It’s tough to argue with the fact that Italian is a beautiful and useful language. I’m not only saying that because I’m Italian, but because it’s the language of food, love, music and art. 63 million people around the world speak Italian as their first language and it’s ranked as the 20th most-spoken language in the world. Not only is it only the official language of Italy, it’s also one of the official languages of Switzerland and parts of Croatia and Slovenia. Italians can be found everywhere!
There are Italian speakers living in almost every corner of the world. If you’re also passionate about friendships and connecting with people in one of the most beautiful and most-visited countries in the world, then learning Italian might be the perfect fit for you. And who doesn’t want to be clued in on all the gestures that characterize the Italian language?
If I haven’t convinced you already, let me share some other reasons why you should learn Italian.
Italy is a destination that needs no introduction, as it’s quite difficult to find a similarly multifaceted and diverse country. Italy is the fifth most-visited country in the world, welcoming some 46 million foreign visitors annually and is home to more UNESCO World Heritage Sites than any other country in the world. Italy certainly has a lot to offer: ancient ruins, wonderful museums, great beaches and beautiful natural scenery.
It’s also home to breathtaking cities like Rome, Venice, Florence and lovely southern towns such as Amalfi, Ravello, Sorrento, and Positano. You’ll never get bored in Italy; every region is like a small country ready to be discovered and loved.
Learning Italian can be the perfect excuse to familiarize yourself with an Italian menu and impress your friends and family when ordering at an Italian restaurant. As we all know, Italy is best known for its cuisine and for being the home of pizza, pasta, pesto, ragù and gelato. Italian chefs rely chiefly on the quality of the ingredients rather than on elaborate preparation.
Ingredients and dishes vary by region, especially between the north and the south and that is what makes Italian food so incredibly rich and varied. Learning Italian will help you understand what you’re actually eating. You also might make new Italian friends and, if you’re lucky, get invited to their house for a proper home-cooked meal by their grandmas!
3. It’s the language of love, music and art
As Julia Roberts says in the movie ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, “No language was ever more perfectly ordained to express human emotions”. Its rhythmic distribution of consonants and vowels contributes to its marked lilting sound, which is why speakers of other languages often say that Italian naturally sounds like singing.
Learning Italian will allow you to read Dante Alighieri’s masterpiece, the Divina Commedia, and understand the words of the traditional opera by Pavarotti. You don’t need to be a huge fan of classical music and opera – we all know at least one composer of Italian origin who has made their mark on music as well as the history of art. Italy’s identity manifests itself in art and music, with amazing galleries, stunning monuments and iconic sculptures and theatres.
4. The people
Let’s face it, Italy is also worth visiting for its people. Italians are loud, food-obsessed, friendly and speak with gestures. Italian culture is based on the importance of family and love. You can always count on an Italian when making friends – Italians are very extroverted so it’s very easy to establish relationships with them. This will give you the chance to practice your Italian in the best scenery possible.
Also, learning Italian gives you a head start when learning other Romance languages such as Spanish, Portuguese and French. The vocabulary of the Italian language is closest to the French vocabulary, while its verb tenses are closer to English.
5. Il dolce far niente
Learning Italian means immersing yourself in its culture. One of the main aspects of the Italian culture is enjoying the “dolce far niente”, which means how beautiful it can be to do nothing.
Italian culture is about enjoying life as much as you can. Things like drinking coffee after lunch at the bar and talking to people sitting next to you or walking around the city while eating a gelato and wondering about the beauty of life – just two of the many examples of sweet Italian idleness.
Having the ability to express yourself in another language, and to understand what others say to you, opens your mind as well as many new doors. Learning Italian is not only about adding a new language to your CV. Learning Italian means discovering the rich culture and beauty of Italy and all it has to offer.