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Learning Italian Gestures with Bruno Munari


Learning Italian gestures with Bruno Munari is easy and fun. Using graphics, the Italian culture behind gestures is more clear than ever. 

Bruno Munari was an Italian designer and visual artist who taught a lot to designers, and architects whether inside and outside its classes at Harvard. A lot of his work is about everyday objects and everyday languages. Among his artworks and books about gestures, “Speak Italian” is the best dictionary to have if you would like to understand literally ‘the fine art of the gesture’. The book contains the explanation and the instructions to perfectly emulate Neapolitans. 


BookingNaples proposes a selection of some of the gestures that are frequently used in Napoli. Even if the reference of the title is the Italian culture, Neapolitan People is one of the most theatrical. Even Bruno Munari himself notes it in the preface, providing ancient Neapolitan prints where gestures are evident. 


If you can’t say more than ‘ciao’, take notes about Italian gestures to use once you come to Italy! The aim of Munari is to give foreigners visiting Italy a supplement to understand Italian culture. 


Speak Italian through gestures with Bruno Munari

  • Non me ne importa!
    (lit. I don’t care!)

The hand touches the chin then moves forward

i don't care italian gesture






  • Ti prego!
    (lit. Please!)

This gesture is imploring movement to obtain something that otherwise is onobtainable. 

please italian gestures






  • Rabbia
    (lit. Rage / Anger)

Rage can be expressed by biting the knuckle of one finger, generally the index. It is not necessary to bite hard, the mere gesture is sufficient. But as this is a spontaneous movement numerous variants are used. 

rage anger






  • Intesa
    (lit. Agreed)

The index finger is placed on the lower eyelid, drawing it slightly downward. The meaning is: got it, agreed, or beware. 

agreed italian gestures






  • Eccellente!
    (lit. Excellent!)

This gesture expresses both approval and hearty satisfaction. It is typical of the good-natured and contented gourmet.

excellent italian gestures





Source: Speak Italian. The fine Art of The Gesture: A Supplement to the Italian Dictionary (1963) by Bruno Munari. 


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