It is time to take your Italian placement test.

It is time to take your Italian placement test. 

As a teacher I need to evaluate my students and to be able to place them in an appropriate learning environment.  Placement tests are meant to determine a student’s language skill level so that with the test results in hand, an adviser and student can sit down and determine a course that would best suit the student. A class below the student’s ability would not benefit their education, and a class far above their ability could prove frustrating.   

I believe that placement tests are also a good starting point after taking a long break.  

Perhaps you’ve taken time off over the summer and are now going back to school, college or work.  I am sure that the placement test will help you to understand what is your language level and what you need to revise.   

Relax, take your test by clicking the link below, review your answers, and write down your mistakes. Indeed, making mistakes is important. Knowing what works, and what needs our attention is essential. They say that success in any domain is simply a result of making a large amount of tiny mistakes over time 🙂 

If you have any questions please let me know, I will be happy to help you to improve your Italian. 


  1. Fuori ufficio means out of office. When you send the email to your Italian colleagues and you receive 100000 out of office replies, you know that it’s August. Here are some “sono fuori ufficio” emails I have received this year:

2. Chiuso per ferie – closures of stores, bars and bureaucratic offices can be frustrating. 

You just need to accept that completing certain tasks will be impossible until September!

Don’t worry while many businesses in the larger cities may be closed, museums and tourist shops will be open and bustling.

3. Ferragosto – is a key word! Ferragosto is a true celebration of summer! It is an Italian national holiday and holy day of obligation in the Catholic Church celebrated on 15 August in all of Italy. Ferragosto is, next to Christmas, Easter and New Years, the most important holiday in Italy.

4. Fa caldo. (It’s hot.)

August is typically Italy’s hottest month, and that’s coupled with high humidity in many parts of the country. This is one of the main reasons August is the vacation month for most Italians.

5. Dove si trova la spiaggia? ( Where is a beach?)

Where’s everybody gone?

Many Italians take their summer vacation in August, that is why the cities are emptying and the beaches are filling up. If you want to meet locals, go to the beach:)

False friends in Italian – the words that seem friendly because they’re so close to English but then turn around and trick you.  
Here is the list of 30 false friends that even today I found a little bit confusing and need to think twice before using them:) 

1.      Conveniente

means good value
Convenient is translated as comodo, adatto, opportuno

2.      Delusione

means disappointment
Delusion is translated as illusione

3.      Duomo

means cathedral
Dome is translated as cupola

4.      Educazione

doesn’t mean education but good manners
Education actually means cultura, istruzione

5.      Estate

means summer
Estate is translated as proprietà

6.      Fabbrica

means factory
Fabric is translated as tessuto

7.      Fattoria

doesn’t mean factory but farm
Factory is translated as fabbrica

8.      Libreria

means bookshop, bookcase
Library is translated as biblioteca

9.      Magazzino

means warehouse
Magazine is translated as periodico, rotocalco

10.   Novella

means tale, short story
Novel is translated as romanzo

11.   Pace

means peace
Pace is translated as andatura, passo

12.   Partire

means to leave
(to) part is translated as separare, dividere

13.   Patente

means licence
Patent is translated as brevetto

14.   Pavimento

doesn’t mean pavement but floor
Pavement is translated as marciapiede

15.   Preservativo

means contraceptive, condom
Preservative is translated as conservante

16.   Pretendere

doesn’t mean pretend but to claim
(to) pretend is translated as far finta

17.   Rata

means installment
Rate is translated as velocità, tasso, livello

18.   Ricoverare

doesn’t mean recover but to admit, to be hospitalised
(to) recover is instead translated as guarire

19.   Ritenere

means to think, to believe
(to) retain is translated as conservare, trattenere

20.   Riversare

means to pour
(to) reverse is translated as invertire, far marcia indietro

21.   Simpatico

means nice, likeable, pleasant
Sympathetic is translated as comprensivo, compassionevole

22.   Sopportare

means to bear, to stand, support
(to) support is translated as sostenere, mantenere

23.   Stanza

doesn’t mean stanza but room
Camera is translated as macchina fotografica

24.   Straniero

means foreigner
Stranger is translated as sconosciuto, estraneo

25.   Testo

means text
Test is translated as prova, esame, saggio

26.   Vacanza

means holiday
Vacancy is translated as posto di lavoro disponibile

27.   Società

doesn’t always mean society but normally company, firm
Society is normally used to mean alta società, associazione, confraternita

28.   Rumore

means noise
Rumour (UK) is translated as voce diffusa, gossip

29.   Confrontare

means to compare
(to) confront is translated as far fronte a, affrontare

30.   Candido

means pure, innocent
Candid is translated as schietto

10 Italian words that Mr Fellini will teach you

  1. Il capolavoro – Opera di grande eccellenza; propr., la migliore in una serie di opere (di un artista, di un periodo, di una scuola ( eng. masterpiece) Masterpieces La dolce vita (1960) and 8½ (1963). It’s in these two films that Fellini really pushed his creativity to the limit, embarking on huge, ambitious canvasses that redefined what cinema was capable of.

2. Le donne. The women who both attracted and frightened him.

3. Il regista – La persona che ha la responsabilità artistica e operativa di una rappresentazione (cinematografica, teatrale, televisiva) o di una trasmissione radiofonica (eng. director). Fellini was voted the 10th Greatest Director of all time by Entertainment Weekly. First Italian to have been nominated for for the Best Director Oscar!

4. Il Maestro – Persona particolarmente abile, che eccelle in uno o in più campi di attività, tanto da poter costituire un modello. There is no doubt, that Federico Fellini is Italy’s maestro of cinema!

5. Sognare – Immaginare che qualcosa possa accadere; prevedere (eng. to dream). “Talking about dreams is like talking about movies, since the cinema uses the language of dreams; years can pass in a second and you can hop from one place to another. It’s a language made of image. And in the real cinema, every object and every light means something as in a dream.”

6. La sua amante – chi ha una relazione amorosa extraconiugale o segreta (eng. his lover)  He adored his wife and was flagrantly unfaithful. Fellini once said that it’s easier to be faithful to a restaurant than it is to a woman. When he cast Sandra Milo in 8 1/2 (1963), to play a part based on a long-time mistress named Anna Giovannini, he promptly began sleeping with Milo as well.

7. Paparazzi. The term “paparazzi” comes from a character named Paparazzo in his film, La Dolce Vita (1960), who is a journalist photographing celebrities.

8. Autobiografico – Di scritto o atteggiamento letterario fondato sul carattere o le vicende personali dell’autore stesso (eng. autobiographic)  Much of the time Fellini’s life resembled a Fellini movie, he used to put his deepest desires and anxieties before the lens. His most celebrated alter ego was Marcello Mastroianni, in “La Dolce Vita,” “8 1/2” and “City of Women.”

9. Stacanovista – chi dimostra un esagerato attaccamento al lavoro, o chi lavora con un’intensità esasperata (eng. workaholic) Mr. Fellini wrote all his scripts and supervised every creative detail, including the final editing. He was a perfectionist who repeatedly reshot many scenes in a process that usually took two years.

10. Controverso – Che è oggetto di controversia: opinioni c.; d’interpretazione incerta e dibattuta (eng. controversial). Fellini was devoted to Movies, Not to Commerce. Very often his films were controversial. Even “La Dolce Vita” shocked many Italians and was proscribed by the Roman Catholic Church, but it became a huge success in Italy and around the world.

A gesture is worth a thousand words...

Italian gestures

A gesture is worth a thousand words…

Love. Fury. Passion. Italians are well known for expressing themselves through body language and hand gestures, as if the feelings inside them can’t be expressed in words, but require an accusing finger, an appeal to the heavens, a shake of the fist.

 I higly recommend you this lovely book, first published in 1958 by Milanese artist and graphic designer Bruno Munari. Charming black-and-white photos and wry captions evoke an Italy of days gone by…

Munari’s pocket-sized version features frugally descriptive text and ample, elegant black-and-white photographs of hand-gestures for everything from mundane activities like reading and writing to emotive expressions of praise and criticism.

Let’s have a quick look inside together:






Speak Italian – The fine art of the gesture – can be found on Amazon.

If you are interested to see some more basic Italian gestures, please see highlighted stories —> our Instagram account – @espressoitalianoonline

Un abbraccio,


Ci facciamo l’orecchio – puntata quattro

Oh dolce far niente…

Lets talk today about art of doing nothing or literally “the sweetness of doing nothing”.

Have you ever wondered how is it possible that the country that for ages is famous for having a creative superpower is also famous for doing nothing?

Nowadays doing nothing is seen as a waste of time. Many go on to seek constant stimulation. It’s as if there is a new commandment: never be bored!

But even if it appears nothing is happening, the brain is hard at work. The reason people create when they’re bored is because when the brain is under-stimulated a particular network, known as the default mode, is activated. Every single artistic leap or bright idea is born into this amazing network!

Creation emerges out of nothingness!

Read the following text and try to guess what are the missing words. Listen to the text and check your answers. Do you know the meaning of all the missing words?

Don’t forget to write in the comments what do you think of the idea of dolce far niente!

Comments in Italian are the best 🙂

un abbraccio,



Ci facciamo l’orecchio – puntata tre

“Language learning is not only about difficult and boring grammar …”

It turns out that you can improve your linguistic skills, while discovering natural ways to preserve a young and beautiful appearance. How is this possible?

Today’s set of exercises will dispel your doubts.

To better understand the text, read the glossary before listening to the audio. Write down all the new words for you. Read the questions and press PLAY. You can listen to the text twice.

 Un bacio,

Agata & Alessio

„Nauka języka to nie tylko trudna i nudna gramatyka…”

Okazuje się, że można doskonalić umiejętności lingwistyczne w danym języku, przy równoczesnym odkrywaniu naturalnych sposobów na zachowanie młodego i pięknego wyglądu. Jak to możliwe?

Dzisiejszy zestaw ćwiczeń rozwieje Wasze wątpliwości.

W celu lepszego zrozumienia tekstu, przed jego wysłuchaniem zapoznajcie się ze słowniczkiem. Zapiszcie sobie wszytkie dla Was nowe słówka.

Zapoznajcie się z pytaniami i naciśnijcie PLAY. Możecie wysłuchać tekst dwukrotnie.

Jak Wam poszło?

Un bacio,

Agata & Alessio

Congiuntivo, dlaczego jest sexy?

Kilka lat temu ukazał sie artykuł NON CALPESTARE IL CONGIUNTIVO, autorem, którego jest dziennikarz B. Severgnini.

Jeśli dotarliście już w procesie nauki języka włoskiego do congiuntivo, to oznacza, że możecie przeczytać ten artukuł sami, do czego serdecznie was zachęcam. Jeśli congiuntivo jest jeszcze przed wami, to aby poniższy artykuł był zrozumiały, musicie wiedzieć, że congiuntivo jest  trybem służącym m.in do wyrażania wątpliwości, wszystkiego, co nie jest faktem, a raczej naszym przekonaniem, naszą opinią. To niesamowite, że na poziomie gramatyki (a nie bezpośrednio za pomocą słów) możemy nadać takie zabarwienie naszym wypowiedziom!

Powróćmy zatem do artykułu.  B. Severgnini zastanawia się w nim, dlaczego Włosi coraz rzadziej używają congiuntivo. Według autora, coraz częściej na włoskiej ulicy możemy usłyszeć np; ‘Credo che con il pesce si può bere anche il vino rosso’, zamiast ‘Credo che con il pesce si possa anche bere il vino rosso’.

Severgnini twierdzi, że kryzys congiuntivo spowodowany jest faktem, iż coraz rzadziej wątpimy. Staliśmy się zbyt pewni swoich racji, aby używać congiuntivo?

„La crisi del congiuntivo -ripeto- ha un’origine chiara: pochi oggi pensano, credono e ritengono; tutti sanno e affermano.”

Brak wątpliwości stał się cechą naszego pokolenia. Kolejnym znamieniem według dziennikarza jest konsumpcjonizm. W świecie, gdzie kupić można wszystko, największą wartość ma to, czego trzeba się nauczyć.

“Ora che tutto si compra, infatti, sta diventando prezioso quello che s’impara.”

I tu dochodzimy do sedna! Okazuje się, że poprawne użycie congiuntivo robi większe wrażenie niż firmowa torebka  czy nowy zegarek. Język stanie się cechą szczególną, wyróżniającą nas, czymś pożądanym!

[…] il linguaggio diventerà un segno distintivo, qualcosa che permetterà di farsi notare.

Osobiście uważam, że  bardzo mało używam congiuntivo. Zmotywowana artykułem i moimi przemyśleniami, w marcu postanowiłam codziennie wrzucać na instastories jedno zdanie z użyciem congiuntivo. Tak, aby przez miesiąc codziennie o nim pomysleć, chociaż na minutę lub dwie.

Poniżej znajdziecie wszystkie zdania z mojego wyzwania. Niestety nie jest ich 31 (tyle, co marzec ma dni ), przyznaję się,  że kilka dni mi uciekło.  

Często te zdania reprezentują konkretną zasadę użycia congiuntivo. Zapamietując, że w tego typu zdaniu TRZEBA użyć congiuntivo, zapamiętujemy zasadę i na ich podstawie możemy budować kolejne zdania.

Jeśli ktoś chciałby sobie zaaplikować podobną terapię, to dajcie znać, będę kibicować i mocno trzymać kciuki!  

A presto,



Ci facciamo l’orecchio – puntata numero due.

[ENG] Dr Paul Sulzberger has found that the best way to learn a language is through frequent exposure to its sound patterns. This new study has been my inspiration for today exercise.

Please listen to a recording (if you need, you can listen to it twice) and answer the below questions. Check your answers with the key in the PDF file.

Good luck!

[PL] „Zdolność uczenia się nowych słów jest zależna od tego, jak często jesteśmy wystawieni na wysłuchiwanie go w różnych kontekstach”  to odkrycie Paula Sulzberga stało się inspiracją do dzisiejszych ćwiczeń.

Za chwilę wysłuchasz nagrania (możesz zrobić to dwukrotnie), a nastepnie odpowiedz na poniższe pytania. Swoje odpowiedzi porównaj z kluczem dostępnym w pliku PDF.