Now that I’m living in Italy, I feel some pressure to improve my Italian language skills. I try to do all of my “business” (shopping, setting up a phone contract, arranging shipping, etc.) in Italian and, thanks to some very, very patient locals, I am mostly successful. I am also taking a weekly semi-private lesson (with my friend Claire) at the wonderful Lucca Italian School (also known as LIS). I have a fabulous teacher in Antonella, who patiently explains (as many times as I need) the use of the passato prossimo versus the imperfetto past tenses, prepositions (oh - the horror of Italian prepositions), and - heaven help me - the use of the congiuntivo. Grazie Antonella and LIS!
Two recent attempts at translation brought unexpected results. First, I went into a home goods store to buy a muffin pan. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out the word for muffin pan and I had forgotten to look it up before leaving home. I found the pan high on a shelf and asked the man working there to please reach it for me. As he handed it to me, I asked, “Come si chiama questo tipo di teglia in Italiano” (what do you call this type of baking pan in Italian)? With a quite serious look on his face he answered me -”si chiama teglia di “muffin.” Muffin, no translation needed. We both got a good laugh over that one!
Walking through town I noticed beautiful magnolia trees just beginning to bloom along Corso Garibaldi. Pulling out my dictionary, I looked for a translation for magnolia tree. I know that a hydrangea is an ortensia and a wisteria is a glicine, so surely there should be an Italian word for a magnolia, right? It turns out that in Italy, a magnolia is, well, a magnolia (named for a French botanist). And, although I associate them with the American South, magnolias are actually common in Italy, often growing into huge trees. In March, they light up Lucca with their beautiful white and pink blossoms.
So - no translation needed - we hope you enjoy these photos of the beautiful magnolias of Lucca. \
-post by JMB