“But what is present perfect? Non ho capito.” If I had a euro for every time I have been asked this question (and please notice my use of present perfect here) I could buy a ticket to a tropical island. Wait, no, I could buy my OWN island. I wish I could travel back to the dawn of time and insert present perfect into the Italian language.
Just slip it right in there with “il modo congiuntivo” and “il condizionale passato.” I mean, seriously, if an Italian can learn these impossible sounding grammar tenses, than why can’t they learn something as easy as the present perfect? Maybe because many Italians don’t speak Italian!
Most of my students joke about this fact that the Italian language has some of the most difficult grammar to learn. I agree! But going back to the present perfect, it is not as difficult as one may think. We use it to talk about a period of time that started in the past and continued (or continues) to the present. We don’t specify the exact date in the past; we can use “since 2002” or “for 10 years” to talk about when the action started or how long the action happened. It’s so much easier than congiuntivo!!!
For example: “I have visited Grand Cayman Island 22 times in my life.” At some point in my life, from the time I was born until today, I travelled to Grand Cayman. I never say a specific time in the past, I only say how many times I have travelled there. On a typical day at school, I might explain this at least 10 different times! It’s crazy! But, as with every language, it takes a long time and a lot of practice to learn these difficult grammar tenses. Or, as the Italians say, “Piano, piano!”