As many of you will be going to Italy for your summer holidays this year, I thought it might be useful for you to have a few words and expressions to hand for your travels.
A very nifty expression is ‘Mi da un cappuccino per favore’.
Now this probably doesn’t need much translation and, of course, means, ‘Can I have a cappuccino please’, but believe me, if you’re parched in some part of Italy where English isn’t spoken - which is surprisingly common - you ‘ll be glad of it when you want your morning cuppa and you get a result.
Even more pertinent is the word ‘latte’ - which means milk in Italian - as you might be desperate for a cup of tea.
Now this will invariably arrive with a slice of lemon or just hot water so you will need to specify if you want something approximating your Tetley’s brew.
I tend to say, ‘Con un po di latte’ (with a bit of milk) so that I don’t get a cup of tea with lemon twist that’s swamped by a two litre milk gush; it has happened.
And now to the sensitive subject of the toilette.
You can of course use gestures to show that you badly need the loo, or you can do the more civilized thing of asking for the ‘throne’, so a good one would probably be, ‘Dov e il gabinetto per favore?’ (Where’s the toilet please?)
A goodie for any unfortunate circumstance is the simple word, ‘Aiuto!’ which means ‘Help!’ and can be used in a variety of situations ranging from laddering your tights to warding off a mugger.
You might appreciate the word ‘Ladro’ (thief) for the latter context too.
‘Va bene is another invaluable expression which means ‘Ok’ in agreement to something.
And if you want to sound interested in an Italian conversation - even if perhaps you don’t fully understand - ‘Addirattura’ (Really?) shows interest and enthusiasm in the speaker’s words.
Hopefully they’re not saying something abominable in this instance like ‘Your granny looks like a rabid gnat.’