Recent Blog Posts
- La Pasqua: Easter Eye Candy [a foto blog]
- Top 10 Reasons People Study Italian
- International Women’s Day – Auguri alle donne!
- Verona is for lovers… and graffiti artists + Valentine’s Love Phrases
- “Blackbird Days”: Italy’s Distant Cousin to Groundhog Day
- A proposito di propositi… Speaking of Resolutions… + Quizlet Practice Set!
- Arriva la Befana | The Befana Is Coming
- Lentils for Luck – Italian Recipe for a Prosperous New Year
Tag Archives: italian classes
Prefer to read this post in English? Skip to the text in green.
Così come guardare le vetrine non incide sui nostri budget, concedersi la bellezza di queste bellissime vetrine italiane decorate con esposizioni elaborate di dolci pasquali non ci metteranno dei centimetri alle vite… Meno male!
Just as window-shopping doesn’t put a dent in our budgets, indulging in the beauty of these beautiful Italian shop windows bedecked in elaborate displays of sweet treats for Easter won’t add inches to our waists… Thank goodness!
Per augurarvi una buona Pasqua, ecco alcune immagini scattate a Firenze di bellissime vetrine colme di dolci di ogni tipo per celebrare questa festa.
To wish you a happy Easter, here are some images captured in Florence of beautiful shop windows brimming with sweets of all kinds to celebrate this holiday.
Buona Pasqua! / Happy Easter!
Qual è il tuo dolce pasquale preferito?
What’s your favorite Easter candy or dessert?
I came across this list and thought it very accurately reflected the reasons my students have given over the years for studying (courting, pursuing, being enamored and sometimes even obsessed with) what many consider the world’s most romantic language.
Here’s that compilation. (It’s in Italian and English, so you can practice!)
Motivazioni per lo studio dell’italiano
- È la lingua più musicale del mondo.
- È la lingua del paese con il più alto patrimonio artistico e culturale.
- Per andare in vacanza e parlare con la gente del posto.
È la lingua della lirica, della moda e del design.
- È la lingua del buon vino e della buona cucina.
- È la lingua dei miei nonni o dei miei genitori.
- Devo trasferirmi a lavorare in Italia.
- Il mio partner è italiano.
- Voglio studiare in Italia.
- Sono pensionato e voglio trasferirmi in Italia.
List source: Torre di Babele, Roma.
Motivations for Studying Italian
- It’s the most musical language in the world.
- It’s the language of the country with the greatest number of world heritage sites.
- To go on vacation and speak with the people of the place.
- It’s the language of opera, fashion and design.
It’s the language of good wine and good cuisine.
- It’s the language of my grandparents or my parents.
- I have to move to Italy for to work.
- My partner is Italian.
- I want to study in Italy.
- I am retired and I want to move to Italy.
What do you think? Did your reason for studying this gorgeous language make the list? Are they any reasons you would add? Leave a comment!
Learn Italian! – Spring Italian Language Classes start March 27 – Sign up now for Early-bird discount!
Shorter days, longer nights and chilly temperatures make it the perfect season to cozy up with a good Italian movie.
Most of my students find watching Italian movies an enjoyable experience, but “they talk so fast” (referring to dialog in the films) is a frequent observation, usually followed by this question: “What can I do to increase my comprehension of these films?”
Here’s my advice for a tried-and-true way to employ Italian movies as a vehicle to exponentially expand your understanding of spoken Italian :
- Watch as many movies as you can get your hands (or eyes) on, preferably ones that are easily available. (See my picks of Italian movies on Netflix here.)
- Choose one of these movies as your “project”. Make it a film that you enjoy so much you’d happily watch it over and over again, because that’s exactly what I’m about to prescribe.
- Watch the whole movie several times, while reading the English subtitles, until you have the movie meaning and content memorized.
- Now, starting with chapter one (or the first section/scene of the film), turn off the subtitles and (already knowing what is happening in the scene) focus on listening only to the Italian. At this point, because you know exactly what’s going on in the movie plot, you are free to focus on the spoken language. Listen to each chapter or scene several times, focusing first on getting the gist and then gradually on comprehending words and phrases.
- If possible, when you first turn off the English subtitles, consider watching with the subtitles switched to Italian.
- It might seem like you’re training yourself to be able to understand only this one movie, but stick with it. What you are really doing is using it to train your ear, and this will improve your comprehension skills and spill over to any new movies or programs you listen to in Italian (not to mention actual live people). When it’s time to choose a new movie “project”, if you’ve followed these steps, you’ll be amazed at how much more quickly you are able to understand and get the gist!
- Here’s that list of my Italian movie picks on Netflix. Enjoy!
Got any favorite Italian movies? Or listening comprehension suggestions you’d like to share? Love to hear your comments!
[Note: Any text in Italian is followed by the English translation.]
Gli scioglilingua sono un ottimo modo per esercitare la tua pronuncia in Italiano!
Tongue twisters are an excellent way to practice your Italian pronunciation!
Eccone due divertenti che ha condiviso il mio amico Lobsang di Torino. Li ho provati lo scorso sabato nella mia classe di conversazione e studio dell’italiano e gli studenti si sono divertiti un mondo facendo esercizio.
Here are two fun ones my friend Lobsang from Torino shared with me. I tested them out this past Saturday in my Italian Study & Conversation class, and the students had a blast practicing them.
Tre tigri contro tre tigri. | Three tigers against three tigers.
Dieci limoni, cento limoni, mille limoni. | Ten lemons, a hundred lemons, a thousand lemons.
[P.S. No, they don’t make sense… of course not, they’re tongue twisters!]
- Ascoltare le registrazioni audio
- Pronunciare lo scioglilingua lentamente, poi due volte di fila, infine tre volte senza fermarsi
- Aumentare la velocità senza sacrificare la pronuncia corretta
Suggestions & Advice:
- Listen to the audio recordings
- Say the tongue twister once slowly, then twice in a row, and finally three times without stopping.
- Pick up speed without sacrificing correct pronunciation
Tre tigri contro tre tigri.
Dieci limoni, cento limoni, mille limoni.
Divertiti e fammi sapere come va! Hai mai usato gli scioglilingua come modo di fare esercizio in italiano? Lo trovi utile, difficile, divertente? Quali sono i tuoi preferiti? Lascia un commento!
Have fun and let me know how you do! Have you used tongue twisters before as a way to practice Italian? Do you find it useful, difficult, fun? What are some of your favorites? Leave a comment!
[Note: Any text in Italian is followed by the English translation.]
In the spirit of gratitude, and in observance of Thanksgiving Day, here are three things for which I am grateful…
- I miei studenti e i lettori di questo blog, senza i quali non potrei seguire la mia passione nell’insegnamento di questa bellissima lingua. | My students and blog readers, without which I couldn’t follow my passion of teaching this beautiful language.
- Internet, senza il quale sarebbe molto più difficile fare quello che faccio. | The internet, without which it would be much more difficult to do what I do.
- Gli amici e i familiari, vicini e lontani, che mi appoggiano e spronano a modo loro, tramite i mezzi a disposizione (telefono, social media, contatti diretti), a dare il meglio per inseguire, sviluppare e condividere i miei obiettivi e idee, cosa che mi da uno scopo nella vita. Grazie! | Friends and family, near and far, that support and spur me on in their own ways, by available means (phone, social media, direct contact) to give my best in following, developing and sharing my goals and ideas, which gives purpose to my life. Thank you!
Buon Giorno del Ringraziamento a tutti! E voi di che cosa siete grati? | Happy Thanksgiving Day to all! What are YOU grateful for?
[Grazie al mio collaboratore speciale, Lobsang Burzacchini]
Babbo Natale (Santa Claus) didn’t check everything off your list? Not to worry. You get a second chance tonite.
Kid’s all over Italy are getting ready to hang up their stockings for la Befana to fill this eve of Epiphany, January 6, the day of when the wise men are said to have arrived in Bethlehem.
Just like Babbo Natale, la Befana flies through the air (in place of a sleigh with reindeer, the Befana flies a broomstick – both pretty incredible, really) from house to house where there are bambini, entering by way of il camino (the chimney) and leaving treats for i bambini che sono stati buoni (the kids who have been good) and coal for i bambini cattivi (the naughty children). No mention is made of whether she has a list that she checks twice, but I digress . . .
Where Babbo Natale is rotund, merry, white-bearded and dressed in red and white, la Befana is depicted as a smiling , grandmotherly-looking witch, wearing tattered clothing and covered in soot astride a broomstick.
So what do we know of la Befana’s origins? Well, it’s all pretty much lore; just like what we know of Santa from “Santa Claus is coming to Town”, etc., it’s pretty fantastical… and both seem like stories that pre-date Christian traditions.
The most common story I encounter is that la Befana lived along the route the Magi took to the Natvity Scene. In this version, they stopped at her house seeking food and shelter, but she wasn’t feeling sociable and sent them away. Later, la Befana has a change of heart and sets out to find the Magi, and to accompany them to find the Christ Child. But by now, she’s too late to catch up, and she never finds the child. So, as the story goes, to this day, at this time of year, she still travels the world, leaving gifts for every child, lest they be il Gesu` Bambino (the Baby Jesus).
What does the Befana bring to good children? That depends on the traditions (and budget) of the household where they live. Most just get little treats, candies and gizmos, similar to what St. Nick (from whom Santa Claus derives) puts in stockings of kids whose families observe St. Nicholas Day (Dec. 6), but some lucky kids get iPods and other such fancy loot!
Most cities hold special events and parties dedicated to celebrating la festa dell’Epifania/la Befana (Epiphany holiday). People play bingo and cards, and gather outdoors in the piazze (squares) for festivities, including music, processions, live nativity scenes, open-air markets, live appearances by la Befana, and more. You’ll find links to a few of these happenings below.
And while it’s mainly a celebration for the kiddies, you’ll find adults getting in on the action, too, dressing up and parading around as la Befana in carne e ossa (in the flesh). The picture here looks like a sort of Befana bunny hop!
Feeling festive? Perhaps you want to get into the act, too. This could be a great time to adopt a fun new tradition, with kids and family or friends and housemates. All you need is una calza (a sock or stocking) – any type, even a long sock will do – and some little treats!
Have you ever heard of or celebrated la Befana? Comments welcome!
[Note this blog is written in Italian interspersed with the English translation.]
Dopo il mio giro per la Piazza del Duomo (Siena, Part 1, Duomo & People-watching), mi sono recata al cosidetto Facciatone che offre ai visitatori di Siena delle vedute mozzafiato. All’inizio del 300, si comincio` la costruzione di quello che doveva essere un enorme ampliamento del Duomo. Ma il progetto si fermo` nel 1348 quando Siena venne colpita dalla peste, che decimo` la popolazione.
After my stroll through the Duomo Square (Siena, Part 1, Duomo & People-watching), I went to the so-called Facciatone (Big Facade) that offers visitors to Siena breathtaking views. At the beginning of the 14th century, construction was begun on what was to be an enormous enlargement of the Duomo. But the project was stopped in 1348 when Siena was struck by the plague, which decimated the population.
Non si e` mai ripresa la costruzione, e cio` che e` rimasto e` solo un grande facciatone (da cui nacque il soprannome) che non sembra altro che un grande muro. Oggi il Facciatone (detto anche il Duomo Nuovo) serve come terrazza panoramica. Si accede alla terrazza dal museo dell’opera del duomo situato accanto. Una scala a chiocciola porta in cima alla terrazza panoramica che fornisce spettacolari vedute di Siena a 360 gradi.
Construction was never resumed, and what has remained is only a huge facade (from which the nickname was born) that looks like nothing more than a big wall. Today the Big Facade (also called the New Duomo) serves as a panoramic terrace. You can get to the terrace from the Duomo Museum located next door. A spiral staircase takes you to the top of the panoramic terrace that provides spectacular 360-degree views of Siena.
Have you ever heard of the Facciatone? Which is your favorite view? Love your comments!
[Grazie sentite ai miei assistenti di redazione Enzo e Giovanna ed alla mia assistente grafico Mimi!]
[NOTE: This post is written in Italian, interspersed with the English translation.]
In Italia la frutta e la verdura si possono comprare dal supermercato insieme agli altri fabbisogni alimentari, così come negli Usa, però il luogo più comune, più tradizionale e di gran lunga il più divertente per acquistare prodotti agricoli è il fruttivendolo.
In Italy, you can buy fruit and vegetables at the supermarket along with other needed food items, just like in the States, but the most common, most traditional and by far the most fun place to purchase produce is from the fruttivendolo, or the greengrocer’s.
I fruttivendoli (detti anche ortolani) si trovano nelle zone residenziali insieme ad altri negozi e anche ai mercatini locali, dove gli italiani vanno regolarmente per comprare della frutta e della verdura fresche e dove molto probabilmente conoscono i nomi del proprietario e delle commesse del fruttivendolo.
Greengrocers (fruttivendoli, also called ortolani) are found in residential areas along with other shops and also at the local street/open-air markets, where Italians go regularly to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, and where they very probably know the names of the owner and shop assistants of the greengrocery.
Siccome stiamo entrando in piena stagione del giardinaggio e della coltivazione degli orti, e con essa l’entusiasmo per ogni forma di frutta e ortaggio che abbondano nei caldi giorni estivi, mi sembrava l’occasione perfetta per condividere alcune foto delle delizie trovate dai fruttivendoli italiani. Non solo sono belle, ma secondo me, la produzione agricola italiana è tra le più gustose che abbia assaggiato. Godete!
Since we are entering into the high season of gardening and vegetable garden cultivation, and with it enthusiasm for every type of fruit and vegetable that abounds in the hot summer days, it seemed like the perfect occasion to share some photos of the delights found at Italian greengrocers. Not only are they beautiful, but in my opinion, Italian produce is among the tastiest. Enjoy!
Have any interesting Italian fruttivendolo anecdotes? Are you keeping un orto (a vegetable garden) this summer? Are your favorite verdure (vegetables) shown in these photos? Love to read your comments!
[Grazie sentite ai miei assistenti di redazione Giovanna ed Enzo e alla mia assistente grafico Mimi!]
[NOTE: This post is written in Italian, interspersed with the English translation.]
Un gioiello di città di montagna: Montepulciano. Si trova nel cuore della regione del Vino Nobile a sudest di Firenze. È il paese di montagna più grande della Toscana del sud ed è racchiuso tra antiche mura costruite nel 1511. Montepulciano, che ha origini dal popolo degli Etruschi, vanta delle bellissime viste e viuzze tra chiese e strutture rinascimentali. È proprio un bel posto per andare a zonzo.
A jewel of a hill town: Montelpulciano. It’s in the heart of the Vino Nobile wine region southwest of Florence. It is the biggest hill town in southern Tuscany and is enclosed by ancient walls built in 1511. Montepulciano, which dates back to the Etruscans, boasts beautiful views and narrow streets among churches and renaissance-era buildings. It’s really a beautiful place to wander…
I cipressi: Paesaggio visto dalla Porta al Prato, uno dei principali accessi alla città. (Prima dell’uso delle carte stradali, i cipressi si piantarano lungo i cammini per segnalarli ai viaggiatori.)
Cypresses: Panorama seen from near Porta al Prato, one of the main city gates. (Before the use of maps, cypresses were planted along roadsides as a way to indicate them to travelers)
[Grazie sentite al mio assistente redazione Enzo Heinz D’Albis]
Have you been to Montepulciano? Which picture is your favorite?
Leave a comment below!