Move like an Italian! Final 6 Italian Gestures Decoded

Our Italian Gestures blog series has come to the end. With this post our Select Italy team will release the final 6 Italian Gestures! We’re pretty sure you have had a lot to learn in the last three weeks and feel better prepared to face Italy and the Italian gestuculation which, as we all know, usually gets everybody a bit confused!

As we said in the blog post, on Friday, Spring has Sprung, and with the good season Italians usually emerge from Winter hibernation crowding tiny streets and outdoor cafès.

I think everyone of us feel a little bit lazy and reserved during Winter time and turn in an active person once the sun shines and the weather gets warmer. I love that, especially on the weekends, when you can see people enjoying their time walking around streets markets, doing shopping or indulging in a fresh gelato.

Why this colourful introduction of what happens in Italy when Spring comes? Because it’s when Italians are outside, together, in the streets, in the markets, in the cafès, that they express themselves at their best. The voices are louder and the gestures more emphasized. Do you want to be part of this orchestra of sounds? Read on!

13. Perfetto! – That’s perfect!



This gesture should not be confused with the one Americans use.

I mean the “OK sign”, the one starting with the round “O”. Instead of having it round all you have to do is to flat the “O” down a little bit, and turn your hand. Then the movement happens at the chest level, as if you were pulling a string out of an invisible short, from the left to the right. The teacher this time is Alison, our Business Developer.

14. Mi sono dimenticato – I forgot

phil mi sono dimenticato

Mannaggia.. “mi sono dimenticato”

Have you ever seen an Italian putting the lower part of their palm on the front in a flash and screaming “Mi sono dimenticato!” I forgot about it?

This is done typically when you forget something really important or not necessarily important.

Wife: “Have you called the plumber to fix the bathroom?”

Husband (palm in the front): Mi sono completamente dimenticato, I completely forgot, I’ll call him tomorrow, amore”.

Can you feel the emphasis?

Our Senior Accounting Coordinator, Phil, is perfect in doing the “I’m really sorry, dear” husband!

15. Ti sto avvertendo / I’m warning you

Tony ti sto avvertendo

Intimidating “ti sto avvertendo”

Going on with the previous conversation, I guess the wife would tell to her husband pointing the index towards him (yes, that’s how you do this gesture!) “Ti sto avvertendo, I’m warning you, I want this done by tomorrow, otherwise no dinner for you tomorrow night!”

We didn’t find any warning wife, but you have to admit our Web Developer, Tony, knows how to warn someone!

16. Faccio le corna – Horn

Liz doing the "corna

“Faccio le corna!”

You know Italians are superstitious people. For this reason they have to come up with kind of “rituals” in order to chase the bad luck away. The horns, corna, are a protective gesture to ward off a curse or the evil eye.

To keep yourself “safe” you just need to close your hand and leave only the index and the little finger open (yes, it might be mistaken with something you throw up at a metal concert). The most famous horn in an Italian movie? The one made by Vittorio Gassman in “Il Sorpasso“. Liz, our Associate Web Designer, chose this move for you to learn.

17. Non ce n’è

Paige "non c'e' niente"

I am sorry but.. “non c’e’ niente”

This is a really particular gesture. You use non ce n’è when comparing two things, you consider one definitely better than the other one.

“Who is going to win the derby this year, AC Milan or Inter Milan?”

“AC Milan, non ce n’è!”

Paige, our Intern at the Chicago office apparently is a AC Milan supporter as me!

18. Non capisco – I don’t understand


Arianna "non capisco"

Arianna “non capisco”



Guli non capisco

Sorry “non capisco!”



non capisco Marianna

Cosa?…”non capisco”


Now you are almost a pro in Italian gesture, however the illimited world of Italian gesticulation in way broader than what we are able to teach you here. All you need to do is to gain experience on site and give yourself a challange. But if you really find yourself perplex with everything is going on, simply open your arm and start shaking your head from left to right, as if you were disagreeing, coming out with “non capisco”, I don’t understand.

Me, Marianna, Andrea, our Digital Marketing Director and Arianna, our Social Media Assistant, are showing you how to do a perfect “Non capisco!.”

Now, the lesson is over, is time to uncover the secret gesture of our General Manager, Paul:



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