Same in Greek! "Δεν βλεπω την ωρα! (Then vlepo teen aura) Literally translates to: "I cannot see the hour!". It's used to describe an impatient anticipation for something exciting that is coming up in the near future, i.e. meeting an old friend, travel somewhere or even for dinner time when one is really really hungry!
When you translate it literally it's hard to make sense of it. I often think that Italians don't have a real concept of "looking forward" because they tend to live more in the moment than we do. In any case it's an idiom that we hear all the time, frequently in reference to a future event as in "Non vedo l'ora di vederti di nuova," meaning "I can't wait to see you again."
As I see it it's a bit like "Watched pots never boil" in the sense that pots seem to take forever to boil if you watch them. Perhaps the same is true with the Italian in the sense that if you keep looking at the clock when you want something badly, time tends to pass agonisingly slowly.
i was just asking so that i understand the grammar of the sentence. I am a native spanish speaker, and I know when explaining an idiom you must just say something that is closely similar in English but most importantly gets the message across. I just wanted to know its literal meaning.
That is a really, really poor approach (and I really dislike how Duolingo teaches idioms). Idioms are never just random words that must be translated to a similarly random sentence in your mother tongue - instead, learning an idiom in a foreign language should be about knowing the words themselves and then understanding the deeper meaning behind those words. E.g. teaching us that "meno male" = "thank goodness" completely misses the literal aspect of "less bad"; it's not a thank you, but more of a idiomatic shrug.
In Portuguese we have something like this. It implies some excitement. Literally sounds like "I don't see the time", but you don't see the time for something to happen. For example, we say "Não vejo a hora de ter 18 anos". In English, would be: "I can't wait for being 18".
To sum up, it just implies excitement and expectation over some event.
Is there anyway to say "I'm looking forward to" in Italian rather than "I can't wait" with " non vedo l'ora"? For me "I'm looking forward to" is a lot more restrained and often more formal, e.g. "I look forward to hearing from you", I wouldn't put "non vedo l'ora di sentirLa"
"non vedo l'ora" is totally informal. So: "non vedo l'ora di sentirti" is ok and used everyday. But: "sentirLa" implies a formal connection. So we'd say "rimango in attesa di notizie" (I'll be waiting for news); and we'd write "rimango in attesa di gentile riscontro" (i'll be waiting for a kind reply). This last is non sense, I know, but that is.
My Italian cousin has just said this to me … she means …. literally I just can't wait to the see the hour that we get together/go out/ do to that place etc or practical translation is I cannot wait - I am so excited! Use it frequently as it is a really fun phrase .. very emotional, very Italian! it will make you seem genuinely Italian.