If you are planning to travel in Italy, I recommend taking a minidictionary with you. Sure, you can probably Google the translation of a word if you need to, but this assumes you have access to wifi when you need it or you are okay with incurring roaming data charges while you look up the meaning of “gamberetti” on your cell phone before ordering at a restaurant in Siracusa.
I took the Oxford Italian Minidictionary with me during my three visits to Italy. It was a handy tool that fit in my pocket and provided quick access to the meanings of the many strange words I encountered during my travels. Even if you are relatively competent in Italian, you are likely to encounter words that you have never heard before. A pocket-sized dictionary can help bridge the gap between what you have learned and what you will actually encounter in Italy.
Many of the business owners in the popular tourist places speak some English. However, if you are learning Italian, why not try to speak their language, instead of insisting they speak yours? After all, you are the visitor to their homeland.
I like the Oxford Italian Minidictionary because of its size (about an inch thick and 3 inches tall) and its content. Along with thousands of words and definitions, it has a list of helpful phrases in the middle of the book separating the the Italian to English section from the English to Italian section. This small investment will reap big rewards in your Italian adventure.
“Finalmento libero, non e’ questo quello che hai sempre voluto?”
“Finally free, isn’t that what you always wanted?” Paolo, the protagonist of the movie L’ultimo Bacio (The Last Kiss) asks himself this as he struggles to undo the recent turmoil he has created in his once “perfect” life. He isn’t alone. His friends Adriano, Alberto, and Paolo all struggle with their own existential crises. Adriano is pushed away from his wife Livia after the birth of their son. Alberto overcompensates for his deadbeat life through his numerous sexual conquests, and Paolo can’t escape the shadow of his former lover or his feeling of responsibility for his dying father. Together they try to find freedom, thinking it will finally bring them the joy they seek. In the process, they learn painful lessons about love, loss, and friendship.
I remember watching this movie in college when I was beginning to develop my interest in Italian. I enjoyed it, but looking back I couldn’t remember if that was due to my growing fascination with the language or the quality of the film itself. I watched it again recently and discovered it is was the latter. The acting is exceptional and supported by a musical score that highlights the tension running through the movie. There are few movies with such emotional rawness. The film grabs you from the beginning and doesn’t let go. You’ll find yourself simultaneously loving and hating the characters as they struggle to find meaning in their lives.
Zach Braff starred in a remake of L’ultimo Bacio for America audiences, but it isn’t as good as the original. Stick with the Italian version, and you won’t be disappointed. You can watch it on Netflix or buy the DVD from Amazon here: L’ultimo Bacio.
Welcome to Italian Your Way! Here you will learn about different programs, podcasts, books, and other tools to help you with your adventure in learning Italian. Everyone has a different learning style. My goal is to give you options so you can tailor your learning program to your style. I’ll tell you about approaches that have worked for me and strategies from language experts.
Explore and experiment, but most of all have fun. Whether you are learning the language for work or for pleasure, you are embarking on a rewarding adventure that will enrich and expand your life.