During the Spring 2012 I taught one of many interdisciplinary undergraduate seminars in the Experimental Study Group at MIT. Each class is based on the preparation of a simple delicious dish and on the bite-sized acquisition of parts of the Italian language and culture.
Videography by Graham Gordon Ramsay.

Click here to watch the videos in full resolution.
Buon divertimento!

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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Lezione numero cinque (part 2/2): la mia giornata tipica

For the videos of this class click here.

in class we talked about our typical day (giornata tipica). Why giornata and not giorno? They are both ok, but we use giornata mostly to emphasize the day as a long event: e.g. buongiorno! (->formal hello, in the morning/afternoon) buona giornata (->have a good day!). The same is true for sera and serata: buonasera (->good evening), buona serata (->enjoy the rest of the evening).

Com'è la tua (= your) giornata tipica?

These are some of the answers we came out with durante la lezione (during (the) class):

Mi sveglio (lit. I wake (myself) up-- mi sveglio is the 1st person sing. of the reflexive verb svegliarsi)
(Mi) faccio la doccia (lit. I do (myself) the shower--faccio is the 1st person sing. of the irr. verb fare)
Faccio colazione (->I have breakfast)
Vado al lavoro (I go to work- vado is the 1st person sing. of the irr. verb andare= to go)
Vado a scuola (I go to school- in Italy we say I go to school to refer to elementary, middle and highschool. If you are going to college you would say...)
Vado all'università

Come vai al lavoro?(lit. how do you go to the work? Vai is the 2nd person sing. of the irr. verb andare)
Vado a piedi (=on foot)/in bicicletta/in auto or in macchina (=by car)/in bus
Pranzo (1st person sing. of pranzare= to have lunch)
Dopo avere mangiato bevo il caffè (bevo= 1st person sing. of the irr. verb bere)

Faccio i compiti (lit. I do the assignments)
Vado in palestra (I go to the gym)
Cucino e mangio la cena (cena=dinner)
Mi lavo i denti (lit. I wash myself the teeth-> I brush my teeth)

Durante il fine settimana (=the weekend)
dormo tanto (I sleep a lot)
leggo (I read)
ascolto musica
faccio la lavatrice (lit. I do the washing machine-> I make a laundry)
esco con gli amici (esco, 1st person singular of the irr. verb uscire, to go out)

Listen to the dialogue (between me and me with my voice transformed in Garage band):

La giornata tipica

Food plays a central role in the italian culture: ci (= a noi) piace mangiare (to eat), cucinare e parlare (to talk) di cibo (about food) all the time.
The daily activities are all organized around meals, when you take a break, meet with friends/family and eat.
This is a list of the main meals

La colazione ((the) breakfast)
Il pranzo ((the) lunch)
La merenda ((the) mid-afternoon snack)
L’aperitivo ((the) aperitiv)
La cena ((the) dinner)

Ascolta e ripeti

If you are invited for a meal by an Italian family, beware. Leave space in your belly for all the courses!
Il pranzo e la cena tradizionali hanno many courses (molte portate), but nowadays many families prepare un piatto unico per pasto (one single dish per meal).
The traditional meal is composed by:

L’antipasto (the starter)
Il primo (the first course: pasta, rice, soups)
Il secondo (the second course: meat, fish, eggs,..)
Il contorno (the side dish: lots of veggies, cheese)
Il dolce (lit. the sweet - the dessert)

Ascolta e ripeti


1- Listen and repeat - for a video showing these words/ingredients click here.

Ascolta e ripeti

la car-ne di man-zo ma-ci-na-ta
Il ma-ci-na-to
la sal-sic-cia
il par-mi-gia-no
il prez-ze-mo-lo
il pan-grat-ta-to
l'er-ba ci-pol-li-na
il ton-no in sca-to-la
la ri-cot-ta (lit. cooked twice – it is a light cheese – most recipes in which you use cream cheese you can use ricotta instead and it is much lighter)
la no-ce mos-ca-ta (nutmeg)
la lat-tu-ga
l'in-sa-la-ta ro-ma-na
il po-mo-do-ri-no
l'a-ce-to bal-sa-mi-co

2- Solve and print: http://www.education.vic.gov.au/languagesonline/italian/sect27/no_04/no_04.htm

3- Record yourself talking about your giornata tipica.


  1. Non sarebbe piuttosto "giornata tipo"?

  2. Ciao! Vanno bene sia "giornata tipo" (standard/model day) che "giornata tipica" (typical day). =)