If you have been to Italy before, you may have noticed that Italians use their hands a lot when they talk. You may have thought that people are crazy here... there is actually a reason behind every hand gesture!
Before 1861, Italy was divided in city-states and Kingdoms, each one had its own traditions and language.
Some scholars maintain that Italians coming from different regions had to find a way to understand each other which led to a language made up of hand gestures and facial expressions. Many theories point to the fact that there were few highways and railways uniting the various villages and regions, especially in the South of Italy, until the turn of the 20th Century. The late onset of country-wide television in proper Italian is another contributing factor for the need of this 'universal' Italian gesturing.
So, check out this video and start practice these gestures before you come to Italy, it will seem a little strange at first but you'll find them useful to understand your future Italian friends!