Spence Hood was an official CEA CAPA blogger for fall 2016, sharing his story in weekly posts on our blog. A computer science major at the University of Colorado (Boulder), he studied abroad in Florence.
In this week's post, Spence shares a few of the most common words and phrases you'll hear on the streets of Florence, their meanings and an appropriate response.
Strolling through the bustling streets here, the senses are left anything but unentertained. I’ve grown to quite enjoy (oddly enough) the smell of cigarettes mixed with cooked meats and sweet pastries wafting out of every other shop, emphasizing the intricacy of this machine of a city that we’re cogs within. I’ve only recently started smiling at all this stimulation, and I’m convinced it has a lot to do with the slowly but surely dissolving language barrier. I now understand maybe 45% of the chatter around me among locals, turning my wonder about all of the exciting, exotic things that a few Italians could be talking about on the streets of Florence into thorough excitement about being in on the joke. I’ve got a long, long way to go of course, but I figured it may help some future Florentines (tourists or otherwise) to list several of the most common Italian expressions being passed around today.
Beforehand, do bear in mind that this is what’s being said (and in this particular way) in Florence. Florence is a city whose residents have a distinct accent according to Italians elsewhere, and who have a distinct way of speaking about things (very similar to cultural and conversational variations between people from different US cities). Let’s dive in.