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Growing up in the Butcher Shop:   Italian Hand Gestures /

                                                                     Gesti della Mano Italiani

Ciao Amici,  

     When I was growing up in the Butcher shop, I liked to watch Grandpop talk to his customers. He used body language and hand gestures to punctuate an expression. Now as my customers come into our shop, Joelene sometimes has to move out of the way because I also talk with my hands. It is true that to stop an Italian from talking just tie his hands behind his back. One of the first gestures I learned was when Grandpop would have both his arms open and say, “Vieni fra le mie braccia!” [“Come to me.”] and we would hug. When he would need me he would put his pointer finger up and tell me, “Ehi tu, vieni qui! Ascolta! [“Hey! Come here, you! Listen!] When Grandmom made the homemade pasta for Chicken Tagulina [Noodle] Soup we’d hear, “Perfetto!” ["Perfect!"] The Italian gesture for “perfect” is taking your thumb and pointer fingers together making an “O.” This Italian gesture requires that you hold that up and move the hand back and forth. Upon saying, “Bellissima" ["Beautiful"], Grandpop would twist the corners of his mouth as if to twist a mustache. Still another when talking to someone not making any sense, with both hands up with the thumb to the four fingers waving back and forth, asking "Che vuoi?" "Che cavolo dici?" ["What do you want?" "What the heck are you saying?"] As frustration sometimes would set in, Grandpop would put his hands together like in prayer, “Madonna!” ["Mother of God!"] This gesture is a desperate appeal to the Mother of God. It expresses exasperation and disbelief. Swiping the hand forward from under the chin is a gesture used with frustration, “Non mi frega" ["I don’t give a damn.”] This is offensive in some cultures, but in Italian it simply means “I don’t care.” When bed time approached Mom would put her hands together by her face and rest them, “Tempo andare dormire” [“Time to go to sleep.”] “Buonanotte, amore.” [“Good night my love”]

E un piuttosto gesto maleducato, ma almeno è chiaro quello che vuole dire.

It's a rather rude gesture, but at least it's clear what you mean.

~Katharine Hepburn

\Con cordiali saluti,


 My book, “Growing up in the Butcher Shop“is available at the shop, email us or at To receive menu specials and our newsletter Join our mailing list at our WEB PAGE: -Click on Mailing List and enter your e-mail Send us your Roseto stories, recipes and comments to E-mail:  or call us 610-588-6991

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