The three P’s of Italy are Pizza, Pisa and Pasta but there is so much more to Italy than just food and history. Italy, once the heart of the Roman Empire, is a country with a culture, history and economy all of its own, that once explored, gets under ones skin and a return visit is always on the cards.
Italy is an easily accessible country, and like many European countries, one would expect English to be widely spoken. English is widely spoken, especially in the main hubs for tourism, but like nearly all countries for the leisure and business tourist alike, to get the most out of Italy, being able to converse in Italian is more than just a little useful.
The Italian language is a colourful language, often with a dash of exuberance with some hand actions and body movement, I mean, what is an Italian without a little flare? The language to the Italians is something personal that is treasured, that is part of who and what they are. To really understand Italy and to really explore the country, being able to speak the language takes you away from the leaning tower of Pisa and enables you to order a great deal more than a Neapolitan Pizza or a bowl of spaghetti. Speaking Italian creates freedom and opens up a country and her people to you.
Whether you are visiting the North of the country in the mountains near Milan, or spending some time in Naples, Italy is a country where speaking the language means feeling at home. With language you are welcomed into an office, a bar or even just a small shop. You can converse with fishermen, as well as top executives, and of course you can find the absolute best stores for shopping in Milan – the ones the Italians shop at. Communicating in Italian really helps you to understand what makes Italians Italian.
With an understanding of Italian you can get deeper under the covers of the culture and history of the country, you can ask questions and get a personal answer. Sitting in a bar in Rome you can very easily strike up a conversation and discover something you never knew, or hear a story that without the language you would have been told. Italians are friendly people and in speaking to them in their home language you will be showing respect and with respect comes trust.
A simple journey from North to South will see you stop in places normal tourists will never go, having the language opens up a host of opportunities. Rural Italy is beautiful, yet with only English or perhaps just another language, your travels are restricted, and you may not get to see the village square where something important happened for example. You may not be able to sample a wine made only in the village and you will then find yourself stuck with Pizza and Pasta having not ventured much further than Pisa.
To make the most of Italy, on business or for pleasure, the language opens up a whole new country. One visit to Italy, once you can speak Italian, will never be enough, and you will return time and again to visit the friends you have made because you can simply converse.
Travelling is an exciting opportunity which can be enhanced by learning the language before you go. This blog contains some interesting articles about language and travel.