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Gratuitous Italian

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For extra flavor to your meal, add Italian.

Mr. Parker: 'Fra-gi-le'... it must be Italian!
Mrs. Parker: I think that says 'fragile', honey.
A Christmas Story note 

When in Hollywood Italy, speak as the Italians do. Or, at least, in a fair approximation.

A work set in Italy, or featuring Italian characters, will often insert Italian words or phrases in the dialogue, for "flavor". Italian is also a favorite language of opera singers and classical musicians and the official language of The Mafia. And, supposedly, everything sounds more romantic in Italian. Or tastier.

Culinary and musical terms are often used, because that's what many people associate Italian with. This is Truth in Television, somewhat, as many of these terms have been exported from Italian and don't have an English equivalent; "mamma mia!" is often heard, even though it's hardly the only Italian exclamation available.

Naturally, even though the people speaking Italian are supposedly Italian themselves, they will never, never pronounce certain words correctly. For instance, the word capisci is always pronounced "kah-peesh" instead of "kah-peesh-ee"; however, this is a bit of truth in television as dropping final syllables like this is (sometimes) the easiest marker of southern Italian dialects and accent; because most of the immigrants to America came from either Naples or Sicily, these accents tend to predominate in American media. Also, at the turn of the century when most of the Italians came to America, very few of them spoke "Italian" or - to be more specific - the language based on the Tuscan dialect that one learns in school, but rather they spoke only their local dialects, which could be as different from each other and standard Italian as Italian is from Spanish (not to mention the ones who spoke Greek or Albanian).

Don't expect the grammar to be correct, either. Verb-object agreement is a source of trouble, and - unlike English - Italian adjectives are gendered, which is often ignored. For example, "bravo" should be "brava" if referring to a woman. A really lazy way of doing it is having the characters simply speak English, but with a heavy accent and with unstressed "a's" tacked onto the end of random words. ("Give-a the ugly kid a plate of the red-a crap!")

Italy has many different accents, which can vary wildly between regions. The ones that are most often heard in the media are those typical of Southern Italy, especially Naples or Sicily (the latter is commonly associated with the Mafia). There are also many regional dialects, some of which are different languages from Italian itself. As you might expect (given the parallel example of British versus American English) spoken Italian in North America has diverged from the European version to the point where linguists consider it a separate dialect of its own. See Everybody Loves Raymond below for examples.

This is a subtrope of Gratuitous Foreign Language and really should be used with extreme care.


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    Anime e Manga (Anime & Manga) 
  • ARIA takes place in a copy of Venice, so there is some Italian used in series. Curiously though, most written text in the show is actually in Esperanto.
  • Chad in Bleach has a tattoo that says "amore e morte" - Italian for "love and death" (he's Mexican, by the way, and in Spanish it should be "amor y muerte").
  • A Certain Magical Index falls into this on occasion, understandable since the Roman Catholic Church is a major antagonist: "Croce di Pietro" (St. Peter's Cross), "La Regina del Mare Adriatico" (The Queen of the Adriatic Sea), and "La Persona Superiore a Dio" (The Person Above God) have all been thrown around here and there.
  • Izumi from Digimon Frontier uses Italian exclamations from time to time. She moved to Italy at a young age, and had only recently come back to Japan. Commozione~
  • Fairy Tail has some Italian here and there, including the kingdom of Fiore ("flower") and Aria ("air"), member of the Element Four. The Sky Dragon's name can also be read as Grandine, meaning "Hail"note .
  • The Aldini twins, Takumi and Isami, from Food Wars! throw in lots of Italian words. From the two, Takumi is the one who uses more words, most commonly "grazie" ("thank you").
  • Galilei Donna has Cicinho throwing in the odd bit of Italian. Which is rather confusing, as it'd be assumed that everyone is speaking Italian to begin with.
  • Gunslinger Girl also throws in a lot of (bad) Italian, which isn't surprising since it's set in Italy.
  • Italy Romano and Italy Veneziano from Hetalia: Axis Powers both sometimes insert random Italian words or phrases into their speech (as do the rest of the personified nations with their respective languages).
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 5: Golden Wind is set in Italy and centers around The Mafia, so post-2005 manga covers render the title as Le Bizzarre Avventure di GioGio Parte 5: Vento Aureo. The anime adaptation also labels each episode as "Episodio." Many characters are named after Italian foods, including Pannacotta Fugo, Risotto Nero, Melone, Cioccolata, Gelato, Sorbet, Prosciutto, Pesci, Formaggio, and Mario Zucchero.
    • The aforementioned Melone often says "di molto" ("of a lot") as an expression of joy, in both the manga and the anime, even though it makes no sense in Italian. Some translations of the manga changed it to the much more appropriate "molto bene".
    • Some fansub groups of the first season of the anime also add a bit of Italian when either of the Zeppelis are involved.
    • While it's not the Italian language per se, the vast majority of American citizens in Stone Ocean (set in Florida, US) have Italian names because Hirohiko Araki names most Stand masters after famous fashion designers and companies, but there's no In-Universe reason.
  • In the "Musica ex Machina" arc of Jormungand, Chinatsu and her boss suddenly start talking to each other in Italian while they are wandering the streets of Dubai. Presumably it was to throw off eavesdroppers.
  • Mari Ohara from Love Live! Sunshine!! is part Italian. It's mostly used in the English dub, since it replaces her Gratuitous English from the original Japanese, although the original Japanese did throw in a few Italian words here and there.
  • The Numbers Cyborgs of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, whose names are the numbers one to twelve in Italian, except for Sein (the actual Italian word for six is "sei", without the n), Wendy and Deed (the Italian for eleven and twelve is "undici" e "dodici" rispettivamente).
  • Natsume Ono loves this trope. For instance, in La Quinta Camera they don't celebrate Christmas, they celebrate "Natale."
  • Another One Piece example: Sir Crocodile uses gratuitous Italian (as well as English, Spanish, and French) in most of his attack names. Badly, at least in the Italian publication, where it's mixed with English: "Ground Secco" ("secco" means "dry") and "Desert Spada" ("spada" means "sword") and "Desert Girasole" ("Sunflower"). In the original Japanese, Crocodile says "Deserto Spada" or "Deserto Girasole". Though this could be interpreted just as Engrish gibberish, it's also true that "deserto" is the ACTUAL Italian word for desert. It must be noted though that the real Italian expression for "Desert Sword" would not be "Deserto Spada" but, rather, "Spada del deserto".
  • Reborn! (2004) throws in a lot of Italian, including attack names (being Shōnen, after all). To be fair though, most of those characters actually are Italian, and the series centers around The Mafia. And since the author apparently consults an actual Italian, most of it seems pretty sound, but there are still things like "Elettrico Cornata".note 
  • The opening theme to the original Record of Lodoss War OVA, "Adesso e Fortuna" features gratutitious Italian in not just the title, but also within the lyrics, as "io sono prigionera" shows up multiple times in the chorus. Both English versions of the song keep the Italian as is.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica and its Spin-Offs Puella Magi Kazumi Magica and Puella Magi Oriko Magica are this in terms of Calling Your Attacks. Mami Tomoe of the parent series is the biggest, with her ultimate attack Tiro Finale, or "Final Shot". She gets mocked for this practice in two of the drama CDs. In one of the drama CDs, it's also revealed that Kyouko used to have the ability to create illusory copies of herself. Mami suggests calling this "attack" Rosso Fantasma (Red ghost, should be Fantasma Rosso). In Kazumi Magica Kazumi is then copying from Mami which in turn her fellow Pleiades Saints are copying from her.
  • The Dolems in RahXephon are named after Italian-derived musical terms ("Fortissimo", "Arpeggio", "Mezzoforte", etc.).
  • Umineko: When They Cry has this in spades:
    • Both the openings for the sound novels and the anime have lyrics in Italian.
    • Beatrice's name is said the Italian way ("Bay-ah-tree-chay" as opposed to the more Americanized "Bee-uh-triss").
    • Divine Comedy references abound.
    • And Beatrice Castiglioni, a character who is actually Italian.
  • Professor Chronos in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX used some random Italian phrases in his speech. (The "na no ne" he ends sentences with is Japanese, though.)

    Cartoni animati (Western Animation) 
  • Pepe the Italian circus flea from Arthur randomly peppers his speech with words and phrases from his native language. In Pepe's debut episode, tourists in Tanzania are also heard speaking Italian when Pepe is telling his story of his travels around the world, presumably being Italian as well.
  • In Code Lyoko, Odd says something in Italian. Jeremie, who stinks at it, asks him "Huh?"
    Odd: It means you really stink in Italian, Jeremie, good buddy.
  • In DuckTales (1987), "Hotel Strangeduck", Benzino Gasolini throws Italian phrases into his sentences all the time.
  • Family Guy: Peter Griffin parodied this once by entering an Italian deli and thinking that because of his new mustache, he could actually speak Italian. He wound up repeating random Italian-sounding gibberish, angering the man at the counter, who actually threatened to kill him with the deli goods.
  • In Roary the Racing Car, Maxi repeatedly cries "Mamma Mia"! when something dramatic happens.
  • The Simpsons:
    • An episode is set in Italy, specifically in Tuscany in the small village of "Salsiccia" (Sausage). However, it was used incorrectly. Sorry, but "Plagiarismo" and "Mayore" aren't the Italian for Plagiarism and Mayor.note  Of course, that episode is fond of errors.
    • In a later episode, Lisa learns Italian from Milhouse for an exchange program. All Italian language portrayed in this episode is translated word for word with no coherence whatsoever.
  • Gurggle from Mixels is given an Italian accent, and adds various Italian words into his speech.
  • Anyone who's lived in Spain may (or may not) be familiar with "Los Televicentes", one of a number of animated "time to go to bed" PSAs. At one point during the song, "Don Pepe" (who the talking parrot calls "Don Pepino"; itself an example) says "Io sono el nuovo presentatore Don Pepe"note , which is mostly correct, except for the "el" (it should be "il"); somewhat justified since the Spanish-speaking viewers would likely figure it out anyway, since some parts of Italian aren't all that different from Spanish.
  • Aunt Harried from The Crumpets uses Italian phrases in occasion, at least in the English dub.

    Creazioni originali dei fan (Fan Works) 
  • The Bolt Chronicles: In "The Protection Payment," pigeons Vinny and Joey pepper their speech with Italian-American words.
    Vinny: We ain’t scraped up enough grub to keep a cockroach alive, never mind makin’ her feline nibs happy. Not a cannoli crumb, not a mouthful of muzzarell’, not even a bite of bisgott’.
  • Erika the Radical has Cadenza Gatti who lapses into Italian phrases/curses once in a while. Justified as she is an Italian exchange student who was initially bound for Anzio High, but her parents had botched the transfer into Kuromorimine Girls Academy instead. Erika can somehow understand her perfectly.
  • SOS Pretty Cure has the Cures start their attack incantations with the line: "Spiriti cattivi andatevene, perché io vi schiaccerò!". Translates to "Evil spirits begone, for I will crush you!".
    • Also, the Cures' names are Italian translations of "God", "Key", "Alien", "Time", and "Psychic", and there are several Italian words and phrases scattered throughout the series in miscellany (including "capisci?").
  • The ending of the Tokimeki PokéLive! and TwinBee story "The Problem with Running!" has Risa Selden and Emma Verde tell each other "Ti amo", which means "I love you".

    Teatro (Theatre) 
  • La Nona: Justified. By virtue of being descended from Italian immigrants, the Nona often flavors her speech with basic Italian phrases and words such as greetings. When sent to her room after being denied her nth serving of food, she angrily mutters "Andiamo! Andiamo!" as she repeats back in Italian what her relatives told her in Spanish —"¡Vamos, Nona, a su cuarto!".

    Creazioni originali della Rete (Web Original) 
  • In the late years of the Chaos Timeline, there are artificial insects (flying nanotech robots) called Zanzara. Also, the Renaissance is known under the incorrect Italian term Rinascita (Renaissance is Rinascimento in Italian) in this history, rather than the French term from our history.
  • In their riff of Titanic, the guys make fun of Fabrizio's accent at every opportunity. Any scene he's in is replaced with cries of Pasta, mafia, minestrone!, Mafia rigatoni?!, Francesco Rinaldi!, etc.

    Fumetti in Rete (Webcomics) 
  • Ronin Galaxy: Giancarlo Baccari speaks in his native language whenever he can.

    Giochi di ruolo (Tabletop RPG) 
  • The very title of Fate/Nuovo Guerra, a Fate/stay night Play-by-Post Game set in Italy. Again, it is incorrect because of the issue with gendered adjectives; the correct spelling should be either "Fate una Nuova Guerra" or "Fate di Nuovo Guerra". (Even more confusingly, "fate" in Italian, pronounced "fa-tay," means "fairies.")

    Letteratura (Literature) 
  • An early use of gratuitous Italian is in Emma, where the crass new wife of Mr. Elton constantly calls her husband her "cara sposo". The phrase is grammatically incorrect (it should be "caro sposo") and was in Austen's time a tired old catchphrase, but this was deliberate: Austen was sending up Mrs. Elton as a badly-educated social climber. (Strangely, some editions of Emma correct the spelling, probably because the editors are ignorant of Austen's intentions.)
  • The Discworld novel Maskerade is a parody of The Phantom of the Opera and features opera prominently, so naturally it has grammatically incorrect Gratuitous Italian. A scene in the opera has a young woman singing about how hard it is for her to leave her lover: "Questa maledetta porta si blocca, si blocca comunque diavolo io faccio...!". Then, the aria is translated into English:
    This damn door sticks
    This damn door sticks
    It sticks no matter what the hell I do
    It's marked "Pull" and indeed I am pulling
    Perhaps it should be marked "Push"?
  • Towards the end of The Count of Monte Cristo, Danglars escapes to Italy and shouts orders to the coach driver using musical terms, the only Italian words he knows. This however is a case of In-Universe Fridge Brilliance on his part, he probably knows that presto means quickly.
  • Marie Corelli was of Scottish and English descent, but invented a half-Italian stage persona for her career as a concert pianist to give it more glamor. The last name "Corelli" was meant to give credence to her claim that Arcangelo Corelli is among her ancestors. Culturally, Corelli spent most of her childhood in England and was educated in France. Probably most of her knowledge of Italian came from her musical education and her use of the language in her writings is flimsy if not bad.
  • The Wind Knows My Name: Frank's mother (an Italian immigrant who refuses to speak to him in English) nearly has a stroke when she learns he is defending a rich man accused of child trafficking: "Mi ha spezzato il cuore! Che peccato! Un mio figlio che difende un pedofilo!" ("It broke my heart! What a sin! My son defending a pedophile!")

    Musica (Music) 
  • Cibo Matto meant their name to be Italian for "food-crazy", as their songs had frequent references to food. However, "cibo matto" is more accurately translated as "crazy food".
  • Italian-American recording stars of the late 1950s and early '60s often incorporated this into their hit songs (which were often adaptations of Italian songs to begin with), with examples including "Return to Me" by Dean Martin, "O Dio Mio" by Annette Funicello, and the English cover versions of "Volare" by Bobby Rydell and Al Martino. Connie Francis had several hit songs and albums sung totally in Italian. Even non-Italians got into the act, including Robert Goulet ("My Love, Forgive Me (Amore, Scusami)") and Rosemary Clooney ("Botch-a-Me", "Mambo Italiano").
  • Akiko Shikata likes to insert Italian lyrics in her songs, most famously in her various themes for Umineko: When They Cry but also in other songs like Kuon no Umi (a song revering the sea), or in a good half of the album Haikyo to Rakuen. The idea is probably to give a more majestic feel to the songs.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic parodies this in his song "Lasagna" which names many Italian foods while rattling off Italian phrases.
    • "Schrott nach 8" with "Zuppa Romana" is exactly the same from Germany. (German, as in "oben ohne"="topless" managed to sneak into the fake Italian, solely for the rhyme.)
  • "Zuppa Romana" was later covered by German comedian Matze Knop as the dance song "Numero Uno (Das Luca Toni Lied)", dedicated to Italian footballer Luca Toni. The song is peppered with food names, football terms, and some Italian brand names and internationally known words. There's also a part where Matze Knop pretends to be an Italian loudly speaking into his phone: he's saying mostly accented gibberish and random words like "piccolo".
  • Front 242 randomly sneak this into a few of their songs— "I nostri sogni sono sempri presenti"note  can be heard towards the end of "Work 01", and "Due Quattro Due" is repeated multiple times in "Im Rhythmus Bleiben".
  • Legião Urbana named one song "La Nuova Gioventú", "the new youth".
  • Croatian hard Eurodance group Karma have "Amore Mio"("my love"), in which the Title Drop is the only Italian lyric, the rest being in their native language.

    Pellicole (Films) 
  • Otto goes into this in A Fish Called Wanda, largely because it's a turn-on for Wanda. (The Italian dub changes it to Spanish).
  • Holding the Man begins and ends during Tim's trip to Italy as a part of his personal pilgrimage. Obviously, those who are supposed to be Italian (workers for the hotel Tim stays at) speaks in Italian with Tim also speaking the basic language in some scene. Tim's last line in the movie is also in Italian.
    Tim: Ci vedremo lassu, angelo.note 
  • The Adventures of Pinocchio attempts to highlight the nationality of the original Pinocchio book by having it set in a rather fanciful version of 1700s Italy, with English-speaking characters saying a few Italian words from time to time and some things being referred to by their Italian equivalent.
  • Pistachio and and his grandfather speak this after Pistachio says something to Jennifer about her bottom while finding an assistant in The Master of Disguise, and it also happens in the beginning of the movie when Pistachio says, "Fantastico."
  • Nick Nolte as Augusto says many things in Italian in Lorenzo's Oil. Nolte studied Augusto carefully to make sure he really sounded as well as looked and behaved like him, so we know he did this in Real Life. Augusto was from Gamalero and probably spoke Piedmontese, but it's reasonable to assume he also spoke classic Florentine Tuscan as he does in the film. There's a point about midway through where he fires off a lengthy (subtitled) rant to Micaela.
  • Call Me by Your Name, as in Gratuitous French, is set in Italy with French and Americans vacationing in the summer, so there will be characters using both languages, sometimes in the same scene.
  • Naturally since this a movie set in New York's Little Italy, The Professional has Leon and Tony speak a bit of the language when discussing their next Mafia hit.
  • As it is actually set in and about Italy and an Italian brand, House of Gucci is full of them, having characters randomly say italian words, like 'Grazie' (Thank You), 'Cioccolata' (Chocolate), or expressions like 'Che Cazzo Dici?' (What The Fuck - literally, Dick - Are You Saying?). The accents also were pretty terrible, to the point that many Italians who saw the movie assert that the dubbing makes it better.

    Pellicole d'animazione (Film - Animated) 
  • Cars:
    • Guido is a small blue forklift that can only speak Italian (he has a heavy Bolognese accent in the Italian dub). His name, while being a perfectly normal and common Italian first name, is also the first person, present tense, of the verb "to drive" (a car).
    • Luigi's tire shop is named "Casa Della Tires" which roughly means "House of Tires". In proper Italian, the name would be "Casa Degli Pneumatici".

  • There are several examples of this on the radio game show Ask Me Another (where it is specifically used to make some games harder), which makes sense, since the in-house musician (who occasionally provides the questions/hints for the games) Jonathan Coulton studied the language while he was still in school.

    Strisce a fumetti (Comic Strips) 
  • In Safe Havens, as Dave had made a career in Italy, and a five year old Leonardo da Vinci (yes, that Leonardo da Vinci) is a semi-recurring character, Italian pops up sometimes.

    Teatro (Theatre) 
  • Gilbert and Sullivan's The Gondoliers has some Gratuitous Italian singing in its opening scene, where the gondoliers and girls greet each other ("buongiorno, signorine!").
  • The Most Happy Fella has quite a lot of Gratuitous Italian spoken and sung by the main character and the comic trio of Pasquale, Ciccio and Giuseppe. The latter three sing "Abbondanza" and "Benvenuta" entirely in Italian.
  • In the musical The Phantom of the Opera, Carlotta uses some Italian phrases of the operatic type (though not in the Show Within a Show scenes, which obey the Translation Convention) like:
    "O, fortunata! Non ancor abbandonata!".
  • In The Fantasticks, the musicians start playing the Rape Ballet when they hear its director call out "accelerando con molto!". This isn't very grammatical, but hey...
  • A number of Gian Carlo Menotti's operas do this, as Menotti himself was Italian. There are numerous sections of The Saint Of Bleecker Street where the characters all speak Italian (justified in that they are all of Italian descent), the foreign woman's lines in The Consul, and a duet from Maria Golovin.
  • The Rose Tattoo has many characters, especially Serafina, who speak Italian. It helps that most of the characters are Sicilian-American, though they limit their Italian conversations to short phrases.

    Televisione (Live-Action TV) 
  • 1000 Ways to Die: In "That's A Morte!", the narrator pronounces the Italian word grilletto with a /j/ sound, as if it were Spanish.
  • Birca in Engine Sentai Go-onger. Birca is a giant green orca/motorcycle mecha, so the Italian is minimal compared to everything else about him.
  • Sofia from The Golden Girls constantly spouted off gratuitous Italian (or Sicilian) phrases, especially when riled or passing on a proverb.
  • Mid 90s European videogames TV channel Game Network broadcast all over the continent in a number of languages from Italy. The channel's news programme at one stage would read stories alternately in English and Italian. This may/may not be Gratuitous English.
  • In the first season of Soap Danny is seen conversing in extremely gibberish-sounding Italian when he was in the The Mafia and under the impression he was Italian.
  • Sometimes invoked in Whose Line Is It Anyway?. The ep with special guest Robin Williams had one game with Robin and Ryan as pizza chefs — the first thing they did was swear at each other in vaguely Italian gibberish.
  • In Doctor Who, one of the Tenth Doctor's many catchphrases is: "molto bene!", which means "very good!"
  • Friends has Joey Tribbiani who, as an Italian-American, often utters random Italian sentences, and a lot of Italian sounding gibberish.
  • On Bitchin'Kitchen all kinds. Both cookbooks provide a glossary and the show has short spots where Nadia defines a word for the viewer. Also, torrents of gratuitous Greek any time Panos' wife appears.
  • In Leonardo, the Translation Convention means everyone in Florence speaks English, but they still dot their language with "magnifico" and "scusi".
  • Largely averted in Everybody Loves Raymond. where although the protaganists are a lively Italian-American family, any use of Italian is kept to the (American-Italian) names of foodstuffs note . Conversational Italian is used only in episodes where the plot demands it: Mia Famiglia, where the Barones welcome a visiting relative from Italy and speak it freely at the dinner table, and in the two-parter where the whole family goes to Italy on holiday.note 
  • In Kitchen Nightmares, the pretentious owner of Sebastiane's in Los Angeles chivvies a waitress (an out-of-work actress) into delivering Gordon Ramsay's pizza, in the deluded hope he will be impressed by her use of the phrase...
    (Waitress, hamming it up deliberately) As Sebastiane's mother would say, mangia!
    (Gordon Ramsay, one step away from doing the face-palm thing): Okay, darling, you've got the part!
  • Saturday Night Live: In "Weekend Update" segments, Opera Man (Adam Sandler) sings about the news in an operatic style, with his songs consisting of a mixture of Italian and English words with vowels added to the end to sound Italian.
    Opera Man: Tom Hanks-o / nominat-o / second time-o / You're a great-o / Next year vacacion / go to France-o / give someone else / a freaking chance-o!

    Videogiochi (Video Games) 
  • Dragon Quest:
  • Assassin's Creed II is full of it, being set in Italy.
    • Played for Laughs in this Penny Arcade comic. And it still manages to sound sexy and badass. Read it aloud in your best / worst Italian accent for the full effect.
    • Considering the nature of Assassin's Creed gameplay though, it's actually due to incomplete translation software, and Desmond Miles ends up thanking the resident techie for the subtitles he's seeing. By Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood the software's been improved so the effect is lessened, though only for Italian — German and French are left untranslated. (The subtitles, available to both the player and Desmond, do provide a translation, however.)
  • And then of course there are Mario and his brother Luigi. Hilariously so in the Mario & Luigi games where, when talking to non-speaking NPCs, they speak Italian-sounding gibberish. Luigi tends to use more Gratuitous Italian than his brother, predominantly words like "Ciao!" and "Grazie!" in the likes of Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, etc. In Fortune Street, Mario will actually use "brava" instead of "bravo" when congratulating a female Mii.
  • Slashout have most of their enemies named after the Italian tongue, just because. There are the Pig Man enemies called "Porco"note , living skeletons named "Osso"note , Man Eating Plants called "Erba"note , pumpkin-headed Stingy Jack enemies called "Zucca"note , robots with Power Pincers called "Forbici"note , feline-esque Classical Chimera enemies called "Gatto"note , a manticore boss called "Leone"note , shadow clones and evil counterparts of the heroes called "Falso"note , the list just keep going on and on and on.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey: The demon Horkos will tend to yell "BUONO!" no matter whether he's being hit or if he's eating.
  • Persona 2: Maya likes saying "Ciao!" and "Grazie!" a lot.
  • Used badly in Devil May Cry 2 with the "Arcana" MacGuffin. First, in Italian the noun precede the adjective (so it should be Spada Arcana or Medaglia Arcana). Second, Calice and Bastone are male nouns, so they should be "Arcano". Last but not least, the plural form would be "Arcani". Then again, this is Devil May Cry, so they probably didn't care too much.
  • In Devil May Cry 4, Mission 20 is titled "La Vita Nuova", Italian for "The New Life".
  • In the first Metal Slug, there is a level set in Italy. One of the signs on the shops in the background says "Liutaio", or luthier, another says "Carne", or meat, and there is a "Posta", which is the post office. However, there is also a "Kocher", and a "Playa" which means beach in Spanish, so make what you will of that.
  • One boss in Castle Crashers is named Pipistrello, the Italian for Bat.
  • Vampire Savior introduces Jedah, the new Big Bad of the series, whose moves all have (broken) Italian names despite him not being Italian himself: Dio Sega = Saw of God (Sega di Dio is more accurate); Nero Fatica = Black Fatigue (Fatica Nera); Ira Spinta = Angry Thrust (Spinta Irata); Spregio = Defiance (this one's correct); Sangue Passare = Passage of Blood (Passaggio di Sangue); Prova di Servo = Proof of the Servant (in the context, it could be also Proof of Servitude; in this case, it could also be Prova di Schiavitù); Finale Rosso = Red Ending (this one's right too).
  • The Kingdom Hearts franchise is rather fond of using Italian in its soundtrack:
    • One of the series' most prominent Recurring Riffs, "Destati" (Awaken), has Italian lyrics,
    • The battle theme for Hollow Bastion/Radiant Garden is "Scherzo di Notte" (Scherzo at Night)
    • Master Xehanort in general seems to have an Italian theme. The music when you fight Riku-Ansem in I is called "Forze del male" (Forces of Evil), while the final fight against Ansem is set to the tune of "Guardando nel Buio" (Peering into Darkness). In Birth by Sleep Final Mix, the battle theme for No Heart, Xehanort's armor, is "Forze dell'Oscurità" (Forces of Darkness). Dream Drop Distance brings remixed boss music from previous games with Italian names, including "L'Oscurità dell'Ignoto" (Darkness of the Unknown, Xemnas' theme), "L'Eminenza Oscura" (The Dark Eminence, Ansem's theme), and "L'Impeto Oscuro" (The Dark Impetus, Young Xehanort's theme). A remix of all three is introduced in III and is called "Forza Finale" (Final Force).
  • Kirby:
    • Kirby's Return to Dream Land: After Kirby defeats Landia, Magolor appears to congratulate him with a hearty "bravo". This is present in the original Japanese, too, making it this trope.
    • Kirby Star Allies: The official name of Unhooded Hyness's battle theme is "La Follia d'amore" (The Madness of Love).
  • The final championship in Test Drive Unlimited is called Viaggio Grande, which translates to "Great Journey".
  • The 21st installment of the beatmania IIDX series is subtitled SPADA, which means "sword". Guess what its theme revolves around. It also introduces new Harder Than Hard versions of songs that are subtitled "†LEGGENDARIA", which means "legendary" (it's shortened to just † in the following game).
    • There's also the song LA FESTA LA VITA!!, which literally means "THE FESTIVAL THE LIFE!!".
  • Parodied with the character Topchef from Deltarune, who frequently peppers his sentences with words that sound like stock Italian phrases, but really aren't.
    "M-m-mama miba! M-m-mama SHIBA!"
  • The English translation of Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story and its anime replaces Alina Gray's Gratuitous English with Italian in order to Keep It Foreign.

    Vita reale (Real Life) 
  • Classical music terminology runs on this trope as well as Gratuitous German, but specifically, Italian tends to be the universal language for sheet music markings, including the tempo (itself an Italian loan-word), dynamics, and various technique markings. Since musicians across the world have come to know at least a few words in Italian, like forte (loud) and presto (very fast), composers have freely mixed common Italian terminology with performance directions in their own languages, e.g. "Più mosso (doch nicht alla breve)" in Gustav Mahler's third symphony.
  • Related to the above: Throughout the 18th century, "serious" operas by Austro-German composers were written in Italian. The German-language singspiele (like Mozart's The Magic Flute) were generally seen as lighter fare. More bizarrely, many operas produced in 18th-century Hamburg (e.g. Handel's Almira) had the arias sung in Italian, though the rest of the opera would be sung in German.
    • Weirdly, the British in the 19th century enforced this trope even deeper: their biggest opera company (the one in residence at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden was very definitely the Italian Opera until the end of the century. Operas originally scored in French or German were only performed in Italian translations at the ROH for decades.
  • Japanese took the Italian as their idol in soccer, and is very likely to integrate Italian in their names. Just check The Other Wiki list of Japanese pro soccer teams and how many were inspired by the Italian language...
  • Many an Italian restaurant in the English-speaking world (at least) will call itself a "ristorante" or perhaps a trattoria to indicate a higher class of cuisine.
    • Trattoria is actually a cheaper, less fancy restaurant, usually offering fewer, less complicated dishes, possibly at a fixed price.note 
  • In general, Italian cookery has overtaken French as a favorite for foreign restaurateurs looking for a classy European menu style, as it's seen as being much less snooty but is also understood to be from a grand culinary tradition (and is also objectively delicious). In such restaurants (or, as they call themselves, ristorantes and trattorias), never expect an appetizer to be called anything other than an antipasto, a salad to be called anything other than an insalata, or a soup a zuppa (unless it's minestrone), or raw anything anything other than crudo (unless it's a carpaccio), or a first course anything but a primo, etc.—and all of it will be pronounced in as close to Italian as the waiter can manage.
  • Gratuitous French is usually switched with Gratuitous Italian in French dubs.
  • The official motto of the US State of Maryland eschews Latin for Italian—the only Italian motto in the country—but it is not merely Italian, but archaic Italian: Fatti maschii, parole femine. (In modern Italian, it would be spelled maschi and femmine.) It was originally the motto of the Calvert family who founded Maryland. The motto literally means "Manly deeds, womanly words," although the official translation is "Strong deeds, gentle words," which for those playing along at home is basically the same as "Speak softly and Carry a Big Stick."
  • Most if not all of Fiat vehicles, specially if they weren't made at the Italy headquarters but one of the foreign plants such as in Brazil. The most blatant is the Fiat 500, which is always referred to as "Cinquecento".
  • Italian-American lawyer and media personality Michael Avenatti tends to punctuate his politically-charged Tweets with the hashtag "#Basta" - an Italian exclamation meaning roughly "Enough!"
  • In a way, the Maltese language is Tunisian Arabic sprinkled with Italian (particularly Sicilian), and a dose of English for good measure.


Video Example(s):


Bond claims he's Mickey Mouse

How Bond introduces himself to the guard outside the Spectre meeting? "Io sono Topolino." Italian speakers will get the joke right away. For those who don't speak Italian, the payoff isn't until Blofeld outs Bond, the same guard is the one who comes to remove Bond, and addresses him by the English translation of the name he gave when he entered the meeting: "Ciao, Mickey Mouse!"

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / BrickJoke

Media sources: