If you’re booking a holiday to the romantic capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, you might be wondering what language is spoken in Florence. To the outsider, it sounds very much like Italian and, if you speak any of the official language of Italy, you’ll be able to get by without too much problem. However, the language in Florence is a dialect in its own right and the foundation upon which Italian was built. If you’re able to pick up a few, simple phrases, you’ll find your time in this beautiful city that much more rewarding and exciting.
Florentine or Italian?
The Florence language is a linguistic splinter from the early Tuscan; the first language spoken in the country. As Tuscany’s cultural centre, its influence spread far and wide, and was written into the developing Florence language. This new and exciting tongue was quickly absorbed by the upper classes, who were keen to appear cultured, even if it did mean learning a whole new language.
In 1861, the language in Florence officially became the kingdom’s national language. However, during the decades between the 1920s and the 1940s, when Italy was held under fascist rule, this was replaced by standard Italian.
Despite this, many of the grammatical rules and pronunciations remained intact, setting the foundations for modern Italian. While the two have many similarities, they are also very different, which can make it confusing for visitors.
Small Gestures can Mean a Lot
The Florentines are famous for their friendliness, and learning a little of the unique Florence language might seem a small gesture to you, but it can be very meaningful for them. Using the local language, you’ll find that you get better service and a warm welcome wherever you go, even if you’re just trying out your ‘please’ and ‘thank yous’. Given the subtle differences between Italian and the Florence language, trying to learn any before you go might seem a little daunting. However, it’s actually quite simple to memorise a few phrases, and it’ll set you apart from those who haven’t attempted to try.
On top of ensuring that you are well-received by the locals, picking up a touch of the language in Florence can have practical benefits. With a few well-chosen sentences up your sleeve, you can order food, buy goods, ask for the bill and even find out where the nearest attractions are. Throw in a greeting and the odd please and thank you, and you’ll soon start to feel right at home.
Little and Often
Learning the language in Florence doesn’t have to be time-consuming or difficult. We’ve got together a list of some of the most commonly-used and useful phrases for visitors and translated them for you. You’ll also find that below each sentence, we’ve added a sound file. Click on the ‘play’ icon and you’ll hear that phrase spoken in the Florence language, just as it should sound. All you need to do is spend a couple of minutes a day listening and repeating and you’ll soon be able to speak some of the local lingo.