Mamma mia! Italian sayings…

Now that we’ve started some useful Italian lessons, let’s move on!

Italians are known for gesticulating emphatically while speaking. Here are our favorite Italian expressions that are just begging for the accompanying hand gestures.

1. Mamma mia! This means literally, my mother, but it is definitely a term that can express everything from exasperation to wonder. Your kid didn’t clean his room…again? Mamma mia!! The garbage stinks to high heaven? Mamma mia!! That Spaghetti alle Vongole just made you have a foodgasm? Mamma mia!!

Get it?

2. Basta! This means enough. You can say this (politely, followed by grazie) when an Italian mother has shoved a second heaping serving of spaghetti your way. You can also yell it when you just can’t take anymore of whatever you’ve had enough of (attitude, food, tickles, or inane conversation).

3. Uffa! There’s no translation for this, but it is yet another way to express that you are highly annoyed. The trains are on strike AGAIN? Uffa! Your feet hurt from walking around Rome in those new shoes you bought? Uffa! Flight delays? UFFFFAAAAA!!!

This is just the tip of the iceberg, stay tuned for more Italian lessons!

Image via ArtTrav.

3 responses

  1. Also, in Rome they say “A looora”, whatever that means….and aren’t there levels of hand gestures? the under the chin one has ‘yo mama’, ‘yo mama ana yu family’ and “maron!”

    June 29, 2012 at 12:41 pm

  2. Johnny

    Spaghetti alle Vongle (as above) … maybe “alle vongole”?


    July 9, 2012 at 10:01 am

  3. Johnny, thanks for the headsup on the “refuso” as they say in Italian! corrected! šŸ™‚

    July 10, 2012 at 2:50 pm

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