Italy is one of the top seven economies in the world, and many employers are seeking people who speak both Italian and English. An estimated 7,500 American companies do business with Italy and more than 1,000 U.S. firms have offices in Italy, including IBM, General Electric, Motorola, Citibank, and Pricewaterhouse Coopers. Many Italian firms have offices around the world.
Knowing Italian is greatly beneficial in several career fields. Italy is a world leader in the culinary arts, interior design, fashion, graphic design, furniture design, machine tool manufacturing, robotics, electromechanical machinery, shipbuilding, space engineering, construction machinery, and transportation equipment.
Italy's cultural importance spans from antiquity through the present, of which the Roman period and the Renaissance are perhaps the two most influential moments.
According to UNESCO, over 60% of the world's art treasures are found in Italy. Some of the most famous Western artists, from Giotto to Michelangelo, were Italian. Knowledge of Italian is vital to understand the contexts of this art.
Italian literature boasts some of the world's most famous writers and thinkers, from Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarch and Machiavelli, to Verga, Svevo, Pirandello, and Gramsci, to name a few.
Since Roman times, Italy has exported its literature and culture to other parts of Europe and beyond, in the areas of Latin literature, Romanitas, humanism, opera, film, science, political thought, fashion, design, and cuisine. Knowing Italian allows you to understand, appreciate, and analyze this treasury of human expression.
Italy has the cultures, landscapes, and histories to fill a lifetime of investigation. Knowing Italian places you in a position to explore Italy's past and present from the most fulfilling vantage point.
Maybe you fell in love with the rolling hills of Tuscany on your first visit to il bel paese—or maybe you fell in love with an Italian! Maybe your grandparents emigrated from Italy, so you want to investigate your family history. Perhaps you're an aspiring musician who wants to learn what adagio, allegro, and andante mean, or an opera singer who wants to improve her pronunciation. Or you heard that it's easier to learn Italian as opposed to English.
For all these reasons and more, you've decided to learn Italian, improve on what lessons you've already taken, or formalize those rudimentary phrases you've been speaking when traveling to Italy.
No matter what your motivation—the opportunity to work overseas, cultural exchange in a land steeped in history and culture, researching your genealogy, or studying other topics such as Italian literature or art history—you can discover new worlds when learning Italian. So raise a glass of Montepulciano and congratulate yourself on embarking on a new adventure. Buon viaggio!