Tag Archives: italian expressions

Buoni propositi per l’anno nuovo | New Year’s Resolutions

[Note: Any text in Italian is followed by the English translation.]

È giunto quel momento: un nuovo anno luccicante è iniziato! Un anno pieno di possibilità e buoni propositi, cioè tutti quegli atti e nobili intenzioni che vorremmo riuscire a mettere in pratica nei prossimi dodici mesi.

That moment has arrived: a shiny new year has begun! A year full of possibilities and resolutions, that is to say, all those actions and noble intentions  that we’d like to be able to put into practice in the next twelve months.

Ecco i miei, o perlomeno tre dei miei più importanti obiettivi:

Here are mine, or at least three of my most important goals:

– Rimettermi in forma… visto che l’anno scorso ho messo su peso e non mi vanno più i ginnasticajeans… uffa! Mi sono già iscritta ad un intenso programma di ginnastica.

– Get back in shape… seeing that last year I put on weight and can no longer get into my jeans… darn it! I have already signed up for an intensive exercise program.

– Imparare a gestire e investire intelligentemente i soldi… visto che ormai sono diventata responsabile con le finanze, è giunto il momento di procedere al prossimo traguardoinvestire soldi… Sono brava con le parole, ora voglio migliorare le capacità finanziarie.

– Learn to intelligently manage and invest money… seeing that by now I have become responsible with my finances, the moment has arrived to move to the next milestone… I’m good with words; now I want to improve my financial skills.

– Imparare a cantare e a usare bene la voce. È sempre stato il mio sogno poter cantar bene, o almeno decentemente (possibilmente evitando che i cani abbaino mentre intono una canzone). In più, visto che parlo per mestiere, apprendere l’uso corretto Jodina singing at Cicciotti's-editeddell’apparato vocale-respiratorio penso sia un buon investimento nella mia vita professionale.

– Learn to sing and use my voice well. It has always been my dream to be able to sing well, or at least decently (possibly avoiding that dogs howl when I sing a song). Moreover, seeing that I speak for a living, I believe that learning to correctly use my vocal-respiratory apparatus is a good investment in my professional life.

Questi sono i miei propositi per il 2015. Le aspirazioni e i sogni che punto a realizzare. Dichiararli agli altri è sempre difficile, ma fondamentale. Per questo vi chiedo di condividere anche i vostri. Che cosa farete nel nuovo anno? Come investirete il vostro tempo? Per quali obiettivi lotterete?

These are my resolutions for 2015. Aspirations and dreams that I aim to realize. Declaring them to others is always difficult but essential. For this reason, I’m asking you to share yours, too. What will you do in the new year? How will you invest your time? What goals will you strive for?

Auguro a tutti un anno  felice e pieno di creatività!

I wish everyone a happy new year full of creativity!

Posted in Italian Customs, Italian Holidays, learn italian, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Fave 3 Friday: Una, due, tre porte in Toscana | One, Two, Three Doors in Tuscany

[Note: Any text in Italian is followed by the English translation.]

“Chiusa una porta si apre un portone.” Significa che quando perdi un’occasione c’è subito un’altra opportunità. Quindi, nella vita, siate ottimisti e fiduciosi!

This Italian idiomatic expression translates roughly as “Closed one door, a bigger door opens.”  It means when you miss out on one chance, there will be another, perhaps better, opportunity soon after. The English equivalent is “When one door closes, another opens.” Therefore, be optimistic; trust life!

Ecco tre delle mie foto preferite di porte in Toscana. Chissà che si nasconde oltre la soglia…  Riccamente ornate con le loro cornici di pietra, uno immagina che sia qualcosa di incantevole.

Here are three of my favorite photos of doors in Tuscany. Who knows what’s hidden beyond the entryways… Richly ornate in their stone frames, one imagines that it must be something lovely.

Greve in Chianti Door WM

 

1. Sulla sinistra | On the left:

Porta di legno soleaggiata e circondata da piante a Greve in Chianti. | A sunny wooden door surrounded by plants in the town of Greve in Chianti.

N.56 Studio Legale Parbuono.Montepulciano.Door.WM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. A destra | On the right:

Una vecchia porta a Montepulciano. Adoro la visuale dei vecchi mattoni, le crepe, e l’intonaco dei muri intorno. Notate il nome sulla targhetta a destra: Studio Legale Parbuono, traducibile approssimativamente come “uno studio legale che sembra buono”.  |   An old door in Montepulciano.  I like how you can see all of the old bricks, cracks, and plaster on the walls around it.  (The name plate to the right says Studio Legale Parbuono, which roughly translates to “Seems Good Legal Studio”. Lol!)

n. 10 via della foruna.Montepulciano.Door.WM

 

3. A sinistra | On the left:

Nº 10 di via della Fortuna a Montepulciano. Vorrei risiedere ad un indirizzo così speciale.  C’è persino un vecchio ferro per pulire le scarpe! | No. 10 Fortune Street in Montepulciano. I’d like to live at such a special address. There’s even an old iron shoe cleaner!

 

 [Grazie al mio collaboratore speciale, Lobsang Burzacchini]

via della Fortuna.MonteP.street sign.WM

 

Quale porta è la tua preferita? / Which door is your favorite? Sei ottimista? / Are you an optimist? Adoro leggere i vostri commenti! / I love to read your comments!

Posted in Fave 3 blog posts, Italian idioms, Italian Vocabulary, learn italian, Photo Foto Blog, Sayings, Vocaboli Italiai | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Fave 3 Thursday: Italian Idiomatic Expressions with “Acqua” (Water)

[Note: Any text in Italian is followed by the English translation.]

Siamo giunti a novembre, e qui a San Diego, speriamo siano vere le voci che girano, a proposito di un autunno e un inverno piovosi, grazie all’effetto meteorologico conosciuto come El Niño. Lo scorso weekend, in occasione della Festa di Halloween e il Giorno dei Morti, l’acqua è arrivata con un tempismo perfetto. Non era poi così tanta, ma era la prima volta dopo mesi.

We have arrived at November, and here in San Diego, we hope that the rumors going around, regarding a rainy fall and winter, thanks to the weather phenomenon known as El Niño, are true. This past weekend, on occasion of Halloween and Day of the Dead, the water arrived with perfect timing. It wasn’t really so much rain, but it was the first time in months.

Nel sud della California piove solitamente tra novembre e marzo, forse un po’ ad aprile. Da lì e fino a metà ottobre più niente, se escludiamo una leggera pioggerella ogni morte di Papa. Negli ultimi anni la situazione si è aggravata, fenomeno che ha creato una severa condizione di siccità, oltre a numerose preoccupazioni per l’aumento di potenziali incendi”. Alcuni giorni fa, un amico musicista, mi ha raccontato come in un recente concerto avesse suonato canzoni con temi legati alla pioggia, nella speranza che la stagione autunnale ne avesse portata di nuova.

In southern California it usually rains between November and March, maybe a bit in April. From there to the end of October, nothing, not counting a light sprinkling every blue moon. In recent years, the situation has worsened, a phenomenon that has created a severe drought, in addition to great concern over the increased chance of wildfires. A few days ago, a musician friend of mine told me about a recent concert where he’d played songs with rain themes, in the hopes that this fall season would bring some more of it.

Oggi, lo spirito della pioggia mi ha ispirato nella scrittura dell’articolo di questa settimana! Ecco tre bellissime espressioni idiomatiche che invocano un elemento così prezioso e fondamentale al nostro benessere.

Today, the spirit of rain inspired me in writing this week’s article! Here are three great idiomatic expressions invoking that very precious element, so fundamental to our well-being.

Nº 1 –Sposa bagnata, sposa fortunata–

This literally translates as “Wet bride, lucky bride”. This what people say to console a woman if her wedding day is a rainy one.


 

Nº 2 –Acqua in bocca–

This literally translates as “Water in mouth”, and is the Italian equivalent of the English expression “Mum’s the word”. It’s what you say when you want to tell someone to keep a secret. To get this expression, it helps to picture someone holding water in their mouth — pretty hard to spill the beans or even speak at all if you have a mouth full of water!

 

Nº 3 –Piove sul bagnato.–

This literally translates as “It rains on the wet guy,” and is similar to the expression “adding insult to injury”. The person who is already having a tough time of it (already wet), now also gets rained on, adding insult to injury.

 

Bonus!  Here’s a short video I shot of the rain last March in Italy. We had just arrived at Tenuta Vannulo to tour the grounds of this buffalo mozzarella factory, when it started to “piovere a catenelle” / rain cats and dogs.  We are on the bus waiting for it to let up.

What do you think of rain?  Write to me… I love reading your comments!

Posted in Expressions, italian travel, Italian Vocabulary, learn italian, Sayings, travel with jodina, Vocaboli Italiai | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Auguri alle donne! | International Women’s Day

festa donna 8 marzoMarch 8th is International Women’s Day. This day is observed widely in many countries around the world. Oddly though, it is not observed in the United States. In fact, the first time I’d heard of it was shortly after I’d moved to Italy.

In italia la Festa della Donna si festeggia l’8 di marzo. | In Italy, Women’s day is celebrated on March 8th.

festa donna mazze mimose

Mazze di mimose | Bouquets of mimosa flowers

Gli uomini regalano i fiori, solitamente le mimose, alle colleghe di lavoro e a tutte le altre donne importanti nelle loro vite… mamme, sorelle, fidanzate, ragazze, ecc. | Men give flowers, usually mimosas, to their female colleagues and to all the other important women in their lives… moms, sisters, fiances, girlfriends, etc.

Contrary to popular belief, the mimosa is not just a popular cocktail made from succo d’arancia (orange juice) and champagne, though I suspect this drink was inspired by the true mimosa.

mimosa.drink

La mimosa piu` famosa — the most famous mimosa: Mimosa Cocktails

The mimosa is the fragrant and fluffy yellow pom-pom-like flower of the acacia tree.  California is full of these trees this time of year, as is Italy, which is why this flower is so common on this day.  I love the smell of these flowers — their fragrance zooms me straight back to wonderful memories.

Below are a few Women’s Day auguri (greetings) to share with someone special:

  1. Questa mimosa è bella come te che splendi e profumi nel giorno della tua festa.” | This mimosa is as beautiful as you that shine and are fragrant on your special day.
  2. Auguri a tutte le donne del mondo ed in particolare alla mia che è la più bella che ci sia!” | Good wishes to all the women of the world and in particular to mine who is the most beautiful there is!
  3. La donna è la colonna portante del mondo, senza te tutto crollerebbe e la nostra famiglia andrebbe in rovina… Grazie donna, grazie mamma.” | The woman is the main supporting column of the world, without you everything would collapse and our family would go into ruin… Thank you woman, thank you mom.

women dressed in yellowWomen’s Day is a celebration of all that is wonderful about women, and it is a day to pause and reflect on the accomplishments and importance of the role of women in our world. It’s also a moment to consider improvements and changes needed to better the quality of women ‘s lives in general, and especially of women and girls whose rights and life conditions are extremely compromised or perilous.

Remember to give an extra hug or shout out to the women who matter in your life today. And remember also the women whose lives are not what they could be. We’ve come a long way baby, ma c’è ne ancora di strada da fare! (there’s still a ways to go!)

Have you heard of Women’s Day before?  Do you celebrate it?  Which mimosa do you prefer, the flower or the cocktail?  😉  Love your comments!

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La Befana viene stanotte! | Befana Comes Tonite!

befana cartoon, on broomBabbo 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, befana dollthe 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.

befana + re magiThe 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).befana festa poster7

 

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!

 

befana di personaMost 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. befana parade

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!

befana calze

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!

Buona Befana!

Have you ever heard of or celebrated la Befana? Comments welcome!

Epiphany/Befana celebrations in Italy:  Roma-Milano-Napoli  |  OstiaBaby Befana Party

 

Posted in Italian Customs, Italian Holidays, Italian Vocabulary, learn italian | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

A Good Sign | Un buon segno | Foto Blog

Let me just start this blog post with a disclaimer: I am fully aware that while the pun “A good sign” works in English, it gets lost in translation. Still, it was catchy, so I went with it.

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This blog post is about signs, the kind you read, so the post title, A Good Sign, is a play on words. [My inner grammar geek wants you to know those are homonyms: 2 different words with the same spelling and pronunciation: sign, as in road sign, and sign like an omen.] In Italian however, there is more than one word for sign: the sign you read is un cartello, a road sign is un’indicazione stradale , street signs are targhe stradali and an omen is un segno (as in un buon segno, as in the blog title).

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Now that we’ve cleared that up, let me introduce this week’s Foto Blog gallery. Looking through the Venice photos from my recent Italy trip, I noticed a preponderance of really cool signs (the kind you read), and I thought to myself, this is a sign to do a blog post!

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So without more ado, here are some of my favorite signs around Venice.  Che ne pensate? (Whaddaya think?)  These are some good signs, aren’t they?! My favorite is the last one. What about you?

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lavori in corso - men at work

Lavori in corso / Work in progress (Men at Work)

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italian man displaying a construction permit

Un operaio che affigge un permesso di costruzione dal Comune di Venezia / A construction worker displays a work permit from the city of Venice

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italian street sign calle ponte storto- crooked bridge lane

Targa stradale per la calle del Ponte Storto / Street sign for Crooked Bridge Lane (The word calle is Venetian dialect, pronounced /cahl-lay/, means alley or lane; the Italian word is vicolo.)

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trattoria ponte storto - the crooked bridge restaurant

L’insegna della Trattoria al Ponte Storto, n. 1278 calle Ponte Storto / The Crooked Bridge Restaurant sign at #1278 Crooked Bridge Lane (Note how the laundry hanging to dry from a window above just happens to match.)

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community bulletin board in italy

Dei volantini e annunci vari / Various fliers and announcements

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italian sign basta cacca dei - enough dog doo-doo

Cartello attaccato ad un cancello: “basta BASTA e basta CON LE CACCHE DEI CANI. SIAMO INCAZZATI FURIOSI.” / Sign stuck to an entry gate: “enough ENOUGH and enough WITH THE DOG DOO-DOO. WE ARE FURIOUSLY P*SSED OFF.”

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Posted in Italian Vocabulary, learn italian, Photo Foto Blog, Vocaboli Italiai | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

3-Wheeled Bees! |Le api a tre ruote | Foto Blog

TO READ IN ITALIAN, SCROLL DOWN PAST PHOTOS

I must admit I have a soft spot for those little 3-wheeled trucks you see in Italy – they’re adorable. That’s why I didn’t miss any chances to let them mug up to the camera during my recent trip to the Bel Paese (Italy’s nickname, meaning “Beautiful Country”).

You see so many more vehicles with fewer than 4 wheels in Italy than in the States… of course bicycles and motorcycles are included in this group, but the object of my fascination today is the mini 3-wheeler pick-up trucks that you see in towns and cities used as service vehicles and for deliveries. With their one front wheel and 2 in the back, I’m always amazed that these things can balance, and by how small they are (1-2 seats), and by how much they can haul … perfect for zipping thru the windy, narrow streets of an ancient Italian city!

Reminiscent of a rickshaw, these mini pick-up trucks, called Ape (meaning bee and pronounced /AH-pay/), have been produced since 1948 by the Piaggio company (also maker of the Vespa, meaning hornet). In fact, the first model was made from a Vespa with two rear wheels attached to a small boxed-in flatbed structure. The 3-wheeled Ape was the answer to merchants in post-war Italy who could not afford larger 4-wheeled trucks, and it played an important role in powering Italy’s economic reconstruction.

Today the 3-wheeler “Bees” are still widely used in Italy for transporting materials and goods and for light work in the country… and, for a number of years now they have enjoyed a new-found application—people have been outfitting them with high-powered (1.8-2.0 liter) car engines for racing in popular “Ape-Car” races!

Omg! Hilarious, I think I have discovered a new guilty pleasure. Ape-Car races (I can no longer make fun of Nascar fans…) this must be so much fun to do, I want to race an Ape! Watch for yourself, and then come back and leave a comment on this page — Per favore!

CommentHave you seen any “Api” in Italia? Got any “Ape” stories? Which is your favorite photo? Wanna race an Ape?

italian 3-wheeler car motocarro ape in san gimignanoUn’Ape50 gialla un po’ arruginita a San Gimignano / A slightly rusty yellow “Bee” in San Gimignano

italian 3-wheeler car motocarro ape in pisaSignor Enzo ci mostra la sua Ape50 bianca che usa per il suo panificio a Pisa / Enzo shows us his white Ape50 that he uses for his bakery in Pisa

italian 3-wheeler car motocarro ape in montepulciano Un’Ape azzurra a parcheggiata Montepulciano / A light blue “Bee” parked in Montepulciano

electric 3-wheeler by pasquali motocarro elettricoUn macchina elettrica a tre ruote dalla Pasquali/ An electric 3-wheeled car by Pasquali

VIDEO:  Ape-Car Races!

ITALIAN

Devo ammettere che ho un punto debole per quei furgoncini a tre ruote che si vedono in Italia – li trovo adorabili. Ecco perche’ non ho perso nessun’occasione per fotografarli nel mio recente viaggio nel Bel Paese.

Si vedono tanti veicoli in piu’ con meno di quattro ruote in Italia che negli USA… e certo che anche le bici e le moto vengono compresi in questa categoria, pero’ l’oggetto del mio fascino oggi e’ il camioncino a tre ruote che si vede utilizzato nei paesini e le citta’ come veicolo di servizio e per le consegne. Con la loro unica ruota davanti e le due di dietro, sempre mi meraviglio che riescano a tenersi in bilico e a quanto sono piccoli (da 1-2 posti) e a quanto possono trasportare… sono perfetti per sfrecciare per le strette e serpeggianti strade delle antiche citta’ italiane!

Rievocativo di un riscio’, questi motocarri si chiamano Ape e vengono prodotti dalla Piaggio (la stessa societa’ che fabbrica le Vespa) fin dal 1948. In fatti il primo modello fu costruito da una Vespe a due ruote motrici con applicato sopra al telaio un cassoncino. L’Ape era una soluzione ai mercanti dell’Italia post-guerra che non potevano permettersi l’acquisto di un mezzo a quattro ruote ed ha giocato un ruolo importante nella ricostruzione dell’economia italiana.

Oggi i motocarri “Ape” vengono ancora molto utilizzati per il trasporto merci e materiali o per piccoli lavori di campagna… e da qualche anno a questa parte vengono utilizzati anche per vere e proprie gare di “Ape-Car” utilizzando motori d’auto anche di grossa cilindrata 1600/2000cc!

Hai visto delle “Api” in Italia” Hai qualche storia in merito? Qual e’ la tuo foto preferita?

(Tante grazie al mio amico ed assistente editoriale onorario Enzo D’Albis!)

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Posted in Italian Customs, Italian Vocabulary, learn italian, Photo Foto Blog, Vocaboli Italiai | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

La Madonnina, La Befana & Babbo Natale

~ The holy trinity of present bringers ~

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limoncello and biscotti

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     As I sit here sipping on limoncello and nibbling biscotti, I am thinking to myself that it’s time for another blog post. So why not tell you about la Madonnina, la Befana and Babbo Natale?… this time of year in Italy you’d hear quite a few people name-dropping these illustrious personages… but just who are these three characters, and what do they have to do with an Italian Christmas?

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While they certainly are not the holy trinity, we could perhaps group them together as a trinity of Christmas gift bringers — that’s at least one thing that they do all have in common.

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statue of la madonnina on milan's duomo rooftop
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     La Madonnina, meaning little Madonna, is the nickname of the Virgin Mary, especially common in Milan. La Madonnina is also the name of the golden statue of the Virgin Mary that adorns the top of Milan’s majestic Duomo cathedral, both characteristic symbols of the city.

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La Madonnina, or the Virgin Mary, has her own special national holiday — L’Immacolata Concezione (the Immacolate Conception) — on December 8th, observed throughout Italy. Though this day is not actually associated with Christmas, it ushers in the holiday season, much like Thanksgiving does in the U.S.

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la befana riding on a broomstick

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     La Befana is a character of a much less saintly appearance. A much-loved icon of Italian folklore, she is depicted as a grandmotherly figure riding a broom, wearing a shawl and covered in soot. Lore has it that la Befana zips in and out of chimneys on the eve of the Epiphany (Jan. 6) delivering little presents (candy, fruit, etc) to good children and coal to the naughty ones.

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     The advent of  Babbo Natale in Italy, known as Santa Claus in English (and translating literally to Daddy Christmas), was likely inspired by American GIs dressed up as Santa in Italy during WWII. This makes Babbo Natale a relatively new player on the Italian Christmas scene. Prior to Babbo Natale, the main bringer of presents in Italy was la Befana, and the goodies were delivered after Christmas, on January 6th*. Many older Italians in fact, only recall presents being brought on Epiphany, when they would hang up their calze (stockings) for the old lady to fill during the night.

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(Epiphany is when the three wise men are to have arrived in Bethlehem. This holiday ushers out the Christmas season in Italy.)

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italian santa claus on vespa scooter

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     Babbo Natale therefore is somewhat of an interloper… and while the tradition of la Befana is alive and well in Italy, the Babbo has certainly supplanted her in many homes, where only Babbo Natale comes on the night between the 24th and 25th. Though some lucky kids get regali (gifts) from both Santa and la Befana… kind of  the way some kids in the U.S. hang up a stocking for St. Nicholas on the 6th or 7th of December and also get presents from Santa.

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     And there you have the three Italian Christmas gift bringers: La Befana brings the sweets and the treats, Babbo Natale brings the regali, and la Madonnina brings perhaps the most important gift of all — il Gesu Bambino (the Baby Jesus).

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     Oh, and I almost forgot … another really cool thing that they all have in common is that they all have songs dedicated to them!

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Oh Mia Bella Madunina

(Video with nice pictures of Milano, subtitles in Milanese)

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Santa Claus Is Coming to Town“, Michael Bublé
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La Befana Vien di Notte is nursery rhyme Italian children  learn.

(Lyrics below.)

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La Befana vien di notte
Con le scarpe tutte rotte
Col vestito alla romana
Viva, Viva La Befana!

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The English translation is:

The Befana comes by night
With her shoes all tattered and torn
She comes dressed in the Roman way
Long live the Befana!

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     I wasn’t able to find a video of the Befana song, but I did find this entertaining storyteller recounting the “Befana’s Italian Christmas Story,” filmed at Epcot in Disney World.

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Had you heard of la Befana before? Got any good Befana stories? Who’s più simpatico (more charming), la Befana or Babbo Natale? Love, love, love your comments!

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Buone feste e buon Natale! (Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!)

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Posted in Expressions, Italian Customs, Italian Holidays, Italian Music, Italian Vocabulary, learn italian, Sayings, Vocaboli Italiai | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

WWMLD? What Would Monsignor Luigi Do?

     What does a monsignor to the Vatican do when he’s not in Rome doing what a monsignor does?
Inquiring minds want to know, and I, my dears, have the answers!

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Recently I had the pleasure of having breakfast with Monsignor Luigi Falcone, a secretary of state to the Vatican, right here in San Diego.

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My student Bill (aka Giorgio) invited me. Giorgio and his wife Gina were hosting Monsignor Luigi during his first-ever vacanza (vacation) to California. Gina and Luigi, it turns out, are fourth cousins whose bis nonni (great grandfathers) were cugini (cousins) from Bisignano, Calabria…. Gina and Giorgio had met Luigi during a vacation to Italy many years ago, and he’d made a promise to visit them one day in San Diego, and now, here he was!

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When we met, Luigi had just flown in the day before with his friend Lillo. So, I was meeting them at their first colazione all’americana (American breakfast), which you may know, is substantially different from a typical Italian breakfast.

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Now onestamente (honestly), I had no idea what to expect… I imagined I’d see a man wearing a funny-shaped hat and long robes. But until we were introduced, I had no idea which of the two men was Monsignor Luigi, and which was Lillo. It turns out he was the one wearing una camicia sportiva azzurra (a blue polo shirt) — just like any lay-person might do on a warm Southern California morning!

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When asked about “uniforms” (in italiano, “divise”), he said when he’s working at il Vaticano, he wears lunghi vesti neri (long black robes) con una fusciacca viola (with a purple sash). And when going about his personal business, he must wear some type of colletto (collar) identifying him as clergy. But here, off duty and on vacation, he can wear whatever he wants. As the saying goes, when in SoCal…

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Monsignor Luigi, Giorgio, Lillo, Gina, Jodina
Where’s Luigi? (E’ l’uomo a sinistra.)

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So what did we talk about and what did we EAT? Well, Luigi took the advice of our cameriere (waiter) and had the panino all’uovo e formaggio (egg and cheese breakfast sandwich). Lillo on the other hand, who’d already had a classic Italian breakfast of caffe e biscotti (coffee and biscuits) had the homemade date bar.

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You may be wondering whether we engaged in lofty, pithy conversation… for a little while, we did touch on lo stato del mondo (the state of the world) and la politica (politics), but mostly, I was translating between the four of them (giving them and their iPad translator apps a welcome rest!) on the topic of where they’d go and what they’d see during their time in sunny California.

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So where did they go and what did they see? The important cathedrals of SoCal? Non proprio! (not at all)… they gleefully went alla spiaggia (to the beach), SeaWorld, DisneyLand, Universal  Studios, allo zoo (to the San Diego Zoo), Los Angeles, Palm Springs, and Newport Beach… and according to Giorgio, si sono divertiti un mondo (they had a blast)!

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Il morale della storia? (The moral of the story?) When in San Diego from Rome, do as the San Diegans do! (Wear polo shirts, eat egg & cheese sandwiches, visit Seaworld and Disneyland!) And, last I heard, they were talking about “next time” when they’ll go to Las Vegas!

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Sidenote: I’m looking forward to visiting my new friends in Italy, where I’ll visit Lillo’s city, Scilla, and do as the Scillans do – pescano (they fish) right off the balconi (balconies) of their homes built into the side of the cliffs overlooking the Mar Tirreno (Tyrrhenian Sea) …!

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Link to Mons. Luigi on internet – See him in traditional attire at the celebration of his 25 years as a priest.

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Have any interesting “vacationing Italian” anecdotes you want to share? Ever been to Scilla? I love reading your comments!

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Posted in Italian Customs, Italian Vocabulary, learn italian, Sayings, Vocaboli Italiai | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Una Celebrazione di FIBER ARTS>>

Le antiche arti femminili

fiber arts

 

Perhaps you practice one of the many varieties of fiber arts, or perhaps you just appreciate i prodotti finiti (the finished products) resulting from skills that have been tramandati da generazione in generazione (passed from generation to generation)

 

Before la produzione in massa (mass production), fiber arts were integral to the creation of everyday knit and woven goods. These traditional artisan art forms now enjoy great popularity as hobbies.

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Mimi al telaio (Mimi at the loom)

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L’ispirazione per questo blog (The inspiration for this blog post) comes from my student Mimi, an accomplished tessitrice e filatrice (weaver and spinner).  This weekend (October 8-9, 2011) is the Vista Fiber Arts Fiesta.  If you are lucky enough to live near north San Diego County, check out this link and check out the event! www.VistaFiberArtsFiesta.com

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Here is Italian vocabulary related to the most popular forms of fiber arts:

  1. le antiche arti femminili: literally, the ancient feminine arts. While there are no exact translations for fiber arts, this term perhaps comes the closest.
  2. lavorare a maglia/Lavorare a uncinetto: to knit/to crochet
  3. i ferri per la maglia: knitting needles
  4. l’uncinetto: crochet hook
  5. il gomitolo di lana: ball of wool/yarn
  6. la matassa: skein
  7. il filo di lana/di seta: wool/silk yarn
  8. le forbici: scissors
  9. il metro da sarta: tape measure
  10. la tessitura: weaving
  11. un tessitore, m/una tessitrice, f: a weaver
  12. tessere a mano: to weave by hand
    Lavorare a telaio:  to weave with a loom
  13. un filatore, m./una filatrice, f.: spinner
  14. il filatoio a mano: spinning wheel
  15. cucire: to sew
  16. la macchina per cucire: sewing machine
  17. l’ago e il filo: needle and thread
  18. il cartamodello: pattern

 

Do you practice any of the fiber arts (le antiche arti femminili)

Got any words to add to this glossary? I love hearing your comments!

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I filatoi a mano (Spinning wheels)

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Posted in Guest Blog, Italian Vocabulary, learn italian, Sayings, Uncategorized, Vocaboli Italiai | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments