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Know Your World Cup Opponent – Italy!

Who’s ready for some international sportsball then? Phwoar! Goals! Brazilians! A trophy! Kicking! You get the idea. That’s right, the time has finally come: that magical month or so out of every four years when we all gather round our newly-purchased HD TVs to yell advice at a bunch of professional athletes, all in the name of the beautiful game. Bobby Moore, 66, Wemb-er-ly, come on you England, phwoar!

Our boys are jetting off to Brazil to play in the greatest tournament on earth – bigger than the Superbowl, more fun than the Olympics and with more gratuitous shots of bikini-clad blondes than Crufts – it’s the World Cup, of course. This time around, our brave Lions’ first test on the inevitable route to glory comes in the form of Italy. The rugged, handsome, stylish Italy – pasta, Pavarotti, the Romans, The Godfather, moustaches. Italy.

We’re in no doubt that the team’s wise owl/manager Roy Hodgson has mentally prepared his team for this tough test in the searing Brazilian heat, but we ask are you ready? It’s always important to know your enemy – know what makes them tick, what they get out of bed in the morning for, what they eat, what they drink, and some other stuff. If we really want to cheer on our lads then we owe it to them to suss out this glorious country. So, without further ado we bring you the Wowcher guide to Italy – it’s an offer you can’t refuse…

Food
We’ll start with the one aspect of Italian culture we should all know and love already. Known mostly for having their dishes pinched by other nations (pizza, macaroni, spag bol), Italy’s gorgeous food culture is unrivalled. The sheer simplicity, delicacy and the myriad of textures and flavours puts Italian food in a timeless class of its own, and it’s a testament to the maxim of ‘less is more’. Pasta + sauce + meat = a dish you’ll have over and over again in your lifetime. And if it’s cooked the right way (i.e. by someone who knows what they’re doing), you’ll never stop enjoying it.

Language
Now onto the unknown territory. While many of us may be able to spout off the odd ‘s’il vous plaît’ or ‘merci’ every time we nip to France, when it comes to Italian, there’s usually a little more talking louder and pointing that has to be done. But make no mistake, there’s no cooler language in the world, and there’s no reason we can’t get in on the action. Whether you fancy picking up a few tourist phrases for your next jaunt or even digging deeper and embarking on a path to fluency, local language centres or online courses will always be able to help you out.

positano

Positano on the Amalfi Coast – it’s a wonder they have any time at all for football with a backdrop like that!

Geography
Rome, Naples, Florence, Milan, Sicily, Sorrento, Turin – Italy’s cities and regions read like a Greatest Hits of holiday destinations. If you like sun-kissed beaches, gorgeous rural countryside, fascinating historical and cultural gems or buzzing metropolises, Italy has everything in abundance. With its quintessentially Mediterranean climate (scorching summers, wet, stormy winters), food, drink and endless sights and sounds, there basically isn’t a better place to put your new-found language skills to the test. With Wowcher at your service, you can eat their grub, learn their language and even nip over there and top up that tan along the way – whatever helps our chances of glory. Just remember, your country needs you!