By Alfredo Iannaccone
The final countdown to Milan Expo 2015 has started yesterday in Piazza Gae Aulenti in Milan. Born as a night of celebrations, hosted by Antonella Clerici and Enrico Bertolino, and made particularly pleasant by the cuisine of Davide Oldan, the soirée saw its climax in a magnificent performance by Andrea Bocelli.
One year separates us now from the official inauguation of the Expo, a year where the event's planning will enter an entirely new phase. This phase will be characterized by a further acceleration of the Expo 2015's site development, as well as a spur in...
The festival di Sanremo
Music is very important for Italians, because singing is part of our own history and tradition. Traditional Italian music has had, since the 1950s, a most prestigious appointment followed by the entire country: the Festival di Sanremo.
The festival di Sanremo is also known as Il Festival della Canzone Italiana, the festival of Italian music. It takes place at the famous theatre Ariston in Sanremo where, for a week, famous -and less so- Italian singers and performers propose original songs, newly written just for the occasion.
The first festival of...
Italians like to play with words and there are plenty of examples out there to show us so. Proverbi, sayings, still pepper conversations and are used quite profusely by older and younger generations alike. You'll recognize some of them, as they are common in English, too. Others, you may find a bit more original.
Let's take a look at a few of the most famous!
Donne e motori Gioie e dolori. Women and motors, joy and pain
A caval donato non si guarda in bocca. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.
A chi dai il dito si prende anche il...
Summer on the Riviera Romagnola: Italians paint the town pink
"Let's paint the town red" is a famous English way to say "let's go out and have fun": similarly, the Riviera Romagnola paints itself pink during the summer to celebrate the Capodanno d'Estate, the summer version of New Year's Eve. Italians enjoy ongoing parties, special events, concerts and aperitivi, all having as main theme the color pink.
The choice of this color is not due to the celebration of women, conventionally associated to pink; in fact, the event is open and addressed to everybody, with no exception. It aims...
Old games in Italy
Once upon a time, Italians used to play games that no longer exist; these games were often played in the streets, safer then, as there was little traffic and other types of dangers. Friends'houses, bars or circoli, clubs, were the most common places where people met and gathered to entertain themselves and spend their free time.
These games had been played for centuries, generation after generation, before technology became such a huge part of people's lives: today computer games, social networks, the internet have replaced what are now considered old fashioned games...
Some common standardized images Italians want to overcome
Traditions, history, politics and food are always considered important, identifying elements for a nation, so much so that, at times, we tend to forget there is more to a country and its people than that. We are often influenced by national stereotypes related, for instance, to particular events that have called international attention, and often tend to associate a given country only and exclusively to them. Italians, just as everybody else, don't want to be solely linked to certain personalities or events, nor being labelled because...
April fools' day in Italy: pesce d'aprile!
April Fool's day is known in Italy as pesce d'aprile. No matter the name every culture gives to this day, the purpose of it is common worldwide and a lot of countries celebrate it, including Italy.
Il pesce d'aprile, April Fools'day, is celebrated on April 1st and it is a day during which Italians, too, have the custom of playing practical jokes on friends and relatives, following the ancient traditions of tricks played in far-off times.
Even if this custom is supposed to have its origins in the sixteenth century, it only really became...
Cultural conventions on the use of honorific titles in Italian
Language allows the transmission of cultural information and it gives the opportunity to pose questions on some uses which belong to a certain nation. In fact, by analyzing some expressions typical of a language, we can understand a lot about what a culture gives importance to, its history and the mentality of that particular culture.
Through the use of some linguistic forms we can understand to which extent Italians give importance to honorifics when recurring to verbal communication. People are used to addressing their inter...
Travel to Italy: North or South?
There is an infamous rivalry between the north and south of Italy. But which one really has the edge when it comes to sightseeing, romantic city breaks, the best beaches and mouth-watering food?
If you have planned an early holiday, Venice Carnival is certainly a highlight of the first months of the year, but the electric atmosphere of Saint Rosalia's celebrations in Palermo should also not be missed. It's hard to top the incredible statues and monuments of Rome, but what about the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Pompeii? Sicily boasts wonderful wild stretches...
Some habits that make Italians seem rude
Every culture is a world of its own. Verbal communication and day to day way of life are the true expression of what the culture of a certain place is like.
However, some behaviors could be misunderstood and considered inappropriate, as we tend to view them through the lenses of our own culture. We should understand, though, that things might be different in another place and that many times a particular habit we consider rude, may not be such for people with other cultural backgrounds.
When going to Italy, bear always in mind that you should...