A to Z of Destinations
Australia, NZ and South Pacific
A to Z of Experiences
Walking and trekking
Diving and snorkelling
Wildlife and safaris
Meet the locals
Frontier and expedition
Cycling and Mountain Biking
Visiting the Poles
Career breaks and BIG trips
Body and soul
Volunteer and conservation
Australia, East Coast
Everest Base Camp
Aurora Borealis/Northern Lights
Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian railway
Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail
Cruising the Nile, Egypt
7th July 2012
Italians let their hands do the talking. Now you can too
It’s a bit of a cliché how expressive Italians are with their hands. But spend any time in the country and you’ll find yourself waving you arms around a whole lot more too. Why use words when a strategically placed digit or two can say so much more?
I spent a number of months travelling around Italy on a Vespa and one of the gestures I found myself using a lot was the one that means ‘You’re breaking my balls!’ Readers of my book, Vroom by the Sea, may even remember the scene where I use it in Sardinia to express my frustration at the sour-faced old cow who insisted I move my Vespa from a shady spot under a tree at Nuraghe Sant’ Antine. She remained nonplussed and may have well flicked back her very own gesture when I wasn't looking.
What I didn’t mention in the book was the time a carelessly flicked gesture nearly got me into a fight. I’d just arrived in San Giovanni Rotondo, the pilgrim town dedicated to all things Padre Pio, and got cut off at a roundabout by the Italian equivalent of the white van man, the beat-up ape man (apes are the tiny three-wheel vehicles Italians use as delivery vans). Without thinking I gave him the bird and he spent the next ten minutes chasing me around the town, sending flocks of nuns and pilgrims scattering in the process.
Thankfully, his underpowered ape was no match to the awesome power of Marcello, my 30-year-old Rally 200, and I was able to lose him by overtaking the tourist ‘train’ just as it was pulling up outside the pilgrimage church designed by Renzo Piano. But it was a lesson that Italians take their hand gestures very, very seriously.
So, it is with a word of caution I present a Traveller’s Guide to rude Italian hand gestures I came across on YouTube.
Remember: With great hand gestures comes great responsibility. Use your new found communication skills wisely.
For more closely-guarded intell from travel industry professionals read our Insider Secrets blog
Italy by low-cost airlines
The cheapest flights to Italy's coveted destinations – plus what to do there once you arrive... More
10 things to do for free in Siena, Italy
Wanderlust readers voted Siena their favourite European city and it’s not hard to see why. Daisy Cropper explains how to stay on budget in one of Europe’s most magical cities More
Italians and snakes
Nadia Attura faces her fears as Italy goes snake crazy More
View all posts from
You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login or get more from Wanderlust - register today!
Italy travel guide, Italy tourism and travel information including facts, maps, culture, transport, weather in Italy, and popular places to visit
Ever wondered if you could climb a mountain – crampons and all? We sent a climbing novice off to learn the ropes and summit the mighty Mont Blanc...
Venice – a patchwork of islands floating off north Italy – is one dreamy spot, but can be confusing to navigate. Resident Gillian Price helps you get the most out of this magical city
Author Steven Parissien reveals the little-known gems on the English railway system worth getting off the train for
Julia Hammond ditches the traveller's cheques and tries out a Caxton currency card New York City. How will she fare?
Put on your walking boots and discover Northern Ireland's most spectacular scenery along these awesome hiking trails
Simply select the destination you’re interested in or the activities you’re looking
for and we’ll send your request to a select panel of tour operators.
Each operator will respond to your request individually. Your details remain private
and are not disclosed to any partners unless you decide to proceed with a booking.
10% OFF at Powertraveller
Travel by coach for just £9!
Best value Northern Lights offer yet
Wanderlust sends out regular email newsletters – be the first to know about web
exclusives, competitions, hot offers and travel jobs. Register today!
I have read and agree to the Terms &
Where in the world are you? Add
#wanderlustmag to your tweets and share your latest travel adventures with
fellow Wanderlusters on wanderlust.co.uk
Get to know Wanderlust on facebook and bring all your travel-minded friends, too