A frequent question asked by people considering a visit to Bologna is “Can I get by in Bologna without knowing Italian?” The answer is yes, but learning a little of the Italian language will make your time in Bologna a lot richer.
At the very least, knowing how to say “please, thank you, I’m sorry, is there a toilet?, a glass of wine please” and a few other phrases can go a long way. Trying to speak a little Italian is generally appreciated and the Italian people are very forgiving when you make an error.
There are all sorts of ways to learn the language. A phrase book can be handy, but for me, an app on my cell phone is useful and efficient. You’ll need a cell phone plan with data (more on that in another posting). On my iPhone, I use iTranslate. It’s fast, and can even work when you don’t have an internet connection.
If you want to go a little further, there are several language schools in Bologna that offer classes for all levels of learners.
For the record: Please – per favore, thank you – grazie, I’m sorry – mi dispiace, toilet – toilette, a glass of wine please – un bicchiere di vino per favore.