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Common Italian Gestures

and When to Use Them

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March 15, 2021

Common Italian Gestures and When to Use Them

Italians like to use body language while expressing themselves. Sometimes, they even use just body language without any words. If you would like to learn the most common hand gestures in Italy and express yourself like an Italian, check out our list!

 

Finger Purse

This gesture is done by gathering your fingers together with tips pointing upwards, you should keep your hand on the level of your chest or a bit above as well. If you want to add a bit more dramatic reaction you need to shake your hand front and back.

 

WHEN DO YOU USE IT?

It is commonly used when you are fed up with someone or to express irritation and confusion.

 

WHAT TO SAY WITH IT?

  • “Che vuoi?” – “What do you want?”
  • “Che dici?” – “What are you saying?”

 

Finger Kiss

Gather your fingertips and kiss them loudly making the noise “mwah”. Then release your fingers dramatically while they are still on your face level.

 

WHEN DO YOU USE IT?

You can use it when you want to express a reward for the good work of someone. It can be a dish, a job, or anything. “You deserve a kiss!”

 

WHAT TO SAY WITH IT?

  • “Belissimo!” – “Wonderful!”
  • “Benissimo!” – “Great!”

 

Cheek Screw

Use the index finger and press on your cheek while moving it like a screw. You can also smile a bit to show that it is a good impression while looking at the person in front of you.

 

WHEN DO YOU USE IT?

This gesture expresses that you find the meal delicious and show your compliment to the person who made it. However, some Italian men use it when they see a good-looking girl as well.

 

WHAT TO SAY WITH IT?

  • “Buonissimo” – “Delicious”
  • “Buono” – “Tasty”

 

A Line Drawn on the Air

This is one of the most common gestures used in Italy. By pressing your thumb and index finger together while lifting the other fingers, you draw a fast horizontal line on the air.

 

WHEN DO YOU USE IT?

You can use this when you want to express the perfectness of anything. It can be a project, a painting, literally anything. Without words, it means “perfect”.

 

WHAT TO SAY WITH IT?

  • “Perfetto!” – “Perfect!”

 

Eyelid Pulling

Use your index finger, slightly bend your head over and pull your lower eyelid down. Do this gesture while looking at the person you want to communicate with.

 

WHEN DO YOU USE IT?

This means “Pay attention”, so use it to make someone watch out for anything that can be dangerous or annoying.

 

WHAT TO SAY WITH IT?

  • “Fa attenzione” – “Be careful”
  • “Attenzione!” – “Attention!”

 

Hands Together in Prayer

Put your hands in a prayer position on the chest level and shake them front and back.

 

WHEN DO YOU USE IT?

You can use this gesture to ask someone for a little help. However, in Italy, it is generally used to express frustration over a situation. You can use it while expressing a bad habit of someone or a situation that you are fed up with.

 

WHAT TO SAY WITH IT?

  • “Per favore” – “Please”
  • “Ti prego” – “I beg you”
  • “Ma va!” – “Come on!”
Sude
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Category: Rome, Blog, Milan