Tag Archives: italian culture

Satyricon by Federico Fellini in Italian with English subtitles

Introduction and post screening discussion with Nick Walker

Director: Federico Fellini
Cast: Martin Potter, Hiram Keller
1969 | 2h 8 min | Drama


The film is loosely based on Petronius’s work Satyricon, written during the reign of the emperor Nero and set in imperial Rome. The film is divided into nine episodes, following the scholar Encolpius and his friend Ascyltus as they try to win the heart of the young boy Gitón, whom they both love, within the film’s depiction of a surreal and dreamlike Roman landscape and culture.

When: 30 June 2017

Time: from 7pm

Where: Italian Cultural Institute London

Entry: Free

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I have studied in Rome for almost nine months now, and this is a beautiful place with quite a different culture.

One of my friends recently asked me what I think of Italy as an expat living in Italy and I couldn’t answer him right away. I decided to write it out considering that that is the best way to express what I am thinking. So I am sharing it here so that everyone can see.

So anyone who knows Italians knows that they have a very unique outlook on life. Living among them for almost nine months, I have to admit that when I first arrived here, this attitude surprised me, but now I almost seem to be adopting it. Their cultural attitude seems to be a juxtaposition between easy going and extremely passionate. They get passionate about the most random things, and you have to be careful not to step on those landmines.  Honestly the friends I have made in Rome are some of the sweetest and most caring people. And for some reason they are always trying to get me to eat something, or checking to see if I’ve eaten a meal recently. Its endearing.

Italian fashion



I am going to start off by saying that I am by noooo means into fashion, or even very good at putting together cute outfits. I grew up dressing in whatever t-shirt and jeans I grabbed first, and I lived in a place where fashion wasn’t the biggest thing that I had to worry about. So moving here and realizing that everyone takes what he or she wears extremely seriously here definitely made me feel like a fish out of water. I do have to thank them for making me a bit more aware of the clothes I wear, however, I don’t know if I will ever make it as high of a priority. Also, they ALWAYS wear pants, and I do not understand. It will be at least 90 degrees out and there is still a crap ton of people wearing pants.
Another thing is that they seem to try and copy American street fashion, and yet Americans try to copy Italian fashion? I will forever be confused by this exchange. I can’t really talk about fashion for a lengthy period because its just not something I pay attention too. However, I will tell you that I have met very few Italians here in Rome who will go outside without making sure they look absolutely perfect. Their hat has to match their shirt or shoes, yada yada yada.

Italian Culture

italian culture


This is a bit different then actually attitude toward life in general, the things I’m going to talk about are just general differences I noticed from both cultures. One nice thing about Italian culture is that they don’t shut away their older population. I like seeing a meet up of a bunch of elderly people who are just chatting away, gossiping about someone’s grandchild or making witty remarks about another’s spouse. I don’t eavesdrop for very long because my mama taught me better, however its always nice to see a big group of them sitting in some piazza, drinking coffee and chuckling together. You don’t see that in America, or at least where I am from. In America there are retirement homes, and retirement communities, where the elderly live and rarely leave. Of course there are many who do not conform to this general stereotype of the American elderly, such as those who stay in the north for the summer and go to the south for winter. I believe they call them “snowbirds”. However, growing up, if you asked a peer “oh where do your grandparents live?” at least ninety percent of them would respond with “so and so retirement homes/communities.” In America, the elderly are more shut away and thought of as a thing to protect and care for.

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Another great thing that I love about the Italian culture is that there is always a place to buy fresh vegetables and fruits on every street, and they are soo cheap! The food you can make here tastes so much better because the ingredients are so fresh. They pick them in the morning and you get them a few hours later. On my way to Kappa Italian language school I can stop by this little shop that is so filled with vegetables and fruits that there is only a very narrow pathway down the middle and you have to flatten yourself against the wall of fragrant apples if anyone needs to get past you.

pizza italiana


Ok, I mentioned food a littler earlier, but here we are going to dedicate an entire section. Let me start off by saying “Oh LORDIE yes.Italian food is just a yes, all around.” They have perfected pasta and pizza and while I don’t exactly like the fish, I am told by may of people that they cant seem to make that bad either. Italians are some of the best cooks in the world, and through all of the downsides of moving to Rome, I have to say that the food makes all of those cons sting just a little less. Of course I occasionally miss Chipotle or Americanized-Chinese food, but you know I cant exactly complain. My favorite dish has definitely been pasta all’ arrabbiata.

Well folks, I hope all of you have a lovely day, ciao!

by Andrea Schorn, student @ Kappa language school in Rome, Via del Boschetto, 32, 00184 Roma, Italy

Cooking Italian: Thou shalt not put pineapple on your pizza!


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Have you ever heard about the story of a wooden puppet who is able to walk, speak, eat and whose dream is to become a real boy? Of course you did! We are talking about Pinocchio, the main character of one of the most famous Italian childrens novels, “Le avventure di Pinocchio”, written by Carlo Collodi from Firenze. Pinocchio is well-known for his nose, which grows every time he tells a lie; so well-known, in fact, that pathological liars are said to be affected by the “Pinocchio syndrome” and that Italians use to say that la bugia ti corre su per il naso (which means that you can detect a liar only looking at his/her facial expressions).

geppettoPinocchio is irresponsible, disobedient, impudent and he runs away from his “father” Geppetto as soon as he is able to walk. After leaving Geppetto, the puppet meets a lot of strange characters, popular as much as Pinocchio in the Italian culture.

Mangiafuoco (literally “fire-eater”), the master of the Great Marionette Theatre, an irascible and ugly man, large and with red hairs, who sneezes every time he moves to compassion. And if an Italian friend calls you “mangiafuoco”, start asking yourself if you are a bossy and irascible person…mangiafuoco
Il Gatto e la Volpe, (The cat and the fox) a pair of greedy cheats who lie to Pinocchio in order to rob him of his few belongings. In the Italian imagination they are icons of cunning and tricks: “essere come il gatto e la volpe” means to be inseparable… mainly to behave dishonestly. And how could we forget the Italian song “Il gatto e la volpe” by Edoarbo Bennato? Listen to it and you will learn not to trust the cat and the fox.

Il Grillo Parlante,(The talking cricket) who tries to give good advices to Pinocchio. He represents the conscience of the puppet, who continues to joke and laugh without listen to him. Do you like to invite constantly other people to behave in a good way and to be wise? Well, pay attention, you are becoming a “grillo parlante”!
La Fata Turchina, (The blue-haired fairy) a warm-hearted fairy who forgives the misbehaviour of Pinocchio and tries to help him in all ways. So if you are a kind and sympathetic woman, always ready to help others (even too much), keep calm and begin to train you patience: you friends will start soon to call you fata turchina!

pinocchio benigni
And if you want to know more about Pinocchio, you just have to choose whether reading the original fairytale or watching one of the movies based on the novel. I personally suggest “Le avventure di Pinocchio”, directed by Luigi Comencini (1972) – with an unforgettable Nino Manfredi in the role of Geppetto – and “Pinocchio”, directed by Roberto Benigni (2002).

by Alessia Accorrà, teacher@  Kappa Language school in Rome

Read more:

English pronunciation by Italian speakers

Any given Christmas in Italy

Croce e delizia, Rome and its public transportation

Zuppa Romana & Luca Toni

Cooking Italian, thou shalt not put pineapple on your pizza

Italian Pronunciation

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You might think I am going to provide you with the usual list of funny nicknames that Romans use to give to their family and friends. And yet, if you follow us and got to know well enough Rome and Romans, you should have learned that the creativity of this amazing people goes far beyond usual boundaries. As a matter of fact, in Rome even monuments and neighbourhoods have their nicknames.

Er cuppolone. Ok, this one was easy, being one of the symbols of Rome, along with the Colosseo (another nickname, by the way, since its real name is Anfiteatro Flavio). And if you think about it, calling this enormous, white church “the big cupole” is far more expressive than referring to it with the name of a (yet most prestigious) saint.

‘A machina da scrive – ‘a torta nuzziale – ‘a dentiera – er calamaio. It is impressive how many nicknames this controversial monument has been able to inspir during the last 100 years: in order, “the typewriter”, “the wedding cake”, “the denture”, “the inkwell”. Originally buit to commemorate the fallen soldiers of IWW, theVittoriano gained consideration among Romans for its distinctive shape, which in the opinion of many stands completely unrelated to the urbanistic landscape of Piazza Venezia.

Er Colosseo quadrato. colosseo_quadrato

Being the symbol of EUR, the vast neighbourhood that Mussolini had built for the Universal Exposition of 1941, thePalazzo della Civiltà Italiana is indeed a rationalist reinterpretation of the famous amphitheater. With the usual perspicacity, Romans have been able to syntethize the main carachteristic of this architectural structure in just two words (“the squared Colosseum”). Chapeau.

Er Palazzaccio. On the right hand side of Castel S. Angelo stands this huge white building, once the central Courthouse and now home of the Supreme Court. Its nickname, formed by the addition of the pejorative suffix -accio to the nounpalazzo (“palace”), is due to its humongous size and to the fact that the entire palace seems built using rough stones.

L’Orinatoio. Parental advisory: here’s an example of how Roman people can become amusingly blasphemous. Whoever had the chance to take a train from Termini Station, surely noticed this bizarre statue of John Paul II, which have been inspiring jokes and laughs since its inauguration, in 2011. To understand why Romans use to call it “the urinal”, a quick look at this awful example of modern sculpture is more than enough…oliviero-rainaldi-beato-giovanni-paolo-ii-8


As you might imagine, this list if far from being exhaustive. There are many more statues (er Pasquino, er Babbuino, l’Abbate Luiggi, er Marforio), buildings (er Dado, ‘a Scala Santa,er Fontanone) and even neighbourhoods (‘a Subburra) that could have been part of it. Is there anything like this in your city? Reply in the comments! 😉

by Enrico Piciarelli teacher@ Italian teacher at Kappa Language school

Read more:

English pronunciation by Italian speakers

Any given Christmas in Italy

Croce e delizia, Rome and its public transportation

Zuppa Romana & Luca Toni

Cooking Italian, thou shalt not put pineapple on your pizza

Italian Pronunciation

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As you might have read if you are even just a little bit into italian pop culture, this year’s edition of  Sanremo Italian song festival has crowned Il Volo with the winning title.

Although this has been the most viewed edition in the last ten years, a lot of criticism has spread around the web. To many youngsters Sanremo still looks like an awful ruin of the days of old, something good to cheer up, once per year, the boring evenings of some nostalgic granpa around the Belpaese. And this might be true indeed, if you think that the (not so) dynamic trio that have triumphed last Saturday is offering an image of the canzone italiana which seems taken by brute force from the golden age of Mr. Volare, with a smart addition of some harmless features of modern pop music and a clear reference to the tradition of Italian pop opera (Andrea Bocelli, anyone?).


To set the record straight, we should aknowledge that these three boys were discovered and basically put together by Antonella Clerici during her dreadful talent show, aired every Saturday evening and called Ti lascio una canzone, in which a bunch of enfants prodiges (aged from 6 to 12) were given the opportunity to cover classics of the canzone italiana in an exhausting competition that have moved more than an housewife all over Italy. Nevertheless, ever since their winning exploit in Clerici’s show (year 2009), Il Volo have been able to climb international charts (Barbara Streisand seems to like them very much) but were basically unknown in their native country. This until last Saturday, when their melodic mixture of cheesy love lyrics and cheap references to the lyrical tradition seemed to have charmed the whole audience of the Festival. And this might be a good thing, right? Finally we are openly praising what foreigners really like about us, embracing the so called “made in Italy” and giving it some dignity even within national borders! Yay!

But can this nostalgic and pointless mixture of cliches be the only way we have to export our culture? To use a less engaging metaphor: do we have to overcook pasta to make it enjoyable by people all around the world? I don’t think so. And I think that Italian music, even in these times of social and cultural crisis, has much more to offer than a trio of teenagers that look and sound like IIWW veterans.

by Enrico, Italian teacher at Kappa Language school

Read more:

English pronunciation by Italian speakers

Any given Christmas in Italy

Croce e delizia, Rome and its public transportation

Zuppa Romana & Luca Toni

Cooking Italian, thou shalt not put pineapple on your pizza

Italian songs


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Why do you study Italian? “because I love Italy!”, “I like art”, “I like Italian movies”, “my girlfriend is Italian, and I’d like to know what she’s muttering on Monday mornings”. But what about studying Italian to understand 20 pages-long menus handed out in Italian restaurants ? Non turistic restaurants seldom have menus translated in English, and you’ll have to make an effort to understand a sweating waiter trying to explain in his poor English a complex dish, its ingredients, its flavour… Well you can always order randomly or accept advices, but you could later find out you just devoured delicious chiken entrails or a spicy dish of bovine intestine…
You’ll later regret you didn’t ask your Italian teacher what a “rigaglie di pollo” is, and how to ask politely for a less bloody meal.
Best you can do, is to enrich your Italian experience with a cooking-language class. This will help you with the language, and more importantly, give you insights on Italian cuisine and the many aspects of Italian culture related to food and its preparation.
If the course encomprises tasting and eating your lesson’s recipe, you’ll probably embrace our cooking belief: back home you’ll point out to your friends that in Rome there’s no such thing as “Spanish steps” (we call it Trinità dei monti) just like there’s no “fettuccine alfredo”, “chicken pasta” or “ veal parmigiana”.
Morevoer, you’ll surprise your expat Italian friends if you cook for them meatballs (JUST meatballs, no spaghetti), a carbonara (with no cream), the simplest “spaghetti al pomodoro” or even “aglio e olio” if on a Friday night your fridge holds only beer.
In fact, many everyday Italian dishes are easy to prepare, they just require proper ingredients and some time and patience. Some might say “love”.
But cooking rules are not engraved on a stone tablet, so let’s not be too strict: you can always add some flavour or spice from your country (chicken or raw eggs are not a spices, mind you), and have your cappuccino anytime you like – even after a fish dinner. I put parmigiano on my tuna spaghetti and have eggs with american coffee for breakfast. But please don’t tell my mamma.

by Federico Mari, teacher in Rome, Kappa Italian Language school


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This is a new adaptation of the play Six Characters in Search of an Author by Pirandello. This new work is adapted and directed by Manuela Ruggiero. The production will be staged at the Rose Theatre, Bankside, from 2nd to 14th April 2013.

A 20 minute preview of this work was presented in early November 2012 at the Bloomsbury Theatre, as part of the annual one-day conference organised by the Society for Pirandello Studies and UCL (University College London). The work was created by the students of the company’s Education Department. In the full production in 2013 the cast will be made of professional actors.

The play emphasises the leitmotiv of Identity and goes deeply into the iridescent theatre of Nobel laureate Luigi Pirandello. The drama is a portrait of family ties watched through a magnifying glass. Whilst a theatre company is rehearsing a play, a Sicilian family appears on stage asking to live their drama. They are Characters, who are cast out from a plot based at the beginning of the twentieth century, abandoned by their own author and condemned to a sort of limbo, to the eternal struggle to confirm their identity

The audience, the actors and the Characters are now brought in a new surreal dimension where reality and fiction blend together. To find out more about the original play, click here

In Ruggiero’s adaptation, the caps represent the characters and are interchanged amongst the actors. In facts the director supports and strengthens Pirandello’s vision that only fictional characters have a defined identity, whilst human beings are, for their own nature, inconsistent.

The Rose, Bankside is London’s most historic theatre, the first Elizabethan Theatre on Bankside and home to many of Shakespeare’s and Marlowe’s first productions.http://www.rosetheatre.org.uk/ .

To find out more about Pirandello click here

Adapted from: Sponsume.com


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