Monthly Archives: February 2014

Proverbi Abruzzesi – 2 – Weather

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In keeping with the kind of day I’ve had in lovely, wintery-for-once Abruzzo, this week’s proverb is going to be about the weather. But not the one pictured.

Passo Lanciano - Mammarosa

Passo Lanciano – Mammarosa

Our Maiella mountain does look like that sometimes, and I can highly recommend taking a trip up there for some downhill skiing, snowshoeing, sledging, snowmobiling, ski-mountaineering, or wait for it, even ice-running (which I discovered in Abruzzo).  Oh, and you don’t have to be sporty to enjoy it, you can even just spend a few hours in front of the log fire in the ski chalet, with a hot chocolate – rum punch – red wine – coffee (delete as appropriate) in hand, chatting to the wee old man from the soccorso alpino  who I don’t think actually does much Alpine life-saving, more like chin-wagging and grappa-supping. But he’s happy to fill the wait for your polenta, sausages, pasta or arrosticini lamb skewers with action-packed stories of life on the wrong side of snowdrifts, avalanches, blizzards, blackouts… you name it, he’s been through it.

Well, back to my stories about the weather. Read the rest of this entry

Abruzzo Proverbs – 1

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This is the first in my new series of off-the-cuff, having-a-break, flash translations.

Since I’m pretty busy at the moment and can’t really take too much time away from what I should be doing, I was looking for something short, sharp and snippety… something that’ll take me 10 minutes to write and you no more than 10 seconds to read. But still something literary about life in Italy…

Peppino Di Battista

Peppino Di Battista

Rooting around on my bookshelves, I found this.  PROVERBI ABRUZZESI. I IERI E OGGI. 2000. by Peppe Di Battista, published by Rocco Carabba.

Proverbs, well you can’t get shorter or pithier than that, I thought.

Peppe Di Battista gathered them from the Abruzzo towns of Castelfrentano, Lanciano, Fossacesia, Orsogna, Roia Del Sangro, Archi (where we are!), Pizzoferrato, Buonanotte, Casoli, Mozzagrogna, Rocca San Giovanni and presented them in groups:

behaviour – morals – popular sayings, -weather and the seasons – mottoes – luck – villages – vices and virtues – superstitions and customs – animals – life lessons – curses 

So here goes.  Since I like literature with a lesson, today’s proverb comes from the morals section:

Local dialect: Cent’anne de malencunije, nen cacce ‘na lire de debbéte

Italian: Cent’anni di malinconia non toglie una lira del debito 

EN translation: 100 years of sadness won’t reduce the debt by a lira

Meaning: there’s nothing to be gained by living a life of poverty

I like it this a lot, and might even think about learning the Abruzzo dialect to use it as my excuse-du-jour when OT asks how the savings fund is coming (or not) along. 

homework

Well, better go and help the LL with her homework… although hopefully not coming to “blows” like they would have you do in Lanciano:

Bòtte e panèlle, fa le fije bbèlle.

Percosse e pane, fanno i figli belli.

Blows and bread make for beautiful children.

(A strict upbringing with the necessary support from the family will bring good results)

Which is quite similar to:

Pane e mazzate, fije aducate.

Pane e bastonate fanno i figli educati.

Bread and blows make for well-behaved children. 

Back soon with some more.

Books about women. Books by women.

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Books about women. Books by women.

For reasons that will become all too clear later in the year (yes, it’s got something to do with books in translation) I’ve been thinking a lot about women. About how they’re treated. About who’s fault it is.  It all started with rubbish Italian television, Berlusconi, lady senators and a book called Meat Market. Female Flesh Under Capitalism by Laurie Penny.  What can the four possibly have in common you might be asking yourself? Well, sadly in Italy they are all related.

But I had that conversation somewhere else and I want to talk about books here. Italian books about women. Books by Italian women. From Silvia Avallone’s Marina Bellezza,  to Manuela Salvi’s Aleksandra, Bianca and Alessia,  and Catena Fiorello’s Picciridda. Different writers, different stories, different audiences,  but all women and all with something important to say. About women.

nemmeno un bacio

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La Cosa Piu’ Importante – The Most Important Thing

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Where have I been?

It’s been a bit too long since my last post and while I’d like to say I’ve been away setting the world  to rights, I haven’t.

But I did read a book about it.   It’s called La cosa piu’ importante – The Most Important Thing.  And it’s all about putting the world back together.

Laura Novello  and Matteo Gaule

Laura Novello
and Matteo Gaule

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