Learn Italian and Italian Hand Signals: Travel Your Way in Italy!

You do not have to speak a word of Italian to explore Italy. Italian hand signals, an outgoing personality, and a genuine smile are all you require. You’ll be all set to explore Il Bel Paese before you know it.

If you learn Italian online, you will be better off enjoying Italian culture and relating to Italians. Nonetheless, here’s a short guide to Italian hand gestures that you can apply to supplement your Italian.

To explore Italy, you do not have to speak a word of Italian. Italian hand signals, an outgoing personality, and a genuine smile are everything you need. Before you know it, you’ll be able to conquer Il Bel Paese.

Still, you are better off studying Italian before you leave. To guide you, however, you can utilize these Italian hand signals.

Un momento!

In English, this means “one moment, please.” Just make a number one with your index finger, pointing upwards. You can also use this to mean “may I speak, please?”, though learning Italian will come handy then.

Ho fame

” I’m hungry”, is what this conveys. Hit your stomach with the side of your flat hand to send a clear message to your hosts to feed you. Learn Italian to know the difference between polipo and pollo if you’re sick of pasta and pizza. You will be able to prevent allergies and grasp Italian food better.

Ehi tu, vieni qui

“Come here”, this hand gesture conveys. It’s the same come hither gesture used in America. You must use this with care because this could seem sexually inviting or rude. It is still safer practice to learn to say “prego, potete aiutarli” to ask somebody to come over.


This is done by pressing your index finger to your lips, the universal gesture of “silence.” But successfully explaining why you want quiet is another story. You’ll need to learn Italian to achieve this!


You can aptly translate this as “I have an idea!” Simply put your hand on your head and wear a happy face, and you have conveyed that you do have an idea. But putting your great idea across will require time and effort if you didn’t bother to study Italian.


To compliment somebody with a perfect score, use the thumbs and index fingers of both hands to create a circle. This is very useful in your Italian travels as this does not demand that you speak Italian.

Scusi, devo andare al bagno

Put on a pained expression while holding up your index and middle fingers if you want to go to the bathroom. This is handy if you need frequent bathroom trips.

This is a very useful signal that translates to “I have to go to the rest room.” Just hold up your index and middle fingers, put on a pained expression, and you’ll be directed to the closest bathroom. For the diarrhea-prone traveler, this is very important indeed.

Indeed, it’s sheer poetry, these Italian signals. To read Italian street signs and speak with the locals, though, learning Italian is still handy. You can choose to have the best of both worlds.

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2 Responses to Italy

  1. lilsunshineray08 says:

    I’m going to Italy for June 29-July 28 for a summer school in Italy and touring program. Rome is where I’ll be.

    Is there anything specific I should bring?

    Is there anything at all anyone can tell me about being in Italy?

    Thanks in advance :)

  2. mareeclara says:

    I found them pretty good with speaking English…France was much tricker to get around!!

    I found a couple of funny sayings…when I wanted to have water with my meal, they would ask if I wanted it natural or “with gas”……I nearly laughed the first time I heard it…I would say fizzy or carbonated!!!

    I love Italia!!

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