Fermare & Smettere: what’s the difference?

I often notice my students misusing the verbs fermare and smettere, and I understand that the confusion comes from the fact that both verbs are translated into English with to stop. In Italian fermare and smettere are used differently, depending on the nature of the action they are stopping. Let’s see how to use them[…]

Using the Italian adjectives BELLO & QUELLO

Everybody knows that quello means ‘that’ and bello means ‘nice or beautiful,’ however now and then you might have read or listened to the forms ‘quegli/begli’, quei/bei, quel/bel. How come? Let’s start from quello You should be able to distinguish when quello is used as a pronoun (replacing a noun) and when used as adjective[…]

Fare bene & fare male: how to use them

In this article, I will explain how to use two expressions with the verb fare which are often used in spoken Italian to show approval or disapproval towards something: fare bene & fare male Fare bene expresses approval or satisfaction towards somebody. For example, a friend tells you that he quit his job because could[…]

One of the hidden gems of Sicily : Milazzo

Far from the crowds and the standard archaeological sights and the touristy beach towns, Sicily reserves endless hidden gems for those wishing to visit the Island off the beaten path and discovering the authenticity of its places and the people. Today I want to write about Milazzo, a small town rich in natural and cultural[…]

How to use in Italian ECCO & CIOE’

Ecco and cioè are Italian adverbs that Italians use all the time. Hard to translate into English, they will come in handy when you travel to Italian or speak with you Italian friends. Here is a list of how and when to use them. Buona lettura! Ecco It describes the appearance of something or somebody,[…]


These sentences might come in handy when at a restaurant in Italy. It is a customary to be seated or to make a reservation,  especially at weekends. On paying, unlikely from many other countries a tip is not expected because included in the bill under the voice ‘coperto’. However if the service was excellent you[…]

Valentine’s day post:14 names Italian use between lovers

As Valentine’s day is approaching I thought about listing the most popular names that Italians use between lovers (and in same cases between close friends). The listing is accompained with the literal English translation, however all of the followings might sound in English like darling, sweetheart, honey and the likes.   Tesoro (and the abbreviation[…]

15 popular Italian idioms with animals

1.Muto come un pesce. Literally: Quiet as fish. Figurative: to  be very quiet. Giuro che sarò muto come un pesce – I swear I won’t say a word. 2.Sano come un pesce. Literally: Fit as a fish. Figurative: very healthy. Sono sano come un pesce. I am fit as a fiddle. 3. Essere un asino[…]

How to form the IMPERATIVE with Italian verbs

The imperative in Italian is used to give orders or exhortations. As you will find out it is a rather regular tense. Also, the imperative exists just in the present tense! And the first and third persons singular (IO e LUI/LEI) do not exist.   TU and VOI are the same as in the indicative,[…]


  L’amore non è bello, se non è litigarello There is no equivalent in English, altough I found out that Shakespeare would have said ‘The course of true love never did run smooth‘. The above Italian proverb pretends to ease the tension after a little quarrel by objecting that a relationship can’t be completely ‘bella’ (or[…]

Come usare il verbo “VENIRE”

Venire is one of the most used verbs in Italian, however, I always notice during my classes that many learners of Italian tend to mix up the verbs venire and andare and I guess this is happening because in English the difference is not as clear as in Italian. Venire means “to come”, but more specifically, it means moving and[…]