The Passion that Created the Italian Language

La Crusca, which reopened in 1955, maintains its sede, or central seat, in Florence’s elegant Villa Medicea di Castello, a favorite residence of Lorenzo Il Magnifico. Every year it invites distinguished scholars to join its ranks. Among those recently announced is Valeria della Valle, a professor of Italian linguistics at Rome’s Sapienza University, an editor of contemporary Italian dictionaries, the author of best-selling trade books on modern Italian and a collaborator on documentary films with RAI and the Istituto Luce Cinecittà.

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Tasting Passion in Italian Wine

The warm days of early November –- known as Indian summer in the United States –- are called “l’estate di San Martino” (the summer of St. Martin) in Italy. Wine producers celebrate the  saint’s feast on November 11 by uncorking the vino novello (new wine) from the recent vendemmia (grape harvest) and getting the first preview of the year’s vintage. As an Italian saying puts it, “Per San Martino, cadono le foglie e si spilla il vino.” (For St. Martin, the leaves fall, and the wine is tapped.)

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A guest post on LA PASSIONE

First would be Bruce Springsteen; then Michelle Obama. But after those two, the person I would most like to be would be Dianne Hales.

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A Passion for Italian

This week marks La Settimana della Lingua Italiana net Mondo (Week of the Italian Language in the World),  an annual celebration of  one of Italy’s cultural treasures. No less than Michelangelo’s sculptures, Verdi’s operas, or Fellini’s movies, Italian is an artistic masterwork. While other tongues do little more than speak, this lyrical language thrills the ear, beguiles the mind, captivates the heart, enraptures the soul, and comes closer than any other idiom to expressing the essence of what it means to be human

A decade ago, in the first chapter of La Bella Lingua: My Love Affair with Italian, the World’s Most Enchanting Language, I confessed to being an inammorata, “enchanted by Italian, fascinated by its story and its stories, tantalized by its adventures, addicted to its sound, and ever eager to spend more time in its company.” I still feel this way. Why? Here are just ten of the reasons:

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10 Reasons to Celebrate Italy’s Cultural Heritage

Every October the United States celebrates Italian heritage month. The 26 million Americans of Italian descent make up the fifth largest ethnic group in the United States. However, we all have many reasons to celebrate the best of Italian culture, including the...

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La Bella Lingua in Italian

They said it couldn’t be done:  There was no way to translate LA BELLA LINGUA into Italian. Too many idioms and colloquial expressions. Too much slang.  Untranslatable words in both languages. However, the distinguished Italian publisher Treccani  has done the seemingly impossible and produced an Italian translation:  LA BELLA LINGUA: La mia storia d’amore con l’italiano. Copies are available at, IBS internet bookshop, and some independent bookstores in the United States, including my favorite Italian local and online bookstore,  

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