Criniti's Blog
How to speak like an Italian dad

Italian fathers are a unique breed, known for their quirky sayings and distinctive traits. If you’ve had any interaction with an Italian father, you’ll know that they are particularly fond of using hand gestures to get their point across.

The problem is, unless you’re educated in the ways Italian gesticulation, the meaning of these hand singnals is not always straight forward. We’ve compiled a list of some of the more common dad gestures to give you a hand (pun intended) understanding the Italians in your life.


Perhaps the most recognisable and widely used, this gesture means that something is really good – usually used in relation to food eg. “This pasta is bellissimo!”


The pursed fingers are a gesture full of meaning! They can be used to emphasise a statement eg. “You don’t know what you’re talking about!” or ask a question eg. “Who do you think you are?!”


Meaning: Nothing, particularly in relation to money i.e. “I have no money” (a gesture Papa Cosimo has often used on his 4 children and the brood of Criniti grandchildren)


When papa uses this one you should run in the other direction! Biting the hand is another way of saying “If I catch you…!” meaning you are in big trouble!


This is one that we like to see… It means perfecto!


Meaning “calm down” or “stay calm”, this gesture is particularly useful in a passionate Italian household!


And last, but not least, this gesture relates to your appetite – how typically Italian, things always revolve around food! This one means “I’m hungry” or “are you hungry?” (hint: the answer is always yes!)


Have you got any Italian hand gestures to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!

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