Welcoming Spring in Italian

In English the most eagerly awaited of seasons “springs” to life with blunt urgency. In Italian la primavera blossoms into four elegant syllables. My etymological dictionary traces primavera back to radici indoeuropee (Indo-European roots): prima for “before” and vas...

Celebrating Three of Italy’s Passionate Women Artists

Italy’s dazzling pantheon of artistic geniuses seems a man’s world. Yet a few women with singular passion defied all obstacles and created important works of art. As a way of celebrating International Women’s Day, here are three artists whose stories I recount in LA...

The Year of Dante: Learning to Love Italy’s Greatest Poet

It was dislike at first sight.  Everything about Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) put me off. As artists traditionally portrayed him, the medieval poet seemed a ferocious grump with a big beak, jutted chin, petulant sneer, and hooded eyes. Although writers like William...

Celebrating Fathers in Italy and in Italian

In Italy La Festa del Papà  falls on March 19, the feast of San Giuseppe (St. Joseph), the husband of Mary and earthly father of Jesus. Joseph not only supports fathers but also looks after orphans, unwed mothers, the needy and the homeless. In the United States we...