One can imagine what family dinners were like growing up in a large Italian family. We were a close knit group and only spoke Italian when together. In the early years English was not allowed to be spoken. As time passed and the family grew, the language at dinner became more of a mixture of Italian and English. English words ended with vowels and vowels got cut off Italian words. For example: River was Riviera. My Italian name became Teres.
Thankfully, one thing that was never lost was Napolitano hand gestures. My family learned how to speak English very well but they never lost the hand gestures. It became English accompanied with hand gestures. I, too, inherited the habit. Sometimes I get carried away accidentally hit someone or knock over a glass, always blaming it on my Italian genes!
The origins of Napolitano’s use of hand gestures has many theories. Some believe it was for the convenience of communicating betwen balconies. Others claim it was to combat the noise from the street. Still others believe it’s a many thousand year old tradition to aid communication between two people who speak different languages. Whatever the reason, the tradition continues to flourish today.
There’s a YouTube video I recommend to help you learn about Napoitano hand gestures. I love watching it over and over, laughing as the cute Italian man re-enacts my whole upbringing.
Just in case you come across a Napolitano, be sure to duck when they start conversing with you.
Enjoy the video. And when you taste our 825 MAIN Marinara sauce be sure to draw your fingers together and carry them to your mouth while puckering up and then move your hand away in a dramatic flair, as if you are throwing a kiss and say Perfetto!