Tag Archives: rome

I just found this map of Italy by Classic Italian film and thought it is very stimulating, especially if you consider that the most productive regions (Lombardia, Emilia Romagna, Lazio and Sicilia above all others) seem to work with genres that are seen as more appropriate to the cultural atmosphere of their specific territory.

For example, immersed in the grey metropolitan scenarios of the workaholic Lombardia you will find bright examples of Italian noir of the early 70s, later turned into the exploitation subgenre known as poliziottesco (I milanesi ammazzano al sabato, which by the way is not the exact title of the movie, is just one of many quotable classics: see also unforgettable masterpieces like Milano calibro 9 or Milano odia: la polizia non può sparare) or several titles referable to the commedia comica tradition (Il ragazzo di campagna with comedian Renato Pozzetto is just one of the many quotable productions: see also the trashy masterpiece Fratelli d’Italia or one of the many movies starring singer Adriano Celentano, such as Lui è peggio di me).

On the other hand, Emilia Romagna, with its endless plains and its decadent moods, blooms with titles by maestros such as Federico Fellini and Bernardo Bertolucci: the first with his oniric and almost mystic approach to reality, obvious in the quoted classic Amarcord; the latter with his majestic fresco of Italian history that is Novecento, somehow continuing the realist tradition of early XX century Italian literature and the moods of some late neorealist classics (see Il Gattopardo by Luchino Visconti).

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Lazio, being the region of political and spiritual power, suffers from a sort of good tempered parochialism, offering more than a title strictly related to the cultural and linguistic features of Rome and its sorrounding: the renowned Marchese del Grillo stands alongside many other historical dramas set in the papal Rome, such as Nell’anno del Signore or In nome del Papa Re, all presenting very strict references to roman dialects and famous roman vernacular poets (Giuseppe Gioacchino Belli and Trilussa above all others); later, neorealism will draw with both hands from the dramatic experience of nazist occupation of Lazio (La ciociara) and from the postbellic and postindustrial despair in the big city (Accattone and Amore Tossico, both starring amateur actors picked up from the streets).

Italian classes in Rome


Finally, the harsh and yet amazingly beautiful scenario of Sicilia has inspired movies in which the cultural features of southern Italy are clearly recognizable: the unforgiving presence of traditional family, with its suffocating tentacles, and the women’s role are two main topics in movies such as Divorzio all’italiana and Sedotta e abbandonata, both by Pietro Germi; and yet this accurate analysis of sicilian social structures sometimes leaves room to a more surrealistic approach, such as the one offerd in Totò che visse due volte by Ciprì & Maresco. Interestingly enough, movies about Mafia are not that common, or at least not as much as a foreign viewer might think…

by Enrico, teacher @ Kappa Language School in Rome

Where to study Italian: Rome


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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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Che lavoro fai?


Abbina le professioni alle immagini, attenzione c’è un nome in più.


commesso, tassista, insegnante,fotografo,panettiere,impiegato






  1. Guarda il video la prima volta e scegli le opzioni giuste.

Livello A2+

Alberto Tomassi ha 65/75 anni e quest’anno ha festeggiato il cinquantesimo/quindicesimo anno di servizio da tassista per le strade della Capitale. In tutta la sua carriera ha guidato per  3/6 milioni e mezzo di chilometri. Alberto non ha/ ha incontrato molti attori famosi della Dolce vita fra cui anche un Papa. Il New York Times ha dedicato un articolo al conducente che ha attraversato infinite volte il cuore della città eterna.


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2. Guarda la seconda volta l’intervista e rispondi alle seguenti domande.

Livello B1.2+

  1. Com’era prima la gente secondo Alberto?
  2. Dove portava solitamente il regista Fellini?
  3. A quanti anni ha cominciato a fare il tassista?
  4. Quanti km ha fatto ogni anno?
  5. Quale papa ha conosciuto?
  6. Come sono i tassisti romani secondo Alberto?
  7. Cosa deve anche fare un tassista per i suoi clienti?
  8. Oltre ai 50 anni di carriera cosa festeggia Alberto quest’anno?

Write your anwers in the comments


3. Quale proverbio usa Alberto durante il video? Metti in ordine

un morto Papa un altro se ne fa

Have you got a question for me? write an email to antonio.lucicesare@gmail.com

تعلم اللغة الإيطالية في إيطاليا

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Here in Rome has been a lot of fuss few weeks ago about an article that appeared in the New York Times, which revealed a disturbing truth about Rome. For Roman readers, the article may have sounded something like: “Good morning American friends! Here is a revolutionary fact about the discovery of hot water!”; the second reaction was surely a combination of shame, sadness and embarrassment.

It is true that the quality of life in Rome has consistently decreased over the past few years on levels that, for roman citizens, have become totally unbearable. Moreover, due to the intense heat and to the humongous flow of tourists in the last few months, inefficiency in public services has also increased.

Now, you might ask yourselves why a blog like ours, whose intent is to promote Italian Culture and Language, Italian classes in Rome is discussing a subject that might scare away its own target? Let me tell you, it’s not just for honesty. There is indeed a good side in this wave of popular rage, at least from the linguistic point of view. Romans have always been skilled in making fun of themselves as well as other (especially powerful people, such as the immortal Giuseppe Gioacchino Belli or Pasquino used to do), and this time is no different.

Here’s a collection of roman jokes (with translation) about disservices and inefficiency that are plaguing the Eternal City.

DISCLAIMER: these jokes will contain prolific language. If you feel offended by foul language, read no further!

autobus_romaON THE BUS\METRO
Un passeggero: “Aò ma quanno parte ‘sto cesso?” e l’autista “quanno se riempie de stronzi…”
A passenger: “Oi! When will this shitty bus depart?” The driver replies: “when it has been filled with shitty people…”
Actually, the passenger doesn’t use the expression di merda(shitty): he instead defines the bus cesso, which is a popular word for toilet often used to connote an object which looks shabby or dirty. The reply of the bus driver is along the same lines.

Un passeggero: “Aò, ma quanno parti?” e l’autista “quanno me danno ‘e ferie…
A passenger: “Oi! When do you plan on leaving [departing from the station]?” “The bus driver replies “When they give me vacation days…”
This joke, underlining the infamous laziness of romans. One note: the expression , far from meaning anything, can be translated with the english interjection “oi!”.

bus-atac-roma1ON A CROWDED BUS

“Aò, ce manca solo l’ojo!”
“All that is missing is the oil!” [for we’re packed in this bus like sardines]
Un passeggero: “A Capooo! Che m’apri de dietro?” e l’autista “come no! E si vieni qui te apro puro davanti!”
A passenger to the bus driver: “Chief! Can you open the rear doors [literaly: “can you open me from behind?”, sic!] The driver replies: “of course! And if you come here I will open you also from the front!”
Yes, roman bus drivers (such as passengers) can sometimes be rude.

MOT02F1A_4030796F1_8113-kBLG-U43020988575500l0F-1224x916@Corriere-Web-Roma-e1405035426399IN THE CAR
[To a car driver who’s failing to start at the green light] “Guarda che più verde de così nun diventa!”
“The light isn’t going to get any greener!”
Drivers in Rome may get very impatient. This is due to the proverbial traffic of the Eternal City, that also inspired artists such as Federico Fellini

“A moro! C’avemo tre colori, e’ uscito er verde, che volemo fà?”
“Hey, you! If the light can only be one of three colors, and this one is green, what are we to do?!”
The expression moro (literally , “dark haired guy”) such as capo (literally chief) are often used as interjection disregarding the real appearence or status of the interlocutor

“’Sta strada c’ha così tante buche che se ariva l’ISIS pensa che hanno già bombardato!”
“This road has so many holes that it seems that the ISIS has already bombed us!”
This joke seem kind of nasty, but it is actually a reference to another set of jokes created when ISIS proclaimed it was going to invade Rome.

by Enrico Piciarelli, teacher @ Kappa language school

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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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Let’s start by saying that in Rome complaining about the weather is second only to complaining about its public transportation: strikes, floodings, delays, cancelled or diverted lines, demonstrations, festivals, protests, the town plan (barely fit for chariots, let alone for cars…) all require a commuter to be patient as a Saint and resourceful as Indiana Jones.
The third metro line, the mythological linea C is fabled and told to babies before going to sleep.

You can easily see signs of great discomfort (and the typical Roman sense of humour) in recent posts in the internet: I will translate from the roman slang some responses to IS recent threats (“We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses and enslave your women”), posted by roman citizens in the last few weeks:

  • …don’t take the city ring, you’re going to get bottled up in traffic
  • tell that moron to come after 7pm (referring to ZTL Limited Traffic Zone)
  • don’t take Via Nazionale mate, it’s full of chuckholes!
  • no worries they’re going to get stuck by Metro C construction sites
  • they’ll settle down in no time light up a fag and say “not in the mood to chop up heads mate, c’mon let’s do it tomorrow!”

(If you’re somewhat familiar with the Roman dialect see the originals here)

The question, if you live in Rome, is: can beauty save us from this desrepair?
I do think so: some surface lines can easily outmatch the expensive, equally noisy and crowded red city tour buses. Take my favourite: tram n.3. Waiting for the driver to finish his cigarette and start his shift at the old Ostiense station, you gaze in amazement at thePiramide Cestia or the walled castel just a few paces on your right – on a strike day you could also take a look at the amazing Protestant Cemetery just behind the pyramid.
Hop on number 3, and start a small time travel, from the ancient ruins of the city centre, to the modern well, less ancient) area of the city.

All this Beauty can really make up for the city mess, and even if you see it everyday you will never get bored of it!

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

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With “The Great Beauty”, prized as best foreign movie at the Academy Awards, it seems that the city of  Rome has taken back a central role in the international movie industry.With the once-glorious Cinecittà Studios decayed beyond repair, Rome can at least exist in the Cinema as an elegant movie set. In recent years, many  international productions were set in Rome, capitalizing its lights, its streets, its unique, chaotic beauty : “EatPrayLove ” starring Julia Roberts and Woody Allen’s “To Rome with Love” to name the most famous; maybe “The Great Beauty” success itself was also determined by this renewed appeal and interest in the city.

Like many fellow citizens, one of my favourite hobbies is complaining about my hometown, but when it comes to the big screen I instantly become a grumpy centurion in defense of Roma, caput mundi. Suddenly over-defensive, I always have the feeling that my city hasn’t been well depicted: too sterotyped, too elegant, too beautiful, too rich, too untroubled or too chaotic, especially in foreign movies.

Of course I’m too demanding: one movie alone cannot tell any city, its people, its infinite layers of history and stories, its comical and tragical aspects. I’m pretty sure a newyorker could complain the same way.But those interested in learning more about Rome can do it through Italian movies: for many reasons each one of Italian cinema periods seem to represent Rome from a peculiar and distinctive point of view, and some Italian movie genres focus on peculiar aspects of the city:the tough city in the second war aftermath, depicted in neorealist movies such as “Ladri di Biciclette”,  its elegant and corrupt centre in Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita” and in Dino Risi’s hilarious commedies (“I mostri” is my favourite), its sprawl, violent and hostile in the ’70s cop movies (“Roma a mano armata”) but still innocent in Pasolini’s movies (don’t miss “Uccellacci e Uccellini”). If you dig into italian history, you may already know many costume dramas set in Rome but maybe you missed Luigi Magni’s beautiful trilogy on the Papal Rome of the 1800s (“Nell’anno del Signore”, “In nome del Papa Re” and “In nome del Popolo Sovrano”). To peer into the Vatican keyhole in modern times you’d better watch revealing Nanni Moretti’s “Habemus Papam” than “Angels and Demons”. From the same author there’s a famous review of some Roman quarters in the first episode of “Caro Diario”.

Most of these movies are well-known, it’s easy to find them with subtitles; you could watch them paying attention to the movie set, to the piazze and vicoli where the story unfolds. Also, if you have a basic knowledge of Italian, it can be a good chance to practise the language or even learn a bit of roman, whichcan turnuseful if you plan to visit the city.

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

read more: 

Italian movies for students of Italian

Learn Italian with videos

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