Italian in Vienna

Columns | Dashiell Paulson | May 2013

Ever since our exchange group arrived in Austria, my friend Adam has been looking for someone to practice Italian with. Adam always thought he would study in Italy, but instead of Siena, he’s in Vienna. Three years learning Italian has not helped his German.

In the last four weeks Adam has been looking all over Vienna for Italian speakers. There was our host mother who enjoys Mediterranean cuisine and visits the Italian coast. But she’s also a nurse with weird hours. She’s out the door before Adam can say "Ciao!"

Then there were the Pizzerias. Adam would ask the owner "Pari Italiano?" or later, as hope faded, "Sprechen du Italianisch?" Contrary to their food, the owners were always Austrian, born and bred.

Then there was the gelato. A server asked if we wanted to order. Adam asked if they spoke English? "Si", she answered. As we walked away, Adam realised- in a flash of insight – that the entire crew working the gelateria near the Stephenplatz had been chatting and talking in full-blown Italian.

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