speaking the language

Jul 30th, 2000, 08:50 AM
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speaking the language

Hi everyone. We will be traveling in Italy for a few weeks in Sept. We speak very little Italian. Will this be a big problem? Any and all tips on dress, things not to miss, in Rome, Tuscany, and Venice will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Jul 30th, 2000, 09:10 AM
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Hi Tom,

If you'll be in cities or other places frequented by tourists you'll find that most people speak enough English for tourists. In the tourist office there will be at least one person who speaks English. If you find yourself in a town where no one speaks English (as I did in Gubbio several years ago) you can get buy with sign language and common sense. If you walk into a restaurant the staff will assume you either want the toilet or a table. In a hotel it's assumed you want a room. As soon as the locals figure out you don't speak Italian they'll show you the hotel room selection chart showing room with bath/toilet or without and the price list. If you'll be in out-of-the-way places take a phrase book with you so you'll have the hotel/restaurant/tourist words handy and can point to them in the book if you can't prounce them.

In Prague (where I found almost no one speaking English and I know only a few German words) I wrote down a few words in the back of my notebook (please, thank you, etc.). I would try to prounce them but also pointed to the written word since I found Czech so very difficult to prounce...I didn't want to say the wrong thing and insult anyone. When I found a menu written in several languages I copied the entries I needed into my notebook. I was always in need of more milk for my coffee (all that was given with a cup of strong coffee was a very small creamer) so when I found the word for milk I wrote it down and then pointed to the word and smiled and tried to say the word for please.

These are just a couple of pointers... hope they help. Have a great time in Italy.
Jul 30th, 2000, 11:38 AM
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No problem. Skip Rome this year. Too crowded.
Jul 30th, 2000, 11:58 AM
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First, Rome appears to be handling the Jubilee year with no difficulties, so don't let the early forecasts of crowds deter you. All reports since the beginning of the year continue to show no problems.

As Adrienne suggests visiting with no or only a little Italian is for the most part not a big problem. If you pick up a phrase book and pocket dictionary, though, you'll have even less trouble, enjoy the trip more, and make a few friends along the way. At least you will if you spend some time with the books earlier than just on the flight to Italy!

You'll find much material in answer to your other questions at www.twenj.com ... both under the Rome heading and the Trip Tips heading.

Jul 30th, 2000, 03:08 PM
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My wife and I spent 2 1/2 weeks in Italy last fall . We were in the cities and some very rural areas and found the language problem did not exist. Try to learn what you can because they really appreciate someone who attempts their language. But you'll have no problem ommunicating in English 99% of the time.
Jul 30th, 2000, 04:39 PM
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I'll second Adrienne on language issues, and Ed on Rome.

I've found that learning to say 'hello,' 'goodbye', 'please,' 'thank you,' and 'how much does this cost?' plus having a good phrase book will help me get by in most situations. The Rough Guide has a good Italian phrase book, with a nice section on language basics.

We were in Rome mid-July, and it was neither as crowded nor as hot as we had been led to believe it would be. There were only about 20 people in line for the Vatican Collections at 11am. We never had a problem getting a seat at a restaurant, and had no trouble booking a nice hotel room one month in advance. Don't get me wrong, though - the Trevi Fountain & the Spanish Steps were still mobbed.

Have a great trip!

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