Italian Italian Culture and Customs

Learning about the Italian culture and Italian customs is an important part of learning the language. You will probably find that among the people they will generally be understanding if they know you are learning the language. They will appreciate you more, however, if you take the time to understand the Italian culture and Italian customs.

Italian Alphabet

Letter Sound in Italian
a father
b boy
c cow
ch k sound in kit (not part of the alphabet)
ci, ce Choose (not part of the alphabet)
d dog
e seven
f frog
gi,ge dj sound in giant (not part of the alphabet)
h silent
i ee sound in street
j (not considered part of the alphabet- appears in loanwords like jeans)
k (not part of the alphabet, same as above)
l long
m monkey
n nose
o open
p pan
q k sound in kit, always followed by  u
r trilled
s sing
t time
u ou sound in you or too
v violin
w (not part of the alphabet)
x (not part of the alphabet)
y (not part of the alphabet)
z zebra

Note: Italian is the closest language to Latin in pronounciation and writing. There are NO silent vowels.

per (for) is shorthanded to x. For example, for you => x te (instead of per te.

Types of Climate in Italy

The climate in Italy is highly diverse because of its position in the Mediterranean and the mountainous terrain. The higher altitudes tend to cold, wet, and snowy, and the coastal regions have mild winters, warm and dry summers, and even hot summers in the low valleys.

Italian Festivals and Holidays

Here is a short list of Italian holidays :

Merry Christmas Buon Natale!
Happy New Year Buon Anno!
Happy Easter Buona Pasqua!
Happy Halloween Buon Halloween
Happy Valentine's Day Buon San Valentino
Happy Birthday Buon compleanno!
Happy Saint's Day Buon onomastico

Italian Art, Music and Sports

The most popular sports include soccer,  volleyball, waterpolo, Italian sports car racing, fencing, rugby, cycling, and hockey. Sports are also part of festivities like Palio, and the venician gondola race. Football (soccer) is the most popular sport in Italy.

The arts go back for millennia. In fact, much of what the world has in art and music, theater and opera, is influenced by art from the Italian renaissance. Amongst its greatest artistic heritage are artists like: Bernini, Botticelli, Caravaggio, Donatello, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Titian.

Politics of Italy

There is more than enough history to have several pages of information about the politics of Italy, but this is an attempt to keep it fairly brief and focused on modern day Italy:

Parliament consists of a Chamber of Deputies and a Senate, a separate judiciary and executive branch headed by the Prime Minister over a Council of Ministers (or cabinet). The President of the Italian Republic is elected for 7 years. The President nominates the Prime Minister, and elections choose him and the houses of paliament.

Elections are complex. Both houses are elected for up to 5 years, but can be dissolved by the President. The judicial system is based on Roman law and the Napoleonic code, along with other statutes.

Italy has 20 regions, five of which have special status to enact legislation on local matters. Within each region there are provinces and municipalities.

Religion in Italy

About 95% of the population is Catholic. The remainder are Protestants, Jews, and Muslims. All faiths have equal freedom. The Italian renaissance and religion are still studied world-wide today.

Italian Foods and Clothing

Italians are rich in culture. This is no different for their styles in fashion and food. They enjoy a rich cuisine, with pastas, wine, and bread being the most recognized. The U.S. attributes pizza to Italy, though a true Italian pizza is quite different from the traditional pizza found in the U.S. You haven't tried the real thing until you've had Italian food in Italy.

Italian traditional dress is known for its bright colored dresses and white blouses.


There are many dialects in Italy, including Tuscan, Ligurian, Abruzzese, Cicolano-Reatino-Aquilano, Pugliese, Umbrian, Laziale, Central Marchigiano, Lombardo, Molisano, Neapoloitan, Piemontese, Sicilian, Venetian. It is said that Piemontese, and Sicilian are different enough to be their own languages. Italian dialects have elements of French, Spanish, Greek, etc.

Learning Italian Culture

Hopefully you have been able to learn a little bit about the Italian culture. If you are simply looking to learn Italian, you will soon learn how important culture is when you learn a language. There are plenty of free resources available here to help you to learn Italian. If you want to talk about love or you are looking for Italian greetings, you must visit the Italian phrases page. There are also many Italian words in many different categories from which you can learn. In addition, you can learn over 350 Italian verbs and how to conjugate them with free audio flash cards and step-by-step instructions.