La Bella Vita For Members

La Bella Vita: Italy's different pasta shapes and what do Italians think of Valentine's Day?

Clare Speak
Clare Speak - [email protected]
La Bella Vita: Italy's different pasta shapes and what do Italians think of Valentine's Day?
Photo by Jametlene Reskp on Unsplash

From knowing your pasta shapes and how to use them to celebrating Valentine's Day in true Italian style, our weekly newsletter La Bella Vita offers you an essential starting point for eating, talking, drinking and living like an Italian.


La Bella Vita is our regular look at the real culture of Italy – from language to cuisine, manners to art. This newsletter is published weekly and you can receive it directly to your inbox, by going to newsletter preferences in 'My Account' or following the instructions in the newsletter box below.

I don't know about you, but almost every time I visit a new Italian region or city, or even revisit one I've been to several times before, I seem to come across a pasta shape or two that I'm not familiar with at a local market or trattoria.

Sometimes Italians themselves aren't familiar with some of the regional varieties, I've found, which is reassuring, but also makes me wonder: just how many types of pasta are there in this country?

We tried to answer this question in the article below, and looked at why all these different shapes and varieties are necessary, how they're used, and which are Italians' favourites.

How many different types of pasta are there in Italy?

Valentine's Day is coming up, but is there much interest in this event in Italy? You might imagine that - like Halloween - it would be deemed a commercial foreign import by most Italians. Plus, isn't the whole concept redundant in a country where romance is already such a big part of everyday life?

Our writer Silvia Marchetti says however that Italians go all out for Valentine's Day and, though the original "mysticism" of the celebration's Italian roots will soon be totally forgotten, the hearts and flowers are here to stay.


Showy or sincere? What Italians really think of Valentine’s Day

Italy, Saint Valentine

A couple visit the Foro Romano in central Rome on Valentine's Day. Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP

And if you want to get into the spirit of things this week by learning a few romantic phrases, here’s how to use the language of love to talk about flirting, falling in love, and everything in between. You probably won’t have heard some of these in Italian class.

Here’s how to talk about love, sex, and dating in Italian

It's also Carnival season, and today in Italy this is a family-friendly festivity revolving around costumes, confetti, fried frappe and castagnole. But it has some pretty wild origins.


We spoke to one historian who explained how the tradition's roots are in the Ancient Greek celebration of Baccanali - which was in turn likely imported from Mesopotamia - and how in Ancient Rome the event became a "blank cheque for debauchery," designed to let people get their darker desires out of their systems once a year. Read all about it here:

Wine, masks and debauchery: How did Italy’s Carnival tradition begin?

Remember if you'd like to have this weekly newsletter sent straight to your inbox you can sign up for it via Newsletter preferences in "My Account".

Is there an aspect of the Italian way of life you'd like to see us write more about on The Local? Please email me at [email protected].


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also