Before arriving in Italy, I opened my Italian phrase book maybe twice. I knew the basics before arrival: vino, ciao, cappuccino, and grazie. I wish I would have prepared myself a bit more prior to arrival. I quickly realized not knowing the language would be quite challenging. When I arrived in Venice, I needed to take a train to Florence where I would meet up with my classmates. I was able to navigate myself to the train station, however when I tried to ask someone if they could help me buy train ticket, the lady I asked quickly got upset and used hand gestures in response. I still had no idea what she said, but I'm pretty sure it was not nice. Luckily, I was able to ask another lady working the ticket booth how to buy tickets to Florence. In her broken English, she was able to help me get on my way.
Once I arrived in Cagli, my hand gestures were out in full effect in an attempt to communicate. I never went into a shop assuming Italians knew English, so I would point to what I wanted and try my best version of broken Italian with a bit of English. The shop owner would try their best to understand me, and I would do the same. After about ten minutes of trying to understand each other I found Italians knew better English than they let on. I found this out when some would answer me in perfect English after the transaction was finished.
I now know more than 5 words and can get around town with this new knowledge. I will come back to Italy someday, but I will definitely prepare a little better next time. However, even with the language barrier, Italians are very generous people and overly accommodating.