2011-02-15

Italian 101

I love all things Italian - the food, the wine, the art, the fashion, the culture...did I mention the wine?  So a few years back, after a particularly difficult time, my husband thought the best thing for us was to escape to Italy for a short vacation.  Never having been there before, we very bravely booked the whole trip ourselves without the help of a travel agent.  We purchased our plane tickets, rented a car, and booked an apartment off the Internet from some guy named Francesco who gave us directions from the airport in Bari south to the city of Oria where we were to follow the street signs to the Piazza Manfriedi where we would meet him in the local bar - SERIOUSLY.

Now, I'm sure this is where you expect me to tell you how our adventure went terribly awry, but the truth is we drove straight to our landlord Francesco who showed us to our beautiful apartment in a 600 year-old-building within the walled medieval town.  It was absolutely amazing!





Oria apartment rental - S. MARIA AL TEMPIO: view to bedroom
Our Apartment

Finding our apartment was the easy part - trying to communicate with people who spoke even less English than we spoke Italian was the challenge.  At times we were so desperate, we even attempted to use our high school French only to be rewarded with puzzled looks and head shakes.  So, in case any of you are considering a trip to southern Italy, here's my personal list of the very bare essential Italian words & phrases that I found useful:

"Vino rosso, per favore" - red wine, please.  (I used this one a LOT)

"Non capisco" - I don't understand

"Non lo sa" - I don't know

 "Non parlo bene l'italiano" -  I don't speak Italian well (which was, of course, a huge understatement).


It's also important to know that the numerous little shops called "Macelleria Equine" translates to "Horse Butcher". Ham is called "prosciutto", so if the meat looks like ham, but is called something else and the waiter tells you it's "local cured meat" you need to wonder. I discovered this fact a little late in our vacation but must admit I thought it was delicious - so much so that I once ordered a whole plate of it as an appetizer.


Yup....I did. In fact, I devoured it.  Oops!

One last thing - as no course in speaking Italian would be complete without an explanation of Italian hand gestures, I've included a video which explains the more common ones for you.  Enjoy!








43 comments:

  1. Now that's what I call a get-away!

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  2. EmptyNester: Yes, it was wonderful. And thank you for your visit :)

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  3. Well, I am impressed that you booked the whole trip yourselves and braved the countryside knowing little Italian! I'm fairly certain I wouldn't have the nerve.
    It sounds as if you had a marvelous time and will always remember the visit. I'm so glad Francesco was a gracious landlord-- the apartment is gorgeous.
    I'm a new follower and I look forward to reading more!

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  4. Your adventure sounds wonderful. I've never quite managed a trip like that. Good for you.

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  5. Fun!!!! I can't wait to go to Europe some day. That apartment looked very nice!

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  6. I remember when you went on that trip. It was amazing!! We had read about the same town as you and also thought it would be an interesting place to visit. We were impressed that you had done so! I hope to go to Italy someday. Fun to read about your experiences.

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  7. Wow, you really lucked out!! Now all you need to do is apply that same magic touch to a visit downunder to escape the grey/white/snow!

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  8. I am slow no boubt adout it, what happened to the big day 14. Happy V D all. Bondo

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  9. anyone get a speeding ticket

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  10. That apartment is total luxury. I've never been to Italy but I'd like to.

    CJ xx

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  11. Pamo: You made my day - I just love getting new followers!

    Bodacious Boomer: It certainly was an adventure and a first for us too.

    Michelle: The apartment was nice, and a whole lot cheeper than a hotel too.

    Alberta: That's right! We got the idea from an article in the Free Press.

    Red Nomad OZ: I would LOVE to go to Australia!

    Bondo: Thanks! And as for the speeding tickets - I'm saving story that for another day.

    Crystal: Yes, we thought so too. The arched stone ceilings are commonplace in that region of Italy.

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  12. What a fantastic experience! My husband have not gone out of the country (except a tour to Israel which was great, but not the same as a European vacation). We're looking forward to doing more of that! Thanks for posting. I'm going to follow you now!

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  13. Wow, what an amazing trip. I love the apartment! Thanks for sharing your adventure, just reading it made me wish I could jump on a plane right now!

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  14. Hi there again, I love your blog and have left something for you on my blog

    http://heartfeltbalancehandmadelife.blogspot.com/2011/02/another-blog-award-thanks-bethany.html

    Michelle

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  15. I LOVE this. My grandma migrated to the U.S. from Italy. I want to visit Europe so badly ;)

    I'm following.

    ecwrites.blogspot.com

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  16. Sounds like a great trip. The prosciutto looks wonderful.

    Karen

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  17. Hey Kara!
    I loved this post! IT was absolutely fabulous. And given that I married a first generation Italian just makes it even better.
    The two of us went over just out of college for a short vacation and we had the time of our lives! Italy is truly an amazing place.

    Thanks for such a great post.
    ~CM

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  18. Ahhh...lovely post. I have had a decade long love affair with Italy myself. My hubby & I eloped to Rome nearly 11 years ago (OMG--I'm getting old) and honeymooned in Florence and Venice. A bit of my heart will always remain there and I dream of the day when I will return.

    Kerry Ann (a.k.a. Vinobaby)

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  19. The closest I've ever been to Italy would be at Epcot ;)

    Happy almost Friday! New follower....hope you stop by and say hey!

    http://goobergrapemonkeyman.blogspot.com

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  20. What an adventure! I don't think I could convince my hubby to do something like that, but I loved hearing about your vacation!

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  21. Ok you can book my next trip. You did good!

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  22. Hi, I found you on Java's Follow Friday and am fascinated about your trip to Italy. I'm an Italian American and we're going to Italy next year for our first time. I'd love to know the info for the apartment landlord to find something similar in the region that we'll be visiting. Thanks so much! CIAO! Roz at la bella vita

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  23. Roz: That's wonderful! You will love it, I'm sure. I'll email some info. CIAO!

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  24. Roz: I couldn't find an email link on your blog (which, BTW is stunning & had me salivating at the food pics) but you can click on the link below the photo of the apartment for the vacation rental site we used. We were in the Apulia region of Italy (the heel of the boot).

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  25. Cute Blog! I’m a new follower Happy Friday!! I would love for you to stop and take a look at my blog as well! Thanks!
    http://heavenlysavings.blogspot.com

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  26. I love Italy and I really enjoyed this post :) I'm following you now.

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  27. Non lo SO. Non lo SA means You don't know (formal). I an imagine all sorts of lovely trouble you could get into with that one. Love the post. Love the apartment.

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  28. If you are looking for another fun filled adventure with a language barrier come visit us in Alabama. We have lots of fun things to do, great food; the works. But I guarantee you will have just as much fun trying to understand some of our dialect. Our hand gestures are pretty basic though...

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  29. @ Louise / Italy: Non lo SO! Oops! Thanks for the correction, Louise :) (There's a link for the apartment rental below the photo.)

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  30. What an amazing adventure! I think you deserve a standing ovation for going for it with gusto, even when you didn't speak the language.

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  31. You really did travel on faith; how amazing it turned out! The video is hysterical...
    I already follow just dropping by to say hello via Java!

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  32. Horse Butcher, kind makes me sad I wrote this weeks blog about my horse now. Uggghhh.

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  33. Haha, this is hilarious, love the hand gesture video. ANd never a bad idea to know "I don't know" in every language :) Stopped over from the Round the World blog hop and really glad I did. Have a good one!
    http://texagermanadian.blogspot.com/

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  34. OMG!!! I am LMIAO (Laughing my Italian Ass Off) I grew up in an Italian household, that video was to funny! I don't speak Italian, but my dad would get irritable and say things under his breath in Italian...

    Your apartment looked beautiful!

    Anna, The Pilot's Wife
    http://www.pilotwife.blogspot.com

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  35. Horse Butcher, kind makes me sad I wrote this weeks blog about my horse now. Uggghhh.

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  36. You really did travel on faith; how amazing it turned out! The video is hysterical...
    I already follow just dropping by to say hello via Java!

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  37. What an adventure! I don't think I could convince my hubby to do something like that, but I loved hearing about your vacation!

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  38. Sounds like a great trip. The prosciutto looks wonderful.

    Karen

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  39. Hi there again, I love your blog and have left something for you on my blog

    http://heartfeltbalancehandmadelife.blogspot.com/2011/02/another-blog-award-thanks-bethany.html

    Michelle

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  40. What a fantastic experience! My husband have not gone out of the country (except a tour to Israel which was great, but not the same as a European vacation). We're looking forward to doing more of that! Thanks for posting. I'm going to follow you now!

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  41. That apartment is total luxury. I've never been to Italy but I'd like to.

    CJ xx

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  42. AnonymousJune 07, 2011

    I am slow no boubt adout it, what happened to the big day 14. Happy V D all. Bondo

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  43. Now that's what I call a get-away!

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