Italian Gestures - A Handy Guide

We've all been there, your Italian fails you so you resort to gestures. Should be easy, right? Everyone knows Italians speak with their hands. How hard could it be? Well, the most important thing is to know exactly what you're saying! That's where this handy blog post comes in...

One of the interesting things with gestures is that most Italians think that they are universal. They expect everyone to know them, so often, when word fail you (or them), they start gesticulating and expect you to understand. Even after six years of learning about Italian culture, many of these are new to me!

For instance, for quite some time I've thought the 'You are nuts' gesture above actually meant someone thought I'd had a good idea or was particularly bright that day!! For all this time...

All images taken from

So do you agree with the meanings of the gestures above? My adopted Italian family use them all the time (well, most of them) and I'm only just learning what they all mean. Are there any other gestures I should know? Or, like me, have you had a funny experience with Italian hand gestures'?

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