5 Venetian dialect phrases for travelers visiting the region
Last year, I wrote a post on 5 Sicilian words and phrases to use on the island. The article proved popular, so I decided to write another! This time, it’s all about Venetian dialect phrases for travelers 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. Veneto’s the 5th most populated region in the country. It 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 exporting wine. The region’s 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 food, such as Grana Padano, is also very good.
5 Venice phrases to start you speaking like a local
While the majority of people in Veneto speak Italian, many also frequently use the Venetian language. 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. Get your pen and paper ready as your brief lesson in Veneto is about to begin.
Venetian dialect phrase 1. Bon/vabon
A popular Venetian word, and one you hear frequently is Bon/vabon. In short, it means ‘good/ok’, so you can imagine how many times a day you’ll come across it. In standard Italian, it’s also the equivalent of ‘buono/va bene’, which means ok. You can also spot the similarity in spelling and pronunciation between the Veneto and the Italian versions.
2. Spriss – Venetian words
If you enjoy your aperitivo (aperitif), you definitely need to master this one. Veneto’s 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. 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
3. Un’ombra de vin
Another Veneto phrase that also relates 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 bell tower’s shadow to escape the heat.
Another is about the custom of the taverns in St Mark’s Square in Venice. Patrons would move their tables to follow the shadow of the bell towers. The final one tells the story of wine-sellers moving their stalls to get shade from the bell tower’s shadow. No matter the number of stories regarding its origin, it’s clear that Venetians take their wine very seriously.
In standard Italian, ‘un’ombra de vin’ is ‘un bicchiere di vino’.
4. Magnar ben — Venice words and dialect
It’s very difficult to eat badly in Italy. Italian cuisine is one of the best, and most famous in the world. 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. In fact, don’t be surprised to see many Venetians discussing it with a passion.
That said, in Veneto, you shouldn’t ask for a 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 thinking like a true Venetian.
5. Lo speo — Venetian dialect and phrases
‘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 fowl to pork to fish, this is one occasion where friends and family get together for a feasting banquet. Any aspiring speo chef in Veneto must first master the spit technique, and have a long and proven experience.
How did you find this post? Did you enjoying learning these Venetian dialect and phrases? Let me know your thoughts below.
Happy and safe travels till next time. xx
A big thank you to Fabio De Gobbi for his assistance on writing this post.
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Welcome to my site! I'm Lisa, founder of Following the Rivera. I write primarily for a ‘flashpacker’ audience; a demographic (late 20s onwards) that enjoys glamping over camping, staying at boutique/luxury boutique hotels, sampling the local food and wine, cultural activities, and indulging in a spot of wellness on their travels. Read more here…