening, or speaking skills while you enjoy your time.

So what are the best Italian movies on Netflix now? What about the best Italian Netflix TV shows?

Since the Italian film industry isn’t so well-known abroad, you may have a hard time finding them and selecting the most interesting ones. That’s why we’ve created this comprehensive list of the best Netflix Italian series and the best Italian movies on Netflix.


2. Why Watching Italian Movies on Netflix Will Improve Your Italian

Pronunciation

Mastering a language is a lot more than knowing its grammar. It’s a process that’s mostly achieved through the ears, and not through the pages. That’s to say that listening is essential while you’re learning a foreign language.

As humans, our language skills are largely oral. That’s how we learn when we’re toddlers, and as adults, things don’t change much. We need to hear a language in order to become familiar with it and to master it.

But following a conversation in Italian in real life, on TV, or while watching an Italian movie in a cinema, can be very hard for beginners. That’s where Netflix comes to help. It’s convenient to learn Italian on Netflix because you can add subtitles, pause, and watch again any time you want. You can even watch Netflix with Italian subtitles so that you’ll improve your listening, reading, and writing skills at the same time!


3. Italian Netflix List: The Best Italian Movies and Shows on Netflix

Movie Genres

Let’s begin! Here’s a list of the best Italian movies and shows on Netflix, with recommendations and a little dictionary of the most common terms you’ll hear while watching them.

1- Suburra (the Series)

A gloomy atmosphere, dangerous intrigues, mafia, corrupt politics, and much more in this Italian series on Netflix about the dark side of Rome. It was the first Netflix Italian series (even if Netflix wasn’t the only producer), and was directed by the great actor and director Michele Placido.

Who should watch it: This Netflix Italian series is perfect for thriller and noir lovers who are willing to explore Rome far from the Dolce Vita stereotype. Moreover, the facts portrayed in the series are inspired by real events involving the Roman mafia. A great Netflix Italian crime drama.

Who shouldn’t watch it: People who don’t like profanity or violence in movies.

Language: The series features many expressions from Central Italy and Roman dialect, and the dialogue can be hard to follow. We recommend watching this Italian series on Netflix with English subtitles at first, and then Italian subtitles!

Dictionary:

  • Impicci: a Roman term for “criminal deals”
  • Terreni: “plot of land”
  • Un sacco di: “a lot of”
  • Torcere un capello: “to hurt someone”
  • Sindaco: “mayor”
  • Ammazzare: “to kill”

2- Cinema Paradiso

Cinema Paradiso (or Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, as in the original title) is a wonderful film from 1989, that won both the Grand Prix in Cannes and the Best Foreign Movie Academy award. It’s a sweet, melancholy story about a poor kid falling in love with cinema in his little Sicilian village just after World War II.

Who should watch it: Anyone who loves cinema, as well as music enthusiasts. The unforgettable soundtrack was written by Ennio Morricone. Wonderful Italian Netflix drama.

Who shouldn’t watch it: People who only enjoy watching action, horror, or thriller movies.

Language: Local expressions from Southern Italy are common, and subtitles might be necessary.

Dictionary:

  • O’ capisti?: Sicilian expression that means “Did you understand?”
  • Picciriddu: Sicilian term for “little child”
  • Vattinni!: Sicilian term for “Go away!”
  • Cabina: “projection booth”
  • Cinematografo: an old term for “cinema”
  • Pellicola: “film”

3- Like Crazy

Like Crazy (or La pazza gioia in Italian) is a funny and moving Italian Netflix film about friendship and mental health. Created by the director Paolo Virzì, starring the famous actresses Valeria Bruni Tedeschi and Micaela Ramazzotti, it tells the story of two women meeting in a mental health institution and running away together.

Who should watch it: People who love friendship stories or are interested in the topic of mental health.

Who shouldn’t watch it: It’s a moving yet entertaining movie, recommended for anyone.

Language: Some local expressions from Tuscany. Subtitles might be recommended for beginners.

Dictionary:

  • Felicità: “happiness”
  • Triste: “sad”
  • Matta: “crazy”
  • Pazza: “crazy”
  • Fare la corte: “to court”
  • Meno male: an expression meaning “Thank God” or “luckily”

4- Life is Beautiful

The most famous film by Roberto Benigni, and one of the best Italian movies on Netflix, is a story about resistance and love. Winner of Best Foreign Film Academy Award, Life is Beautiful (or, in Italian, La vita è bella) is a film about the Shoah and the love of a father protecting his child from the horror of the concentration camps.

Who should watch it: When it comes to Italian films on Netflix, this one is perfect for anyone interested in history or who simply enjoy a moving story about love, family, and fantasy.

Who shouldn’t watch it: Some people consider it to be too sugary.

Language: A few local expressions from Tuscany. Subtitles might be recommended for beginners.

Dictionary:

  • Buongiorno, principessa!: “Good morning, princess!”
  • Sognare: “to dream”
  • Ebreo: “Jew”
  • Attenzione!: “Attention!”
  • Campo: “camp”
  • Fame: “hunger”
  • Nascondino: “hide-and-seek”

5- The Mafia Kills Only in Summer

This 2013 film is directed by Pierfrancesco Diliberto, known as Pif. It’s one of the few films by an Italian comedian on Netflix. But it’s not simply a comedy; it’s also a story about the bloody years between the seventies and the nineties in Palermo. Funny yet informative, it runs through the life of a boy growing up to be a journalist, and living through a sequence of paradoxical and dramatic events.

Who should watch it: People interested in Sicily or the mafia, or those who are simply looking for a funny and but deep film about Italy’s recent history.

Who shouldn’t watch it: If you’re looking simply for an Italian comedy, Netflix shows like this one might not be the best choice for you.

Language: Some Sicilian expressions. Subtitles might be recommended for intermediate students.

Dictionary:

  • Innamorato: “in love”
  • Sbirro: slang expression meaning “policeman”
  • La belva: “the beast”
  • Maxiprocesso: literally, it means “mega-trial” and it’s a term used for the huge mafia trial that was held in Palermo between 1986 and 1992, involving hundreds of indicted.
  • Fimmine: a Sicilian expression for girls or women
  • Uccidere: “to kill”

6- Fire at Sea

One of the best Italian films Netflix has, Fire at Sea (Fuocoammare in Italian) is a film about the tragedy of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea, and about the doctor taking care of them on the little island of Lampedusa. Directed by Gianfranco Rosi, it won the Best Film Award at the Berlin Film Festival. This is an important documentary about one of the key events in the contemporary Italian—and European—history, and a human tragedy that no one should ever forget. Most of all, because it’s still happening.

Who should watch it: People willing to be informed about the migrants’ travels in the Mediterranean.

Who shouldn’t watch it: The reality this film portrays is hard, but everyone should watch it.

Language: Some of the dialogue can be hard to follow and subtitles might be recommended.

Dictionary:

  • Naufragio: “shipwreck”
  • Soccorso: “rescue”
  • Profugo: “asylum-seeker”
  • Barca: “boat”
  • Marinaio: “sailor”

7- Welcome Mr. President

Following a series of unfortunate events, Giuseppe Garibaldi—a common man with the same name as the Hero of the Two Worlds—is elected President of the Republic and he’ll have to deal with the well-known corruption of Italian politics. The original title of this 2013 film is Benvenuto Presidente!, and it’s another film with an Italian comedian on Netflix (Claudio Bisio).

Who should watch it: People looking for an Italian comedian on Netflix to improve their Italian while they enjoy a light, entertaining movie.

Who shouldn’t watch it: Suitable for every audience.

Language: Medium-easy language.

Dictionary:

  • Presidente della Repubblica: “President of the Republic”
  • Onorevole: a title for congressmen and senators
  • Dimettersi: “to resign”
  • Corruzione: “corruption”

8- Palio

This documentary portrays the deeply felt tradition of Siena horse-racing, the most ancient horse competition that’s still running. Even though it was a UK production, its interviews and dialogues are in Italian.

Who should watch it: A must-watch for people who love Tuscany, traditions, or horses.

Who shouldn’t watch it: People very sensitive to animal mistreatment, since horses can get injured during this difficult race.

Language: The local Tuscan accent can be pretty strong and hard to understand for beginners.

Dictionary:

  • Cavallo: “horse”
  • Corsa: “run”
  • Contrada: the ancient word for “neighbor”
  • Fantino: “jockey”

9- On My Skin

On My Skin (Sulla mia pelle) is a disturbing yet important movie about the shocking death of Stefano Cucchi, a 31-year-old man who died in custody following a series of abuses by the Italian police.

Who should watch it: People interested in recent Italian history.

Who shouldn’t watch it: Highly sensitive people; people looking for a light, entertaining film.

Language: Some Roman slang.

Dictionary:

  • Arresto: “arrest”
  • Carcere: “jail”
  • Avvocato: “attorney”
  • Giudice: “judge”

10- Leopardi

Leopardi (Il giovane favoloso) is an award-winning film celebrating the character and genius of one of the most important Italian poets. Elio Germano, one of the most talented young actors in Italy, plays the main role.

Who should watch it: Poetry-lovers and people who enjoy period films.

Who shouldn’t watch it: The film is quite slow and contemplative, as was the poet, so it’s not suitable for those who love action films.

Language: The language can be complex, so subtitles are recommended.

Dictionary:

  • Fanciullezza: uncommon term for “youth”
  • Pessimismo: “pessimism”
  • Amicizia: “friendship”
  • Gloria: “glory”


4. Learn Italian at Your Pace with ItalianPod101

In this article, you read up on some of the best Italian Netflix movies and shows, and learned how you can use them for your benefit when learning Italian.

With ItalianPod101, you’ll be able to study and learn Italian at your own pace, anytime and anywhere you want. Your long working hours or busy days won’t stand in the way anymore, since you’ll be able to have your lessons, videos, and articles always with you thanks to our amazing apps. Enjoy the best way to learn Italian and talk with other students from all around the world in our forum, where you can exchange experiences or share your questions and doubts regarding this beautiful language.

Ready to watch Italian Netflix? Before you go, let us know which of these Italian movies on Netflix or Netflix series you want to see first! We’re curious. ;)
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Most Important Coordinating Conjunctions in Italian and More

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Without conjunctions, we would be talking like robots, putting together a sequence of detached sentences. You might not realize this, but conjunctions are a very important part of our language. They have the important job of coordinating and linking phrases.

So, let’s discover and practice the most commonly used conjunctions in Italian (including coordinating conjunctions in Italian), because these little bricks in your sentences will help you connect your Italian phrases and make your Italian conversation flow. And this is exactly what you’ll need to speak Italian like a pro! (See how I used conjunctions to link the last three sentences?) :)
As you can see, even the most simple Italian conjunctions can make a huge difference.

But before learning Italian conjunctions, let’s take a more detailed look at what a conjunction is.

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Table of Contents

  1. What is a Conjunction?
  2. Italian Conjunctions to Correlate Similar Thoughts
  3. Italian Conjunctions to Express Condition
  4. Italian Conjunctions to Express Cause
  5. Italian Conjunctions to Express Opposition
  6. Italian Conjunctions to Express Purpose
  7. Italian Conjunctions to Express Time
  8. Italian Conjunctions to Explain
  9. Italian Conjunctions to Express a Conclusion
  10. ItalianPod101: Your Guide to Italian Grammar & Culture


1. What is a Conjunction?

Sentence Patterns

Conjunctions serve as connectors to link together two or more sentences or groups of words. They are invariable, meaning that they don’t change—and this is good, because you won’t have to worry about the agreement of feminine, masculine, singular, or plural.

There are two types of Italian conjunctions:

  • Italian coordinating conjunctions, which put together two or more elements of the same importance
  • Italian subordinating conjunctions, which put together two or more elements establishing a dependence

For example, take Vado in pizzeria e poi al cinema (meaning “I go to a pizzeria and then to the movies,” when translated). In this sentence, e poi (and then) are two coordinating conjunctions.

But if I say, Vado in pizzeria perché ho fame (or “I go to the pizzeria because I am hungry,” when translated), this is a subordinative conjunction, because going to the pizzeria depends on the fact that I am hungry (in this case, it’s the cause).

Now, are you ready to learn Italian conjunctions? We thought so! Without further ado, here’s our Italian conjunctions list!


2. Italian Conjunctions to Correlate Similar Thoughts

Let’s start with some basic Italian conjunctions: those that correlate similar thoughts.

E: This is the very first conjunction you’ll learn when you start studying Italian. E means “and,” and it’s impossible to do without because you use it to link two or more words in a sentence:

“I eat bread and cheese.” (Mangio pane e formaggio.)

It can also link two sentences/verbs:

“I went to the movies and I saw a nice Italian film.” (Sono andato al cinema e ho visto un bel film italiano.)

Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Pane e formaggio. (“Bread and cheese.”): it also means two people that really get along!

Whenever you write in Italian, pay attention to the difference between e to connect parts of your phrases and the third person verb è (it is) that needs the accent. This is a very common mistake that many young Italian students make, and nonetheless it’s a red pen mistake! To help you remember, here’s a little filastrocca (nursery rhyme):

E senza accento lega,
È con accento spiega.

E with no accent binds,
È with an accent explains.”

Take a look at this Italian conjunctions chart to see how other common and useful correlative Italian conjunctions work:

Italian Conjunction English Equivalent
anche also Vado al cinema e viene anche Marco. “I go to the movies, and Marco will also go.”
inoltre besides Oggi non esco, inoltre piove. “I won’t go out today, besides it rains.”
nor Non so ballare cantare. “I can neither dance nor sing.”
o/oppure (synonyms) or Vuoi la torta o/oppure il gelato? “Do you want ice cream or cake?”
nemmeno
neanche
neppure
(synonyms)
not even Non esco nemmeno/neppure/neanche per un minuto. “I won’t go out, not even for a minute.”
nemmeno
neanche
neppure
(synonyms)
neither Non esci? Nemmeno/neanche/neppure io! “You don’t want to go out?
Neither do I!”


3. Italian Conjunctions to Express Condition

Se non piove, vado al mare. (If it doesn’t rain, I’ll go to the beach.)

This is a very common sentence structure that you’ll often need when you want to talk about a hypothetical situation. To do so, you’ll need to use another one of the most common Italian conjunctions, se (if), which is used to introduce a hypothetical sentence.

What does “hypothetical” mean? Simply that you’re stating a doubt, or a possibility (either realistic or impossible) that could occur. The difference between being realistic or not is actually very important in Italian, since what tenses you’ll use in your sentence depend on this.

Woman Thinking
Ipoteticamente, se fossi italiana userei sempre il congiuntivo! (Hypothetically, if I were Italian I would use the subjunctive all the time!)

Look at the example in the table to see the difference. Do you want to know more about Italian verbs and tenses?

Italian Hypothetical Phrase English Equivalent Situation What tenses?
Se non piove, vado al mare. If it doesn’t rain, I’ll go to the beach.” Very realistic possibility Present - Present
Se fossi un pesce vivrei nel mare. If I were a fish, I would live in the sea.” Highly improbable Past Subjunctive - Conditional


4. Italian Conjunctions to Express Cause

Oggi vado al mare perché c’è il sole (Today I go to the beach since it is sunny.)

Perché (since; because) is one of the most useful Italian conjunctions to know and use, because it explains the reason or the cause behind some action.

Other conjunctions to express cause are poiché, siccome, and visto che. They are synonyms of perché and also mean “since.” Notice how, unlike perché, they can be at the beginning of a sentence.

  • Poiché non mi chiami, vado da sola. (Since you didn’t call me, I’ll go by myself.)
  • Siccome piove, non vado al mare. (Since it’s raining, I won’t go to the beach.)
  • Visto che sei italiano, devi sapere fare la pizza! (Since you’re Italian, you must know how to make pizza!)

Man Sleeping Next to Pizza Boxes

Sono Italiano ma non so fare la pizza! La mangio solamente… (I’m Italian, but I can’t make pizza. I only eat it… )

Another difference is that perché is also used to ask a question: Perché non vai al mare? (Why don’t you go to the beach?).

So you see that while in English there are two separate words for it (why and because), depending on whether it’s a question or an answer/explanation, in Italian, they’re the same word: perché. And don’t forget to put the acute accent on the é at the end of perché!

Perché? Perché sì! (Why? Just because!)


5. Italian Conjunctions to Express Opposition

Sentence Patterns

These conjunctions in Italian are the perfect tool when you want to make an excuse for some action. So obviously, they’re very useful to help you politely decline an invitation, an opinion you don’t agree with, or a second helping of lasagna from your friend’s grandma…

The most common conjunctions to express opposition are ma or però (both mean “but” when translated):

  • Mi piacerebbe andare al mare, ma oggi devo studiare. (I would love to go to the beach, but today I have to study.)
  • Capisco il tuo punto di vista, però non sono d’accordo. (I understand your point of view, but I don’t agree.)
  • La lasagna è buonissima, ma sono proprio sazio! (The lasagna is fantastic, but I am really full!)


6. Italian Conjunctions to Express Purpose

Improve Listening Part 2

Affinché, così, and perché all mean “so that.”

Whenever you want to express the purpose of an action that you stated in the main sentence, use conjunctions such as per, affinché, cosí, or perché, which all mean “so that.” For most of these, you need to pay extra attention because they require the use of the congiuntivo (the subjunctive tense).

  • Ti chiamo perché tu capisca la situazione. (I’m calling you so that you understand the situation.)
  • Scrivo l’esercizio affinché tu possa correggerlo. (I’ll write down the exercise so that you can correct it.)
  • Lo spiego di nuovo cosí che voi comprendiate. (I’ll explain it again so that you’ll all understand.)

When the two sentences (main and subordinate) have the same subject, you can use the simpler conjunction per without the subjunctive. I bet you loved that…!

Ti chiamo (io) per spiegarti (io) la situazione. (I call you to explain the situation.)

If you want to know more about this type of sentence, check out this lesson on our website.


7. Italian Conjunctions to Express Time

Quando? and Per quanto tempo? mean “When?” and “For how long?” respectively. Whenever you need to answer those questions, you’ll be using conjunctions to express time.

Hourglass

Guardo la clessidra mentre il tempo passa (I watch the hourglass, while time goes by).

The most common of Italian conjunction words for this is definitely quando (when). And you must have heard the old and very famous Italian song ‘60 Quando, Quando, Quando by Tony Renis. Can you sing along?

  • Mentre (While)
    Non parlare mentre mangi. (Don’t talk while you eat.)
  • Quando (When)
    Esco sempre quando nevica. (I always go out when it’s snowing.)
  • Appena/Non appena (As soon as)
    Ti chiamo (non) appena ho finito. (I’ll call you as soon as I’m done.)
    Notice how appena/non appena have exactly the same meaning.
  • Prima di/che (Before)
    Bevo un bicchiere d’acqua prima di dormire. (I drink a glass of water before I go to sleep.)
    Ti voglio parlare prima che tu esca. (I want to talk to you before you leave.)
  • Dopo di/che (After)
    Esco solo dopo avere finito i compiti. (I only go out after I finish my homework.)
    Esco solo dopo che hai finito i compiti. (I only go out after you finish your homework.)


8. Italian Conjunctions to Explain

How many times have you said something in Italian and then realized your idea wasn’t clear enough? In that case, these conjunctions to explain will come in quite handy! The most common in Italian are cioè (that is) and infatti (in fact).

  • Mi piace l’entomologia, cioè lo studio degli insetti. “I like entomology, that is the study of insects.)
  • Ha nevicato tutta la notte, infatti stamattina fuori è tutto bianco! (It snowed all night, in fact this morning it was all white outside!)

Have you noticed how much young Italians say cioè (that is)? Since the 70s, it’s become very common in spoken Italian as a way to take time to think about what you want to say. This is similar to “well…” in English at the start of a sentence. Some younger kids use it all the time! In fact, Cioè has even become the name of a very famous Italian teen magazine!

Cioè… non ho capito la domanda. (Well… I didn’t get the question.)

You might have also noticed how often Italians answer a question with infatti (in fact). In this case, it’s not used to explain the previous sentence, but simply to answer a question. It’s a way to reinforce your (yes), as in “Yes, absolutely/That’s right!”

          - C’é un bel sole, non ho voglia di stare a casa!
          - Infatti!

          - “It’s nice and sunny, I don’t feel like staying home.”
          - “That’s right!”

Group of Friends

Cioè… Allora… Quindi… (That is… So…). You’ll hear these words a lot from young Italians!


9. Italian Conjunctions to Express a Conclusion

And finally, to conclude, what could be more appropriate than talking about conjunctions to express a conclusion? So here we go. The most common Italian conjunctions to express a conclusion are allora (then), quindi (so), and dunque (therefore).

  • Non vuoi andare al cinema, allora cosa vuoi fare? (You don’t want to go to the movies, then what do you want to do?)
  • Sono tornata a casa tardi, quindi mia madre si è preoccupata. (I came home late, so my mom got worried.)
  • Voglio imparare l’Italiano, dunque studio con ItalianPod101.com! (I want to learn Italian, therefore I study with ItalianPod101.com!)

Even though these conjunctions serve mainly to conclude a sentence, you’ll often hear Italians start their sentences with them. In this case, they have the same function as cioè… (that is). They merely earn you some time while you think of what you’re about to say.


10. ItalianPod101: Your Guide to Italian Grammar & Culture

You’ll have lots of fun playing with Italian conjunctions because they’re the glue that allows you to bring your Italian conversation and writing to the next level. In Italian grammar, conjunctions really are that essential! So, try and use these conjunctions as much as possible, and keep having fun with ItalianPod101.com.

Which of these conjunctions do you plan on putting to use soon? Are there any you’re struggling with? Let us know in the comments!

Until next time, keep practicing, because your hard work is going to pay off and you’ll be speaking Italian like a native before you know it!

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Everything You Should Know about Italian Customs and Etiquette

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Every culture in the world have their own customs and etiquette regarding the most important aspects of social life: from dining to celebrations, from greetings to traveling, and so on. For someone coming from a different culture, they can be hard to understand and adopt, but they’re indeed an important element in communicating with the local population and learning their culture.

In order to help you with this, ItalianPod101 has written a guide to the Italian customs and etiquette. With our Italian etiquette tips under your belt, you have no reason to be nervous when an Italian friend invites you to dinner or when you’re going to travel to Italy for business reasons. Everyone will remember you as the educated, nice foreigner who surprised them by perfectly knowing the Italian customs. For tourists, knowing even a small bit of Italian etiquette can go a long way!

Table of Contents

  1. How to Talk about Etiquette in Italian
  2. Italian Dining Etiquette: The Do’s and Don’ts for Dining in Italy
  3. The Do’s and Don’ts for Sightseeing
  4. The Do’s and Don’ts for Greetings
  5. The Do’s and Don’ts for Visiting a House in Italy
  6. The Do’s and Don’ts When Riding Public Means of Transportation
  7. The Do’s and Don’ts for Business
  8. The Do’s and Don’ts for Celebrations
  9. Learn Everything about Italian Culture and Customs with ItalianPod101

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1. How to Talk about Etiquette in Italian

Bad Phrases

First of all, a super-short language lesson. Let’s say, for example, that you find yourself in a new situation and you’d like to know the Italian culture customs regarding the circumstance. You’d like to ask an Italian friend or colleague, but how? What are the verbs and sentences to talk about etiquette in Italian? How do you know about proper Italian etiquette for your current situation?

1- Dovere

When talking about customs and etiquette, you usually use the modal verb dovere and/or the imperative form. Dovere means “to have to,” and can also mean “should” and “must.” Let’s see a couple of examples:

Example: Quando ti presenti a qualcuno, devi stringergli la mano.
Translation: “When you introduce yourself to someone, you should shake their hands.”

Example: Quando saluti una persona giovane, devi dire ‘ciao.’
Translation: “When you say hello to a young person, you should say ‘ciao.’

2- The Imperative Verb

ItalianPod101 has prepared a couple of great lessons on the affirmative imperative and the negative imperative.You can check them out to know everything about this form. But for the purpose of this article, here’s a couple of examples regarding Italian etiquette:

Example: Mangia con la bocca chiusa.
Translation: “Eat with a closed mouth.”

Example: Non toglierti le scarpe quando entri in una casa.
Translation: “Don’t take your shoes off when you go into a house.”


2. Italian Dining Etiquette: The Do’s and Don’ts for Dining in Italy

Here’s some Italian etiquette for tourists willing to explore the universe of Italian food and wine. The most important rules of Italian dining etiquette are:

  • Wait for everyone to be served before starting to eat: In some cultures, eating together is more about sitting at a table together than it is about actually consuming the food. The Italian culture is not one of them. Before starting to eat, make sure that everyone is served and ready to start. Not waiting for everyone to start at the same time is considered very rude.
  • Always say Buon appetito!: This is another key rule of Italian dining etiquette. Before starting to eat, you should always say Buon appetito! to your tablemates. Literally, this expression means “Good appetite,” but it really means, in context, “Enjoy your meal.”
  • Always serve your tablemates before yourself: When helping yourself with food or wine, always start with the others at your table and serve yourself last. Don’t worry; you don’t need to serve thirty people if you’re at a big dinner, just focus on serving the guests next to you. Kindness and generosity are highly appreciated at Italian tables.
  • Make a toast before starting to drink alcohol: Like the Buon appetito! is mandatory before starting to eat, so is a toast before starting to drink. Raise your glass and say Salute! or Cin cin!, then wait for your guests to join the toast.
  • Don’t talk with your mouth full: Italians really don’t like to see how the food looks in your mouth.
  • Don’t burp: In some countries, for example in India, burping is a sign of satisfaction and satiety. But in Italy, it’s unacceptable. Basically, you should avoid every loud sound—slurping is another good example.
  • When eating in the streets, beware of municipal rules: This isn’t properly about etiquette, but more about local laws. Given the huge number of tourists and the current boom of street food, some Italian municipalities have forbidden eating on the street. You should ask your host or tourist office about this to avoid expensive fines.
  • You’re allowed to use your bread to clean the plate as long as you’re NOT holding the bread with your hands! Make sure to cut the bread into bite-sized pieces, and to hold it with your fork to clean the plate. That’s a delicious rule.

Dining


3. The Do’s and Don’ts for Sightseeing

Thank You

Some tourists don’t really know how to behave when visiting a foreign country. And as Italy is a very popular destination, this becomes clear. Follow this list of Italian etiquette do’s and don’ts for tourists to be the visitor every Italian likes. Also note that specific Italian culture customs come into play here.

  • Talk with a low voice in churches and other holy places: Holy places are usually very quiet in Italy, and everyone visiting them is requested to respect this silence. You’re allowed to talk, but only with a low voice.
  • Turn your mobile phone off or on silent in churches and other holy places: People that don’t do this are considered very disrespectful.
  • Don’t go where people are praying: People who are praying need calmness and respect. Don’t go next to them, and be quiet when you pass near them. This includes the “clicks” of your camera or cell phone. Some churches, especially the most-visited ones, have an area only for prayers. Don’t go there.
  • Don’t point to people: Italians don’t like people pointing to them with their fingers. It makes them feel like animals at a zoo.
  • Ask for permission before photographing someone: For the same reason, you should always ask their permission before taking a photo of someone.
  • Be sensible with selfies: Selfies are a fun habit but also a curse of the current era, because they make us behave stupidly sometimes. We think about the people that will look at our photo on social media, and not about those around us. So, be sensible. Before taking a selfie, make sure that you’re not acting disrespectfully. For example, if you’re taking a selfie in front of a monument for the victims of WWII, this is considered disrespectful.

Sign


4. The Do’s and Don’ts for Greetings

We’ve already written a super interesting guide about greetings in Italy, but here are a few Italian etiquette tips.

  • Smile: Italians communicate a lot with their facial expressions and body language, and have a really hard time with people who don’t. If you don’t smile to someone when greeting or introducing yourself to them, they’ll think you’re rude or hate them.
  • Shake hands: Shaking hands is a key part of Italian etiquette when you meet someone new or when you greet a business contact. It’s also common among acquaintances, especially among men.
  • Kiss your friends and relatives twice on their cheeks: Italians do kiss, a lot. Not as much as the French do, but almost. You should kiss your friends and relatives twice on their cheeks when saying hello and goodbye. All of them. Yes, it’s a lot of kissing and they love it.
  • Don’t be too formal: Italians tend to be warmer in their manners than many other populations, and generally don’t like formalities too much. Just try to adapt to the level of formality they use toward you.


5. The Do’s and Don’ts for Visiting a House in Italy

Hygiene

Here are Italian etiquette rules for being a good guest in an Italian house. These simple tips for etiquette in Italy for tourists can go a long way toward impressing your host and leaving a good impression on potential friends.

  • Don’t take your shoes off: In many parts of the world, you have to take your shoes off to show your respect in someone else’s house. In Italy, it’s the opposite. So, if you’re not asked to, don’t ever take your shoes off.
  • Don’t wander around alone: Moving freely around someone else’s home is considered rude and inappropriate.
  • Accept something they offer: Leaving a house without having a coffee, a piece of cake, or even just a glass of water might disappoint your host. Let them welcome you.

Etiquette


6. The Do’s and Don’ts When Riding Public Means of Transportation

Busses and trains are often crowded and stressful, which is why you should be super kind when riding them. These are the basic rules of etiquette in Italy for tourists using public transportation:

  • Give your seat to old people, the disabled, pregnant women, and children.
  • Don’t speak too loud, especially on the phone, and don’t listen to music without headphones.
  • Say Permesso when you need to pass: This is the magic word that shows kindness to those traveling with you, like “excuse me” in English.


7. The Do’s and Don’ts for Business

Business Phrases

Knowing the Italian etiquette is especially crucial when doing business with Italians. Here’s some good advice when it comes to Italian customs in business.

  • Don’t talk about money right away: Yes, it’s weird, but money is a delicate issue for Italians. Don’t forget that for many centuries, the Church called it “the devil’s poo,” and even in today’s more secular century, there’s still something dirty about it. Don’t start talking about it at the beginning of a conversation, especially if it’s a large amount. It’s better to spend a few minutes talking about other aspects of the business before discussing the financial side.
  • Appreciate other people’s work: Be sure to show appreciation toward other people’s work, even if you won’t close any deal. You’ll leave a good impression and be able to build a good reputation.
  • Shake hands: After you’ve reached a business deal, shake hands.

Doing


8. The Do’s and Don’ts for Celebrations

What if you’re invited to a wedding or, unfortunately, you have to attend a funeral? Check out our advice here.

  • Don’t dress in bright colors at a funeral: Instead, dress soberly, using dark colors.
  • Say Condoglianze to offer condolences.
  • Don’t eat at a funeral: In Italy, mourning isn’t considered an occasion to eat together. Instead, eating at funerals is almost a taboo. People at funerals just gather together and remember the deceased.
  • Say Congratulazioni to offer congratulations: For example, you can say this at a wedding, a baptism, a graduation, etc.


9. Learn Everything about Italian Culture and Customs with ItalianPod101

What do you think about Italian customs and etiquette? Does your country have similar expectations? Let us know in the comments!

ItalianPod101 isn’t simply a place to learn the Italian language. It’s also a hub of information covering Italian culture and customs from many different points of view. Care to know more about how friendship works in Italy? You got it! Or do you want to move there to work? We got you covered!

And with our apps and tools, you’ll learn faster and in a fun, entertaining way, like you’ve never experienced before! Let us be your ladder to success as you master the Italian language!

Still don’t feel like you know everything you need about Italian etiquette and customs? Check out our in-depth articles and guides, like the ones we linked to throughout this article.

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Epifania: The Feast of the Epiphany in Italy

Italians celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany each year to celebrate the Magi’s visitation to Baby Jesus. However, the celebrations of Epiphany in Italy may surprise you—did you know that Epiphany isn’t what most Italians call this holiday?

In this article, you’ll learn about the origins of the Epiphany holiday and how the Italians observe it.

At ItalianPod101.com, it’s our goal to ensure that every aspect of your language-learning journey is both fun and informative—starting with this article!

Ready? Let’s dive in.

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1. What is Epiphany in Italy?

Epiphany, like Christmas, is a Christian religious festival. It celebrates the visit made by the Magi—the three great kings of the East—to Christ twelve days after his birth. This festival is a national holiday.

For Italians, the Epiphany is also a bit of a sad day, because it is the fine del Natale, or “end of Christmas.” Thus, while the Epiphany celebrations are going on, Italians are also bracing themselves for the humdrum of everyday life to begin again.

2. Epiphany Date

Each year, Italians celebrate Epiphany on January 6. The night before is called Epiphany Eve.

3. How Do They Celebrate Epiphany in Italy?

Go to Mass

While, like in most countries that celebrate Epiphany, many Italians andare a messa, or “go to mass,” the more popular traditions may surprise you. ;)

1- The Legend of La Befana

According to an Italian belief, on the night between January 5 and 6, a vecchia signora, or “old woman,” called Befana—who’s ugly and old and rides on a broomstick—goes into every home to fill the socks of the good children (bambini buoni) with candies and sweets, and distribute coal to the bad children (bambini cattivi). The kids really like this celebration of the Epiphany, because even if they get a bit of coal, they still always receive a lot of candies and chocolates. This belief also explains why the Epiphany is more commonly known as the Day of the Befana.

In Venice, the Befana travels on a boat! In fact, every year, on January 6, a boat race of the Befana is organized, led by athletes dressed as Befana, who compete on the Grand Canal.

2- More Epiphany Traditions

On this day, after opening the socks filled with candy (caramella), Italians get together with their families to enjoy lunch together. The most typical food eaten on Epiphany in Italy is sweets, including focaccia of the Epiphany. This is a cake that has a fava bean placed inside it; the one who finds this dry bean will have very good fortune throughout the year. The afternoon of this day is also an opportunity to go out for a walk around the historic centers of the city, where there are small markets selling sweets.

During the Epiphany Festival, Italy’s most common activity is actually to take away all the Christmas decorations, such as the Christmas tree and the nativity scene. This is because Epiphany marks the official end of Christmastime.

4. Origin of “Epiphany”

Do you know the meaning and origin of the word “epiphany”?

It is a word with Greek origins that means “appearance” or “revelation.” Some people also celebrate Epiphany as the day on which the Trinity of God was “revealed” during the baptism of Jesus, thus the holiday’s name.

5. Must-Know Vocabulary for Epiphany in Italy

Sweet Coal

Ready to review some of the vocabulary words we went over in this article? Here’s the essential Italian vocabulary for Epiphany!

  • Caramella — “Candy”
  • Epifania — “Epiphany”
  • Andare a messa — “Go to mass”
  • Carbone dolce — “Sweet coal
  • Calza — “Stocking”
  • Vecchia signora — “Old woman”
  • Magi — “Magi”
  • Regalo — “Gift”
  • Fine del Natale — “End of Christmas”
  • Scopa — “Broomstick”
  • Befana — “Befana”
  • Bambino cattivo — “Bad child”
  • Bambino buono — “Good child”

To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, and to read them alongside relevant images, be sure to check out our Italian Epiphany vocabulary list.

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about the Feast of Epiphany in Italy with us!

Do you celebrate Epiphany in your country? If so, are celebrations similar or different from those in Italy? Let us know in the comments!

If you’re interested in learning more about Italian culture, or if you want some wintery words up your sleeve to get you through the next couple of months, you may find the following pages useful:

Italian is a beautiful language, and learning it doesn’t need to be boring or overwhelming. With ItalianPod101.com, it can even be fun! If you’re serious about mastering the language, create your free lifetime account today.

Happy Italian learning! :)

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Italian Dates: Days of the Week in Italian and Much More

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Do you need to plan a date with an Italian friend? Or do you simply need to confirm the day of your next Italian lesson? Maybe you’re reading an important letter or document, but don’t know how to read dates in Italian. You’ll need to be able to talk about time and dates in Italian to communicate on a daily basis.

Days, weeks, months, years. They go so fast…but don’t worry! You’ll learn how to say the days of the week in Italian, the months of the year, and all the other tricks of the Italian calendar with this simple guide on how to talk about dates in Italian. You’ll be saying dates in Italian and making appointments before you know it!

Table of Contents

  1. How to Write and Read Dates in Italian
  2. How to Say the Years in Italian
  3. How to Say the Months in Italian
  4. How to Say the Days
  5. How to Say the Days of the Week
  6. What Would You Say to Fix the Date of an Appointment?
  7. Must-Know Phrases to Talk about Dates
  8. Italian Dates You Should Know
  9. You Don’t Need to Study Einstein…
  10. Conclusion: How ItalianPod101 Can Help You Master Italian

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1. How to Write and Read Dates in Italian

Numbers

The first step is learning how to write dates in Italian.

Dates in Italian follow the same order that they do in all European countries: giorno-mese-anno (or “day-month-year” in English). In other words, you start with the day, then the month, and you put the year at the end. So, if you’re writing dates in Italian in a letter or filling out a form on February 18, dates in Italian format will look like this:

18/02/2019.

If, instead of writing, you need to know how to say dates in Italian, you read it by adding the article: Oggi è il 18 febbraio 2019 (duemila diciannove) which translates to “Today is the 18th of February, 2019.”

Knowing how to say months and dates in Italian comes in handy when you’re asked your date of birth. Do you know how to say that?

          Sono nato/a il 3 maggio del 1983.
          ”I was born May 3, 1983.”

Another way of saying it, of course, would be:

          Il mio compleanno è il 3 maggio.
          ”My birthday is May 3.”

Once your birthday comes around, be ready to receive Tanti auguri! from your friends (literally “Many wishes” in English) or Buon compleanno! (or “Happy birthday!” in English).

Old Women Celebrating

Tanti auguri, nonna! (Happy birthday, granma!)


2. How to Say the Years in Italian

The next important step in learning how to express dates in Italian is the years. Talking about the years in Italian can be a bit challenging as they’re very big numbers. These are the basics:

In Italian, you have to read the thousands first (1000 = mille), then the hundreds (900 = novecento) and finally tens and units (99 = novantanove).

Or, for a more recent date: duemila diciannove (2019). In this case, there are no hundreds, so we skip directly to the tens and units.

Do you want to know more (big and small) about numbers? Check out this comprehensive article!


3. How to Say the Months in Italian

Months

To help you out with your agenda and your birthday schedule, here’s a list of all Italian months. As you can see, the names of Italian months aren’t too different from the English ones.

I mesi in Italiano Months in English
gennaio January
febbraio February
marzo March
aprile April
maggio May
giugno June
luglio July
agosto August
settembre September
ottobre October
novembre November
dicembre December

Notice how the names of the months in Italian don’t need to be capitalized, unless they’re at the beginning of a sentence. As in:

  • Dicembre è un mese freddo, mentre agosto è un mese caldo.
    “December is a cold month, while August is a hot month.”

You might need to practice the pronunciation of some of the Italian months. Giugno (June) and luglio (July) are the two most difficult ones, as they contain two digraphs that you find only in Italian: gl and gn. You can practice those the next time you plan a summer trip to the Italian coastline, as those are the perfect months to enjoy the beaches!

Friends Burying Someone in Sand at the Beach

Una bella giornata di giugno al mare (A nice June day at the beach)

And if you’re writing down the months in Italian, don’t forget the doppie, meaning “double consonants,” in gennaio, febbraio, maggio, settembre, and ottobre (January, February, May, September, and October). (link to pronunciation)

Maybe it won’t be this year, but every four years something very special happens: we have an anno bisestile (or “a leap year” in English). This is when February has 29 days instead of 28.


4. How to Say the Days

Weekdays

In Italian, when we say the days of the month, we always use the cardinal number, preceded by the correct masculine, singular, definite article. For example:

  • Oggi è il 18 (diciotto) febbraio.
    “Today is February 18.”

The only exception is the first day of the month, when we can also use the ordinal number for “one.”

  • Il primo maggio è festa. or L’uno maggio è festa.
    “May first is a holiday.”

Notice how you can say either il primo giugno or il primo di giugno (both meaning “June 1″ in English).

All other dates of the month in Italian follow the general rule that they’re written and pronounced as cardinal numbers. So, here they go:

l’uno (il primo)           1
il due           2
il tre           3
il quattro           4
il cinque           5
il sei           6
il sette           7
l’otto           8
il nove           9
il dieci           10
l’undici           11
il dodici           12
il tredici           13
il quattordici           14
il quindici           15
il sedici           16
il diciassette           17
il diciotto           18
il diciannove           19
il venti           20
il ventuno           21
il ventidue           22
il ventitré           23
il ventiquattro           24
il venticinque           25
il ventisei           26
il ventisette           27
il ventotto           28
il ventinove           29
il trenta           30
il trentuno           31

If you’re not sure how many days are in a specific month, here’s a traditional Italian nursery rhyme that you can learn to help you memorize the days of every month.

Calendar with Flipping Pages

Trenta giorni ha novembre
con april, giugno e settembre.
Di ventotto ce n’è uno,
tutti gli altri ne han trentuno.

“Thirty days has November
With April, June, and September.
Twenty-eight there is just one,
All the others have thirty-one.”

Do you want to try it?


5. How to Say the Days of the Week

Now that you have a good idea of how to say the dates in Italian, you should know how to talk about the days of the week in Italian. Like the names of the months, these aren’t capitalized. Here’s a list of the days of the week in Italian:

lunedì           Monday
martedì           Tuesday
mercoledì           Wednesday
giovedì           Thursday
venerdì           Friday
sabato           Saturday
domenica           Sunday

Don’t forget the accent on the final ì of the first five days of the week. The ending - means “day” (from the Latin word for “day,” dies), and you can still find it in poetry or in certain words such as buondì or mezzodì, instead of buongiorno (good morning) or mezzogiorno (noon).

Monday through Friday are giorni lavorativi (or “weekdays” in English) because they’re the days of the week “when people go to work.” Remember that like all the other Italian words that end with an accent, they’re invariable, meaning that they don’t change in the plural. However, sabato and domenica, which are giorni feriali, meaning “weekends,” can have regular plurals (sabati, domeniche).

For example:

  • Tutti i sabati e tutte le domeniche dormo fino a tardi.
    “All Saturdays and Sundays I sleep late.”

The Moon

Lunedì è il giorno della luna. (Monday is the day of the moon.)

Like all romance languages, which are the languages derived from Latin, the names of the days of the week in Italian originate from the names of the planets, which in turn come from the names of the ancient gods. This was a system devised by the Greeks and then perfected by the Romans. The good news is that once you learn the days of the week in Italian, you’ll easily master the skies too:

Day of the Week           Planet/God           English equivalent
Lunedì           Luna           Moon
Martedì           Marte           Mars
Mercoledì           Mercurio           Mercury
Giovedì           Giove           Jupiter
Venerdì           Venere           Venus

Sabato (Saturday) and domenica (Sunday) have a different religious origin, as sabato comes from the Hebrew Sabbath—the day of rest—and domenica means “Day of the Lord.”


6. What Would You Say to Fix the Date of an Appointment?

Now that you’ve mastered how to say the dates, the days, the months, and the years in Italian, it’s time to make some plans! Nothing is more fun than meeting with new and old friends, and organizing a night out or a weekend away.

Conersation with Friends

Ci vediamo sabato per un caffè? (Shall we meet on Saturday for a coffee?)

Here are some simple phrases to start doing just that.

Cosa fai il primo marzo?  ”What are you doing on March first?”
Hai programmi per domenica? “Do you have plans for Sunday?”
Sei libero/a questo fine settimana? “Are you free this weekend?”
Ci vediamo il dodici alle tre. “Let’s meet on the 12th at three.”


7. Must-Know Phrases to Talk about Dates

If you’re traveling or are on vacation, it’s very easy to lose track of the time. So it’s important to know how to ask “What day is today?” in Italian. There are actually two different ways to tell today’s date:

Oggi è il 25.
Oggi ne abbiamo 25.

Both sentences mean “Today’s the 25th.”

If you want to ask “What day is today?” you can either ask Che giorno è oggi? or Quanti ne abbiamo oggi? But be aware that if you ask the first question, you might be answered: è martedì or è il 15 (meaning “It’s Tuesday,” or “It’s the 15th,” respectively). If you ask the second question, the answer will be more precise, and you’ll be told the exact day of the month: il 15 (meaning “It’s the 15th” in English).

And do you know what ne stands for in the sentence Quanti ne abbiamo? It substitutes “of/about + this, these, that, those,” and refers to the number of days that have passed in a month.

Other useful phrases to ask about dates in Italian are:

Quando/Che giorno inizia il corso? “When/What day does the course start?”
Quando/Che giorno finisce il corso? “When/What day does the course end?”
Di che giorno cade Pasqua? “What day is Easter?”
(Literally: “In what day does Easter fall?” translated)

And if you want to know about somebody’s birthday, there are three different ways of asking “When is your birthday?”:

Quand’è il tuo compleanno?
Quando fai il compleanno?
Quando compi gli anni?


8. Italian Dates You Should Know

A Christmas Tree

Natale (Christmas)

The most important (and best) Italian holidays are usually the ones related to family and food. So you don’t want to miss the opportunity to experience this next time you travel to Italy. To help you schedule your next trip, here are the dates you should always keep in mind:

  • Quest’anno Pasqua cade il 15 aprile.
    “This year, Easter is April 15th.”
  • Pasquetta, il lunedì dopo Pasqua, è un giorno di festa in Italia.
    “Pasquetta, the Monday after Easter, is a holiday in Italy.”
  • Il Venerdì Santo si mangiano pesce e verdure.
    “On Good Friday, you eat fish and vegetables.”
  • Carnevale è sempre 40 giorni prima di Pasqua.
    “Carnival is always 40 days before Easter.”
  • Natale è il 25 dicembre.
    “Christmas is on December 25th.”

And to underline the importance of family gatherings for Christmas, Italians have created this popular saying: Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi. This means: “Christmas with your family, Easter with whoever you want.”

There are also many other local holidays that are celebrated only in specific cities or villages. Usually, these are holidays celebrating the patron saint that protects the city.


9. You Don’t Need to Study Einstein…

… to know that time is relative to your point of view and to a particular moment in time. Talking about time often has to do with something that happened before or that will happen after a specific time.

So, especially when you need to set up an appointment, make plans, or talk about things that happened in the past, you need to learn a few more words about time.

Check out this sequence:

-2 -1 0 +1 +2
l’altro ieri ieri oggi domani dopodomani
the day before yesterday yesterday today tomorrow the day after tomorrow

With these words, you’ll be able to express concepts up to two days before or after today.

But what if you want to go beyond that? In this case, you’ll have to use fa (ago) or fra/tra (in). By the way, notice how tra and fra are absolutely synonyms!

  • Tre giorni fa. “Three days ago.”
  • Fra tre giorni. “In three days.”

The same works for weeks, months, years, etc.

  • Sono tornata un mese fa. “I came back one month ago.”
  • Vado in Italia fra due settimane. “I travel to Italy in two weeks.”
  • Dove sarai tra 10 anni? “Where will you be in 10 years?”

Another relative term when we talk about time is la vigilia, which is, in general, the day that precedes an important event, such as a wedding, an important exam, a very big holiday, etc.

  • La vigilia di Natale è il giorno che precede il Natale.
    “Christmas Eve is the night before Christmas.”
  • Dormo sempre poco alla vigilia degli esami.
    “I always get little sleep the day before the exams.”
  • La sposa è scappata alla vigilia delle nozze.
    “The bride ran away the day before the wedding.”


10. Conclusion: How ItalianPod101 Can Help You Master Italian

Cosa fai oggi? (What is your plan today?)

If you plan to improve your Italian and to be able to travel, meet friends, and learn about an extraordinary country and culture, you’re in the right place. Keep improving and having fun with ItalianPod101!

We provide an array of learning tools for Italian learners at every level, from insightful blog posts like this one to free vocabulary lists so you can improve your language knowledge! For additional convenience, be sure to download our mobile apps to learn Italian anywhere, on your own time!

Learning a language isn’t easy, but your hard work and determination, combined with our constant support, ensures that you can master Italian before you know it!

Before you go, let’s practice. How are dates written in Italian? Write today’s date in the comments section. ;)
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Learn All the Terms for Family in Italian

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Family is a vital institution everywhere in the world, but particularly in Italy. It’s not a cliche: Italians love their family, A LOT. And even if things have changed over the last few decades and huge, extended families aren’t as common as before, Italians still feel a connection toward their family members that’s hard to find in other Western countries.

But then, who doesn’t love their mom and dad, their grannies or little children, and doesn’t feel the need to talk about them with friends? As stated before, Italian extended families are greatly valued in Italian society, so knowing how to talk about them is essential. That’s why we’ve written this guide on how to talk about family in Italian.

Here at ItalianPod101, you’ll learn the basic Italian for family members, read through some Italian family phrases for reference, and discover some very interesting Italian quotes for family. But first, a little information on the average Italian family unit and Italian family roles.

Table of Contents

  1. Italian Family Culture: What are Italian Families Like?
  2. Dictionary of Terms about Family in Italian
  3. Respect Terms vs. Endearment Terms in Italian
  4. Italian Quotes and Proverbs about Family
  5. ItalianPod101: Learn Italian in the Blink of an Eye with Our Great Tools

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1. Italian Family Culture: What are Italian Families Like?

Family Quotes

As mentioned above, Italian families have changed a lot in recent history. Until the Fifties, Italy had a largely agricultural economy, with extended, strongly patriarchal families working on lands that they often didn’t own. Then, the economic boom and industrial development happened, with millions of people quickly moving from the poor and undeveloped countryside to the rapidly growing cities. As a consequence, the nuclear family—living in an apartment and raising a small number of children—became the norm.

Nevertheless, uncles, aunts, and cousins are still very important in Italy, probably more so than in other European countries. Cousins are the best game buddies of almost every Italian child, while uncles and aunts are teachers, baby sitters, supports, and examples.

Italian Cousins

And what about grandparents? Well, they’re simply one of the key figures of every Italian. Since the country doesn’t have a strong enough network of kindergartens, little Italian children spend a lot of their time with their grandparents while their parents are at work.

Growing up with Italian family values certainly has some great pros. As for Italian family traditions, Sunday isn’t simply a day off, but a family meeting with tons of delicious food and loud chats. And there’s always a cousin living in some small Southern city with amazing beaches, who’s very happy to host you during summer holidays.

But there are also some cons. For example, the amoral familism studied by the political scientist Edward C. Banfield in 1955 still somehow survives. That’s to say that Italians often see the interest of their family as more important than the interest of society, even when it damages collective goods.

Many of the Italian family qualities have changed over time, especially since the Italian society is now multicultural. Moreover, a growing number of young people leave the country to look for better opportunities abroad. As a consequence, families are becoming more and more the product of different cultures and experiences.

But enough with history and social sciences. Now that you know a little more about the meaning of family in Italy, let’s dive into our guide of terms about family in Italian!


2. Dictionary of Terms about Family in Italian

Italian Family

Do you want to know how to say “father” in Italian? And what about “mother,” “grandmother,” “aunt,” and all the other Italian family members term that every good family guy must know? Check out our dictionary.

But before that, let’s learn how to say “family” and “my family” in Italian, the root of every family-based conversation.

The Italian word for “family” is famiglia, which is similar in many other European languages. That’s because this word comes from the latin familia, which has an even more ancient origin: faama, meaning “house” in the Oscan language. Fascinating, isn’t it?

So, let’s see some examples of use:

  • Example: La mia famiglia è originaria dell’Italia Centrale.
  • Translation: “My family comes from Central Italy.”
  • Example: Ieri sono andata a trovare la famiglia di Marco.
  • Translation: “Yesterday I went to visit Marco’s family.”
  • Example: Ho una famiglia molto numerosa.
  • Translation: “I have a very big family.”

1- Italian Terms for Parents

  • Madre: “Mother”
    • Example: Mia madre è medico e lavora all’ospedale.
    • Translation: “My mother is a doctor and she works at the hospital.”
  • Padre: “Father”
    • Example: Il padre di Andrea è molto simpatico.
    • Translation: “Andrea’s father is very nice.”

Mother in Italian

2- Italian Terms for One’s Children

  • Figlio: “Son”
    • Example: Giovanna ha un figlio di tre anni.
    • Translation: “Giovanna has a three-year-old son.”
  • Figlia: “Daughter”
    • Example: Mia figlia va molto bene a scuola.
    • Translation: “My daughter is very good at school.”

3- Italian Terms for Siblings

  • Fratello: “Brother”
    • Example: Io e mio fratello non andiamo d’accordo.
    • Translation: “My brother and I don’t get along.”
  • Sorella: “Sister”
    • Example: Mia sorella si è trasferita a Londra per studiare.
    • Translation: “My sister has moved to London to study.”

4- Italian Terms for Grandparents

  • Nonno: “Grandfather”
    • Example: Mio nonno è stato importantissimo per me.
    • Translation: “My grandfather was very important to me.”
  • Nonna: “Grandmother”
    • Example: Questo piatto è una ricetta che mi ha insegnato mia nonna.
    • Translation: “This dish is a recipe my grandmother taught me.”

Italian Grandmother

5- Italian Terms for Grandchildren, Nephews, and Nieces

  • Nipote: “Grandchild” (m. and f.), “nephew,” and “niece”
    • Example: Mia nipote adora la pallavolo.
    • Translation: “My granddaughter loves volleyball.”
    • Example: Hai già conosciuto mio nipote, Matteo?
    • Translation: “Have you already met my grandson, Matteo?”
    • Example: Quanti anni ha tua nipote, la figlia di tuo fratello?
    • Translation: “How old is your niece, the daughter of your brother?”

6- Italian Terms for Aunts and Uncles

  • Zio: “Uncle”
    • Example: Lo zio di Marta vive negli Stati Uniti.
    • Translation: “Marta’s uncle lives in the United States.”
  • Zia: “Aunt”
    • Example: La zia di Luca è molto giovane: ha solo 30 anni.
    • Translation: “Luca’s aunt is very young, she’s only 30 years old.”

7- Italian Terms for Cousins

  • Cugino: “Cousin” (male)
    • Example: Hai chiamato tuo cugino?
    • Translation: “Did you call your cousin?”
  • Cugina: “Cousin” (female)
    • Example: Ieri ho incontrato tua cugina al concerto.
    • Translation: “Yesterday I saw your cousin at the concert.”

Italian Terms for Family

8- Italian Terms for Family Members as a Married Person

  • Marito: “Husband”
    • Example: Il marito di Lucia è appassionato di trekking.
    • Translation: “Lucia’s husband is a trekking enthusiast.”
  • Moglie: “Wife”
    • Example: No, mia moglie non è in casa.
    • Translation: “No, my wife isn’t at home.”
  • Suocero: “Father-in-law”
    • Example: Mio suocero era un pittore e poeta.
    • Translation: “My father-in-law was a painter and a poet.”
  • Suocera: “Mother-in-law”
    • Example: Mia suocera purtroppo è morta prima che mio figlio nascesse.
    • Translation: “Unfortunately, my mother-in-law died before my son was born.”
  • Genero: “Son-in-law”
    • Example: L’uomo vestito di blu è il genero di GIuliano.
    • Translation: “The man dressed in blue is Giuliano’s son-in-law.”
  • Nuora: “Daughter-in-law”
    • Example: Io e mia nuora siamo molto legate.
    • Translation: “My daughter-in-law and I are very close.”
  • Cognato: “Brother-in-law”
    • Example: Io e mio cognato siamo amici d’infanzia.
    • Translation: “My brother-in-law and I are childhood friends.”
  • Cognata: “Sister-in-law”
    • Example: Andavo a scuola con tua cognata, alle elementari.
    • Translation: “I went to school with your sister-in-law, at primary school.”


3. Respect Terms vs. Endearment Terms in Italian

Phrases Parents Say

The terms for family in Italian are both common terms and respectful terms. Unlike in other languages, Japanese for example, Italian doesn’t have specific respectful expressions when talking about a third party.

When addressing someone older than you whom you’re not familiar with, or in a formal relationship, you’re expected to use the third person lei formula. But in a family, you don’t usually do this; you simply address everyone with the second person tu. Although, if you’re about to meet your parents-in-law and they’re old, it can be polite to start with lei. Afterwards, they’ll most certainly ask you to switch to the more familiar tu.

And what about endearment terms? You’re expected to only use them in a family context, and they are:

  • Papà: “Dad”
  • Babbo: “Dad “in Central Italy
  • Mamma: “Mom”
  • Nonnina: “Granny”
  • Nonnino: “Grandpa”


4. Italian Quotes and Proverbs about Famil

There are so many Italian quotes about family and local proverbs, that it’s really hard to choose which ones to include. We’ve collected a few of the most famous Italian family quotes for you below:

  • Mogli e buoi dei paesi tuoi.
    “When you choose a wife or a cow, it’s better to go to your own village.”
  • Il frutto non cade mai lontano dall’albero.
    “A fruit always falls next to its tree.”
    Note: This phrase means that a bad person always comes from a bad family or environment.
  • Parenti serpenti.
    “Relatives are like snakes.”
    Note: This phrase means that relatives are dangerous and traitors.
  • Tale padre, tale figlio.
    “Like father, like son.”


5. ItalianPod101: Learn Italian in the Blink of an Eye with Our Great Tools

Are you eager to start talking to your Italian family like you’d grown up with them? Then we can help you. Here at ItalianPod101, we’ve created a series of amazing tools to help you learn Italian in a heartbeat, while having fun! For example, our super-efficient apps, that allow you to learn everywhere you are and anytime you want. And if you’re in doubt, you can always count on the advice of our friendly community.

Start now! But before you head off, let us know in the comments if there are any family terms you still want to know! We look forward to hearing from you. :)
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