Parole Curiose Posted by on Apr 19, 2009 in Italian Language

One of the things that attracts a lot of people to the Italian language is its musicality. This is probably largely due to our rather ‘generous’ usage of vowels which enable scorrevolezza (fluency), well at least for us ‘natives’, students of Italian may disagree! Try this little scioglilingua (tongue twister) for example:

Sopra la panca la capra campa, sotto la panca la capra crepa

(Above the bench the goat lives, below the bench the goat dies)

Too easy? Try this one then.

Trentatre’ Trentini entrarono dentro Trento tutti e trentatre’ trotterellando

(Thirty three people from Trento entered into Trento all thirty three trotting along)

Hmmm, o.k. you’d better get yourself a refreshing glass of water, perhaps even have a lie down. Now if you’re feeling refreshed, and you’ve realigned your tongue are you ready for another challenge? Dai, proviamoci! (Come on, let’s try!)

Due to our ‘superfluity’ of vowels, the Italian language contains a number of ‘parole curiose’ (curious words). So here is your challenge in the form of a little quiz:

1. Which is the shortest word in the Italian language that contains all five vowels (aeiou)? You will find a clue at the end of my blog Un po’ di giardinaggio

2. Which Italian word has six i’s and no other vowels? (clue: prime numbers have this quality)

3. Which Italian word has the most o’s? (clue: politicians are very good at doing this whenever a proposal is made)

4. Name at least two Italian words that have five a’s. (clue: one of these is potentially explosive, another may require an exorcist, yet another will be useful if you’ve lost a dog)

5. Which word is considered to be the longest in Italian? (clue: it has 26 letters and it happens very quickly!)

6. Which is the longest Italian word with no repeating letters? (clue: you can find them at the circus, they have very good balance)


Click on Post a Comment below to post your answers, buona fortuna

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  1. ann:

    Hi Serena, It will be fun to see the answers to the quiz. Have you yet posted a blog about buona, bello, before and after the verb? Since your explanations are so clear, I’d love to hear it for these two words. Their endings seem not the same depending on their position before or after the noun they modify.?????????? Thanks

  2. Serena:

    Ciao Ann, So where are your answers to the quiz?
    Yes I have done a post about buono, bello etc., here is the link: I hope you will find it useful.

    A presto, Serena

  3. Judith Jenkinson:

    I love receiving your blog and find your grammer tips most helpful. Is there any way to know whether a past participle takes avere or essere without just learning them all? Ciao, Judy..

  4. Serena:

    Gentile Judith, I’m really pleased that you find my blogs helpful. Regarding the use of essere and avere with the past participle this is the blog you need to read:
    If it’s still not clear let me know and I’ll see what I can do to help because I know this is a tricky topic.

    Cordiali saluti, Serena

  5. Joanne:

    This is the only one that I got, still can’t pronounce it but was fascinated with the blog on gardens as my father was an avid gardener, taught by his immigrant father and mother who owned a green house and a truck farm.

    The word: aiuola

  6. natasha:

    This is pretty hard 🙂

    1. aiuola
    5. precipitevolissimevolmente


    NON SE.



  9. Bella:

    Allora, per quanto riguarda le parole che hanno 5 “a”…..abracadabra (e grazie al dizionario!) 🙂 eccole! :

  10. Cathy:

    1. aiuole, the plural of aiuola
    2. I thought it was indivisibile, but that only has 5!

    okay….my brain began to hurt and I cheated and used google to look up the answers…and I found this link:

    I loved this one!

  11. Ken:

    I do not know enough Italian to write this il la bella lingua; however, I want to thank you for writing your blogs. I particularly enjoy the blending of Italian with English, and the wealth of information that can be acquired only by speaking with a native. It’s much like having an Italian friend willing to share glimpses of life in Italy. My wife and I have visited Italy once and I want so much to return with language skills that will permit me to converse with those who live in San Bartolomeo in Galdo, the home of my grandparents. Grazie di nuovo.

  12. Serena:

    Well done everyone who has had a go at my quiz so far. Perhaps it was a bit harder than I thought, however all the answers can be found on the internet. They are not neccessarily useful words, but they show how much fun it can be learning a language which uses so many vowels!
    I will post all the answers very soon.

    A presto, Serena

  13. neima:

    thank you alot foryour help it really hep us to improove our level in italian
    as well as for those who don’t have the ability to travel easy
    so with your help we can easy have an idea about every country we are found of

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