Word of the Day

Le campane di mezzogiorno, the bells chiming at midday, in my village have a special sound. Now I know it is  because lunch time isn’t rung in by our church bells, but by those of our medieval walls’ tower. When …

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We are all familiar with the verb andare, which is nothing more than to go. Just like its English cousin, andare likes to get its way in expressions that have nothing to do with the literal action of moving from …

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Also known as strangolapreti, strozzapreti are not as dangerous as their name may hint at. Far from being an anti-clerical instrument of torture (literally, the word means “priest stranglers”), they are a type of elongated, hand-rolled pasta typical of the …

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Non iniziare mai una frase con “allora”!  Or so say all Italian primary school teachers to their pupils. And they are certainly right, at least when it comes to formal writing and speaking, but let us be honest: the love …

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Hands down, accidenti is one of the most common words we use. In truth, there is something in the very sound of it that helps release stress. That’s excluding all those words you’re better not saying out loud in front …

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In bocca la lupo is an expression that divides Italy in a half. It is used by everyone, everywhere and at any time, yet some believe that saying it brings misfortune on the person to whom we say it, unless …

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Let’s face reality: true or not, Italians have a name for being great lovers and incredible charmers. Call it the Rudy Valentino effect, blame it on Casanova or even on Mark Antony, it doesn’t matter.   The world believes it. And it is nothing to complain about.   Some may point out our language is one of the reasons we got this reputation: and how could you blame them? It’s not called the language of love for nothing. Among the many colorful expressions concocted throughout the centuries to talk about and initiate love, there is one that is pretty common without being too naughty: fare il filo.  Teens and elderly, men and women, professors and sailors, all use the expression fare il filo: its register has no gender, age nor profession, it fits all sizes and belongs to all  regions. It means to be romantically interested in someone, or even just feeling attracted to them and pursuing them with some tenacity. Literally,  it translates with “making …

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Every Italian received a Tombola set as a Christmas present at some stage of their childhood. Mine, however, was a bit of a historical relic, as I had inherited my brother’s, who is eleven years my senior, and there were …

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Forza! Italy’s own way to show support and invite to hold on when things get difficult, is one little powerful word. And powerful is, indeed, the right term, as “forza” means strength in English.  From an etymological point of view, …

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Togliersi qualche sfizio, (satisfy a quirky need) or even mangiare qualcosa di sfizioso (eating something tasty and indulgent) are popular expression indeed in the Italian language.  Sfizio is one of those words we use continuously, yet without really knowing anything …

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