Italian News Headlines 15-06-2024 - 160 earthquakes have hit the Campi Flegrei area of Naples in the last few days, including one measuring 4.4, the strongest to be measured in over 40 years --- The owner of a restaurant in Sorrento, tired of looking for suitable waiters, has bought two robots to serve his customers --- Statistics released for 2022 show Italy produced 40% of Europe's tomatoes --- Jannik Sinner rises to ATP number 3 in the world after his semi-final win in Rotterdam --- Jannik Sinner becomes the first Italian to win the Australian Open tennis tornament --- Italian social media influencer, Chiara Ferragni, is under investigation for fraud over a Christmas Cake sponsorship deal with Italian cake manufacturer, Balocco --- A man and a woman died when their Mercedes SUV broke through the barrier of a car park overlooking Lake Como and plunged 10 metres into the water --- Interbrand, the world's leading brand consultancy, has valued Italy's 'Vespa' at over one billion euros --- Judges in a bomb-proof courtroom in Calabria, have sentenced 200 'Ndrangheta members to more than 2,200 years in prison

Quite Frankly - In My Best Italian!

Macri - Language

I was a 35 year old adult the first time I came to Italy.

Despite being raised in an Italian-American family, I never spoke Italian at home - although I thought I did. As a kid, our family dinners were spiced with Italian words like 'agita', 'scolapasta' and 'baccala'. Grownups talked Italian when the gossip got particularly racy or wicked. Sometimes, I would fall asleep listening to them and imaging that I understood it all. That's why as I was landing, I was thinking, "Well, talking Italian won't be a problem for me".

I was confident that my juvenile language skills would rise to the occasion and get me through any basic questions I might have. As it turned out, my fateful first visit to the fatherland was very much like my confused childhood.

It was my own, personal Italian version of "Back to the Future" except I couldn't figure out the plot... and there were no subtitles. In my very best 'Italian' I asked, "Where I go pottie now please?", "I can to find train go Rome?" and "Me here to sleep this night?" Those were my basic questions. Sadly, I had to repeat them again and again to various different strangers because I couldn't understand a word of their replies. Sometimes, they had no reply. They simply stared, searched my face for the joke, and grinned as if I were about to reveal a hidden TV camera. Try as I might, I could not make Italians understand me or their own language.

Yep. Things really came together for me on that trip. It took me about a month, but I went from talking like a giant, baby buffoon to speaking like a full-grown, dimwitted toddler with a speech impediment. That was when I decided to learn to speak proper Italian.

I know what you're thinking... two complete languages in one brain? No one can survive that!

That's what I thought too. But, 75% of my brain was being wasted on half-remembered song lyrics from the 60's, so I had available space. And, since I planned to live forever, (so far, so good) there was still time.

I learned that Italian is easier than English. English is the complicated language of law and technology and is corrupted at approximately the same rate as Windows 10 installs. Technogeeks already speak a sort of 'Bingo English'. They say things like B4 (before), 10Q (thank you), 2day (today), 2moro (tomorrow), and 404 (haven't a clue)... and I really don't 404. Even actual English is confusing. 'Fat chance' and 'slim chance' mean the same thing while 'wise man' and 'wise guy' are opposites. We park on a 'driveway' and drive on a 'parkway'. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; writers write and painters paint, but fingers don't fing. If you throw out odds and ends, but keep one item, is it an odd or an end? Vegetarians eat vegetables, but what do humanitarians eat? And opera in English makes as much sense as baseball in Italian. Sometimes I think all English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.

Italian is the beautiful language of art, poetry and music. Everything is better... sweeter. Words sound exactly as they are spelled and spelled just as they sound. Each letter is pronounced and phonetics don't change to suit the time of day or what you're wearing. (Yes. I exaggerate a little but only for the sake of emphasis). Italian has colorful idioms like, 'Ubriaco come una scimmia' / Drunk as a monkey; 'Avere le braccine corte / To have short arms (to be a cheapskate); 'Hai voluto la bicicletta? E adesso pedala!' / You wanted the bike? Now ride it! (You made your bed so sleep in it); Non avere peli sulla lingua / Without hair on the tongue (to speak your mind and be brutally honest); which is as welcome as 'Un cane in chiesa' / A dog in church (which is not welcome at all); except maybe once in a blue moon or 'Ad ogni morte di Papa' / every time a Pope dies.

As an added benefit, when I write in Italian, I savor that delicious, awkward moment when auto-correct is forced to display the 'Dude, I got nothing!' message.

Many years have passed since my first visit to Italy. I live here now and continue to learn the language. Italian is far more than a useful vocabulary for me; it's essential to appreciating the history, culture, and traditions of my new home. It helps me understand what shaped the thoughts and aspirations of my ancestors. It flexes my mind, enriches my soul and deepens my friendships and experiences here in southern Italy. I don't believe that I will ever forget how to speak proper English, (that's just unpossible), so I urge you to learn another language too... in case you ever want to talk dirty in front of your kids.

Frank Macri

Quite Frankly... is written by Frank Macri
Frank Macri

Frank is an award-winning advertising professional, now retired, from Denver, Colorado who is living the sweet life in southern Italy. In addition to a successful career in advertising, he had stints as the owner of an old west saloon, a film and stage character actor, a certified Santa Claus and a university professor... all of which, he says, are 'remarkably similar'.

He now focuses on traveling, honing his skills as an Italian chef, and writing about Italy as he and his charming wife, the ever lovely Ora, renovate their home in beautiful Basilicata.

Their journey back to Italy started 100 years ago when their ancestors first arrived in the United States. Frank and his wife had dreamed of completing the circle of immigration by returning to their ancestral roots in southern Italy.

Their collective memories of the traditions, values and Italian lifestyle drew Frank and his wife back many, many times until they finally bought their house in Italy and moved there permanently.

In honor of the past, and in anticipation of the future, their lovely home is named, 'La Casa Cent'anni', (The Hundred Years House). 'Cent'anni' is also a celebratory toast of goodwill.

So, "Cent'anni" to you, and to us, and to the next 100 years!

Contact him directly at or visit his FB page Frank Macri

Sergio Mattarella - President of Italy
Prime Minister
Giorgia Meloni - Prime Minister of Italy
State Broadcaster
Public Service Broadcaster - Rai
Financial Authority
Agenzia del Entrate
General Information 2022
Current local time in
Rome, Italy

Population: 60,251,262
GDP: 2 Trillion USD
Interest Rate: 4.53%
Inflation: 11.9%
Currency: Euro (€)
Calling code: +39
Internet TLD: .it
Other pages you might like
Made in Italy
Enter your email address below to receive our free newsletter, 'I Love Italy'. It provides a captivating glimpse into the allure of 'The Bel Paese', containing extracts from our most recent articles, a window on Italian news, fashion, music and culture, useful information for visiting and living in Italy as well as our latest, delicious Italian recipes.

Subscribers are also entitled to a 10% discount on purchases from our sister-site, Italy Gifts Direct.

We will not use your email address for any other purpose or pass it on to any other organisation and you can unsubscribe from this service at any time.