Cover picture credits © Grafner
Cover picture credits © Grafner

The dialects of Apulia

2 minutes to read

If you think you know Italian good enough to communicate throughout Italy, then think twice when planning to visit the magnificent south. Even the most confident speakers will soon reach their limits when the real Apulians get started. Apulia is the perfect place to add some extra vocabulary to your standard Italian skills, as locals are proud of their dialect and happy to share it with visitors.

The region is very diverse, and almost every city and geographical area have their own words and expressions; the most  present dialects though, are the Barese and the Salentino.

© Photo: viking75

The dialect of the biggest city in Apulia, Bari, is the so called “Barese”. Barese is so different from proper italian and it even has its own Wikipedia entry showing the declension of the original dialect! Some of the most common expressions are:

Ué! - Hello!

Ci jè? – What’s the matter?

Mo me n'i à scí! - Now I have to go!

Mo e ci jè?! – literal: Now who is this?! meaning: Wow, that is beautiful/ impressive!

University of Bari Aldo Moro
University of Bari Aldo Moro
Piazza Umberto I, 1, 70121 Bari BA, Ιταλία

If you want to learn more about the Barese dialect to show off your local language skills then have a look at:

If you go to the southern region of Apulia, the Salentino dialect is widely spread. In the Salento (Salentu for the locals) peninsula the dialect finds its roots in the Sicilian language, unlike Barese which is considered to be a variety of Neapolitan.

© Photo: jacoblund

"Lu sule, lu mare, lu ientu"

The most wide-spread expression in Salento, is "lu sule, lu mare, lu ientu" (il sole, il mare, il vento) in English: the sun, the sea, the wind. This simple saying is the salentino version of "Hakuna Matata". The sun shining on your face, the refreshing clear water of the sea around your feet and the wind in your hair. The locals live by this expression, stating that you don't need much to be happy; don't worry too much but rather enjoy the moment to the fullest. This mindset is also reflected in their cuisine: simple, pure, amazingly flavourful food and ingredients coming straight from the Italian nature, cooked always in a simplistic and delicious way!

Show off your freshly acquired language skills and explore this authentic Italian region! Remember, the unique and picturesque cities of Apulia are not just worth visiting in summer! 😊

The author

Sandra Marx

Sandra Marx

My name is Sandra and I grew up in Austria. I started a Bed and Breakfast in Puglia, Italy, with my partner. I will tell you about all my favorite places and I hope that this wonderful region will fascinate you.

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