Country info

ITALY

Italy is a parliamentary democratic republic with 59.8 million people and it is a founding member of the European Union.  The capital city is Rome and the native language is Italian. Most Italians are Roman Catholic.

Italy occupies an elongated boot-shaped peninsula, surrounded by theTyrrhenian Sea and the Adriatic Sea. The Apennine Mountains form the peninsula's backbone and the Alps form the northern boundary. The largest of its lakes is Garda. The Po is Italy's principal river. There are several islands, the largest are Sicily and Sardinia.

Italian contribution to the cultural and historical heritage of Europe is huge and Italy is home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

 

The school year starts in September. There is a two-week holiday at Christmas. There is a one-week holiday at Easter. The school year is over by the beginning of June.

Italians have three main meals a day. Breakfast can be quite light. Lunch is substantial and it is eaten around 13.00 - 14.00 and evening meals are eaten around 19.00 - 20.00.

TIPS FOR FOREIGNERS

GIVE THANKS

A simple "grazie" (thank you) will be helpful in every situation.

ABOUT TALKING

Don't mind full gaps. Italians speak a lot!

 

FRIENDLY KISS

Italians kiss each other twice on the cheek.

Hello! – Ciao!

Bye! – Ciao!/ Arrivederci!

Yes – Si

Thank you. – Grazie.

You're welcome. – Prego.

How are you? – Come stai?

How are you? – Come stai?

I'm fine, thanks. – Bene, grazie.

Excuse me... – Mi scusi...

ESSENTIAL ITALIAN

What others thought of their trip to Italy?

EXCHANGE REPORTS

Tia, Finland

"So if you are thinking about going to exchange from ESN, I say go for it. I got new friend, and I know that our friendship is going to last. I used to be really nervous about speaking English to strangers but not anymore. The experience was so amazing and I’m so glad that I put my shy side away and did this..."

Pedro, Portugal (group exchange)

"My host family told me that Rome is one of the European capitals with more green spaces, and I understood why: the city is full of ancient ruins from the Roman Empire and around them there are a lot of trees and plants. It is a beautiful city..."

Patrìcia, Portugal (group exchange)

"I recommend the ESN exchange because it´s nice to have the chance to know other countries and other cultures. It is a wonderful experience. I would love to participate in another exchange program again, because I would like to know more about other countries. This experience has really changed me..."

Maria, Portugal (group exchange)

"I had never travelled this way so I was a bit scared before I travelled. Now I realise it is a good way to visit new places. I liked the house where I stayed a lot because it was very big and I had a bedroom just for me. The family was very nice.[...] For me, who had never travelled outside Portugal, it was very cool."

Mafalda, Portugal (group exchange)

"This experience was amazing to me. At the beginning I was afraid. But now I’d love to do another exchange if I had the chance. I think that with the experience I became more talkative and less shy. I am not afraid of the unknown and I want to try new things and meet new people. I totally recommend an experience like this one to everyone!"

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