The man who knows no foreign language, knows nothing of his mother.


Today was a big day. I finally met the family of my girlfriend Concetta and it was a disaster.

They came from a small town in South Italy.

Before they arrived Concetta was very agitated...

“Now remember, John, they come from a little town in the south of Italy and they have a different mentality to the people here in Milan.”

"How?" I asked.

“Well, they have old ideas, especially my grandmother. Don’t be surprised if she asks you a lot of... questions.”
I put on my best shirt and was determined to make a good impression. Concetta was very important to me.

At the table I was agitated but confident.

The first to speak to me was ‘zia Grazia.’ She said: “So how is the Queen? Is she well?”

“I have no idea” I answered honestly.

“I like her son, what’s his name?”

“Carlo?” I answered... remembering that ‘Carlo’ was how Prince Charles was known in Italy.

“No, no, not the one with the big ears; the other one, the beautiful one.” “Andrea?”

“Exactly;” then she looked at the others and said: “See? It may be the English royal family but they all have Italian names!”

I didn’t comment.

You can say what you want about the southern Italians, but they cook very well.

The grandmother ‘nonna Pia’ arrived with a big herring on a plate. I was happy about this because I love fish, but the sauce interested me more, because it was blue.

“What’s this?” I asked... and immediately zia Grazia said “It’s a fish! Don’t you have them in England?”

After some very animated eating, talking and shouting, zia Grazia decided to victimise me again.

“I like the English!” She smiled. Well, this was positive. “And do you know who my favourite Englishman is?”

“I don’t know,” I said “Hugh Grant? David Beckham? Mr Bean?” “No... Sean Connery”

I don’t know how but I stayed calm.

“Zia Grazia... Sean Connery isn’t English, he’s Scottish!”

“Oh it’s the same thing” she said.

I exploded “No! IT’s NOT THE SAME THING! He is from Scotland in the north!, I am from England in the south... he is not English, he’s Scottish! You know, big hairy men in mini-skirts... SCOTLAND!”

There was a terrible silence. Everybody was looking at me, thinking I was crazy.

“Well, I like Sean Connery anyway” said zia Grazia, defensively. After a little wine the grappa arrived. After the grappa nonna Pia started to talk a lot about old traditions of South Italy and how a woman should be with her man.

“So when are you going to marry? she asked us.

“It’s a little early nonna” said Concetta, her face red.

“Well, don’t forget...” said nonna Pia “you be a good wife Concetta... when your man returns from work you must have his dinner ready on the table...”

I couldn’t believe this!

This evening I decided that nonna Pia was right. I am the man and I should be a man, a ‘south Italy style’ man, so when I returned home I said to Concetta “I want to eat now, woman!”

I’m now writing this from a place called ‘Pronto Soccorso.’ The doctor says that my nose is broken in two places and I was fortunate that I still had all my own teeth.


Where does Conci’s family come from?

Have people from the south of Italy got the same mentality as in Milan?

Which one of the Queen’s sons does zia Grazia like?

Do the southern Italians cook well?

What’s the grandmother’s name?

What colour is the sauce?

Is Sean Connery English?

What does everybody drink after the wine?

For nonna Pia, what is ready on the table every day for the man?

What happened to John’s nose?


Leggete il seguente brano e formulate risposte adeguate alle frasi date.

I always asked myself why the people in Milan go to the mountains.
For me mountains are big boring rocks but many Italians love going up them so there must be a reason.
I thought.
So when my friend Marco invited me to a week end in the mountains I went. The day went like this.
Marco woke me up with a very bright torch in my face. I looked at my watch and saw that it was 5 o’ clock in the morning.
“it’s 5 o’ clock” I shouted “I have never woken up at 5 o’ clock in the morning in my life Is it legal? “come on” he says “we must go”
 “Ok I'll just have my shower” I said.
 “No you can’t” He shouted “there is no time”
I looked at Marco and with complete horror I saw that he was wearing a green Alpino hat with a feather in it.
I put my big bag on my back and when we opened the door I immediately felt the terrible cold. It was also raining.
“Aren’t you happy?” Marco smiled “It’s raining like in England”.
Now I knew I was with a complete psychopath.
 “Ok I said “I need my umbrella, please wait a moment”
Marco shouted again"Umbrella"? You can’t take an umbrella up in the mountain. Here put this on” Now this is very hard to believe, but M. was offering me another green Alpino hat with a feather in it.
 “You don’t seriously think I will wear that, do you?” I said “Somebody might see me”. “John there’s nobody outside at five in the morning” he said.
“Of course there isn’t” I said “Nobody else is so stupid”

When we were outside we started walking. It was horrible. My shoes were useless and my feet were wet after 5 minutes.
 “can we stop and rest?” I asked.
Marco started shouting again: “We’ve only been walking for 10 minutes! We still have hours to go”. This was very bad news, of course, but I really wanted to see why people did this, so I was patient and walked. Up and up we went and all I could see was rock. I continued to ask myself why oh why people did this. I was wet, cold and tired
 “Please Marco” I said “can we go back, please?”
 “We’re almost there” he said “I want to show you something. Do you know why we are here? Soon You will see.” After another 3 hours of incredible fatigue we stopped. We were there we had arrived at the place where I could finally see the reason for being there.  
Marco was looking down with a big smile on his face. Slowly I looked down too and I saw the magical reason for this torture.
“Mushrooms?” I shouted there were 3 mushrooms on the ground, that’s all there was “we risked Our life in the rain and cold for 5 hours for mushrooms?
Marco took one of the 3 mushroom and ate it. . .I took one too and ate it.
 “No Marco shouted “that one was poisonous” Marco immediately started to call someone.
 Oh, my God was I going to die? I looked down the mountain and thought: “Well at least I won’t have to walk another 5 hours walking down the mountain in the rain.”
The helicopter arrived about 30 minutes later and took me to the hospital. Only one week in Milan And this was the second time for me in hospital.
They pumped my stomach and I was fine.
But guess what time the nurse woke me up for my injections’
Five o’ clock in the morning.

1. What are mountains in John’s opinion?

2. Who invited John for a week end in the mountains?

3. What time did Marco wake up John?

4. What did John want to do before leaving?

5. What was Marco wearing on his head?

6. What happened to John’s feet?  

7. For how long did they walk before they stopped?

8. What was the magical reason for being there?

9. What did Marco do with the mushrooms?

10. After how long did the helicopter arrive?

Televison Programmes

Let’s talk:

Low cost airlines

I conduttori del programma “Let’s talk”, Marie e Tom, ci parlano dei vantaggi di volare con le compagnie aeree a basso costo.

Eric: Good evening from Eric Brown. Welcome to another edition of “Let’s talk”. With me here in the studio ore Marie and Tom. Hello Marie, hello Tom!

Marie and Tom: Hello Eric!

Eric: Buona serata da Eric Brown. Benvenuti a un'altra edizione di "Parliamo di". Con me qui in studio ci sono Maria e Tom. Ciao Maria, ciao Tom!

Maria e Tom: Ciao Eric!

Eric: Well, today let’s talk... let’s talk about... about what Marie?

Marie: Low cost airlines.

Eric: Bene, oggi parliamo di ...parliamo di ...cosa Maria?

Maria: Le compagnie a basso costo.

Eric: Very interesting!

Marie: You’re right Eric! You know, there are 90 low cost airlines in Europe today...

Eric: Molto interessante!

Maria: Hai ragione Eric! Sai, ci sono 90 compagnie a basso costo in Europa oggi ...

Eric: Really... so many!

Tom: Yes, that’s right, 90. Lots of people fly with low cost airlines.

Eric: Davvero ...tante!

Tom: Sì, è vero, 90. Un sacco di gente vola con compagnie a basso costo.

Marie: Of course! It’s very cheap to fly with these airlines.

Tom: It’s not always cheap, Marie, it is cheap to fly midweek on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday but it’s not cheap to fly at weekends, on Saturday or Sunday.

Maria: Certo! È molto economico volare con queste compagnie aeree.

Tom: Non è sempre a buon mercato, Maria, è a buon mercato volare a metà settimana il Martedì, Mercoledì e Giovedì, ma non è a buon mercato volare durante i fine settimana, il Sabato o Domenica.

Eric: Mmm... but... are the planes safe?

Tom: Yes, the planes ore usually new, so they are safe...

Eric: Mmm ... gli aerei sono sicuri?

Tom: Sì, di solito gli aerei sono nuovi, in modo che siano sicuri ...

Eric: That’s good! It’s important to fly in safe planes. And what about the tickets? Is it easy to find them?

Marie: Yes, it’s very easy. I usually buy my tickets online with my credit card. Well... I travel a lot.

Eric: Questa è buona! È importante volare con aerei sicuri. E per quanto riguarda i biglietti? È facile trovarli?

Maria: Sì, è molto facile. Io di solito acquisto i biglietti online con carta di credito. Beh... io viaggio molto.

Eric: Really? You’re a real expert on low cost airlines Marie, aren’t you?

Marie: Yes, I am... my boyfriend lives in Berlin.

Eric: Davvero? Sei una vera esperta di compagnie a basso costo Maria, non è vero? Maria: Sì,  lo sono ... il mio ragazzo vive a Berlino.

Eric: How often do you visit him?

Marie: I go to see him twice a month.

Eric: Quanto spesso lo visiti?

Maria: vado a vederlo due volte al mese.

Eric: I see, I see... And are the flights on time?

Marie: Yes, they’re usually on time. i leave work at five thirty in the afternoon and arrive at the airport at six. Perfect for the check-in.

Eric: Vedo, vedo ...E sono i voli in orario?

Maria: Sì, sono di solito in tempo. Lascio il lavoro alle cinque e mezza del pomeriggio e arrivo in aeroporto alle sei. Perfetto per il check-in.

Tom: That’s very convenient, you’re lucky Marie! Usually low cost flights leave from airports a long way from the city. What time’s your flight?

Marie: At 7 o’clock.

Tom: È molto comodo, sei fortunata Maria! Di solito i voli a basso costo partono da aeroporti lontani dalla città. A che ora è il tuo volo?

Marie: Alle 7 del mattino

Tom: You’re really lucky Maria! Usually low cost flights leave late at night or early in the morning, when it’s not convenient.

Maria: Yes, that’s true, and yes, i am very lucky.

Tom: sei davvero fortunata Maria! Di solito i voli a basso costo operano a tarda notte o nelle prime ore del mattino, quando non è conveniente.

Maria: Sì, è vero, e sì, io sono molto fortunata.

Eric: Is there any food on the plane?

Maria: Yes, passengers buy drinks and snacks.

Eric: C'è qualche alimento sull'aereo?

Maria: Sì, i passeggeri comprano bibite e snack.

Tom: Remember, the drinks and snacks aren’t free, you have to pay, even for a glass of water!

Maria: That’s true! But it doesn’t matter! I arrive in Berlin at eight thirty. Just in time for o pizza with my boyfriend at “Bella Napoli”, a very good pizzeria. The best one in Berlin!

Tom: Ricordate, le bevande e snack non sono liberi, dovete pagare, anche per un bicchiere d'acqua!

Maria: È vero! Ma non importa! Arrivo a Berlino alle otto e mezza. Giusto in tempo per la pizza con il mio ragazzo a "Bella Napoli", una pizzeria molto buona. La migliore a Berlino!

Eric: Ah, ah, ah! But... for us... it’s time to say goodbye. Ok... low cost airlines. Today there are many low cost airlines in Europe. It’s cheap to fly with them. The planes ore safe and the flights ore usually on time. Very interesting, very, very interesting! Thank you Maria.

Maria: Thank you.

Eric: Ah, ah, ah! Ma ...per noi ...è il momento di dire addio. Ok ...compagnie a basso costo. Oggi ci sono molte compagnie a basso costo in Europa. È economico volare con loro. Gli aerei sono sicuri e di solito i voli sono in orario. Molto interessante, molto, molto interessante! Grazie Maria.

Maria: Grazie.

Eric: And thank you Tom.

Tom: Thank you.

Eric: E grazie a Tom.

Tom: Grazie.

Eric: And goodbye. See you again soon for another special edition of “Let’s talk”.

Eric: E addio. Ci rivediamo presto per un'altra edizione speciale di "Parliamo di".

Esercizio di comprensione

Verifica la tua comprensione rispondendo alle seguenti domande.

There are ninety low-cost airlines in Europe.

Ci sono novanta compagnie low-cost in Europa.



Where does Marie’s boyfriend live?

Dove vive il fidanzato di Maria?




Marie visits her boyfriend once a month.

Marie visita il suo fidanzato una volta al mese.



The drinks and snacks on the plane are free.

Le bevande e snack sull'aereo sono gratuiti.



Low-cost airlines are

Le compagnie aeree low cost sono



Facciamo il punto


C H E C K- I N

Il “check-in” (procedura di imbarco) corrisponde a un’area all’interno dell’aeroporto dove si mostra il proprio passaporto, si depositano i bagagli e si entra in possesso della carta di imbarco.

 “Check-n” è anche forma verbale:

“I check-in at 7”

Faccio il check-in alle 7

“Where’s the check-in for Berlin?”

Dove si effettua il check-in per Berlino?


L’aggettivo “cheap” (economico) riferito al prezzo, vuol dire che costa poco, mentre “expensive” (costoso) vuoi dire che costa molto. Alcuni esempi:

My ticket to Berlin is 600 euros - it’s expensive!

Il mio biglietto per Berlino costa 600 euro - è costoso!

Your ticket is 100 euros - it’s cheap

Il tuo biglietto costa 100 euro - è economico

Her ticket is 30 euros that’s very cheap!

Il suo biglietto costa 30 euro, è davvero economico!


Il verbo “fly with” si usa per dire con quale compagnia aerea voliamo, seguito dai nome della compagnia o dal tipo di compagnia aerea.

Alcuni esempi:

I fly with Air Liverpool

lo volo con Air Liverpool

I fly with low cost airlines

lo volo con una compagnia aerea a basso costo

Per sapere se l’aereo è in ritardo, si possono usare le seguenti espressioni:

Is the flight on time?

È in orario il volo?

If the flight is at 7 and it goes at 7 - it’s on time

Se il volo è alle 7 e parte alle , è in orario

But, if the flight is at 7 and it goes at 10 - it’s late

Ma, se il volo è alle 7 e parte alle 10, è in ritardo


In preparazione di un viaggio, possiamo fare una serie di operazioni online. Ecco alcuni esempi:

I buy my tickets online

Compro i miei biglietti online

I reserve hotel rooms online — I don’t call the hotel on the phone to reserve a room — I use the Internet.

Prenoto le camere d’albergo online non telefono all’albergo per prenotare una camera uso Internet.

I check my bank account online — I use the Internet to see how much money I have in my account.

Controllo il mio conto corrente online utilizzo Internet per sapere quanti soldi ci sono sul mio conto.

I pay my bills online — I use the Internet to pay the electricity bill, the water bill, the gas bill.

Pago le mie bollette online uso Internet per pagare la bolletta della luce, dell’acqua, del gas.


Per chiedere a qualcuno quante volte fa qualcosa, si usa l’espressione:

How often do you + verb?

Quante volte + verbo...?

Per rispondere si possono usare le seguenti espressioni:

once a month

una volta al mese

twice a month

due volte al mese

Quando facciamo qualcosa più di due volte:

three times a month

tre volte al mese

four times a month

quattro volte al mese

Se cambiamo il periodo di tempo, la struttura temporale rimane la stessa:

numero di volte + al/alla/all’ + periodo di tempo

once a day

una volta al giorno

twice a week

due volte alla settimana

three times a year

 tre volte all’anno

four times a week

quattro volte alla settimana


To arrive + at

I arrive at the airport at 6

Arrivo all’aeroporto alle 6

I arrive at the station at 4

Arrivo alla stazione alle 4

To arrive + in

Quando arriviamo in una città o paese:

I arrive in Berlin at 8.30

Arrivo a Berlino alle 8.30

I arrive in England tomorrow

Arrivo in Inghilterra domani


Scegli la parola corretta in questo esercizio.

When you show your passport and leave your luggage at the airport you...




”Cheap” means...

it costs a lot

it doesn’t cost very much

I... Easy Jet

fly with

fly on

If my flight is at 9.30 a.m. and it leaves at 9.30 a.m. it’s...


on time

I reserve my hotel room online ...

phone the hotel

use the Internet

send a fax

Marie... work at 5.30 p.m.



How often ... she visit her boyfriend?



... you buy your tickets online?



I go to London two weekends every month. I go to London ... a month.



three times

I arrive ... the airport at 2.30 p.m.



Exercises simple past/past continuous

7.17 - Riscrivete le seguenti frasi volgendo i verbi tra parentesi al simple past o al past continuous.
1 - He (play) the piano when I arrived.

2 - (she/sing) when you entered the room?

3 - While Margaret (make) the beds a neighbour of ours arrived.

4 - When I (reach) the station the train was leaving.

5 - When I (phone) he was having a shower.

6 - When I called her she (speak) with Bob.

7 - When I (arrive) the performance was just beginning.

8 - What (they/do) when you arrived?

9 - (it/rain) when you reached the seaside resort?

10 - He (sleep) when I phoned him.

7.18 - Leggete il seguente brano e formulate domande o risposte adeguate alle frasi date.

Last Saturday Liz went to the cinema with Bob. They saw a spy story, but it wasn’t good. After the film they decided to go to a Chinese restaurant. They had some pork with mushrooms. But they didn’t like it because it was too sweet. After the meal Bob opened his wallet to pay the bill but he didn’t have any money. So Liz paid. When they left the restaurant, it was raining. They found no buses and no taxis. They walked home in the rain. Do you think Liz had a pleasant evening?

1 - She went to the cinema with Bob.

2 - A spy story.

3 - Did they like the film?

4 - What did they decide to do after the film?

5 - They had some pork with mushrooms.

6 - Because it was too sweet.

7 - Who paid for the meal?

8 - Because Bob had no money.

9 - It was raining.

10 - No, they didn’t find one.

7.19 -  Riscrivete le seguenti frasi volgendo i verbi tra parentesi al simple past o al past continuous.

1 -  “When (John/phone) you?” “Last night. He (want) to invite me to the cinema.”

2 - When Bob (live) in a hostel,  he always (have) lunch in the canteen at work because it (be) cheaper.

 3 -  “Where was Jack?” “In the garden.” “What (he/do)?” “He (lie) on the grass and he (sunbathe).”

4 - He (not go) to work yesterday because he (not feel) well.

5 -  They (talk) about Peter when I (come) into the room five minutes ago.

6 -  “When (he/leave) for Glasgow?” “Last Saturday. “

7 - While I (walk) in the park yesterday I (see) your sister. She (be) with a handsome boy.

8 - It was eight o’clock when it (begin) to rain. We (not have) an umbrella so we (run) home.

9 - “At what time (the match/finish) yesterday?” “At about 10.00.” “What (you/do) then?” “I (go) home and (have) a bath.”

10 - “Where (Paul/go) when you saw him?” “I don’t know. He (run).”