Tuesday, 26 January 2016

The A–Z of Italy: A

A is for... affection

"Ciao bello" ("Hi handsome") says the man asking me for change. "Ciao caro" ("Hi dear") says the gravel-voiced guy who works in the kebab shop. They're both straight and they aren't flirting. Nor is the girl from the office who keeps touching my arm as she speaks or the friend's friend who kisses me on both cheeks and adds me on Facebook before I've even been told her name.

The default mode of communication in Italy is maximum affection and expression. Italians can love you or hate you and sometimes they appear to do both within a five minute conversation.

What are you waiting for? Join in. Add "Allora, allora" ("Well, well") and "Mamma mia" to your sentences, gesticulate and call people pet names. It's much more fun than being uptight.

About the A–Z of Italy: These short articles are part of a new series. To see all articles in the series that have been published so far, click the blue 'A–Z' label below.

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