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. Copies of LA BELLA LINGUA: La mia storia d’amore con l’italiano are available at amazon.it, IBS internet bookshop, and some independent bookstores in the United States, including my favorite Italian local and online bookstore, San Francisco’s Libreria Pino.
Here is a translation of the Treccani catalog description for its Italian edition of LA BELLA LINGUA:
“When I arrived in Italy for the first time, in 1983, I could say only one sentence: I don’t speak Italian.” Thus begins, almost like a cliché, the love story of Dianne Hales with our country. Since then the American journalist has studied the language in every possible way, but above all she has lived in places, come to know people and explored art, music, literature, cinema, dialects and lifestyles. Offering new insights to curious travelers, La Bella Lingua presents a point of view that is not obvious and never banal, even to those who were born and raised in Italy.
Coming next year: translations of LA PASSIONE into Bulgarian and Chinese and of LA BELLA LINGUA into Chinese.
October marks Italian Heritage Month, and I’m happy to join in honoring Italy’s many contributions to our culture. I’m particularly grateful to Linda Binkley of the Italian American Heritage Foundation, who dedicated part of her summer to reading and reviewing my books for its members.
“Italians are driven by passion…passion which blossoms into the most wonderous creations,” she wrote, describing LA PASSIONE as “a palette upon which the cultural history of Italy comes to life… a marvelously entertaining and enlightening read. The writing is infused with lively historical anecdotes, lots of humor and of course, passion!”
As part of celebrations of Italy’s culture and language, I will be presenting LA PASSIONE at public events on the East Coast in Philadelphia and New York. Please join us:
Monday, October 21, 6:00 p.m.
Ciao Philadelphia! and the America-Italy Society of Philadelphia
230 South Broad Street, Suite 1105
Friday, October 25, 6:00 p.m.
Italian American Committee on Education (IACE) and the Istituto Italiano di Cultura (Italian Cultural Institute)
686 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10065.
Finally, a shout-out to the wonderful members of the Century Club, San Francisco’s historic women’s club, for their gracious hospitality and warm reception. Grazie mille!
Dianne Hales is the author of LA PASSIONE: How Italy Seduced the World, LA BELLA LINGUA: My Love Affair with Italian, the World’s Most Enchanting Language and MONA LISA: A Life Discovered. For more information, visit diannehales.com.