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Love, Italian Style | Amore all’italiana

saying i love you in italian“Ti amo” or “Ti voglio bene”?

That is the question for italophiles this upcoming day of San Valentino.  The answer, it turns out, depends on the object of your affections.

“Ti amo” (I love you) is reserved for romantic loves, while “Ti voglio bene” (I want/wish you well) is used to say I love you to everyone: family, friends, and lovers. Per non fare brutta figura (to not make a faux pas) watch the video below!

After the video, check out the round-up of Italian love phrases to help you sweep your adorato (adored one) off their feet! Plus a link to send free online Italian Valentine’s Day cards.

Video:  Saying “I love you” in Italian

More instructional videos >>

Be your own Don Giovanni with these romantic phrases!

  1. Buon San Valentino (Happy Valentine’s Day)
  2. Ti amo. (I love you. Used only for romantic love.)
  3. Ti adoro. (I adore you.)
  4. Amore mio (My love, my beloved)
  5. Tesoro mio (My treasure)
  6. Ti voglio bene. (I love/care about you. Used for all types of relationships: family, friends, lovers.)
  7. I tuoi occhi brillano come le stelle. (Your eyes shine like stars.)
  8. Sei bella come una rosa. (You are as beautiful as a rose.)
  9. Per sempre (Forever)
  10. Per sempre tua,o (Forever yours)
  11. Sono pazza,o di te. (I’m crazy for you.)
  12. Anima mia (My soul)
  13. Sei incredibile. (You’re incredible.)
  14. Sei bellissima,o. (You’re very beautiful.)
  15. Sei un dono. (You are a gift.)
  16. Sei stupenda,o. (You’re fantastic.)

Send a free online Italian Valentine’s card to someone special at www.kisseo.it.

heart in cappuccino coffeeA tutti i miei lettori un buon San Valentino! Siete stupendi! (To all of my readers, a happy Valentine’s Day! You’re fantastic!)

Got a favorite Italian  love phrase or anecdote? Ever wished someone Happy Valentine’s in italiano? Sei un tipo romantico? (Are you the romantic type?) Leave a comment below!

Posted in Expressions, Italian Customs, Italian Holidays, italian idiomatic expressions, Italian idioms, learn italian, Sayings | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

2 for Tuesday: Scioglilingua | Tongue Twisters

[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!

3 tigri contro 3 tigriEccone 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!]

10-100-1000 limoniSuggerimenti & Consigli:

  •  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!

See more tongue twisters here: Italian Tongue Twisters | Sopra la panca…

Posted in Expressions, italian tongue twisters, Italian Vocabulary, learn italian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Fave 3 Thursday: Parole di gratitudine | Words of Gratitude

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

ringraziemento-harvest-cneterpiece-pumpkins-candles-aplesNello spirito della gratitudine e in osservanza del Giorno del Ringraziamento, ecco tre cose per cui sono grata:

In the spirit of gratitude, and in observance of Thanksgiving Day, here are three things for which I am grateful…

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 ringraziemento-Snoopy+woodstock-reverse imageper 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]

 

Posted in Fave 3 blog posts, Italian Vocabulary, learn italian, Vocaboli Italiai | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 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

Lentils for Luck – Recipe for a Prosperous New Year | Lenticchie per fortuna – Ricetta per un prospero anno

Note: This post is in Italian interspersed with the approximate English translation.

gold coinsSecondo l’usanza italiana, se ti vuoi assicurare di un nuovo anno fortunato, a Capodanno  devi mangiare le lenticchie. Piatte e tonde, assomigliano le monete, e per il fatto che aumentano in misura durante la cottura, simboleggiano soldi e crescita finanziaria. Di solito in Italia le lenticchie si preparano in forma di una gustosa zuppa che viene mangiata nel periodo di Capodanno.

According to Italian custom, if you want to be sure to have good luck in the new year, you must eat lentils on New Year’s Eve/Day.  Flat and round, they resemble coins, and due to the fact that they expand in size during cooking, they symbolize money and financial growth.  In Italy, lentils are usually prepared in the form of a tasty soup that is eaten during the New Year period.

Ecco la mia ricetta – e` deliziosa e abbastanza facile.  Buon appetito e prospero anno !

Here’s my recipe – it’s delicious and pretty easy.  Good eating and prosperous new year!

Zuppa di lenticchie | Lentil Soup

Persone: 4  |  Preparazione: 30 minuti  |  Cottura: circa 2 ore   |  Difficolta`: medio

Serves: 4  |  Preparation: 30 minutes  |  Cooking time: about 2 hours  |  Difficulty: medium

Ingredienti | Ingredients  [Italian | English]lenticchie-2

300 gr lenticchie verdi secche | 10-11 oz dry green lentils

1-2 cucchiai olio d’oliva | 1-2 tblsp olive oil

1-2 cucchiai di burro | 1-2 tbsp butter

peperoncino q.b. /quanto basta | red chili pepper, to taste

1 cipolla tritata | 1 chopped onion

1 costola di sedano tritata | 1 stalk of celery, chopped

2 gambi di porro tritati | 2 bulbs/stems chopped leeks

1 carota tritata | 1 chopped carrot

1 bicchiere di vino bianco secco | 1 c./8oz. dry white wine

1 pomodoro piccolo tritato | 1 small chopped tomato

1 foglia di alloro | 1 bay  leaf

8-10 bicchieri/2-2 ½ litri d’acqua | 8-10 c./2-2 ½ Qt. water

Dadi di brodo vegetale q.b./quanto basta (circa un dado per litro d’acqua) | Broth cubes, as needed (approx. 1 cube per quart of water)

Sale e pepe, q.b. / salt and pepper, to taste

Qualche rametto di timo fresco | A few sprigs of fresh thyme

Facoltativo: 300 gr cotechino o altra salsiccia, | Optional:  10-11 oz. “cotechino”, a traditional Italian pork sausage, or other sausage

lenticchiePreparazione  |  Preparation

Sciacquate le lenticchie e mettetele in ammolo in acqua fredda per circa 2-3 ore.

Rinse and soak lentils in cold water for approx. 2-3 hours.

Riscaldate l’acqua con i dadi di brodo e tenetela coperta a fuoco lento finche occorre.

Heat the water with broth cubes and keep covered at a simmer until needed.

Trascorso il tempo di ammollo, potete iniziare a preparare la zuppa di lenticchie.  In una pentola grande rosolate  cipolla, porro, sedano e carote tritati nel burro e l’olio d’oliva.

Upon completion of soaking time, in a large pan sauté the chopped onion, leeks, carrot and celery in the butter and olive oil, until onion is transparent.

Aggiungete le lenticchie, ben scolate dall’acqua di ammollo,e la foglia di alloro, girandole 1-2 minuti mentre assorbono il burro, l’olio ed i gusti della verdura.

Add lentils, having drained the soaking water, and the bay leaf, stirring 1-2 minutes as they absorb the butter, oil and flavors of the vegetables.

Aggiungete e fate sfumare il vino bianco, girando il tutto a fuoco basso.

Add white wine and stir the mix while sautéing so wine absorbs into lentils as it evaporates.

Aggiungete il pomodoro e girate a fuoco lento.lenticchie-3

Add tomato and stir while sautéing.

Aggiungete sale e pepe quanto basta.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Aggiungete circa la meta` del brodo e coprire la pentola. Controllate, girate ed assaggiate di tanto in tanto, aggiundendo del brodo in piu` quando occorre ed evitando che le lenticchie si attaccano. Attenzione che le lenticchie ultimate siano al dente e non stracotte.

Add about half the broth and cover the pan. Check, stir and taste every so often, adding more broth as needed to avoid lentils cooking to the bottom of pan.  Take care that the finished lentils are “al dente” and not overcooked (when ready, lentils should be soft but not mushy).

Aggiungete del sale quanto basta.

Add salt as needed/to taste.

In una padella a parte, fate rosolare le salsicce. Abbiate cura a non stracuocerle. Alla fine della cottura la pelle sara` diventata biancastra. Dovrebbero essere tenere e non dure.

In a separate pan, steam the sausage(s). Be careful not to overcook. When finished, the casings will have turned white. They should be tender, not tough.

Quando le salsicce saranno ultimate, toglietele dalla fiamma e togliere la pelle.

When sausages are cooked, remove from heat and remove casings.

capodanno-buon anno 2014Quando la zuppa di lenticchie sara` ultimate, toglietela dalla fiamma, togliete la foglia di alloro, aggiungete del timo fresco e mescolate.  Affettate le salsicce, mettete le fette in cima alle porzioni di zuppa ed aggiungete un rametto di timo fresco.

When lentils have finished cooking, remove from heat, remove bay leaf, add the leaves of several fresh sprigs of thyme and mix.  Slice the sausages, put slices over the top of the portions of lentil stew, add a sprig of thyme and serve.  Buon appetito!

Avete mai mangiato la zuppa di lenticchie?  Mangiate qualche cibo speciale a Capodanno?  | Have you ever eaten lentil soup?  Do you eat any special foods at New Year’s?

Posted in italian cooking, Italian Customs, Italian Food, Italian Holidays, italian recipes, Italian Vocabulary, learn italian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Italian Vocabulary:

>> Favorite Italian Christmas Words & Practices

panettone italian christmas cake

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Some of my favorite things about the Italian Christmas holiday season are — not surprisingly — edible. Starting with le castagne, il panettone, and le lenticchie, following is a list of a few of my favorite Italian Christmas holiday things followed by explanations, some local lore, and info on current practices.

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Read & Practice Your Pronunciation

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  1. Le castagne, le caldarroste = Chestnuts, roasted chestnuts (also called ‘castagne arrostite’).
  2. Il panettone = Typical Christmas cake from Milan.
  3. Le lenticchie = Lentils.
  4. Il cenone = Big dinner, from the word cena (dinner) plus the suffix -one, indicating ‘large’.
  5. Il Vischio = mistletoe.
  6. L’albero di natale = Christmas tree.
  7. Gli addobbi = Decorations.
  8. Le luci = Lights.
  9. Le palline = Ornaments (literally, little balls).
  10. Babbo Natale = Santa Claus or Father Christmas; babbo = dad or daddy, Natale = Christmas.
  11. I regali = Presents.
  12. Gesù Bambino = Baby Jesus.
  13. Il Presepe, il presepio = Manger, nativity scene.
  14. La vigilia di Natale = Christmas Eve.
  15. Chiesa = Church.
  16. Santa messa = Holy mass.
  17. Buon Natale! = The greeting/wish equivalent to Merry Christmas!
  18. Buone Feste! = The greeting/wish equivalent to Happy Holidays!  
  19. Auguri di stagione! = The greeting/wish equivalent to Seasons Greetings!
  20. Capo d’Anno = New Year’s Eve, literally the ‘head of the year’.
  21. Prospero e felice anno nuovo! = A prosperous and Happy New Year!
  22. L’Epifania = Epiphany, Jan 6th.
  23. I Tre magi = The three wise men.
  24. La Befana = Gift-bringing witch (on Epiphany).
  25. La Calza = Stocking.

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castagne italian roasted chestnuts

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Le castagne. In Italy chestnuts are a symbol of winter. They are used in breads and cakes and roasted and eaten plain. There’s nothing better than buying castange arrostite (roasted chestnuts) from a street vendor in a paper cone and eating them while strolling through the centro storico (downtown) of Milano, or any Italian city (more on the holiday period in Milano here).

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Il panettone. Large golden-colored dome-shaped Christmas cake made from flour, butter, eggs and sugar, with candied citron and sultanas (small seedless raisins). Light and fluffy, NOT heavy like a fruit cake; panettone originated in Milano and is now eaten all over Italy. No Christmas table in Italy is complete without it. I love the smell of this special cake. Luckily it is widely available in specialty food shops in the U.S., including Trader Joes and Cost Plus World Markets.

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lenticchie italian lentil stew

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Le lenticchie, Capo d’anno. Lentils are little round flat legumes, often used in soup or stew. Popular Italian tradition has it that since the lentil shape resembles a coin, eating it on New Year’s Eve or Day guarantees good health and prosperity all year long. It is common in Italy to eat dishes containing lenticchie on Capo d’anno (New Year’s Eve). Sometime between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, I promise I’ll post my recipe for Italian Lentil Stew 🙂

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vischio italian mistletoe

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Il Vischio. During the Holiday Season it is an old tradition to give vischio, or mistletoe, especially on the last day of the year. It is often dipped in gold or silver paint, and it is given as a symbol of good wishes, or ‘auguri’. One of my friends in Milan reported that, “a large bank in the downtown has hung a huge ‘vischio’ outside the bank and they invite whoever wants to stand under it, and have their picture taken while kissing under the mistletoe.” Now that’s a fun publicity stunt!

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cenone big italian christmas dinner

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Il cenone. In Italy, celebrating Christmas in family is very important and consists most importantly of eating, eating, and eating! As one friend said, the eating/celebrating starts the 24th and continues on thru the 26th/27th, only to start up again on Capo d’Anno (New Year’s Eve). The most common day of the big family dinner depends on location: in Rome and further south it’s a huge dinner on the evening of Christmas Eve, based on fish, especially eel. In northern Italy, families tend to celebrate on Christmas day with a midday dinner based on some type of roast meat. While many claim that southerners are bigger ‘mangioni’ than northerners, it seems to me like both do some pretty serious face-stuffing (abbuffare)!

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presepe italian nativity scene

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L’albero di natale, gli Addobbi, le luci, e le palline, il presepe. As a rule, people in Italy do not go overboard decorating their homes for the holidays. Many will have a nativity scene, and perhaps a Christmas tree, but it will usually be small-ish, possibly a live tree still in the pot, and not super-loaded with ornaments. And some of the tree decorations might consist of chocolates, candies, and small fruits (that after the holidays, the kids get to eat!). In the downtown areas of cities and towns there will be lights and other decorations along the street. Larger cities will be especially lit up, and some have begun using LED lights because they are energy-saving and less polluting.

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italian santa claus on vespa scooter

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Babbo Natale, i regali, Gesù Bambino, e la Vigilia di Natale.  In most households it is Babbo Natale (Santa Claus) who brings the regali (presents) and leaves them under the albero di natale (Christmas tree). In some more religious families it is Gesù Bambino who brings the regali and leaves them near the presepe (manger), though this version is diminishing, especially as kids become ever more clever! In both cases, the presents are delivered the on night of la Vigila di Natale (Christmas Eve) and the bambini run to check for the regali on the morning of Natale.

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holy italian christmas mass

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Chiesa, Santa messa. In smaller towns and the in the south, more people go to chiesa (church) for the santa messa di Natale (holy Chrismas mass) than in bigger cities. Though like in the US, those who don’t go to church every Sunday will often go on the occasion of Christmas. The most popular service is midnight mass on Christmas Eve, but many also go Christmas morning.

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befana the italian christmas witch of epiphany

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I Tre magi, l’Epifania, la Befana, and le calze. The Italian holiday season lasts until l’Epifania (Epiphany) on Jan 6th, when the three wise men arrived in Bethlehem. This is also when la Befana makes her entrance. Befana is a beloved, gift-bearing witch who arrives the night before the 6th on a broom filling le calze (stockings) of bambini bravi (good kids) with gifts (mostly candy and fruit) or, for i bambini cattivi, (naughty kids) coal! The Befana truly is a legend and merits a whole blog post to herself. Stay tuned!

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Mando a tutti i migliori auguri di buone feste con le vostre famiglie e gli amici!

(I send everyone best wishes for happy holidays with your family and frends!)

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… And if have any questions or favorite Italian Christmas holiday things please share them  in the comments section below! (Under the sign-up form) I love to hear from you! 🙂

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Posted in Italian Customs, Italian Food, Uncategorized, Vocaboli Italiai | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment