Cape Town Capisci?


As a great lover of all things Italian – I have, for a long time now, been meaning to write many more articles about “Italians in Cape Town”.

But I realized that this had to be done in conjunction with either someone from Italy proper like, or someone au-fait with all things Italian – from a CapeTonian’s perspective. So I thought to myself, I thought, that I needed a good connection in Town…a genuine Italian person who knows what is happening in this wonderful Mother City of ours, who could talk to me about the DOLCE VITA…

Call it serendipitous or whateva, but I happened to literally “bump” into the best candidate for the job whilst ordering a LATTE at Giovanni’s Deliworld in Green Point a few days ago.

A woman, with a deep, hoarse and Latin-esque voice approached me and she goes:

Are you aware that by ordering a LATTE (she pronounced it LAT-TEY with an English accent, on purpose to mock me) you are actually ordering a glass of milk?

I turned – slightly “miffed” but also fascinated by this forthrightness –  and it didn't take me long to figure out that I had just met my new connection for "THE ITALIAN JOB" ….i.e. the person who would help me out in developing the concept of my next few articles about Italians in Cape Town.

After sharing a coffee we ended up sharing stories and opinions (as strong as the coffee) about CapeTonians, Italians, Italian food, the Italian-South Africans, and of course, ourselves!

This little packet of dynamite (Federica Marchesini is her name), who was nobody to me before my humble "LATTEY", turned out to be the creator and founder of an Italian language school and community in Cape Town, called LINGO.

I was intrigued by the way she told me the story of her South African life.

She still remembers when she opened the map of the world, while she was living in Germany, and looked for the furthest place on Earth to go, to be away from the centre of Europe and decided to land at the end of the world – on her own, without a family or a partner, to discover a new country and to re-invent herself.

And this is where HOME is for her now…10 years later she is still here, where she is still enjoying the Mother City and rocketing ideas and new projects out like fireworks on New Year’s Eve.

Through her Italian school and community and through her passion about the language and people, I believe she has managed to become a real "operator", and a good connoisseuse of all things Italian…. hidden or exposed in Cape Town.

She even hosts a monthly event called “VENERDI AL BAR” (Friday at the bar), where she encourages Italians, and all those who love Italy, and the Italians, to join her at a bar for an APERITIVO to gently ease into the coming weekend with the "DOLCE FAR NIENTE" pace (literally the sweet  way of doing nothing).

With a borrowed pen and a croissant paper bag "stolen" from the bakery section (thanks Nikki), we found ourselves jotting down ideas…

And the name of this series came easily!

CAPE TOWN CAPISCI? (Pronounced Kapish for all us philistines, and meaning DO YOU UNDERSTAND?).

So, please join us on this adventure over the weeks and months ahead……



  1. Federica is a very nice girl

  2. Love Fede and Love going to class on Thursday. Looking forward to my trip to Europe in September so that I can put into practise what I have learnt. Molto bene grazie Fede :)

  3. Marcelle says:

    Cara Fede, can't wait to read your blog! You have taught us so much more than just Italian! Buona Fortuna!!

  4. I so enjoy the ramblings of this crazy Italian.

  5. CIAO

  6. Sorry good luck

  7. Wow! So cool! What a sparkling lady.  Will spread the word amongst your Italian tourist guide students.

  8. Dear Fede…If your job as a journalist won't be can work as a BIDELLA!!ahahah :) do you remeber?   I miss your English lessons..  xxxxxxx Elisa

  9. fede, sei un vulcano!!


    Dear Federica,
    As Italian citizen, you are making me very proud! You are showing a lot of passion and comittment for our Country and for Italian people. Your webb site is Fantastic!!!
    LUCA -(Italian/English Tour Guide)-0720218505

  11. GRANDE ZIA!!porta sempre un po' di spirito italiano nel mondo.

  12. auntie fede, you rock!

  13. Love yr story and idea of a blog.
    What do you think of the ones that say “ANTIPASTA” thinking they are ordering in proper Italian an “ANTIPASTO”.For them the meaning makes so much more sense, before the pasta! For us..Italians…it’s so irritating!

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