Il matrimonio in Italia

Italian wedding scalesWeddings in Italy

La stagione dei matrimoni è arrivato (wedding season is upon us) so I thought I would talk about how they do things in Italy. Il matrimonio in Italia is quite a different esperienza to what we’re used to in the UK. In la bella Italia marriage is still sacro (sacred) and very tradizionale. I have been to a few now and there is definitely a common theme; il cibo e’ la cosa piu’ importante! (food is the most important thing!) Continue reading

Buona Pasqua!

pasquaPasqua is a Catholic celebration of the resurrection of Christ and a very important date in the Italian calendar. In many towns and cities festive traditions still followed such as; processioni per i loro santi (processions for the Saints), rappresentazioni che rimettono in atto le ultime ore della Passione di Cristo (plays that re-enact the last hours of the Passion of Christ) e riti pagani che si legano al solstizio di primavera (Pagan rituals tied to the Springtime solstice). If you ever find yourself in one of these places around Easter time, watch out for these traditions; Continue reading

That’s Amore!

ValentinesSome tips to impress Mr/Mrs Right on Valentine’s Day

In Italy, as in most of the rest of the western world, Valentine’s Day takes over every year on 14th February. Everywhere you look there are cuoricini (little love hearts) and pupazzi (teddy bears)! Italy has a reputation for beauty and charm, so maybe we should take a leaf out of their book and try some of the lingo. Here are my top tips for an Italian San Valentino pieno d’amore (Valentine’s Day full of love!); Continue reading

A typical Sicilian Christmas dish


Scacciata patate editedSchiacciata Siciliana con patate

In Italy there isn’t a national Christmas dish like we have in the UK and the USA with our turkey and roast potatoes and veg. Each region (ogni regione), each town (ogni paesino) and each family (ogni famiglia) has its own traditional dish. That’s why the country is famous for so many culinary delights! As we’re so close to Christmas I would like to share one of my favourite Christmas dishes with you, which is typical of Catania in Sicily.
Here are some key words to help you follow the recipe:

• circa (pron. CHEER-KA) – around/approximately
• aggiungere (pron. A-JOON-JEH-REH) – to add
• tagliare (pron. TA-LEE-ARE-EH) – to chop
• pelare (pron. PEL-ARE-EH) – to peel
• un pizzico (pron. PITS-EEK-OH) – a pinch Continue reading

Buon Natale!

buon nataleSome advice for a real Italian Christmas:

In Italy natale is a big deal. In the most Catholic country on earth, the celebration of Christ’s birth isn’t so much about Father Christmas (although Babbo Natale is becoming more prominent nowadays) or the Christmas tree (l’albero di natale), it’s more about bringing the family together to make and eat lots of different traditional dishes. In fact the Italians spend nearly a whole month celebrating. Here are some important dates in the Italian Christmas calendar:

• 6 Dicembre: La Festa di San NicolaThe festival in honour of St. Nicholas, the patron saint of shepherds, is celebrated in some towns with the lighting of fires under enormous cauldrons, in which fave (broad beans) are cooked, then eaten ceremoniously.

• 8 Dicembre: L’Immacolata Concezione – celebration of the Immaculate Conception Continue reading

AS / A2 Writing exam tips for language students

Revising for the exam

The key to getting a good mark in your writing part of the exam is to learn as much vocabulary as you can. Try to revise words every day leading up to the exam and ask someone to test you. To help you memorise words use pictures and images and group words into topic areas. Go through texts you have read in class and revise the words you find more difficult to remember.

Revise verb endings for different tenses, especially those you don’t use often: vosotros and ustedes forms.

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Reading exam tips for AS and A2 language students

Read through the questions before reading the text as they may give you a clue as to what the text is about and key vocabulary to watch out for.

Make sure you know whether you need to answer the questions in Spanish or English.

Read the whole text to understand its general meaning before you start to answer the questions.

Underline the key words in the text as you read through it.

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Travelling in Italy – asking for directions

Exploring Italy can be an adventure, but if you want to be sure to see everything on your list, you need to know how to ask for directions in Italian and understand the directions you are given. After all, if you don’t know how to understand what you’re told, you might miss the very things you hoped to see. Whenever you need to find something, the first thing to do is ask for assistance.

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Popular Italian Proverbs

English Italian
The early bird catches the worm. Chi dorme non piglia pesci.
Let sleeping dogs lie. Non destare il can che dorme.
God helps those who help themselves. Chi si aiuta Dio l´aiuta.
A good beginning makes a good ending. Un buon principio fa un buon fine.
Where there’s a will there’s a way. Volere è potere.
Haste makes waste. Il gatto frettoloso fa i gattini ciechi.
Live and let live. Vivi e lascia vivere.
What goes around comes around. Chi cento ne fa una ne aspetti.
All’s well that ends well. Tutto è bene quel che finisce bene.
The more you know the less you believe. Chi più sa meno crede.
A dog that barks doesn’t bite. Can che abbaia non morde.
Every cloud has a silver lining. Ogni medaglia ha il suo rovescio.
The early bird catches the worm. L’uccello mattiniero cattura il verme.
Time heals all wounds. Il tempo guarisce tutti i mali.

La storia della Befana / The story of La Befana

As part of Italian folklore “La Befana” is a traditional Christmas legendary character associated with the celebration of Epiphany on 6th January after the 12 days of Christmas. She is an old lady who brings gifts to children across Italy in much the same way as Santa Claus.
Read on to find out more about this legend (in Italian and English).

La Befana si festeggia nel giorno dell’Epifania, che di solito chiude le vacanze natalizie.
(La Befana is celebrated on Epiphany, which usually closes the Christmas holidays.)

Il termine “Befana” deriva dal greco “Epifania” che significa “apparizione, manifestazione”.
(The word “Befana” comes from the greek “Epiphany” which means “appearance, manifestation.”)

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