How to drive your Italian lover crazy!


Naples, Italy

Out for a late night cioccolata with my handsome Italian companion, he suddenly leaned forward to kiss me.  Finalmente!  I had heard about how romantic Italian men are, and now I was being given a chance to test the theory.  Fortunately, my charming companion was a talented kisser and did not disappoint.  Alas for my cioccolata, it went unfinished!


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.


Fast forward a few months.  I had been the recipient of endless kisses; soulful looks (oh, those Italian eyes!); moonlit nights looking out over il Mediterraneo; and lessons on how to say important things like, "amore," and "il mio ragazzo."  During one of our Italian lessons, I had the chance to return the favor and drive him as crazy as he'd been driving me.


Me: Amore, I seem to have a hard time keeping the words for juice, sugar, soup, and pumpkin straight.  Especially pumpkin.  Could you remind me what they are?

Him: Juice is succo, sugar is zucchero, soup is zuppa, and pumpkin is zucca.

I frowned.

Me: But if you mean 'pumpkin', why don't you just say 'pumpkin'?

Him: . . .

Me: Gotcha!


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.


Ah, Italia — home of so much art, history, and worldly influence!  I love to eat your food, visit your volcanoes, take in your art, be wowed by your history — and drive your people insane!

Below are other ways you can encourage the Italians you know and love to emote dramatically using a gesture known as The Facepalm.  If you're very good at it, you might even elicit an "O, dio!" and a look toward the heavens.


Driving Your Italian Lover Crazy:

– When discussing politics say, "What do Italians know about democracy?"  (For bonus points add, "Everyone knows it was invented in the US!")

– Some point during every romantic interlude, burst into song with That's Amore.

– Say, "Yeah, it's good, but French wine is better."

– Enter a McDonald's in Italy and try to pay in dollars.  Insist, "It's an AMERICAN restaurant, fercryinoutloud!"

– Douse all your food with ketchup.

– Shriek, "Don't you people have any idea how to drive?!"

– Apply pronounciation rules you learned in high school Spanish class: "Feh-tah-SEE-nee!"

– Ask if he'd like to pack some "paninis" and go on a picnic.*

– Cut your spaghetti with a knife.

– Put tomatoes and mozzarella in the refrigerator.  Be forceful — who cares about flavor?  We're talking hygiene, people!

– Insist that mozzarella is cheese.**

– Frequently tell your lover that you look forward to the day when you can move together to a country that knows a little something about civilization.


*Un panino, due panini.  Saying "paninis" is like saying "sandwicheses."

**No, seriously.  To Italians, it's something above and beyond cheese.  Just because it's a meltable dairy product made with enzymes does NOT make it cheese.  This issue has no shelf life — you can go on about it forever!


Cupid, whose head apparently exploded when he read the above list.


The possibilities are endless!  I mean, yeah, yeah, flowers and candlelit dinners are nice, but if you REALLY seek passion and romance, just study the culture.  You are guaranteed to bring out the craziness!

Baci e abbracci!


(ps: He seems to like me despite all this.  Maybe he was crazy to begin with.  ;)


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  1. Ha ha, great take on those silly homonyms. I still can’t get scarves and shoes straight. My rant:

    1. It is baffling. Why don’t they make things easier for the rest of the world, anyway?

      I see you’ve been to Venice. Did you visit the Doge’s palace and climb the Scala d’Oro with your scarpe di meraviglia, while perhaps also wrapped in a sciarpa? You know, because scala – scarpa – sciarpa. The end.

  2. Trish Sanchez says:

    Oh, and the democracy thing? I’ll try to research for more details just incase so I wont look stupid once he did the questionings. hahaha!!!

  3. Trish Sanchez says:

    Hahaha!!! This is so interesting! I’m now on my 2nd date with my italian lover. I think I’ll do these as possibly as i can. I love the mozarella and ketchup advices! I’ll definitely do them (hope he’ll really be crazy for me)! Hahaha! Thanks Katrina! :)

  4. Jessamyn says:

    Rather late reply given the blog date but here goes nothing…

    This cracked me up for 2 reasons. I am a 1st gen American from solid Italian stock (with a tiny taint of Irish)so I realize the egregiousness of these many (on purpose) faux pas. Secondly, I have an Italian lover who has great difficulty pronouncing my Irish first name. Really, he butcher’s the hell out of it! Now I have a route to revenge thanks to you. With my strong, old world Italian ubringing I never thought to make these kinds of statements.
    Thank you!

    1. Hahaha! Just doing my bit to keep the passion alive. ;)

  5. You cracked me up while reading this because I don’t know how crazy you were making your Italian lover, but you were making me start to gather steam – cut the spaghetti?! Put ketchup on everything?! :) It’s exactly what my husband does to me all the time! (I’m from Argentina, which is like a 2nd Italy in South America)

    1. … and of course while I was reading this out loud to my Dutch husband, he went, “what’s wrong with putting ketchup on pasta?” and he got me going again!! :)

      1. Omg! NOOOO! Ketchup on *pasta*? Even *I* know that’s a crime against humanity! Please tell me he was just saying that to rev your engine, lol.

        1. Yes, and the argument goes on, and on … :) We’re still going on about it. “How’s ketchup different from tomato sauce?” and then, “what difference does it make if I whizz the onion, garlic, basil and tomato in the blender instead of chopping everything on the cutting board?” :D

          1. Oh, dear! Time for a basic chemistry class, methinks! (Secretly glad there are some who torture their mates more than I torture mine – whew! ;)

  6. oh this is hilarious. Due to the close proximity of my home country and Italy, I learned to understand Italian perfectly by watching Italian TV. From Italian programmes I learnt all about the culture quirks and details which you’re mentioning here. Pity that I have never been. AAAA!!!

    1. Can you break away from your family for Christmas or New Year’s, Denise? We will be in Rome with for a big family holiday and they always tell us to bring friends. You’d be more than welcome. Seriously!

      Alternately, we are tentatively planning on heading to Trentino in early 2012. Maybe you could come down the mountain from Switzerland and meet us. :D

      And what do you mean you’ve never been to Italy? You’ve never even taken the ferry over to Catania for the big ol’ outdoor market? They RUN that stuff based on the Malta ferry schedule!

      ps: are you a member of Couchsurfing, by chance? Wonder if you know my two Maltese buddies who hiked Etna with me. :D

  7. Wick says:

    Haha, funny post! :)

    By the way mozzarella *is* cheese, and I never heard anyone say it isn’t.
    The ketchup on all the food thing made me cry inside, though, probably because I saw several foreigners do this.

    (I’m Italian, if it wasn’t clear!)

    1. The funny thing about the ketchup is that first heard about this from an American from California who moved to Utah. There were advertisements for Mexican food where a little blond boy was putting ketchup on a burrito — she (and I, upon the telling of the tale) was horrified. I found myself doing this in Italy occasionally, but only with roast potatoes that didn’t have rosemary on them, and only at home. ;)

      Regarding mozzarella, you must have more sensible friends and family than I do. I checked to make sure it wasn’t just a Neapolitan thing by asking friends from Florence, and they agreed — mozzarella is in its own special category and cheese is something different. (It gets even crazier when you get into mozzarella di bufala, especially with Neapolitans — it’s like a national art form!)

      Maybe Florence wasn’t far enough away for proper scientific sampling of cheese views however. ;)

  8. Armelle says:

    Hahahaha!! Yeah!!
    Another thing Americans might do that would drive us (Italians and French alike I am sure) crazy is add coke to wine… It si such a sacrilege!!
    Love your posts and humor Katrina :)

    1. Are you serious? I’ve never heard of such a thing. Sometimes silly mixtures with juice and champagne, but soda? Egad!

  9. What! Mozzarella is not cheese?!

    1. Dina, you have magical under-the-radar commenting powers! How do I keep missing your posts?

      Actually, just the other day, there was a radio contest we heard while riding the bus to Galway “What are gouda, brie, and mozzarella?” I poked Dario — HARD. “See? Mozzarella IS cheese!” He just rolled his eyes at me.

      Apparently the process for making mozzarella is quite special and different compared to other, ah, dairy products. And the idea of “grated mozzarella” that we find in bags here in Ireland — impossibile! It simply does not exist! You cannot grate it; it’s too soft. So whatever it is that’s in those bags, it is NOT, I am assured, mozzarella!

  10. Haha – I’m half Italian…loved this =)

    1. I’m always happy to amuse! Well, as long as it does not involve me getting a cream pie in the face, that is.

      Thanks for reading. :D

  11. Love this! So funny.

    I’d also like to hear more about this Italian lover!

    1. Thanks, Cathy! Your comment made me think I should start tagging posts where I mention him. I’ll start doing that from now on! In the meantime, you can find a few posts that mention him by typing “Dario” in the search box in the upper right. :D

  12. Hah, this is great

    1. As always, Phil, it’s great to make people *I* consider funny laugh. Woohoo! Geek points to me!

  13. This is hilarious! I might just borrow the idea and write one about driving my British husband crazy :) just kidding! The caption below Cupid’s photo is priceless. I’d have loved to see your Italian lover’s face when you said those things.

    1. Ana, just for you, I walked out into the kitchen and said, “Dario, what do ITALIANS know about democracy?” and snapped a photo:


  14. Haha this is too funny! I didn’t know the mozzarella thing… my Italian is a bit American-ized (which was his own doing before we met, not mine) so I don’t get a lot of comments but there is the little things when it comes to cooking pasta and other Italian-inspired dishes. I just leave it to him so I don’t have to hear, omigod, you didn’t put salt in the water… ugghhh… Catastrophe!

    1. I KNOW! I’m always so worried when I end up on cooking duty. The other day, due to extenuating circumstances, I got tasked with making pizza dough — unsupervised! He is Neapolitan, too. OMG! No pressure there!

      In case you were worried, it came out pretty good. We even had a Skype conversation with Mamma about it. ;)

  15. I’ve learned Latin men also hate French references, what’s with foreign men hating the Frenchies!

    1. Maybe because French folks are perceived as unfairly venerated for being graceful and awesome? The thing is, I have a handful of French friends and they ARE awesome. I also stopped to watch people walking down a Paris sidewalk once and — DAYUM! — they were graceful and chic as all get out!

      Yeah, it’s probably just awesome-envy.

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