5 Veneto words and phrases for travellers visiting the region
Last year, I wrote a post on 5 Sicilian words and phrases to use on the island. The article proved to be popular among readers, so I decided to write another! This time, it’s all about Veneto words and phrases for travellers visiting the region.
Veneto – a brief background
The region of Veneto is in the north-east of Italy and the 8th largest region in the country. Its capital city is the well-known, and popular tourist hotspot of Venice. The 5th most populated region in the country, Veneto borders Friuli-Venezia Giulia to the east, Emilia-Romagna to the south, and Lombardy to the west. To the north is the picturesque region of Trentino Alto-Adige/Sudtirol, home to the stunning Dolomites.
There are several provinces in Veneto, which include Verona, Padova, Vicenza and Belluno. Within these provinces are some large municipalities — some which are known for a very popular export: wine! The region’s extremely important for wine growing, and produces some well-known names including Pinot Grigot, Soave, and my favourite, Prosecco! If wine doesn’t float your boat, the region’s home to some of the most delectable foods, like Grana Padano cheese and Tiramisu.
5 Veneto words and phrases to help you talk like a local
While the majority of people in Veneto speak Italian, many also frequently use the Venetian vernacular. You’ll most likely find that it’s the older generation that tend to speak Venetian than the younger crowd. The language descends from Vulgar Latin, and dialects sit under the classification of a Western Romance language. So, if you’re ready, your brief lesson in Veneto is about to begin!
A popular Venetian word, and one you hear frequently is Bon/vabon. In essence, it means ‘good/ok’, so you can only imagine how many times a day you’ll come across it. In standard Italian, the equivalent’s ‘buono/va bene’, which means ok. You can also spot the similarity in spelling and pronunciation between the Veneto and the Italian versions.
If you enjoy a refreshing aperitivo (aperitif), you definitely need to master this next one. Veneto is home of the famous spritz, and you may need to ask for 1, or possibly more, ‘spriss’. The Venetian version consists of meeting friends in a bar after work, and before dinner, to take something to drink. Big drinkers in nature, Venetians can also be big savers. as drinking on an empty stomach means getting drunker quickly, and saving money on more spritz in the process!
“No matter the number of stories circling the origin, one thing’s clear: Venetians take their wine very seriously!”
FOLLOWING THE RIVERA
Un’ombra de vin
Another Veneto phrase, and another relating to alcohol! Meaning ‘a glass of wine’, there are many stories as to the origins of the term ‘un’ombra de vin’. The most popular story links to the Venetian custom of drinking in the shade of the bell tower to escape the summer heat.
A more elaborate version, tells of the custom of the taverns in St Mark’s Square in Venice, that used to move their tables to follow the shadow of the bell towers. A further story is that wine-sellers in St Mark’s Square continuously moved their stalls to seek the shade of the bell tower’s shadow. No matter the number of stories circling the origin, one thing’s clear: Venetians take their wine very seriously!
In standard Italian, ‘un’ombra de vin’ is ‘un bicchiere di vino’.
Let’s be honest, it’s very difficult to eat badly in Italy. Italian cuisine is one of the best, and most famous in the world, and for good reason too. However, for Venetians, eating (mangiare) and eating well (mangiare bene) are 2 very different things.
So important is this distinction, that finding a place where you can eat well is a hotbed of discussion for children, adults and the elderly! That said, when in Veneto, don’t ask for any place to eat, but one where you can eat well. Many will be delighted to answer, as well offer all the essential details. On top of that, you’ll firmly be on your way to becoming a true Venetian.
‘Lo speo’, or ‘lo spiedo’ in standard Italian, is a favorite, and ridiculously tasty, Venetian pastime! A ‘speo’ is essentially a spit roast, and whether the animal’s big or small, it’s going on the speo.
“A popular Venetian word, and one you hear frequently is Bon/vabon.”
FOLLOWING THE RIVERA
From birds to pork to fish, this is one occasion where friends and family get together for a feasting banquet.
Anyone looking to be taken seriously as a chef in Veneto, must first master the spit technique, as well as have a long and proven experience.
How did you find this post? Did you know anything about the Veneto language beforehand? Let me know your thoughts on this article, or any other below. Happy and safe travels till next time.
A big thank you to Fabio De Gobbi for his assistance on writing this post.