The Italian Almanac

mayor Walter Veltroni

Italian News - July 18

Italy's first restaurant for deaf people was opened in Rome last week by Mayor Walter Veltroni.

Staff at the Ciak Si Mangia eatery are trained to take orders in Italian Sign Language (LIS). This means deaf people can go there alone or with other deaf friends, without the need for a signing hearer to go along to translate for them. "It will be a meeting place for those who have trouble speaking, but have lots of things to say," Veltroni commented at the inauguration party."

It's important that people who cannot speak normally have a place where they have no difficulty asking for a well-done steak or pasta al dente," explained the restaurant's owner, Andrea Migliotto." Often something that might seem simple, for these people, is not." Migliotto said.

Ciak Si Mangia, which seats up to 40 people, is only the second establishment of its type in Europe. As well as serving top nosh, the restaurant also provides a range of facilities for its deaf customers. There is equipment that enables deaf people to communicate via telephone and computers so they can send emails and chat over the internet. Diners can also watch subtitled movies on a big screen as they enjoy the gastronomic goodies on offer.

Hearers are welcome too. One of the computers even features software which people can use to teach themselves sign language.