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Metro Wines Asheville, NC

Learning Italian

This blog is dedicated to learning Italian La Dolce Vita, that is, fashion, food and wine! We will focus on the words and phrases you need to get by in Italy. We will learn by translating facebook posts from some of our favorite winemakers including Gaetana Jacono Gola of Valle dell'Acate and Giampaolo Tabarrini, "Menu Italian" from...

Learning Italian

This blog is dedicated to learning Italian La Dolce Vita, that is, fashion, food and wine! We will focus on the words and phrases you need to get by in Italy. We will learn by translating facebook posts from some of our favorite winemakers including Gaetana Jacono Gola of Valle dell'Acate and Giampaolo Tabarrini, "Menu Italian" from Ristorante Trippi in Valtellina as well as text from the winery websites for some of the many Italian Wines on the shelves @MetroWines. Andiamo! (let's go!)


July Film Discussion

"Io Non Ho Paura" (I am Not Afraid)

Film Discussion with Robert Formento of "Ciao Asheville"

Sunday, July 28th starting 1pm @MetroWines.

Admission is "on the house" and $7 for glass of Red or White Italian Wine.

Ciao Asheville is dedicated to raising awarness about Italian Culture in Asheville. We believe that a review of some of the best regarded films will be a window into the history, attitudes and hopes of Itlay.

Robert's Film Summary:

With this next film (released in 2003) we visit Italy in the turbulent 1970s, sometimes called the “Years of Lead”. Political and ransom killings were rampant at that time. The worst of it often involved kidnapping children of wealthy families for ransom.


This movie, Io Non Ho Paura (I Am Not Afraid), is loosely based on one such kidnapping of a 10 year old boy from Milan. He is taken to a small impoverished town in the south of Italy. The village is tiny and there are only a handful of children who roam the area around them.  The story is about how he was discovered by another 10 year old boy from the local town.


This film can be described as a crime mystery thriller, but uniquely seen through the eyes of a ten year old boy. You get to observe how the boy confronts the idea that the family and neighbors whom he loves and trusts are the same people who kidnapped the boy and shackled him in a deep underground cellar. Does he decide to protect his family or protect the kidnapped boy?


Io Non Ho Paura, is based on the novel of the same name by Niccolo Ammaniti. The movie was very popular in Italy where it won several awards, but had a very limited release in America. The director, Gabriele Salvatore also directed Mediterraneo which won the Oscar for best foreign film in 1992. 


Please reserve your seat HERE!

or call (828) 575-9525. 

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Belstar Prosecco and History

"Isle Be Waiting"
5 Mediterranean Islands that offer fabulous food and lodging
but are not so well known making these locations a perfect escape.

Let's add history to the escape. One of the suggestions is Mazzorbo.
There you will find the a wine villa owned by the Bisol Family making wine
for centuries. And you know their work well. Bisol makes Belstar!

Image result for belstar rose sparkling

A unique sparkler created by one of Prosecco's top producers,
the Cuvee Rose is a blend of Merlot, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. 
Fresh, juicy, somewhat soft and sweet with citrus, licorice, melon and ripe strawberries. Clean, easy style with light, creamy mousse.

The history of Bisol dates back to 1542, when the Bisol family first began cultivating grapes. Today, Gianluca Bisol has assumed the role of president and CEO while his brother, Desiderio, holds the position of chief enologist and technical director.
With 500 years of winemaking tradition, Bisol produces a range of organically farmed and internationally recognized Valdobbiadene Superiore DOCG crus. 

And speaking of history...UNESCO has just last week declared
Valdobbiadene Superiore  DOCG a World Heritage Site. check it out:

Related image

That's a LOT of History for $12.99
$14.99 at and, not surprisingly, unavailable.

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Donati Family Vineyard Tasting

News Release: July 10, 2019

About: Ciao Asheville Presents Donati Family Vineyards!
Ciao Asheville presents Donati Family Vineyards on Thursday, August 22nd, 2019 from 5 to 6:30 @MetroWines. Adam Chesia, East Coast Representative for Donati Family Vineyards, who will host a tasting of Donati Wines "on the house" and tell us all about the winery, the history and the current winemaker, Briana Heywood!
About Donati Family Vineyards: 
As a young boy, Ron Donati grew up in South San Francisco, the son of a first generation Italian-American family. One of his fondest memories was the sights and smells of his grandfather making wine in his basement. Like most Italian immigrants, Albino Donati made his own wine for the family dinner table. As an adult, Ron became a successful entrepreneur with a penchant for making quality products that were attainable to all, not just a select few. This same passion serves as the foundation and guiding mission of Donati Family Vineyard today. It is our goal to produce wines of exceptional quality regardless of budget.

The Donati Family Estate Vineyard site enjoys a variety of soils from limestone to decomposed granite to clay loam, and access to the cooling ocean breezes of the Monterey Bay. Like much of southern Napa, Sonoma, and Monterey counties, Paicines has long warm days followed by cool nights.

The vineyard is planted to various select clones of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Syrah, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc and Petit Verdot. Vine selections are carefully screened for viral diseases prior to planting, ensuring that the future of the vineyard is secure, and that vine health and fruit integrity remain intact from planting through harvest.

About the Winemaker: Briana Heywood:

Briana Heywood joined the Donati Family Vineyard team in 2016 as Head Winemaker. She has been involved in the wine industry for the past 10 years and gained her knowledge primarily through hands-on experience. Prior to starting at Donati, Briana was Enologist at JLohr Wines in Paso Robles for the past 7 years, along with prior internships at Eberle Winery and Gallo Vineyards. She earned her Enology and Wine Business degrees from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, in 2009.

Possessing experience in both small and large wineries, Briana is equipped with a unique perspective on maintaining consistency of hand-crafted premium wines in ever increasing quantities. This experience and perspective will take the Donati Family Wines forward as we continue to build our brand and extend our reach.

Follow Donati on FB here:

Contact for Ciao Asheville: Gail Rampersaud
Contact for MetroWines: Gina Trippi
Charlotte Street! It's the Next BIG Thing!
"Big Shop Selection. Small Shop Service"
Shop:  828-575-9525
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Critics and Staff picks

Image result for greyhound red wine glass
(not Eric Asimov in photo)
Eric Asimov criticizes the critic in NYT on Wednesday. He accurately points out
that a review is just the opinion of one person (including Eric.) 
True. Better idea is to get personal. Shop @MetroWines where staff cards their "picks."
Find the palate that suits you and go on a wine adventure with confidence.
Let's Get Started with MetroWines Staff Picks!

*** Andy's Pick ***

Image result for aglianico del taburno fontanavecchia
Fontana Vecchia Aglianico del Taburno, $17.99

Why this one? "Because I like the combination of new world like fruit with old world earthy leathery flavors.
This Aglianico is not afraid to show some tannin which I like with food and it is a historical wine.
This is the grape that probably would have been the "premier cru" in ancient Rome.
 It drinks like a combination of a Napa Cabernet Sauvignon and Barolo at a third of the price.

Generally speaking what I am looking for in a "pick" is a wine that pairs
with food showing bright acidity and complexity for the price."

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Italian Rose' Tasting

Ciao Asheville Presents

Aperitivi !
Italian Rose' Wine Tasting

Hosted at a lovely covered pavilion at a private home in Asheville,
you will taste 4 bottles of Rose' paired with Italian Finger Foods
including cheese, melon, prosciutto and bruschetta.
The event is hosted by Ciao Asheville and Mike Tiano of Haw River Wine Man
$20 includes wine, food, fun and tax!
Ciao Asheville events sell out so please shop now:

Follow ALL Ciao Asheville Events Here:

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Italian Cabernet Sauvignon: Sultry


By night, something more, shall we say, sultry in the glass.
Eva Luna 2016 Cabernet with Cabernet Franc,
Lake Garda, Italy $15.99

Image result for eva luna cabernet 2016

In the 1990s, Carla Prospero and her daughter Nadia Zenato acquired a large 18th century farm
in the Sirmione area called Sansonina. With this purchase they accepted a challenge to disprove
some preconceptions. They set about producing exceptional red wine in a zone traditionally known
for whites, while demonstrating that well-structured red wine isn’t necessarily men’s work.
With a typically feminine combination of determination and sensitivity, 
Carla and Nadia have succeeded in producing hearty, powerful and elegant wines.

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Aperitivi: Italian Rose Tasting

News Release: June 13, 2019 
About: Ciao Asheville presents Italian Aperitivo Rose Tasting
Ciao Asheville is pleased to announce our signature summer event. We will be presenting four Italian rose wines for tasting along with light Italian appetizers for an authentic Sunday afternoon Italian "happy hour" aperitivo! This event will take place at a gorgeous outdoor location here in Asheville (location and directions to be provided when you reserve and pay). We will be serving a variety of aperitivo foods including bruschetta, cheese, prosciutto, and fruit. This is a great way to kick off your Sunday dinner plans the Italian way!  
Sunday, July 21, 3:00-4:30pm. 
Cost is $20 per person which includes tax. 
Please note that Ciao Asheville events often sell out so reserve early. 
Call (828) 575-9525 with credit card or shop online:    
Contact for Ciao Asheville: Gail Rampersaud
Contact for MetroWines: Gina Trippi
Charlotte Street! It's the Next BIG Thing!
"Big Shop Selection. Small Shop Service"
Shop:  828-575-9525
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Il Postino Film Discussion


Registration HERE!

Film Discussion of Il Postino on Sunday, June 30th starting1pm @MetroWines. The event and popcorn is on the house. A glass of Italian red or white wine is $7. Robert Formento, Film Coordinator for Ciao Asheville will lead the discussion. Robert has extensive knowledge of Italian Films. His brief synopsis of Il Postino is here:

Il Postino

Pablo Neruda was a Nobel Prize winning Chilean poet-diplomat and politician. Probably best known for his passionate love poems, he also served a number of diplomatic positions in Chile, but because of his politics (he was a communist), he got himself into trouble with the Chilean government and was exiled to The Isle of Capri in Italy in the early 50s. (Tough exile!)


The movie, Il Postino, takes place after Pablo Neruda arrives. It is a story about Mario, a bumbling mailman, who’s madly in love with Beatrice, the most beautiful woman on this island. . . . but is too shy to tell her how he feels. With Pablo’s help, he finds the right words to win her heart. 


Il Postino was nominated for 5 Oscars in 1994 (Best Actor, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Original Music Score and Best Picture) Those viewers who loved the movie, Cinema Paradiso, will be pleased that Philippe Noiret (who played Alfredo, the movie projectionist) also plays the role of Pablo Neruda in Il Postino. Mario is wonderfully played by Massimo Troisi. Although not well known in America, Troisi was very well known in Italy for his comedy films. Sadly, Massimo died one day after major filming was completed. The movie ends with a simple dedication, “To Our Friend Massimo”.

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Italian Hand Gestures!


Tickets HERE!! (HIGH Sell Out Risk)

News Release: May 14, 2019
About: Learn Italian Gestures with Ciao Asheville!
Everybody knows it – Italians are masters at talking with their hands! But do you know what all those hand gestures mean? Want to know how to order a beer instead of a glass of wine in Italy just by using a hand gesture? Or let your waiter know that your meal is fantastic?

Ciao Asheville presents a fun and animated journey into learning about and understanding Italian hand gestures with Italian native and Asheville resident Roberto Stragiotti. Roberto will give us a demonstration and lend some history to hand gestures, along with some useful cultural information. “Travelers to Italy will benefit by knowing about gestures and actually using some while you are there”, adds Roberto.   

Wednesday, June 19, 2019, 5:30-6:30 at Metro Wines. $10 for the talk, which includes a glass of red or white Italian wine.

Please note that Ciao Asheville events often sell out so please reserve early.

Call (828) 575-9525 with credit card or shop online:

Contact for Ciao Asheville: Gail Rampersaud
Contact for MetroWines: Gina Trippi
Charlotte Street! It's the Next BIG Thing!
"Big Shop Selection. Small Shop Service"
Shop:  828-575-9525
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Italian Language Classes


Stand by for Updated Information!

 Tickets HERE!

News Release: Saturday, May 4th, 2019

About: "Low Pressure" Italian Language Classes
Ciao Asheville presents Italian Language Classes @MetroWines with Dr. Valeria Tezzon. This introduction to the Italian Language will be low-pressure classes that focus on conversation and communication. Classes will be organized by topics, such as ordering at a restaurant, traveling within the country, shopping, and enjoying an afternoon in a piazza! 
"The goal is to teach students what they will need to enjoy and successfully navigate a trip to Italy," says Valeria Tezzon. "The classes, sprinkled with Italian history and culture, are designed to be both fun and informative."
The "kick off" class will be held "on the house" on September 26th from 5:30 to 7pm @MetroWines. Dr. Tezzon will host 10 classes, one each week from October through December. Classes are tentatively scheduled for Thursdays from 5:30 to 7pm. The cost for each class is $20 (plus tax) or $150 (plus tax) for the entire series.
The classes will be limited to 25 students to ensure personal attention. You can reserve your seat for the series by calling (828) 575-9525 or shopping online here:
"Ciao Asheville had so many requests for language classes that focus on communication over conjugation." says Gina Trippi, Outreach Coordinator for Ciao Asheville, "We are delighted to offer what Michael Scardaville, Ciao Asheville Travel Consultant, calls Survival Italian!"
Parking is free, close and easy @MetroWines. 
Contact for Ciao Asheville: Gail Rampersaud
Contact for MetroWines: Gina Trippi
Charlotte Street! It's the Next BIG Thing!
"Big Shop Selection. Small Shop Service"
Shop:  828-575-9525
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Bele Casel Tasting with Paola Ferraro


Tickets HERE!

News Release: April 9th, 2019

About: Bele Casel Tasting with Paola Ferraro
Ciao Asheville presents Paola Ferraro from Bele Casel on Tuesday, May 7th from 5:30 to 6:30 for "A Prosecco ONLY Cocktail Party" @MetroWines! 
Two Proseccos, Bele Casel Colfondo and Bele Casel, will be on the taste paired with a traditional Antipasto Plate. Paola Ferraro and Mike Tiano of Haw River Wine Man host the party.
"Paola appeared by skype @MetroWines last year wowing the crowd," says Gina Trippi, co-owner of MetroWines. "We are delighted to have Paola join us in person this year!"
$10 for the party and the opportunity to meet the much written about and photographed Paola Ferraro!
Please note that Ciao Asheville events sell out. Please reserve early.
Call (828) 575-9525 with credit card
About Prosecco Colfondo:

“The methode ancestral,” write the editors of the Oxford Companion to Wine, “results in a lightly sparkling wine, often with some sweetness and sediment, and most closely parallels how wines were originally made sparkling. It involves bottling young wines before all the residual sugar has been fermented into alcohol. Fermentation continues in bottle and gives off carbon dioxide.”

This method of sparkling wine production has been “given new life by the petillant naturel vogue,” they add, referring to the sparkling wine production method known popularly as “pet-nat.”

There is still a lot of confusion in the wine world as far as sparkling wine production terminology is concerned.

Many still refer to wines like our Prosecco ColFòndo (col fondo) as an ancestral method (méthode ancestral) or pet-nat wine. In fact, our col fondo is neither.

The overwhelming majority of Prosecco is produced using what is properly called “the tank method.” In Italy it is called the Martinotti method, after the enology professor who developed and perfected it. And many also call it the “Charmat” method after the man who patented the technology. 

For tank method wines, a base wine is produced and then it is re-fermented in large, pressurized tanks, hence the name.

Today, more and more Prosecco producers are also making “col fondo” wines. We call ours Prosecco ColFòndo.”

It’s different from the ancestral method. Instead of bottling the wines while they are still fermenting (the technique described above), a base wine is produced and fermentation is carried out until completion. The wine is then bottled and the wine undergoes a second fermentation, thus resulting in a sparkling wine thanks to the CO2 that’s produced by fermentation in a pressurized environment.

Unlike traditional method wines (the name for Champagne method wines made outside of Champagne), col fondo wines are not disgorged of their sediment.

Perhaps the English-language term would be “re-fermented in bottle” wines.

And Bele Casel Dry

Production area: Maser
Grape variety: Glera
Vineyard: sloped, 145 meters a.s.l.
Training system: Guyot – organic
Harvest: 10/30 September, picked by hand
Vinification: the grapes are soft-pressed with a pneumatic press followed by static racking of the must and temperature-controlled fermentation (18-20° C.) with cultured yeast; the wine is then aged on its lees in stainless-steel vats for 3 months.
Secondary fermentation: Martinotti method in pressurized tanks at low temperatures
Fermentation time: 40/50 days.

Tasting Notes

Light, soft fizziness with persistent bubbles makes this elegant wine stand apart from the rest.

Fresh fruity aromas with hints of sour apple and banana and floral notes dominated by acacia flower.

Elegant flavor, slightly sweet, velvety, refined, and lingering on the palate.

An ideal wine for festive occasions and dry pastry.

Alcohol: 11.5%
Pressure: 4.5 atmospheres
Acidity: 5.4 g/l
Residual sugar: 23 g/l
Serving temperature: 6-8° C.

More about Bele Casel:
Contact for Ciao Asheville: Gail Rampersaud:
Contact for MetroWines: Gina Trippi
Charlotte Street! It's the Next BIG Thing!
"Big Shop Selection. Small Shop Service"
Shop:  828-575-9525
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About Don Camillo

In Don Camillo, we enter a small rural town in the Po Valley of Northern Italy. The time period is the late 1940s early 50s. At that time, Giovanni Guareschi started writing short stories about conflicts between a hot headed town priest, Don Camillo, and with his rival, the Communist mayor, Peppone. The stories, printed in the satirical Milanese weekly magazine Candido, represent the real life conflict that was taking place between the Catholic Church and the Communist party of Italy (which had a strong following in Northern Italy at the time).These short stories were later compiled into a series of books and then woven into several movies. 


Filmed in Italy during the 1950s, they showcase Don Camillo, the village priest who is always arguing with his ideological enemy, the communist mayor, Peppone. Guareschi takes on the philosophical arguments in both a serious and comical way. Both the priest and the mayor are convinced of their ideas which makes for some fiery but humorous arguments. Adding to the comedy and delight of this movie is the third main character, the statue of Jesus. There are many “conversations” that the priest (Don Camillo) has with his statue of Jesus in his church...and the statue gently but firmly lectures Don Camillio into better ways to work with Peppone for the good of the village.


Well-known and loved in Italy, but relatively unknown in America, this film will make you want to read “The Little World of Don Camillo” stories by Guareschi. 


Movie discussion with "Ciao Asheville" Film Critic Robert Formento on Sunday, April 28th starting 1pm @MetroWines.

Admission is free. $7 for a glass of Italian Wine!

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Resources to Plan Your Trip to Italy


By Michael Scardaville!

Planning your own trip: benefits

Is planning your own tour of Italy realistic?


San Gimignano


Crete Senesi, Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore

The tradition of "Vino Sfuso" (getting wine in bulk) in Italy

When to go

Weather in Italy

White Truffle Festival, Alba


New travel security system for most EU countries in 2021

Where to go

Italia (nice overview of regions, trip possibilities)

Regions of Italy

The Ultimate Guide to the Regions of Italy

Via Francigena

La Pasta di Gragnano

Slow Food: Food itineraries

What to do

Google regional specific sites: examples

Tickets for the Uffizi Gallery and Accademia Gallery,

Firenze Card

Vatican Museums

OMNIA Vatican & Rome Card

Venezia Unica Pass

How to get around


A beginner's guide to train travel in Italy



Italia rail (be wary of additional fees)

Rail Europe (be wary of additional fees)

Auto Europe

  • Arranges cheap rentals with the major companies: Avis, Europcar, Hertz, etc.

A Beginner's Guide to the Do's and Don't's of Driving In Italy

A beginner's guide to train travel in Italy

Where to stay

True Italian Agriturismos

Bed and Breakfast

Monastery Stays

Where to eat

8 Signs You’re Eating at a Tourist Trap

How to Read An Italian Menu

Vegan & Vegetarian Restaurants in Italy (and gluten-free)

Eating Vegetarian in Italy (or Vegan, Gluten-Free, Lactose-Intolerant, Celiac)

The Essential Gluten Free Guide to Italy

Slow Food: cookbooks

Decanter, Wine Travel – Italy

How to communicate

Google Translate

Google Translate: download languages to use offline

Edoardo A. Lèbano, Italian: A Self-Teaching Guide (2nd edition)

Metro wine blog: Survival Italian

Coffee Break Italian (Season 1 & 2)

£ 80 ($104.) each; £ 145 ($189) together

Online Italian Club (free)

Rocket Italian (free)

Wellesley College: Italian Language and Culture: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced (more academic; free)

Learn Italian: How to Survive on Your Travels to Italy If You Do Not Speak Italian (3 parts)


XE Currency: for offline currency conversions

When in Rome . . .

When in Rome… A Look at Cultural Norms in Italy

A Look at Italian Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquette

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Italian Lesson 12: SHOPPING


Let’s go shopping/Andiamo a fare la spesa

Knowing some Italian might be helpful when you just have to spend money (spendere soldi) to buy that special something.  This week’s lesson will present some words and phrases that can help you on your shopping spree.  It might be helpful to review last week’s advice on how you can simplify speaking Italian.



Here’s one of many videos on Italian pronunciation:


Types of stores/Tipi di negozi


Grocery store

Centro commerciale

Shopping center




 Jewelry shop


Milk and cheese shop







Negozio d'abbigliamento

Clothing store

Negozio di musica

Music store

Negozio di scarpe/calzature

Shoe store




Pastry shop




Post office


Perfume shop




Tobacco shop (it’s more like a convenience store where you can buy cigarettes, magazines, and bus tickets, and recharge your phone)

Some key words/Alcune parole chiave





Orari di apertura/chiusura

Opening/closing hours



























High heels

Scarpe coi tacchi alti

Hiking boots

Scarpe da trekking













Sales person

















Occhiali da sole








































Shoe size

Numero di scarpae












Some useful phrases/Alcune frasi utili

Anything else?


Can I have a bag?

Posso avere una borsa?

Can I help you?

Posso aiutarlo?/Mi dica?

Can I try it on?

Lo posso provare?

Can you help me?

Mi puo aiutare?

Do you have ________?

Avete _________?

Do you have this in size ________?

Avete la taglia ________?

Do you have a larger/smaller size?

Avete una misura più grande più piccola?

Do you have anything that is less expensive?

Avete qualcosa di meno costoso?

Do you have it in a different color?

Lo avete in un colore diverso?

Does this look good on me?

Come mi sta?

How much is it?

Quanto costa?

I am going shopping

Vado a fare spesa

I don’t like it

Non mi piace

I like it

Mi piace

I'll buy it

Lo compro

I'll take it/them

Lo/li prendo

I'm just browsing

Sto dando un'occhiata

I’m just looking

Sto solo guardando

I'm looking for __________

Sto cercando __________

It looks good

Sta bene

It’s handmade

È fatto a mano

It’s artisanal

È artigianale

It’s too expensive/small/big

È troppo caro/piccolo/grande

I wear size __________

Ho la taglia __________

I would like __________

Vorrei __________

I would like to return this

Vorrei restituire questo

I'd like to try it on

Vorrei provarlo.

May I just look?

Posso guardare?

May I try this on?

Posso provarlo?

Nothing else


That’s all

Basta così/E' tutto

What are you looking for?

Cosa sta cercando?

What size is it?

Che taglia è?

What size would you like to try?

Che taglia vuole provare?

What time do you open/close?

A che ora aprite/chiudete?

Where can I find __________?

Dove posso trovare _________?

Where is _________?

Dov'e' _________?

Where is the changing/dressing room?

Dov’è il camerino?


Paying the bill/Pagare il conto

Here is your receipt

Ecco il suo scontrino

I'd like to pay by credit card

Vorrei pagare con la carta di credito

I'd like to pay with cash

Vorrei pagare in contanti

May I have the receipt?

Mi può fare lo scontrino?

May I pay with credit card?

Posso pagare con una carta di credito?

Please pay at the check out

Paghi alla cassa, per favore

Please sign here

Firmi qui, per favore

We don't accept credit cards

Non accettiamo carte di credito

Where is the checkout?

Dov e` la cassa?

Where is the closest ATM?

Dove è il bancomat più vicino?

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Lesson 11: Ristorante!


At the restaurant and bar/Al ristorante e il bar

Now that we know some key food related words, we can talk about how to order food and drink in restaurants and bars.  Note that a bar in Italy is not a pub in the U.S. sense, but rather a business where you can buy coffee, pastries, and panini in addition to wine, liquor, juices, and soft drinks.  Given the seemingly unlimited ways you can order the food and drink you want, I’ll try to simplify this process and also present some phrases you may find helpful when you go out to eat.  I’ll end the lesson by sharing a link on the 10 commandments of ordering coffee in Italy.  Ignore them at your own risk.


Here’s one of many videos on Italian pronunciation:

Keeping it simple

As is often the case when we speak in English, you often don’t have to say a complete sentence in Italian when buying a train ticket, shopping, and ordering food and wine.  Just a noun, adjective, and perhaps a number may be all that you need in many situations. So instead of saying: “I would like two glasses of red wine.”  Simply saying “two glasses of red wine” will get you that delectable beverage.  “I would like a table for two” becomes “a table for two” and so on.

But if you want to use verbs, you can simplify the process by sticking with just one or two commonly used verbs, especially “volere” (to want) and “prendere” (to have, in the context of ordering food and drink)

So for the conjugation of volere:

I would like . . . . . . . . . vorrei

You would like . . . . . .  vorresti

S/he would like. . . . . .  vorrebbe

We would like. . . . . . .  vorremmo

You would like  . . . . . . vorreste

They would like  . . . . . .vorrebbero

And the conjugation of prendere:

I’ll have . . . . . . . . . . . . . . prendo

You’ll have . . . . . . . . . . .  prendi

S/he will have . . . . . . . . . prende

We’ll have  . . . . . . . . . . .  prendiamo

You’ll have . . . . . . . . . . .  prendete

They’ll have . . . . . . . . . .  prendono

Keeping it simple part 2

If you wish to use verbs, you can use the examples below as a template when you order food and drink by simply changing the nouns, numbers, and adjectives:

I'll have  . . . . . a coffee/half liter of white wine/two scoops of gelato

Prendo . . . . . un caffè/mezzo litro di vino bianco/due gusti di gelato

We’ll have . . . . . two cappuccinos and two croissants/brioches with chocolate

Prendiamo . . . . .  due cappuccini e due cornetti con cioccolato

I would like. . . . .  one tea, one coffee, and a croissant/brioche with honey

Vorrei un tè, un caffè, e un cornetto con miele

We would like. . . . .  a coffee/two glasses of red wine/a beer

Vorremmo un caffè/due bicchieri di vino rosso/una birra

How to make a reservation/Come fare una prenotazione

I would like to make reservation

Vorrei fare una prenotazione/Vorrei prenotare

I would like to reserve a table for two at 8:00 pm tonight

Vorrei prenotare un tavolo per due alle otto per stasera

I would like to book a table for _______ persons in the name of _______

Vorrei prenotare un tavolo per _______ persone in nome di _______

How to order food and beverages/Come ordinare cibo e bevande

Note: there are many YouTube videos on how to read a menu and order food in Italy.

I have booked a table in name of ______________

Ho prenotato un tavolo a nome di ______________

No, we don’t have a reservation

No, non abbiamo prenotato

Do you have a table for _____?

Avete un tavolo per _____?

Is this table free?

È libero questa tavola?

I would like a table for two near the window/on the terrace/outside

Vorrei un tavolo tavolo per due vicino la finestra/sulla terraza/di fuori

I am hungry

Ho fame

I am thirsty

Ho sete

What do you recommend?

Que cosa mi consigli?

I would like to order now

Vorrei ordinare adesso

I would like to try a regional dish

Vorrei provare un piatto regionale

For the first course I’ll have ________, as a second  ________, for a side dish  ________,

Per primero prendo  ________,  per secondo  ________, per contorno  ________

We will order our second course afterwards

Il secondo lo ordiniamo dopo

Can you bring me the wine list?

Puo portarmi la lista dei vini

Can you recommend a wine to go with this dish?

Puo consigliare un vino per questo piatto?

I did not order this.

Non ho ordinate questo.

Is it spicy?

È piccante?

Can you give me some more water?

Posso avere ancora acqua?

I need a napkin/fork/knife

Mi serve un tovagliolo/forchetta/coltello

Where is the bathroom?

Dov’è il bagno?

Is the cover charge included in the price?

Il coperto e compresi nel prezzo?

The food is excellent

Il cibo era ottimo/eccellente

I liked the food

Mi piace il cibo

Compliments to the chef

Complimenti allo chef

A waiter might ask the following when s/he comes to your table:

Cosa desidera?

What would you like?

Vuole qualcosa da mangiare/bere?

Would you like something to eat/drink?

Sì, prego?

Yes, please?

How to pay the bill/Come pagare il conto

The bill, please

Il conto, per favore

Can I pay with a credit card?

Posso pagare con una carta di credito?

I need a receipt

Mi serve lo scontrino

I think there is a mistake

Credo che ci sia un errore

Do I pay at the table or at the cashiers?

Pago a tavola o alla casaa/cassiere?

Vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, and other dietary concerns/Vegetariano, vegano, senza glutine e altre preoccupazioni dietetiche

Note: there are many websites and some books that address food restrictions when traveling in Italy.  BTW, you can find gluten free pizza and vegan gelato in the larger cities.

I am/we are vegetarian/vegan

Sono/siamo vegetariano(i)/vegano(i)

I don’t eat meat/fish

Non mangio carne/pesce

I can’t have/eat . . .

Non posso avere/mangiare  . . .

I am allergic to nuts

Sono allergico alle noci

I have allergies to different foods

Sono allergico a diversi cibi

Do you have a menu or dishes for vegetarians/vegans?

Avete un menu o piatti per i vegetariani/vegani?

Do you have any gluten free dishes?

Avete piatti senza glutine?

Do you have any dishes without dairy?

Avete piatti senza latte?

What ingredients does it have?

Che ingredienti contiene?

Does this dish contain cheese/butter/eggs/flour?

Questo piatto contiene formaggio/burro/ uova/farina?

Is it possible to cook this dish without ___________?

È possible preparare questo piatto senza ___________?

Last word on food in Italy/Ultima parola sul cibo in Italia

Ordering coffee in Italy: the 10 commandments

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Lesson 10 Mangia!


Food and Wine/Cibo e vino

Italian food and wine.  Do we need any more reasons to visit Italy?  Given the vast nature of this subject, I can only mention some basic words and phrases to help you get started, but nonetheless I’ll still need to spend two weeks on eating (mangiare) and drinking (bere) in Italy.  We’ll begin by building some basic vocabulary, and next week we’ll address how to order food and drinks at restaurants and other establishments. Buon appetito!



Antipasto - starter/appetizer

Aperitivo – happy hour with food (6:30-8:30 pm)

Cena – dinner

Cibo – food

Colazione/prima colazione) – breakfast

Contorno - side dish

Dolce - dessert

Pranzo – lunch

Primo - first course

Secondo - second course

Spuntino – Snack


At the restaurant/Al ristorante

Bicchiere - glass

Bottiglia – bottle

Cameriere/cameriera  - waiter/waitress

Cioto - bowl

Coltello – knife

Compreso – included

Conto – the check

Coperto – service charge, normally included in the check

Cucchiaio - spoon

da asporto - takeaway

Escluso – excluded

Forchetta - fork

Gluten free - senza glutine

Piatto –plate

Tazza - cup

Tovagliolo - napkin

Vegan – vegano

Vegetarian - vegetariano

Zuppa – soup



Agnello - lamb

Bistecca - steak

Cinghiale – wild boar

Coniglio - rabbit

Cotoletta - cutlet

Maiale – pork

Manzo - beef

Pollo – chicken

Salsiccia - sausage

Scaloppini - escalope

Trippa - tripe

Vitello - veal



Acciughe – anchovies

Aragosta - lobster

Baccalà - salted cod

Calamari - squid

Cozze - mussels

Gamberi - prawns

Granchio - crab

Pesce spada - swordfish

Polpo - octopus

Spigola - sea bass

Tonno - tuna


Other common food items/Altri prodotti alimentari comuni

Aceto – vinegar

Aglio – garlic

Basilico – basil

Biscotto - cookie

Burro – butter

Cacio - cheese

Capperi – capers

Carciofi – artichokes

Ceci- chickpeas

Cioccolata - chocolate

Cioccolato fondente – dark chocolate

Cipolle – onions

Fagioli – beans

Formaggio - cheese

Fragola – strawberry

Frittata – omelette

Fruta – fruit

Funghi – mushrooms

Gelato - ice cream

Grissini – breadsticks

Guanciale – cured pork jowl

Insalata – salad

Lampone – raspberry

Limetta - lime

Limone – lemon

Maionese – mayonnaise

Marmelatta – jam/marmalade

Melanzana – eggplant

Miele – honey

Minestra – soup

Nocciola – hazelnut

Noci - walnuts

Olio – oil

Olio d’oliva – olive oil

Olive – olives

Origano – oregano

Pancetta – Italian-style bacon

Pane - bread

Panini – Plural of panino (more than one sandwich)

Panino – sandwich

Pasticcini – pastries

Patate – potatoes

Pepe – black pepper

Peperoncino – red chili pepper

Peperoni – bell pepper

Pomodoro –tomato

Prezzemolo – parsley

Prosciutto – ham

Riso - rice

Rosmarino – rosemary

Sale – salt

Salsa di pomodoro – tomato sauce

Salsiccia – sausage

Salumi – cold meats/cold cuts

Salvia – sage

Senape – mustard

Sugo - sauce

Tartufi – truffles

Tramezzino - sandwich made with soft white bread, with the crusts removed

Uova - Eggs

Uva – grape

Verdure - vegetables

Zucchero – sugar



Acqua -water

Acqua frizzante/gassata – sparking water

Acqua naturale – non-carbonated water

Aperitivo - Aperitif

Aranciata – orange soda

Bicchiere d’acqua – glass of water

Bicchiere di vino – glass of wine

Birra - beer

Caffè - coffee

Latte – milk

Limonata – lemonade

Litro di vino – liter of wine

Mezzo litro di vino – half liter of wine

Succo - juice

Te – tea

Vino della casa – house wine

Vino rosso/bianco/rosé/spumante - red/white/rose/sparkling wine

Vino sfuso –wine from the cask/barrel

Food preparation/Preparazione di alimenti

Affumicato – smoked

al forno - baked

al vapore – steamed

alla griglia - grilled

Arrosto - roasted

Cotto - cooked

Crudo - raw

di stagione – in season

Fritto - fried

Ripieno - stuffed


Adjectives when ordering food or drink/Aggettivi quando ordinano cibo o bevande

al sangue – rare

Ben cotto – well done

Caldo - warm; hot

Dolce - sweet

Freddo - cold

Grande - big; tall; large

Media – medium

Piccolo - small; short

Secco - dry

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Lesson 8: Hotels


Hotels/alberghi o hotel

Now that we’ve flown to Italy and learned how to get around by different means of transportation (among other topics), it’s time to check in to your hotel.  While most 3 star and up hotels will have staff who can speak English, you might find that knowing some Italian can be helpful on occasion.  We can’t cover all types of accommodations and many contingencies in one lesson, so we’ll just offer some core vocabulary and phrases that may come in handy.  Next week we move on to food and wine!



Here’s one of many videos on Italian pronunciation:


Some key words/Alcune parole chiave

Air conditioning

Aria condizionata   











Double room

Camera matrimoniale



Floor/story of building


Front desk










Hotel room

Camera d’albergo

















Pillow case








Room service

Servizio in camera



Shared bathroom

Bagno condiviso





Single room

Camera singola



Spa/health club

Centro benessere



Swimming pool








Toilet paper

Carta igienica



Twin room

Camera Doppia

Wake-up call

Servizio sveglia



Washing machine


Check in/ il check in

At what time is breakfast/lunch/dinner?

A che ora è la colazione/il pranzo/la cena?

Can you have luggage taken to the room?

Puo fare portare i bagagli portati in camera?

Do I pay now or later?

Pago adesso o più tardi?

I have a reservation in the name of __________

Ho riservato a nome di __________

I am staying  __________ nights

Mi trattengo __________ notti

Is there a pool?

C’è la piscina?

Is there a restaurant?

C’è il ristorante?

Is there wireless internet in my room?

C'è internet wireless nella mia camera?

Where is the dining room/bar?

Dove e la sala da pranzo/il bar?

Where is the elevator?

Dove è l'ascensore?

Where is the pool?

Dov’è la piscina?

What time is check out?

Che ora è il check out

Room service/Servizio in camera

Can you please bring ________ to room number?

Per favore, ________ alla camera numero _______?

some coffee/breakfast

del café/la prima colazione

a bottle of _______/a snack

una bottiglia di ________/spuntino

some soap/a towel/toilet paper

del sapone/un asciugamano/della carta igienica

Can you wake me at ________?

Puo svegliaremi alle ore ________?

Come in


Just a minute

Solo un momento

May I have breakfast in my room?

E possibile avere colazione in camera mia?

My room number is ________

La mia camera e la numera ________

Some other phrases/Alcune altre frasi

I don't like this room

Questa camera non mi piace

I need to speak with the manager

Devo parlare con il direttore

Our room has not been cleaned

La nostra camera non è stata pulita

The room does not have any blankets

In camera non ci sono coperte

The shower does not work

La doccia non funziona

There is no hot water

Non c’è acqua calda

Check out/il check out

Can you get me a taxi?

Puo chiamarmi un taxi?

Can you have the luggage brought down?

Può far portare giu i bagagli?

Can you prepare my bill?

Mi puo preparare il mio conto?

I would like to check out.

Vorrei fare il check out

Is there a place I can leave my luggage?

C'è un posto dove posso lasciare i miei bagagli?

Thank you for everything

Grazie di tutto

There is a mistake in the bill

C'è un errore nel conto

Attachments area



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Italian Lesson 8

Michael Scardaville gets us around town!

Taxis and buses/Taxi e autobus

Knowing some Italian can help you if you decide to take any taxis or buses.  If words fail you at any point, you can always write down the address or name of your destination and show it to the driver.  Next week will focus on hotels and other accommodations  . . . after which we’ll finally get to food and wine!!!



Here’s one of many videos on Italian pronunciation:

A few key words/Alcune parole chiave



Bus driver


Bus stop (also train stop)


Bus ticket

Biglietto dell'autobus





Taxi driver


Taxi fare

Tariffa del taxi

Taxi stand

Posteggio dei Taxi


Can you tell me when to get off for __________?

Può dirmi quando scendere per__________?

Can you tell me where the bus stop is?

Mi puo’ dire dov’e’ la fermata dell’autobus?

Does this bus go to _________?

Questo autobus passa a _________?

Does this bus stop in _____?

Questo quest'autobus si ferma a _____?

How often does the bus run?

Con quale frequenza passa l'autobus?

Is this __________ street?

È questa via __________?

When does the bus for _____ leave?

Quando parte l'autobus per _____?

When will this bus arrive at _____?

Quando arriva a _____ quest'autobus?

Where can I buy a bus ticket?

Dove si compra un biglietto dell'autobus?

A bordo sull'autobus

On board the bus

Dal tabaccherie

At tobacco shops

Which bus will take me to _____?

Quale autobus mi porta a _____?

Where does this bus go?

Dove va quest'autobus?

Where is the bus to _____?

Dov'è l'autobus per _____?


Are you free?

E libero?

No, sono fuori servizio

No, I'm off duty

Could you call me a taxi, please?

Mi può chiamarmi un taxi, per favore?

How much does it cost?

Quanto costa?

How much do I owe you?

Quanto le devo?

How much does it cost to go to _____?

Quanto costa andare a _____?

How much?


I'm in a hurry.

Ho fretta.

Please take me to_____.

Per favore, mi porti ______. 

to this address/hotel

a questo indirizo/all’hotel

to the airport/to the station

all'aeroporto/alla stazione

to the hospital


to the center/downtown

al centro

to ________ Street/Square

in _________ via/piazza

Stop here, please.

Fermi qui, per favore

What is the fare to the airport?

Qual è la tariffa per l'aeroporto?

Where can I find a taxi?

Dove posso trovare un taxi?

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Italian: Car Rental

Car rental and Driving in Italy/Autonoleggio e Guidare in Italia


     It might be helpful to know some Italian if you decide you want to rent a car to visit any towns, sites, and wineries off the beaten path.  And if you do, it’s probably a good idea to know common road signs and understand some basic directions.  BTW, there are a number of map apps that can help you find the places you want to visit, but from my driving experiences in Italy, MAPS.ME, is a highly reliable (and free) offline GPS navigation app



Here’s one of many videos on Italian pronunciation:

Some key words and common road signs/Alcune parole chiave e cartelli (or segnale) stradale commune

Area di servizio (on Autostradas and highways)

Gas station with other services, including restrooms, real food and coffee (sometimes a sit-down restaurant), Wi-Fi service, children's play areas, and more.

Check out these articles on the infamous Autogrills:

The Autogrill Rest Stop on the Autostrada

A Day of Autogrills: Eating through Italy's highway rest stops






Expressway with tolls



Benzina senza piombo

Unleaded gas


Gas station


Toll both


Center of Town



Dare la precedenza






Entrata Vietata

No Entry

Lavori In Corso

Road Work Ahead

Limite di velocità

Speed limit





Parcheggio a pagamento

Pay parking

Parcheggio Vietato

No Parking


Driver’s license



Pedaggio autostrada

Toll road


Slow Down

Ritirare il biglietto

Take a ticket


Traffic light

Senso unico

One way

Stop (on a street sign)




Strada statale (abbreviated as SS)

State highway





Vietato l'Accesso

Keep Out

Vietato parcheggiare

No parking

Zona Pedonale

Pedestrian Zone

Check out these links to see the various road signs in Italy:










Straight (straight ahead)






Davanti a . . .

In front of

Di fianco a . . .


Dietro a . . .


Di fronte a. . .


Dopo il  . . .

Past the . . .

Giri a destra

Turn right

Giri a sinistra

Turn left


Far away

Prima del . . .

Before the . . .

Verso il . . .

Towards the . . .

Vicino a . . .

Next to


How do I get to _____ ?

Come si arriva a _____ ?

... the airport?


...the American Consulate? consolato Americano

...the American Embassy?

...all'Ambasciata Americana

... the bus station?

...alla stazione dell'autobus?

...downtown? centro?

...the hotel?


...the nearest gas station?

...benzinaio più vicina?

... the railway station?

...alla stazione ferroviaria?

... the restaurant?

... al ristorante ?

... the winery?

... all'azienda vinicola?

… (name of town)

... ____________________?

Can I get insurance?

Posso avere un'assicurazione?

Can I park here?

Posso parcheggiare qui?

Fill it up with unleaded gas, please

Metta il pieno di benzina senza piombo, per favore.

How long can I park here?

Quanto tempo posso parcheggiare qui?

How much does parking cost?

Quanto costa il parcheggio

I have a flat tire

Ho una gomma a terra

I want to rent a car.

Vorrei noleggiare una macchina.

Which is the road for __________?

Quale è la strada per __________?

Al semaforo prenda la prima via a destra

At the lights take the first street on the right

All’ incrocio prenda la seconda via a sinistra

At the intersection take the second street on the left

Alla rotonda giri nella seconda via

At the roundabout turn into the second street

Sempre dritto fino al semaforo

Go straight to the lights

Sempre dritto fino all’incrocio

Go straight to the intersection

Sempre dritto fino alla rotonda

Go straight to the roundabout

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Lesson 6 with Michael Scardaville

Trains and Train Stations/Treni e stazioni

This week we begin to do a bit a traveling in Italy.  This lesson will focus on some of the words and phrases you might see and use while on a train or at the train station.  Next week we’ll get you into a rental car and on the roads. Buon viaggio (Have a good trip)!



Here’s one of many videos on Italian pronunciation:

Some key words

In arrivo


In partenza


In ritardo



Ticket agent/conductor


Ticket office





Biglietto di andata e ritorno

Round-trip ticket

Biglietto di sola andata

One-way ticket


Train Car

Carrozza ristorante

Restaurant car (and bar)






(Train) stop



Numero di posto

Seat number



Porta bagagli

Luggage rack




Prima classe

First class

Sala d’attesa

Waiting room

Seconda classe

Standard or second class






Validate/stamp tickets


Train Car


Trip or Journey

On the train/Sul treno

Can I close/open the window?

Posso chiudere/aprire il finestrino?

How long until we arrive?

Tra quanto si arriva?           

Is this seat free or occupied?

Questo posto è libero o occupato?

Is this the station of ____________________?

Questa è la stazione di ____________________?

Where are the restrooms?

Dove sono i bagni?

Where is seat _______ in coach _______?

Dove il posto _______ della carrozza _______?

Where is the dining car?

Dove la carrozza/il vagone ristorante?

Which station are we at?

A que stazione siamo?

At the train station/Alla stazione dei treni

Do I have to change trains?

Devo cambiare treni?

Has the 10:30 train already departed?

Ha già partito il treno di 10:30?

How long does the trip take?

Quanto dura il viaggio?

How much does the ticket cost?/How much is the ticket?

Quanto costa il biglietto?/Quanto è il biglietto?

How much does a second-class return ticket for___________________ cost?

Quanto costa un biglietto di andata e ritorno in seconda classe per___________________?

I would like a one-way ticket (two tickets) to ___________________.

Vorrei un biglietto di sola andata (due biglietti) a  ___________________.

I would like a first/second class ticket.

Vorrei un biglietto di prima/seconda classe.

Is there a dining car on the train?

C’è un vagone ristorante sul treno?

The train is late.

Il treno è in ritardo

What platform does the train leave from?

Da quale binario parte il treno?

What time is the next train for ________________ leave?

A che ora parte il treno prossimo per ________________?

When does the train arrive/leave?

Quando arriva/parte il treno?

Where are the restrooms?

Dove sono i bagni?

Where is platform number ____________?

Dove il binario numero ____________?

Where is the baggage check area?

Dove il deposito bagagli?

Where is the customer service/information area?

Dove l'assistenza clienti?/ l'ufficio informazioni?

Where is the nearest ATM machine?

Dove è un bancomat più vicina?

Where should I get my ticket validated?

Dove si convalida il biglietto?

Leaving the train station

Is there a currency exchange office?

C'è un ufficio di cambio?

What is the best/cheapest way to get to the hotel/downtown?

Qual è il modo migliore/più economico per arrivare all'hotel?

Where can I find the bus to downtown?

Dove posso trovare l'autobus per il centro?

Where is the exit?

Dove è l'uscita?

Where is the taxi stand?

Dove è la stazione dei taxi?

Attachments area
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