Lago Como, Italy image superimposed on a movie strip

How to Talk About: Movies and TV in Italian

How to Talk About: Movies and TV in Italian

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog    How to talk about movies and TV in Italian: Important Italian phrases and vocabulary you need to know when talking about the shows you watch with Italian friends and colleagues!

This blog series, “How to Talk About… in Italian” will focus on the topics that have come up most frequently in my everyday conversations with Italian family, friends and colleagues. We will focus on the important Italian phrases and Italian vocabulary we all need to know to become more fluent when we speak about everyday events in Italian!

The topic for this month —movies and TV — comes up frequently during daily conversation, both when making small talk with acquaintances and also when planning activities with family, friends, and co-workers. In the “How to Talk About Movies and TV in Italian” blog for this month, we will focus on common Italian phrases needed to describe the type of show you have watched, if liked it, and why .  As usual, the focus will be on common Italian expressions that can be used to describe your own interests.

Enjoy the third topic in this “How to Talk About…” series, “How to Talk About Movies and TV in Italian.” —Kathryn Occhipinti

Special thanks to Italian instructor Maria Vanessa Colapinto.
Banner image credit: Como lake landscapes on film strip


How to Talk About: TV and the Movies in Italian

Using piacere to say we like a TV show or movie…

In Italian, a few simple sentences will suffice to say if we liked what we saw — or not.  You may recall that Italians use the irregular verb piacere to convey the idea that they like something. For a refresher on how this verb works, please refer to the beginning Italian blogs in my Conversational Italian! blog, “Piacere — How Italians Say, ‘I like it!”  and “Piacere: How Italians Say, ‘I liked it!’

The most important thing to remember is that the conjugation of piacere will have to agree with the number of things that are being liked. 

So, when speaking in the present tense,  if one thing is liked, simply use the third person singular conjugation piace.

If many things are liked in the present, use the plural third person, which is piacciono.

For the past tense, we can use the passato prossimo third person singular forms “è piacuto” and “è piaciuta” for the one-time event when we liked something.

If many things are liked, the third person plural forms “sono piaciuti” for the masculine plural and “sono piaciute” for the feminine plural are used.

Then put the indirect object pronoun “mi” before the verb to make the simple sentence:” To me, this is pleasing!” Or, as we would say in English, “I like/liked this!”  

To ask a friend if they like or liked something, put “ti before the verb, for “Is/was this pleasing to you?” Or, as we would say in English, “Do/Did you like this?”

If, for some reason, we do NOT like what we have watched, just start your sentence with the word “non.”

 

What we might say about our favorite TV show or movie that we like:

Mi piace questo film. I like this movie.
Mi è piaciuto questo film. I liked this movie.
Mi piace molto questo film. I really like this movie.
Mi è piaciuto molto questo film. I really liked this movie.
Ti piace questo film? Do you like this movie?
Ti è piaciuto questo film? Did you like this movie?

 

What we might say about our favorite TV show or movie that we did NOT like: 

Non mi piace questo film. I don’t like this movie.
Non mi è piaciuto questo film. I didn’t like this movie.
Mi piace molto questo film. I really don’t like this movie.
Mi è piaciuto molto questo film. I really didn’t like this movie.
Ti piace questo film? Don’t you like this movie?
Ti è piaciuto questo film? Didn’t you like this movie?

 


Using common expressions to say we like a TV show or movie…

Of course, there are many common expressions in Italian that go beyond the simple: ” I like it” or “I didn’t like it.” Just like in English, we might say, “It was cool,” or “It was out of this world,” It seems like new expressions are invented almost every day for how we feel about things! So, it should come as no surprise that Italians also have invented colloquial expressions that express feelings that go deeper than simply liking.  Here are a few you might want to try to surprise your Italian friends.

If you want to ask your friend if it is worth your time to watch a certain movie, you can use the phrases, ” Vale la pena?” for “Is it worth it?”  “Voleva la pena il film?” means, “Was the film worth it?”

In the table below are some answers to this question that you might hear from a native Italian if they liked the film you are talking about:

Mi piace un sacco! I like it a lot! (lit. a sack full)
Mi è piaciuto un sacco! I liked it a lot!
È  stato bello! It was great!
È / È stato meraviglioso! It is / was wonderful!
È / È stato stupendo! It is / was amazing / cool!
È / È stato  fantastico! It is / was fantastic / cool!
È / È stato fico / figo! It is / was cool!
È /  È stato fichissimo / fighissimo! It is / was the coolest!
È / È stato da paura! It is / was cool!
È / È stato  il meglio! It is / was the best!
È il migliore film che io abbia mai visto. It is the best film that I have ever seen.

 


How do I say, “TV show” and “movies” in Italian?

The programs we watch on a television set ( il televisore) or on a screen (lo schermo) are referred to most commonly in both English and Italian as “TV.”  The pronunciation, of course, is different in each language.  In Italian, “TV” is pronounced as an Italian would pronounce the letters “t” and “v”, which sounds like “tee-vooh.” Notice from the table below that there is an Italian word for TV,la televisione,” and therefore the abbreviation is feminine as well.

TV La TV / La televisione
Cable TV La TV via cavo
Satellite TV La TV sattelitare
RAI-TV Italian state television
(Radio-Televisione Italiana)
Television set Il televisore
TV or computer screen Lo schermo
TV show Un programma 
Un programma televisivo
TV series Una serie TV
Un telefilm
Episode Una puntata
Situation Comedy Una serie TV sitcom
Una commedia
Comedy show Un programma comico

To talk about a movie in Italian, we could refer to “la pellicola,” but this word is no longer in common use. Instead, Italians most often refer to a movie in general with the word “film.”  Movies in general are either “i film,” with the borrowed English word preceded by the plural masculine definite article in Italian, or “il cinema,” a collective masculine noun. 

The usual verbs for “to watch,”guardare,” and “to see,”“vedere,” describe the act of watching a screen to see a TV show or movie.

Movie theater  Il cinema
Film studio Lo studio cinematografico
Movie Il film (La pellicola)
Movies I film / Il cinema
to capture an image for a film filmare / riprendere / girare
to be recorded essere filmato
to watch a movie guardare un film
to watch a movie vedere un film


Using common expressions to say what we prefer…

The verb preferire means “to prefer,” which is a regular -isc conjugated -ire verb.“I prefer, is “Io preferisco…” To ask a question of someone else, say, “Tu preferisci…?”

If you want to say you prefer one movie genre over another, just use the adjective preferito. This also works for your favorite movie, TV show, color, etc. Just make sure to change the ending of preferito (a,i,e) to reflect what it is you are describing, whether masculine or feminine, singular or plural.

Here are examples from the dialogue below:

È il tipo di film che io preferisco.
It’s the type of film that I prefer.

Non per me.  Il mio film preferito è un buon giallo.
Not for me. My favorite movie is a good mystery movie.

 

If you might want to say, “I liked (film) better than…” use the sentence construction:

“Mi piace… (film)  più di + definite article… (film).  

Ma mi piace La Vita è Bella più del Commissario Montalbano.
I like La Vita è Bella more than Detective Montalbano.

 

Another way to make a comparison between films: “This film is much better than…”

“Questo film è molto meglio di + definite article…”

Questo film è molto meglio del Commissario Montalbano, sono sicuro!
This film is much better than Detective Montalbano, I am sure.

 

Finally, to mention who has written or directed a movie, use the conjunction “di” to mean “by.”

 


Some common movie genres

Action Film d’azione
Adventure story Storia d’avventura
Costume drama (historical TV show with costumes) Sceneggiato in costume
Costume drama (historical film with costumes) Film in costume
Comedy Film comico / commedia
Comedy drama Commedia drammatica
Dark comedy Commedia nera
High comedy Commedia sofisticata / da intenditori
Low comedy (bawdy) Commedia popolare
Slapstick comedy Farsa / Pagliacciata*
Musical comedy Commedia musicale
Romantic comedy Commedia romantica
Documentary Un documentario
Drama Storia drammatica
Drama movie Film drammatico / Dramma
Detective movie Un poliziesco / Un giallo**
Film noir (thriller genre) Film noir
Foreign Film Film straniero
Horror  Film horror / Film dell’orrore
Mystery Un giallo**
Science Fiction / Sci-fi Film di fantascienza
Psychological thriller Thriller psicologico
Thriller (suspense film) Thriller / Giallo
Western Film Western

*Reference to the opera “Pagliacci,” whose main character is a clown that performs slapstick humor with puppets.

**Mystery books and films are referred to by the color “giallo,” which is derived from the yellow cover all mystery books were given in the past.

 


Below is a simple dialogue between two friends, Maria and Anna, talking about their favorite movie and TV show.  There are, of course, many variations.  Think about your favorite movie and create your own!

 

Maria:  Ieri sera, ho guardato il film, La Vita è Bella, di Roberto Benigni.
Last night, I watched the movie, “Life is Beautiful,” by Roberto Benigni.
Anna: Ne è valsa la pena?
Was it worth it?
Maria: Si, vale la pena.
Mi è piaciuto molto questo film!
Yes, it is worth it.
I really liked this film!
Anna: È una storia drammatica?
Is it a drama?
Maria: Si, è una storia drammatica, ma la prima parte è anche un po’ comica.
Yes, it is a drama, but the first part is also a bit funny.
Anna: Ah, una commedia drammatica.
I see, a comedy drama.
Maria: È il tipo di film che io preferisco.
It’s the type of film that I prefer.
Anna: Non per me.
Il mio film preferito è un buon giallo.
Not for me.
My favorite movie is a good mystery movie.
Commissario Montalbano è figo.
Detective Montalbano is cool.
Maria: Boh. Ho visto molte puntate del Commissario Montalbano sul TV.
Well. I have seen many episodes of Detective Montalbano on TV.
Ma mi piace La Vita è Bella più del Commissario Montalbano.
  I like La Vita è Bella more than Detective Montalbano.
   
  Questo film è molto meglio del Commissario Montalbano, sono sicuro!
This film is much better than Detective Montalbano, I am sure.
Anna: Allora, devo guardare La Vita è Bella un giorno.
Well, then, I will have to watch La Vita è Bella one day.

 

Remember how to talk about movies and TV in Italian and I guarantee
you will use these  Italian phrases every day!

And remember to study our Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Important Phrases” pocket travel book if you want a handy way to remember all the important Italian phrases you will need to know!

Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases
Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases (with Restaurant Vocabulary and Idiomatic Expressions) is YOUR traveling companion in Italy! All the Italian phrases you need to know to enjoy your trip to Italy are right here and fit right into your pocket or purse.

   Available on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com

 

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog

Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, is the author of the
Conversational Italian for Travelers
 series of books and a teacher of Italian for travelers to Italy in the Peoria and Chicago area.
“Everything you need to know to enjoy your visit to Italy!”

Join my Conversational Italian! Facebook group and follow me on Twitter at StellaLucente@travelitalian1  and start to learn Italian today for FREE!
Conversational Italian! Facebook Group
Tweet @travelitalian1 for Stella Lucente Italian

YouTube videos to learn Italian are available from © Stella Lucente, LLC.
Learn Conversational Italian.

More information on and photographs of Italy can be found on Facebook Stella Lucente Italian and Pinterest Stella Lucente Italian.
Facebook Stella Lucente Italian

Pinterest Stella Lucente Italian

Visit learntravelitalian.com/download.html to purchase/download Conversational Italian for Travelers and find more interesting facts and helpful hints about getting around Italy! Learn how to buy train tickets online, how to make international and local telephone calls, and how to decipher Italian coffee names and restaurant menus, all while gaining the basic understanding of Italian that you will need to know to communicate easily and effectively while in Italy. —From the staff at Stella Lucente, LLC

How to Talk about Movies and TV in Italian

bowl with a tartufo ball cut in half so the vanilla/chocolate ice cream sides are showing with a cherry in the center.

Tartufo — Gelato but Even Better!

Tartufo — Gelato but Even Better!

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog Tartufo is two flavors of gelato ice cream in a ball,  made even better with a cherry in the center and a chocolate shell!

 

Make tarfufo ice cream treats and surprise your family tonight! 

“Tartufo — Gelato  but Even Better” is a reprint from a blog originally posted on July 31, 2016 entitled, “Tartufo: Summertime Gelato Treat.”  I’ve since added Instagram to my social media, and have added a video from Instagram to this post so you can see me cooking in real-time! I hope you like it!

For more recipes like these, as well as French recipes, follow me on my Instagram posts at Conversationalitalian.french.

******************************************************************

Tartufo: A gelato treat made just for summertime! 

The word Italian word “tartufo” refers to the round, brown-and-white truffles found in the densely forested Apennine Mountains that run down the spine of Italy. These slightly irregularly shaped round balls are found nestled between the roots of old beech, birch, and pine trees by specially trained dogs. A similarly shaped sweet French candy made from chocolate and cream, known as “ganache,” is also referred to as a truffle.

We present here a method for a round, chocolate-coated ice cream treat made from vanilla and chocolate Italian gelato ice cream that is also called “tartufo.” In the version that follows, there is a surprise in the center—a real Italian marinated Amarena cherry.* Try our recipe as is, or make your own version with any of your favorite Italian gelato flavors. Enjoy a cold, refreshing treat this summer with our simple method!
—Kathryn Occhipinti

Recipe is listed below.  Check out my  latest Instagram video from Conversationalitalilan.french and watch me make the dish if you like!

 

View this post on Instagram

Ice cream tartufo treats. Easy Italian dessert that even kids can make! Use two flavors of your favorite good quality ice cream, gelato if you can find it. Scoop out to make balls of desired size. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze. Unwrap balls, cut in half and add an Italian amarena cherry or a maraschino cherry in the center. Put two different flavors together, rewrap and freeze. For chocolate shell melt 4oz. bittersweet chocolate together with 4 oz. Semisweet chocolate and 4 oz. canola oil. Let cool slightly. Roll ice cream balls in chocolate quickly! Refreeze until shell hardens. Enjoy on a hot summer afternoon or a cool summer evening! #osnap #icecream #icecreamrolls #icecreamdessert #icecreamdesserts #icecreamrolls #icecreamroll #icecreamlovers #icecreamaddict #icecreamheaven #gelato #gelatoonmymind #gelatodessert #gelato🍦 #gelatoartigianale #gelatoartigianaleitaliano #tartufo #tartufobianco #tartufoestivo #tartufoitaliano #tartufogelato #gelatotartufo #gelatomania #gelatoitaliano🇮🇹 #gelatolove #gelatolovers #gelatolover #foodblogger #foodbloggersofinstagram @niaf #italianicecream🍦 #italianicecream

A post shared by Kathryn Occhipinti (@conversationalitalian.french) on

 


Tartufo: Summertime Gelato Treat!

 

bowl with a tartufo ball cut in half so the vanilla/chocolate ice cream sides are showing with a cherry in the center.
Tartufo: chocolate-covered gelato ice cream with an Amarena cherry in the center, cut in half and ready to enjoy!

Ingredients
(Makes approximately 8 ice cream balls)
(Method takes a few minutes each day for 3 days)

1 pint vanilla ice cream (gelato)
1 pint chocolate ice cream (gelato)
8 Italian Amarena cherries* in syrup

Chocolate coating**
4.0 oz. bittersweet chocolate
4.0 oz. semisweet chocolate
4 tsp canola oil

Procedure

To see step-by-step pictures, visit Stella Lucente Italian Pinterest.

Make the Ice Cream Balls

Let the vanilla and chocolate ice cream soften slightly in the ice cream cartons so it is easy to scoop out. (If it is too soft and watery, it will not make good ice cream balls.)

Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out 4  balls of vanilla ice cream and place each ball on a piece of plastic wrap. Pull the plastic wrap above the ball and twist to seal.

Quickly put the balls into a freezer-safe container and back into the freezer. (Plastic tray containers from Chinese take-out food work well because they are just the right size for four balls and have a cover.)

The same way, make 4 ice cream balls from the chocolate ice cream, wrap each ball in plastic wrap, and place the wrapped balls into a second freezer-safe container. Quickly return the container to the freezer.

Freeze overnight. If you want, after the ice cream balls have refrozen, form them into a more rounded shape with the plastic still on and return them to the freezer.

The next day, or when the ice cream balls have frozen through completely and are hard, remove one vanilla and one chocolate ball from the freezer at a time.

Unwrap each ball quickly and save the plastic wrap.

Turn each ball over so that the smooth, round end of each ball is facing up.

Slice each ball in half and make a tiny well in the center of each half that is the size of half a cherry. Quickly press a cherry into the center of one of the ice cream halves, and then top with an ice cream half of the other flavor so that the final balls are half vanilla and half chocolate.

Wrap each ball in the original plastic wrap again and place them back into the freezer container.

Repeat the last 5 steps until all 8 ice cream balls have been used.

Freeze overnight.

If desired, you can form each ball into a more smooth circle after it has frozen again while the ball is in the plastic wrap.

Make the Chocolate Coating

**A note about baking chocolates: I like to use 1/2 bittersweet chocolate and 1/2 semisweet chocolate for children; you can use all dark chocolate if you like. Unsweetened chocolate is not recommended. Make sure to use good quality baking chocolate, whatever your choice.

On the third day, after the combined ice cream balls have completely frozen through, they are ready to coat with chocolate.

Microwave the chocolate and the canola oil in a small glass bowl (best) or glass measuring cup for about 2 minutes on medium heat (50%). Stir, and if all chocolate dissolves, set aside. Or microwave 30 seconds more, check and repeat as needed, until all chocolate is melted.

After the chocolate has melted, let it cool slightly. This is a crucial step, because if the chocolate is too hot, it will melt the chocolate balls; if the chocolate cools too much, it will start to harden. A glass bowl is best for coating the ice cream balls because it can be put into the microwave to melt the chocolate again if it starts to harden before you are finished working with it.

One at a time, take out an ice cream ball from the freezer, remove plastic wrap from the ice cream ball, and immediately place each ball into the chocolate, rolling the ball over once with a  large spoon to coat the top and bottom of the ball.

Immediately set each chocolate-covered ball onto a cookie sheet or small tray covered in aluminum foil and place back into the freezer.

Repeat the last two steps until all ice cream balls have been coated with the chocolate. There will be just enough chocolate to coat 8 balls, so work quickly and reheat the chocolate as necessary, scraping down the sides of the bowl to use all the melted chocolate efficiently.

Freeze all chocolate balls uncovered at least 2 hours.

If you are not serving the tartufi right away, cover them lightly in aluminum foil or place them back into covered containers and store in the freezer.

When ready to serve, cut each tartufo in half with a serrated knife and place on a small plate.

Or place each tartufo ball as is in the center of a large fancy ice cream cup and watch everyone  crack open the chocolate shell, dig in, and enjoy their summer treat!

*To find Amarena cherries if you do not have an Italian specialty shop in your neighborhood, simply search online. Look for the Fabbri brand pictured here.

Jars of Amarena cherries
Amarena cherries

The cherries, in heavy syrup, come in a beautiful white-and-blue decorated jar. Save the jar when you have used all the cherries and use it as a lovely decorative glass piece to give your kitchen a true Italian flair.

—Adapted from a cooking class given for the Italian-American Society of Peoria, by Kathryn Occhipinti

Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases
Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases (with Restaurant Vocabulary and Idiomatic Expressions) is YOUR traveling companion in Italy! All the Italian phrases you need to know to enjoy your trip to Italy are right here and fit right into your pocket or purse.

   Available on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog

Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, is the author of the
Conversational Italian for Travelers
 series of books and a teacher of Italian for travelers to Italy in the Peoria and Chicago area.
“Everything you need to know to enjoy your visit to Italy!”

Join my Conversational Italian! Facebook group and follow me on Twitter at StellaLucente@travelitalian1  and start to learn Italian today for FREE!
Conversational Italian! Facebook Group
Tweet @travelitalian1 for Stella Lucente Italian

YouTube videos to learn Italian are available from © Stella Lucente, LLC.
Learn Conversational Italian.

More information on and photographs of Italy can be found on Facebook Stella Lucente Italian and Pinterest Stella Lucente Italian.
Facebook Stella Lucente Italian

Pinterest Stella Lucente Italian

Visit learntravelitalian.com/download.html to purchase/download Conversational Italian for Travelers and find more interesting facts and helpful hints about getting around Italy! Learn how to buy train tickets online, how to make international and local telephone calls, and how to decipher Italian coffee names and restaurant menus, all while gaining the basic understanding of Italian that you will need to know to communicate easily and effectively while in Italy. —From the staff at Stella Lucente, LLC

Tartufo — Gelato but Even Better!

Kathryn Occhipinti holding a plate with a slice of Tiramisu and mint garnish

Tiramisu: “Pick-Me-Up!” Dessert Recipe from Italy

Tiramisu: “Pick-me-up!” Dessert Recipe from Italy

 

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blogTiramisu: “Pick-Me-Up” Dessert Recipe from Italy!

Dessert Recipe from Italy: Make Our Famous Tiramisu

Tiramisu: “Pick-Me-Up” Dessert Recipe from Italy is a partial reprint from a blog originally posted on October 10, 2018, titled: “Dessert Recipe from Italy: Make Our Famous Tiramisù.”

I’ve added a few more tips about how to make the custard filling in this blog.  I’ve also included a sponge cake recipe  just in case Lady Fingers are not available.  (Or,  just in case you just like this layered custard dessert combination with sponge cake!)

– Special thanks to Rudy Litwin of the Italian-American Society of Peoria for the sponge cake recipe.

Also…

I’ve since added Instagram to my social media, and have added a video from Instagram to this post so you can see me cooking in real-time!  I hope you like it!

For more recipes like these, as well as French recipes, follow me on my Instagram posts at Conversationalitalian.french.

 

 

And now… the original story!

This famous Italian layered dessert, which literally means “Pick-me-up!” (Tiramisù!)was said to have originated when Italian ladies wanted a snack to get them through a long night of entertaining. Try our version, and we think you will agree that a piece of this Tiramisu dessert will add sparkle to any get-together or special celebration, whether for lunch, dinner, or the wee hours of the evening… Just follow our step-by-step instructions on how to make each component of the dessert, and assemble it all into the delicious layers that will form a kind of cake when refrigerated overnight.
—Kathryn Occhipinti


Tiramisu Recipe

Make the zabaglione* custard:
*Italian custard made with Marsala wine
6 egg yolks
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup Marsala wine

Double boiler assembly with egg and Marsala wine being whisked above the water pot
Double boiler assembly with zabaglione custard thickening off heat

Off heat, beat the egg yolks and sugar on the top pot of a double boiler with a whisk gently
until combined and the yolks become pale yellow.   Do not beat too hard and do not form foam when doing this.

(Tip: When you think the sugar has been well mixed into the egg yolks, test the consistency by lifting your whisk up with a bit of the mixture on it.  The egg/sugar mixture should fall off the whisk slowly. This is called “forming the ribbon.”  When this happens, the eggs and sugar have been mixed well enough.)

Fill the bottom pot 1/2 of the way up with water and heat to a simmer on the stove. (Small bubbles form around the edges of the water when it is at a simmer.)

Place the pot with the egg yolk mixture over the pot with the simmering water.

Stir the beaten egg yolks constantly with a whisk while slowly pouring in the Marsala wine.

Continue to stir for about 5 to 6 minutes.  At the same time, check the bottom pot of water for how how rapidly the water is boiling and control the heat to keep the water boiling at a simmer for this amount of time. Then, raise heat if necessary to thicken the custard as in tip below.

(Tip:  The custard needs to heat up slowly, or you will end up with scrambled eggs.  But, if you need to, increase the heat until the water is brought to a full boil.  Put the pot down for a few seconds until the custard starts to thicken. At this point, small balls of custard will start to form.  Immediately take off heat and keep beating as the custard thickens.  Lower heat back to simmer and continue to beat until smooth.) 

When the mixture has thickened, transfer to a bowl and chill for 30 minutes.

 Make the cream filling:
1 cup whipping cream (cold)
4 Tbsp sugar
2 (8 oz.) containers of  Mascarpone cheese, softened room temperature
(can substitute American cream cheese)
chilled zabaglione custard made as above

 Bowl with whipped cream forming peaks with the whisk lifted up
Whipped cream forming peaks when the whisk is lifted

Beat the whipping cream and sugar together in a large bowl with a standing mixer and a whipping attachment or an electric mixer until firm peaks form.  Start off beating slowly, then gradually increase speed of mixer to high. At the end, beat more slowly so you can watch carefully to get the desired consistency.  (Too much beating and you may make butter!)

(Tip: When peaks start to form, you will see ridges in the whipped cream.  To check the consistency, take up a bit of the whipped cream on the beater and hold up.  You will see peaks standing up in the whipped cream in the bowl and also on the beaters.)

Lighten up the mascarpone cheese by beating with a mixer if desired.

Add half of the mascarpone cheese into the whipped cream in teaspoon amounts.  Fold the mascarpone cheese into the whipped cream until well blended. Add the rest of the mascarpone cheese in teaspoon amounts and blend in.

Then fold in the chilled zabaglione custard into the whipped cream/Mascarpone cheese mixture until well blended.

Make the coffee syrup mixture:
2 cups espresso coffee (cooled)
1/4 cup Marsala wine
1 tsp vanilla

Combine the espresso coffee, Marsala wine, and vanilla in a measuring cup.
Refrigerate until cool.

 

 Assemble the tiramisu (have the following ready):

  1. Custard filling
  2. Coffee syrup
  3.  Savoiardi lady finger cookies, 2 (7.05 oz.) packages
  4. Cocoa powder for dusting

Note: Two packages of lady fingers are used in this recipe to make two layers in a rectangular pan approximately 9″ X 13.” Custard is enough to cover the 2 layers of ladyfingers. If you like a thicker custard layer, use a smaller pan and less ladyfinger cookies! 

Butter the bottom of the pan you will use.

Arrange a single layer of lady finger cookies in your pan, with the sugar-coated side facing up.

Lady finders lined up in a large rectangular pan
First layer of ladyfinger cookies lined up in the pan

Using a tablespoon, sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of coffee syrup on each cookie. Use up about one cup of the coffee syrup in total on the first layer of cookies.

First layer of ladyfingers with coffee sprinkled on
Sprinkling coffee over ladyfinger cookies for Tiramisu

Spread 1/2 of the custard filling mixture over the cookies.

Custard is spread over ladyfingers
Spreading custard over ladyfinger cookies for Tiramisu

Dust with the cocoa powder until top of custard is well covered. (Tip: Use a strainer, tapping the side to make a smooth layer of cocoa. The strainer will also remove lumps of cocoa powder.)

Tiramisu dusted with cocoa powerder
Tiramisu dusted with cocoa powder

Repeat cookie layer, 1 cup of coffee syrup, custard filling, and cocoa powder.

Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil and refrigerate at least 5 hours or overnight to allow the cookies to absorb the coffee syrup and become moist.

Cut into squares to serve. Enjoy with a cup of espresso coffee!

 

Optional: Sponge cake for Tiramisu :
6 large eggs separated, yolks and whites reserved room temp.
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup cake flower

Preheat oven to 375° and coat a 13″ X 9″ pan with oil.  Sprinkle with flour and shake off excess.

Beat egg yolks with a whisk until foamy and set aside.

Use a large bowl and a standing mixer or an electric mixer to whip the egg whites and powdered sugar until still peaks form.

Gradually  fold in egg yolks.

Fold in cake flour until blended.

Pour batter into the pan.

Bake 12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (An oven that heats evenly is essential, or the center of your cake may form a peak as it heats unevenly.)

Cool 5 minutes and then loosen cake and invert on a rack to cool.

To assemble the tiramisu, cut the cake in half into two equal pieces.  One will fit as the bottom piece on an 8″ or 9″ baking dish (ungreased).

Spoon over espresso coffee syrup as given above with the addition of 2 tsp of sugar, then custard mixture, then cocoa.

Add next layer of cake and repeat.

Cover loosely with aluminum foil and refrigerate at least 5 hours or overnight to allow the cake to absorb the coffee syrup and become moist.

Cut into squares to serve.  Enjoy with a cup of espresso coffee!

—Adapted from the cooking classes given by the Italian-American Society of Peoria. Thanks to Rudy Litwin, IAS President in 2012, for contributing the sponge cake to this recipe! 

 

Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases
Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases (with Restaurant Vocabulary and Idiomatic Expressions) is YOUR traveling companion in Italy! All the Italian phrases you need to know to enjoy your trip to Italy are right here and fit right into your pocket or purse.

   Available on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog

Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, is the author of the
Conversational Italian for Travelers
 series of books and a teacher of Italian for travelers to Italy in the Peoria and Chicago area.
“Everything you need to know to enjoy your visit to Italy!”

Join my Conversational Italian! Facebook group and follow me on Twitter at StellaLucente@travelitalian1  and start to learn Italian today for FREE!
Conversational Italian! Facebook Group
Tweet @travelitalian1 for Stella Lucente Italian

YouTube videos to learn Italian are available from © Stella Lucente, LLC.
Learn Conversational Italian.

More information on and photographs of Italy can be found on Facebook Stella Lucente Italian and Pinterest Stella Lucente Italian.
Facebook Stella Lucente Italian

Pinterest Stella Lucente Italian

Visit learntravelitalian.com/download.html to purchase/download Conversational Italian for Travelers and find more interesting facts and helpful hints about getting around Italy! Learn how to buy train tickets online, how to make international and local telephone calls, and how to decipher Italian coffee names and restaurant menus, all while gaining the basic understanding of Italian that you will need to know to communicate easily and effectively while in Italy. —From the staff at Stella Lucente, LLC

Tiramisù Pick-Me-Up: Dessert Recipe from Italy

Cover of Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Verbs book resting on an Italian red-checkered tablecloth

Italian Subjunctive (Part 7): Italian Subjunctive Commands

Italian Subjunctive (Part 7): Italian Subjunctive  Commands 

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog               Italian subjunctive commands:  Learn when to use the  Italian subjunctive mood to give familiar commands and  how to make polite commands! 

 

Speak Italian: Italian Subjunctive  Commands — Familiar and Polite Commands 

Can you speak Italian? By now, many of you have passed the beginning stages of learning to speak Italian and can read and comprehend quite a bit of the Italian language. Meraviglioso!

But have you tried to take the next step to speak Italian fluently? Do you know which situations use the Italian subjunctive mood? To express complex feelings in Italian correctly, it is important to use the Italian subjunctive mood. Using the subjunctive mood is difficult for English speakers, as we only rarely use this tense in English, and this is something that I am always working on!

This is the final blog in the “Speak Italian” blog series that has focused on how to use the Italian subjunctive mood, or “il congiuntivo.”

Let’s take that giant step from simple beginning sentences to more complex and fluid sentences in Italian by using the subjunctive mood. In this segment, we will discuss the Italian imperative verb tense, or “command form” of a verb. Then we will describe how to make and use Italian subjunctive commands. A dependent clause in the subjunctive mood can be used with the familiar command form of a verb. We will also discuss how to use the Italian present tense subjunctive as an independent clause to give a polite command. 

 

Speak Italian: How to Use the Italian Subjunctive Mood

In each blog in the “Speak Italian” series about the  Italian subjunctive mood (“il congiuntivo”),  we have been presenting situations take the Italian subjunctive mood.

In this blog, we will present when to use the Italian subjunctive mood in the present tense with familiar commands, as well as how to use the present tense subjunctive as an independent clause to give polite commands.

Remember these examples as “anchors” in your knowledge for when you must speak Italian and try out the subjunctive mood in your next Italian conversation!

Enjoy our blog: “Italian Subjunctive (Part 7): Italian Subjunctive Commands 
—Kathryn Occhipinti

Some of this material is adapted from our textbook, Conversational Italian for Travelers © 2012 by Stella Lucente, LLC, found on www.learntravelitalian.com. Special thanks to Italian instructor Maria Vanessa Colapinto.


Speak Italian (Part 7): A brief note about and review of the Italian subjunctive mood 

As noted in the last section, in this blog we will present
how to make Italian subjunctive commands.  

This will be the last blog in our Italian subjunctive mood series!

Before starting this blog, please review the comments in the next section about how the Italian subjunctive mood is used in the Italian language. All the material we have covered so far about the Italian subjunctive mood is also listed for review at the end of this section, with links to our previous blogs.

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In previous blogs, we have noted that Italian uses a subjunctive mood that to express beliefs, thoughts, or hopes with the verbs credere, pensare, and sperare.

The subjunctive mood is also said to “open up” a conversation to discussion about a particular topic by expressing doubt, uncertainty, desire, or a feeling.

Certain phrases are commonly used to start a sentence in order to introduce the subjunctive mood, and these initial phrases can be in the indicative tense (the “usual” present or past tense) or in the conditional tense. These initial phrases imply uncertainty and trigger the subjunctive mood in the phrase to follow.

These groups are listed below.

Groups 1-9: “Noun Clauses”

Group 10: “Adverbial Clauses”

Groups 11 and 12: “Adjective/Pronoun Clauses”

      1. Phrases that use the verbs credere (to believe), pensare (to think), and sperare (to hope). These verbs use the pattern: [verb  di + infinitive verb to describe the beliefs, thoughts, or hopes that one has. When the subject in the introductory phrase is not the same as the subject in the subjunctive clause that follows, the pattern changes to: [verb + che + subjunctive verb].*
      2. Impersonal constructions that begin with, “It is…” such as, “È possibile che…”
      3. Phrases that express a doubt, such as, “I don’t know…” or “Non so che…”
      4. Phrases that express suspicion, such as, ” I suspect that…” or “Sospetto che…”
      5. Phrases that express uncertainty, such as, “It seems to me…” or “Mi sembra che…” and ” To wonder if…” or “Chiedersi se… “
      6. Impersonal verbs followed by the conjunction che, such as, “Basta che…” “It is enough that,” or “Si dice che…” “They say that…
      7. Phrases that use the verbs volere, desiderare, chiedere, esigere  when the subject in the introductory phrase is not the same as the subject in the clause that follows. In this situation, these verbs will be followed by che.
      8. Phrases that use the verbs piacere and dispiacere when the subject in the introductory phrase is not the same as the subject in the clause that follows. In this situation, these verbs will be followed by che.
      9. Phrases that express feelings (any emotion, fear, surprise) and use the pattern: [avere, essere, or augurarsi verb  +  di + infinitive verb].  When the subject in the introductory phrase is not the same as the subject in the clause that follows, the pattern changes to: [avere, essere, or augurarsi verb + che + subjunctive verb].
      10. Sentences that begin with words that end in –ché, or complex conjunctions that end with che:  affinché, perché (so as, so that, in order that), purché (as long as, provided that, only if)**, a meno che, senza che (unless), può darsi che (it may be possible that, possibly, maybe), prima che (before that).  Also the many words that mean although/even though, one of which ends in -che: benché  (also sebenne, malgrado, nonostante).***
      11. Sentences that begin with adjectives or pronouns that include the idea of any in a description of a person, place or thing:  qualsiasi, qualunque (any), chiunque (whoever), dovunque (anywhere).
      12. Sentences that begin with adjectives or pronouns that include the idea of nothing or only  in a description of a person, place, or thing: niente che, nulla che (nothing that), nessuno che (nobody that), l’unico, il solo, a che (the only one that).
      13. Phrases that correspond to the English “both… and…” use the conjunction sia and the structure “sia… che…”
      14. Hypothetical Phrases:  Phrases that begin with se (if) in certain situations. Phrases that begin with come se (as if), magari (if only), ammesso che (assuming that)

For a review of how to use the groups of phrases that need the Italian subjunctive mood  listed above, please see our previous blogs on this topic by clicking on the links below:

How to Use the Present Tense Italian Subjunctive Mood (Parts 1-3). 

How to Use the Imperfetto Subjunctive for Italian Past Tense (Parts 1-3)

How to Use The Italian Subjunctive Mood (Parts 4 and 5) — Hypothetical Phrases

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Points to remember about the subjunctive mood:

In Italian, the introductory phrases that take the subjunctive mood (those that trigger doubt, uncertainty, desire, or a feeling)  usually end with a linking word, also known as a conjunction, which will be che.  In this situation, che means that.  The clause that follows our introductory phrase will then describe what the uncertainty is about.

We now see from Group 9 that some words or phrases already have -ché or che integrated into the word itself. In these cases, che is not repeated.  The clause that follows our introductory phrase will then describe what the uncertainty is about.

*When the speaker in the introductory phrase will carry out the action in the phrase to follow, Italian will use the following construction to link the phrases for credere, pensare, and sperare :  di + infinitive verb. Example: Penso di andare a Roma domani.  =  I think I will go to Rome tomorrow. (Use  pensare a when thinking ABOUT something or someone.)

**solo se also means only if but does NOT take the subjunctive mode.

*** anche se also means even though/if but does NOT take the subjunctive mode.

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Finally, a word of caution:

DO NOT USE THE SUBJUNCTIVE WITH THE FOLLOWING THREE PHRASES!

Forse = Perhaps

Per me = For me

Secondo me = According to me

Solo se = Only if

Anche se = Even though, If

The above may seem like exceptions to the rule, but perhaps… because these phrases already express doubt or your personal opinion… in the Italian way of thinking, it would be redundant to use these phrases along with the subjunctive!


Speak Italian: Italian Subjunctive  Familiar Commands 

What is the Familiar Command Form of a Verb?

The imperative tense, or “command form” of a verb is used when one wants to relay an urgent request, give advice, or give an order.

In Italian, familiar commands — commands given by one person to another person or to a group of people that know each other —  are realized by conjugating the commanding verb in the same way as for the present tense and adding an exclamation point after the sentence in writing.  

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How to Conjugate Verbs for the
Familiar Command Form

The table below shows the familiar imperative endings for the –are, -ere, and –ire verb groups. These endings are removed to create the stem, to which the endings in the table are added. In written Italian, an exclamation point is used to convey the idea that the verb is in the imperative form.

Note that with the imperative verb form, by definition, the speaker is always giving a command to someone else.  This means that there is no first person, or io conjugation to learn.

The tu command form is used when one person is giving a command to a single individual.  You will note from the red highlighted –a that only the –are verbs have an imperative ending that differs from the present tense. The -ere and -ire verb endings for the tu imperative from are identical to the present tense.

When speaking to a group of people we know, with the familiar you all, or voi form, the endings for the imperative present tense are also identical to the simple present tense!

There is an imperative noi form, which also has endings that are identical to the present tense.  For the noi imperative form, the meaning of the verb changes to: “Let’s… something.” Now, doesn’t it make sense that “Andiamo!” means, “Let’s go!”?  We are simply using the imperative form of the present tense!

 

Familiar Imperative Tense Endings

  -are -ere -ire
tu a(!) i(!) i(!)
noi iamo(!) iamo(!) iamo(!)
voi ate(!) ete(!) ite(!)

 

When creating a sentence with the familiar command form, the subject pronoun is usually left out, as is usual for Italian, although it can sometimes be added for emphasis. In most cases of spoken Italian, though, the sentence will consist of just the verb itself. See the examples below.

  Guardare

(to look)

Rispondere

(to answer)

Partire

(to leave)

tu Guarda!
Look!
Rispondi!
Answer!
Parti!
Leave!
noi Guardiamo!
Let’s look!
Rispondiamo!
Let’s answer!
Partiamo!
Let’s leave!
voi Guardate!
(You all) look!
Rispondete!
(You all) answer!
Partite!
(You all) leave!

 

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How to Conjugate  Irregular Verbs for the
Familiar Command Form

There are many verbs that are irregular in the familiar command form, including all of the auxiliary verbs, which are: avere, essere, and stare.  The familiar imperative conjugations for the auxiliary verbs and additional commonly used verbs are given in the tables below.

Imperative Irregular Auxiliary Verbs 

  Avere

(to have)

Essere

(to be)

Stare

(to be/stay)

tu abbi! sii! stà!
noi abbiamo! siamo! stiamo!
voi abbiate! siate! state!

 

Imperative Irregular Verbs

  Andare

(to go)

Dare

(to give)

Dire

(to say/to tell)

Fare

(to do/to make)

tu vai!, ! dai!, ! di! fai!, !
noi andiamo! diamo! diciamo! facciamo!
voi andate! date! dite! fate!

 

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How to Make Negative Familiar Commands

When commanding someone you know not to do something – using the familiar tu form – it is very easy.  Whether the verb is regular or reflexive, simply put the word non in front of the infinitive form of the verb.  In other words, do not conjugate!

To make a negative command with a reflexive verb in the tu form, the “si” ending is dropped and the reflexive pronoun ti then needs to be tacked on to the end of the  verb.

For all verbs, leave out the subject pronoun tu from the sentence.  In our examples this subject pronoun will be given in parentheses as a reminder.

So, using preoccuparsi (to be worried) and guardare (to look) and parlare (to talk/speak) as examples:

(tu)    Non preoccuparti!       Don’t (you fam.) worry yourself!

(tu)     Non guardare!             Don’t (you fam.) look!

(tu)     Non parlare!                 Don’t (you fam.) speak!

 

For the negative in the noi and voi forms, conjugate as usual and simply put non in front of the verb.  Remember to add the reflexive pronoun to the ending of the verb if it is reflexive.  Again, the subject pronouns are usually omitted, and so are given in parentheses.

(noi)   Non preoccupiamoci!        Let’s not worry (ourselves)!
(voi)    Non preoccupatevi!            (You all) Don’t worry yourselves!

(noi)    Non guardiamo!                  Let’s not look!
(voi)    Non guardate!                       (You all) Don’t look!

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Where are Reflexive, Direct and Indirect Pronouns Placed in Sentences
with the  Familiar Command Form?

For a review of how to use reflexive, direct, and indirect object pronouns, please consult Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Grammar” book.  A summary table taken from this book is provided below to aid in the discussion of pronouns that follows.

Reflexive, Direct, and Indirect Object Pronouns

Reflexive Pronouns Direct Object Pronouns Indirect Object Pronouns
mi myself mi me mi to me
ti yourself(fam.) ti you (fam.) ti to you (fam.)
si yourself (pol.) La (L’) you (pol.) Le to you (pol.)
si herself la (l’) her, it (fem.) le to her
si himself lo (l’) him, it (masc.) gli to him
ci ourselves ci us ci to us
vi yourselves vi you all vi to you all
si themselves le them (fem.) gli to them (fem.)
si themselves li them (masc.) gli to them (masc.)

Reflexive Pronouns:

When conjugating a reflexive verb into the familiar imperative form, it is not enough just to use the correct verb ending.  We must also place the reflexive pronoun in the proper position with respect to the verb, which in this case is after the verb, and attached to the end of the conjugated form!  This rule holds true for the tu, noi, and voi forms.  The conjugated verb and attached pronoun are spoken as one word (see below).

This rule may seem confusing at first, since we have spent so much time thinking in Italian and putting the reflexive pronouns before the verb.  Try to remember the correct way to conjugate the reflexive imperative verbs from everyday experiences.

For instance, when welcoming a friend into your home, you would say, “Accomodati!” for “Make yourself comfortable!” Common phrases a mother might say to a teenager on a school morning would be, “Alzati!”or, “Wake (yourself) up!” and “Sbrigati!” for “ Hurry (yourself) up!”.  And, in Italian households, each person in the family is encouraged to “Siediti!” for “Sit (yourself) down!” so everyone can eat together before the food gets cold!

Two example tables have been provided. Notice the spelling change for our example verb sbrigarsi for the noi form in the table below.  The spelling change is necessary to keep the sound of this form constant with the infinitive form and other conjugated forms.

 Imperative Accomodarsi – to get comfortable

tu Accomodati! Get (Make yourself) comfortable!
noi Accomodiamoci! Let’s get comfortable!
voi Accomodatevi! You all get comfortable!

 

 Imperative Sbrigarsi – to hurry (oneself) up

tu Sbrigati! Hurry (yourself/familiar) up!
noi Sbrighiamoci! Let’s hurry  (ourselves) up!
voi Sbrigatevi! Hurry (yourselves/familiar) up!

 

Direct and Indirect Pronouns:

After conjugating a regular verb into the familiar imperative form, if we want to include a direct or indirect object pronoun in the sentence, these pronouns will come after the verb, and will be attached to the end of the conjugated form. This should be easy to remember, as the sentence structure is the same as for English.

This rule also applies when the Italian direct and indirect object pronouns are themselves combined to make one word.

The conjugated Italian verb and attached pronoun are spoken as one word.

See the examples with the familiar command forms for dare (to give) and fare (to do/to make):  The “m” is doubled by convention in these constructions.

Dammi il pacco!      Give me the package!
Dammelo!                  Give it to me!

Fammi una torta per la festa stasera.     Make me a cake for the party tonight.
Fammela!                                                              Make it for me!

    

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How to Use the Italian Subjunctive Mood:
Familiar Commands

When one person is giving a command to another about what someone else should do  — in short, when the subject of the first phrase in the sentence is not the same as the subject in the second phrase — the second phrase verb will need to be in the subjunctive mood.

It should be noted here that the imperative form, or command form of a verb, is used not just to give a direct order, but also to make an urgent request or to give advice. So there are many instances when a command form may initiate a sentence. This command is then linked, as usual, with the conjunction che to the next phrase in the subjunctive mood.

Two examples,  with our command forms and subjunctive verbs in green.  Remember that the noi ending for the present tense (-iamo) serves as the present subjunctive ending as well.

(Tu) Di a Maria che  lei non faccia tardi.
(You) Tell Maria that she should not be late.

(Tu) Digli che ci vediamo domani!
(You) Tell him we’ll see him tomorrow!

 


Speak Italian: Italian Subjunctive  Polite Commands 

What is the Polite Command Form of a Verb?

The imperative tense, or “command form” of a verb is used when one wants to relay an urgent request, give advice, or give an order.

In Italian, polite commands — commands given by one person to another person or to a group of people that the speaker does not know well —  are realized by conjugating the commanding verb in the present tense subjunctive mood. An exclamation point may be added after the command if desired.

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How to Conjugate Verbs in the
Polite Command Form = Present Subjunctive

The table below shows the present tense subjunctive endings for the –are, -ere, and –ire verb groups. These endings are removed to create the stem, to which the endings in the table are added. In written Italian, an exclamation point is used to convey the idea that the verb is in the imperative form.

Note that with the imperative verb form, by definition, the speaker is always giving a command to someone else that he or she does not know well.  This means that there is no first person, or io conjugation to learn.

The Lei, or polite you, present tense subjunctive form of the verb is used when one person is giving a command to a single individual that he or she does not know well.

The Loro, or polite you plural, present tense subjunctive form of the verb can be used when one person is giving a command to a group of people that he or she does not know well. This situation may occur in organizations, or in large gatherings, when a leader or speaker must address a group of people. We will not provide examples using the Loro, or polite you form, as it is no longer in common use.

The table below gives the conjugation for the first three persons of the subjunctive mood, for the -are, -ere, and -ire groups of verbs.  Notice that within each group, the endings are the same for all three persons.

 

Subjunctive Mood – Present Tense for Polite Commands

Subject Pronoun -are ending -ere ending -ire ending
io i a a
tu i a a
Lei/lei/lui i a a

 

When creating a sentence with the polite command form, the subject pronoun is left out. Below are the subjunctive present tense conjugations for the example verbs we encountered in the earlier section.  The tables to follow give the present tense subjunctive conjugations  for the auxiliary verbs and the common irregular verbs we discussed in the last section.

  Guardare

(to look)

Rispondere

(to answer)

Partire

(to leave)

Lei Guardi!
Look!
Risponda!
Answer!
Parta!
Leave!

 

Subjunctive Mood – Irregular Auxiliary Verbs for Polite Commands

  Avere

(to have)

Essere

(to be)

Stare

(to be/stay)

Lei abbia! sia! stia!

 

Subjunctive Mood – Irregular Verbs for Polite Commands

  Andare

(to go)

Dare

(to give)

Dire

(to say/to tell)

Fare

(to do/to make)

Lei Vada! Dia! Dica! Faccia!

 

******************************

Where are Reflexive, Direct and Indirect Pronouns Placed in Sentences
with the Polite Command Form?

For a review of how to use reflexive, direct, and indirect object pronouns, please consult Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Grammar” book.  A summary table taken from this book was provided in the last section to aid in the discussion of pronouns that follows.

Reflexive Pronouns:

When conjugating a reflexive verb into the polite imperative form, it is not enough just to use the correct subjunctive verb ending.  We must also place the reflexive pronoun in the proper position with respect to the verb, which in this case is before the verb.

Below is a summary table that shows the differences between the familiar and polite command forms of the reflexive verb accomodarsi  that we used as our example in the first section.  This is one verb that is heard quite often in both its familiar and polite forms and well-worth committing to memory.

 Imperative Accomodarsi – to get comfortable

tu Accomodati! Get (Make yourself) comfortable! 
Lei Si Accomodi! Get (Make yourself) comfortable!  

 

Direct and Indirect Pronouns:

After conjugating a regular verb into the polite imperative form with the correct subjunctive ending, if we want to include a direct or indirect object pronoun in the sentence, these pronouns will come before the verb.

This rule also applies when the Italian direct and indirect object pronouns are themselves combined to make one word, which will be pronounced separately.

Below are the examples provided in the section on familiar command forms for dare (to give) and fare (to do/to make).  The polite command form has been added to each.

Familiar:   Dammi il pacco!      Give me the package!
Polite:        Mi dia il pacco! 

Familiar:  Dammelo!                  Give it to me!
Polite:       Me lo dia

 

Familiar: Fammi una torta.     Make me a cake.
Polite:      Mi faccia una torta.

Familiar: Fammela!                       Make it for me!
Polite:      Me la faccia!

 

Familiar: Digli  che ci vediamo domani!    Tell him that we’ll see him tomorrow!
Polite:     Gli dica che ci vediamo domani!

 


Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog

Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, is the author of the
Conversational Italian for Travelers
 series of books and a teacher of Italian for travelers to Italy in the Peoria and Chicago area.
“Everything you need to know to enjoy your visit to Italy!”

Join my Conversational Italian! Facebook group and follow me on Twitter at StellaLucente@travelitalian1  and start to learn Italian today for FREE!
Conversational Italian! Facebook Group
Tweet @travelitalian1 for Stella Lucente Italian

YouTube videos to learn Italian are available from © Stella Lucente, LLC.
Learn Conversational Italian.

More information on and photographs of Italy can be found on Facebook Stella Lucente Italian and Pinterest Stella Lucente Italian.
Facebook Stella Lucente Italian

Pinterest Stella Lucente Italian

Visit learntravelitalian.com/download.html to purchase/download Conversational Italian for Travelers and find more interesting facts and helpful hints about getting around Italy! Learn how to buy train tickets online, how to make international and local telephone calls, and how to decipher Italian coffee names and restaurant menus, all while gaining the basic understanding of Italian that you will need to know to communicate easily and effectively while in Italy. —From the staff at Stella Lucente, LLC

 Italian Subjunctive (Part 7): Italian Subjunctive Commands 

A pot of meatballs cooking in tomato sauce on the stove. The NIAF wooden spoon with the slogan "Make Sunday Italian Again" is in the pot

Italian Meatballs: A Tribute to our Italian Mothers

Italian Meatballs: A Tribute to our Italian Mothers

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog Italian Meatballs A Tribute to our Italian Mothers

Everyone’s Italian-American mom makes her own version of Italian Meatballs. And they are all the best!

Try Mom’s Best Italian Meatballs for YOUR Sunday Family Dinner! 

Italian Meatballs: A tribute to our Italian Mothers is a reprint from a blog originally posted on October 10, 2018, titled: “Mom’s Best Italian Meatballs.”

I’ve since learned a about vegetarian meatballs from the blog post “Polpette di Melanzana (Eggplant Balls)” by Luca Marchiori, who mentions in his blog that it is traditional to make meatballs from eggplant in Puglia. He also notes that in Italy, “meat is only one of many ingredients Italians use to make polpette. In Rome, for example, there is a restaurant called Polpetta which serves them made from a variety of ingredients, many of them vegetarian. In fact their menu is topped by the hashtag #tuttoèpolpettabile (#youcanmakepolpettefromanything).”  

Also…

I’ve since added Instagram to my social media, and have added a video from Instagram to this post so you can see me cooking in real-time!  I hope you like it!

For more recipes like these, as well as French recipes, follow me on my Instagram posts at Conversationalitalian.french.

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My Mom’s Italian meatballs, from my family to yours. Surprise your mom and make meatballs for her this Mothers Day! If you want the answer to how the Italian polpetta came about visit my latest blog on www.blog.learntravelitalian.com. For the meatballs: 1 medium onion, chopped finely, 1 clove garlic, chopped, 2 Tbsps olive oil, plus more for frying, 1 lb. 80% lean ground beef, 1 egg, 3/4 c Progresso brand Italian bread crumbs, 1/4 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese, 1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped finely, salt and pepper. For Southern Italian tomato sauce: 1 medium onion, chopped finely, 1 clove garlic chopped sautéed in 2Tb olive oil, 1 can (28 oz.) Contadina tomato puree, 1 can Contadina brand tomato paste, and also fill each can with water and add water, /4 cup dried paesley or fresh chopped parsley, 1 Tb. Dried basil or 2 Tbs. torn fresh basil, salt to taste. Buon appetito! #osnap @niaf @sons_of_italy @osia_su @chicagolanditalians #meatballs #italiancookingadventures #italiancookingclasses #italianfood #italianfoodbloggers #italianfoodlover #italianfoods #italiandinner #tomatosauce #tomatopuree @contadina #lamiacucina #italianmeatballs #italianmeatball #homemademeatballs #meatballrecipe #meatballrecipes #meatballrecipetasty #italianamerican #italianamericanfood @mio_modernitalian

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And now… the original story!

The blog title, “Mom’s Best Italian Meatballs,” came about during an event I attended with the Chicagoland Italian American Professionals (CIAP) this fall.  The executive director, Salvatore Sciacca and his group feature Italian-American “cooking competition” events several times a year, and I have to say, they are always a delicious and  entertaining way to spend a Sunday afternoon with my family.

So, when I was invited to be one of the home cooks for this fall’s event,  The First Annual Meatball Fest,  I quickly checked my calendar, noted I was available, and signed up for another Sunday afternoon of Italian-American food and fun.

Making Mom’s Best Italian Meatballs

I had learned  my family recipe for Italian meatballs from my Sicilian-American mother and grandmother long ago, and have been preparing meatballs  for my own family for Italian Sunday dinners for about 20 years now.  I was happy to share my family’s recipe with other families at the event, and also looking forward to tasting what the other home cooks had to offer.

Growing up in an Italian-American household as I did, I really did not have to  do anything special to prepare for the  Italian meatball event held by the CIAP group – at least,
I thought I didn’t have to do anything special !

As it turned out, though, after hearing the other home cooks talk about their method for making meatballs,  I came home curious about the origins of this very common Italian-American dish and ended up doing a bit of research after the event!

I decided to write a blog  to share my experiences that day and what I have been able to learn about  the evolution of the many different styles of meatballs that are loved here in America today.  And of, course, my family’s Italian-American recipe and tips I found from one of my favorite “go-to” Italian cook  books, Ada Boni’s  Italian Regional Cooking (translated from Italian into English by the International Culinary Society, New York ©1969will be included in the blog.

I’d love to hear how YOUR family makes Italian meatballs – leave a comment if you wish at the end of the blog! Buon appetito! – Kathryn Occhipinti

 


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How to Make “Mom’s Best Italian Meatballs”

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Let’s get back to the story of the day I was a home cook for  The First Annual Meatball Fest,  held by CIAP.

The morning of the CIAP event, I rummaged around the  basement to find my trusty crock pot, rinsed it off, and set a pot of tomato sauce to cook on the stove.  I set a large bowl on the counter and followed the same routine as I have done many times before for my family: put  ground beef  and all other ingredients into the large bowl, mix gently, and  roll into balls.

Meatball ingredients ready to mix
Italian meatball ingredients ready to mix
Italian meatball ready to fry
One Italian meatball ready to fry!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am from the  “Italian Mom’s Cooking School” that fries, rather than bakes meatballs to brown them. ( Sorry, I hope I haven’t offended anyone – I know there is a BIG debate about this in the Italian-American community, but I think browning dries out the meatballs and is better left to restaurants making large batches of meatballs at one time.)

I browned my meatballs in olive oil carefully, turning each with tongs to get them browned on all sides.

 

Fry Italian meatballs in olive oil
Italian meatballs frying in olive oil
Italian meatballs turned in olive oil
Turn Italian meatballs gently to brown all sides evenly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the meatballs had browned, I added them gently to the simmering pot of tomato sauce on the stove to finish cooking.

I was taught to always stir my tomato sauce with a wooden spoon, and have a small collection of wooden spoons – some with long  handles, some with short handles;  some I save just for sauteing onions and garlic, others for “non-onion” savory or sweet dishes – but recently have been using my favorite  wooden spoon for my tomato sauce, which I bought as a part of a fundraiser for the National Italian American Foundation.

The NIAF recently started a “Make Sunday Italian Again” campaign, which I love, as it not only promotes Sunday time together with family, but also  raises money for their scholarship program by selling these “Nonna spoons” that have the slogan “Make Sunday Italian Again” engraved on the wooden handle.  Check out the NIAF website, if you like, after you finish reading this blog, of course!

Tomato sauce with Italian Meatballs
Italian meatballs cooking in tomato sauce

 

After about 30 minutes,  the meatballs had finished cooking and the sauce had a nice, meaty taste.  I adjusted the salt and pepper, put all into the crock pot and left to join the event.

When I arrived at the event, with my tried and true  “Mom’s Best Italian Meatballs”, I learned that I was one of 10 different contributors to the dinner!  I named my meatballs “Mom’s Best”,  because it seems to me that every Italian mother’s meatballs are loved and considered the best by her family!

CIAP 1st Annual Meatball Fest September 2018 attended by author Kathryn Occhipinti
Author/Blogger Kathryn Occhipinti at the CIAP 1st Annual Meatball Fest, September 2018

I was happy to see Italian-American home cooks of all ages, and both men and women contributed their meatballs for the event. There were two long tables of meatballs and a long line formed as everyone tried to taste them all.

CIAP 1st Annual Meatball FestEnjoying Italian meatballs at the CIAP 1st Annual Meatball Fest

At first, I had thought this would be a competition, but as it turned out, just as I had suspected, although all the meatballs were made with different ingredients, EVERYONE’s meatballs were delicious, and in the end, no vote was taken!

CIAP Mom's Best Italian Meatballs
Italian Meatballs to sample
CIAP Meatball Fest
More Italian Meatballs

 

Even more Italian meatballs
Even more Italian meatballs!

 

Below is a picture of those who participated, holding signs with the names of the type of meatballs they contributed. (I am in the back row and the Executive Director, Salvatore Sciacca, is just to my left.)

CIAP Italian meatball home cooks
Italian home cooks holding signs of the names of their meatballs at CIAP’s 1st Italian Meatball Fest

Read on for the recipe that I used to make my “Mom’s Best Italian Meatballs”.  Additional tips I learned from reading about meatballs are given in green italic lettering.  As a bonus, I am including my family’s recipe for basic Italian tomato sauce.  For tips on making Italian tomato sauce, please visit my blog Braciole – Italian Beef Rolls for Sunday Dinner.   Of course,  your own favorite tomato sauce will be fine as well!

But don’t stop after reading the first recipe, because when I went home I did a bit of research in Ada Boni’s cook book and discovered more tips on making “the best” meatballs in different styles that you may want to try yourself!

 


Mom’s Best Italian Meatballs 

Ingredients

1 medium onion, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil +more for frying
1 lb. ground beef (80% lean best)
1 egg
3/4 cup Progresso brand Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped finely
Salt and Pepper to taste.

This recipe will serve 4 people; it can easily be doubled or tripled for a crowd!

Coat a small frying pan lightly with some olive oil  and add the chopped onion and garlic and a pinch of salt. Saute gently, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the onions and garlic have softened and given their flavor to the olive oil.

(I find that sauteing the onions and garlic gives both a nice mellow taste, and I would recommend not skipping this step.  In fact, when my  daughter was young, she insisted that she didn’t like onions,  so I would remove the onions after competing this step and she never caught on to my trick!)

Put the sauteed onions and garlic, with the olive oil, into a large bowl.

Add the rest of the ingredients: 2 additional tablespoons of olive oil,  ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs and parsley.

Sprinkle with salt and a grind of fresh pepper  to taste (some people like more pepper, others less).

Mix gently with your hands, careful not to work the meat too much or this may make the meatballs tough!

Adjust amount of breadcrumbs as needed – more if you more, less to make a more  “meaty” meatball.  If too dry, add a few drops more of olive oil.

(What I learned from researching meatballs – moisten the breadcrumbs in a bit of milk to make for a more tender meatball. The milk should be heated gently on the stove before adding the bread.  When all milk is absorbed, mash into a pulp with a fork.)

When the meatball mixture consistency is to your liking, pull a bit of the meat mixture off and roll into a ball to make a meatball.  Size of the meatballs is to taste, but of course the larger meatballs will need to finish cooking longer in the tomato sauce.

Set a frying pan coated with olive oil over medium-high heat.

Place the newly rolled meatballs gently into the frying pan. Fry on medium high heat (adjusting as necessary during the frying time), turning each with tongs so all sides become browned.

(What I learned from researching meatballs – roll each in a bit of flour or plain bread crumbs to aid browning and help the meatballs hold together during frying.)

After the meatballs have browned, immediately remove them with tongs and gently place into a pot of simmering tomato sauce (recipe below) to finish cooking.

Serve with spaghetti for the Italian-American presentation, or continue on to the following Italian recipes for other serving ideas.

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Southern Italian Tomato Sauce  

Ingredients

1 medium onion, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 can (28 oz.) Contadina brand tomato puree or chopped tomatoes
1 can Contadina brand tomato paste
1/4 cup dried parsley or chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 Tablespoon dried basil or 2 Tablespoons torn fresh basil
1 Tablespoon of salt or to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large pot and saute the onions and garlic with a wooden spoon until softened.

Add the tomato puree, tomato paste, parsley, and basil to the same pot.

Add 2 cups of water.

Cover, bring the sauce to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium-low.

Simmer on medium-low heat with the lid partially covering the pot, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon for at least 1 hour, so the sauce does not stick to the bottom of the pot and burn.

Cook for at least 1 hour; at least 1.5 hours if adding meat to the sauce. (Brown any meat in a separate skillet before adding it.)

Add additional water if the sauce becomes too thick, or cook for additional time with the lid of the pot off if the sauce becomes too thin.

 


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How to Make Italian Meatballs – My research…

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Ada Boni,  (1881 – 1973) the author of  one of my favorite Italian cook books, Italian Regional Cooking, was a well-loved Italian author and food writer.  According to the back flap of the edition of my book, Ada Boni is known throughout Italy as the author of the classic bestselling cook book, Il Talismano della Felicità.

Boni worked as a magazine editor in Italy.  This book is a collection of the series of food articles about regional Italian cooking that was originally written for the Italian monthly magazine “Arianna”.  The magazine articles cataloged in depth recipes for the entire range of food served in the 14 major regions of Italy, long before the importance of regional cooking was understood here in America.  Boni was and still is well-known for the authenticity and variety of her recipes.

The book  Italian Regional Cooking is beautifully illustrated, with a spectacular photo montage of each Italian region to be covered at the beginning of each chapter that provides a backdrop for Italian tables laden with dishes from appetizer to dessert that evoke a special family gathering.  (There are no images for each individual recipe, however).  Although I have an edition from 1969 translated into English, the book is still listed on Amazon today.  I found this book about 30 years ago in a book store in California and my cover is tattered by now!

Italian Regional Cooking by Ada Boni
The book cover from “Italian Regional Cooking” by Ada Boni

When I wanted to research Italian meatballs, I searched this cook book in particular for a couple of reasons.  First, I wanted to discover if the way Italian-Americans now make meatballs differs significantly from how an Italian in southern Italy makes meatballs.  Second, I wanted to see if I could figure out the origins of the meatballs I make today.

 

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The Ingredients in Sicilian Meatballs

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In answer to my first question – do we make meatballs differently over here than they do in Italy, I searched  the chapter in Italian Regional Cooking that lists the recipes for Sicily.  I was pretty certain when I started my search that my family’s recipe was authentic, as it has been handed down from my grandmother, who spent her first 22 years in Sicily, and as the oldest child had been helping her mother with the household cooking since she was a young girl.

It turns out that the ingredients in Ada Boni’s  Sicilian“Polpette di Maiale con Pitaggio” are almost identical to my family’s meatballs.  “Polpette”* is the Italian word for what we call “meatballs” in America, but the translation given is, “Pork Rissoles with Vegetables.”

**********

The meat used for the meatball recipe from Sicily is pork, rather than beef, which of course would be more easy to come by in Sicily.  If I have ground pork or ground turkey on hand, I occasionally will use this meat to “lighten up” the meatballs.  The CIAP cooks used a variety of different meats (see about Neapolitan meatballs below).  The meatballs were rolled in a bit of flour before frying, which is an idea I will use from now on.

Instead of breadcrumbs, the recommendation is to soften the “pith of a small roll” with milk and “squeeze it dry.”  Several of the home cooks at the CIAP event mentioned using this method instead of  bread crumbs, and I will have to try this on my next attempt at making meatballs.   And, of course,  the Progresso brand of breadcrumbs is an American invention, so here is how we changed the meatball over in America for sure!

Other than that, the ingredients listed  for Sicilian Polpette were about the same as the meatballs I had learned to make.  The onion my family puts into meatballs was left out, but  included were garlic, fresh parsley, grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese, eggs, salt, pepper, and a bit of flour to coat the meatballs before frying. The flour is another good tip!  Most of the CIAP cooks included these ingredients.

How to serve Sicilian meatballs: Suggested  serving was with sauteed artichokes (with chokes removed), green peas and fava beans in the same oil used for frying the meatballs.

I have not seen meatballs served this way, but plan on trying this suggestion, which sounds good  since true Italian meatballs  (I am told, but am not quite convinced) should served with Italian bread, rather than pasta.

 

***************************************

The Ingredients in Neapolitan Meatballs

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When I searched the chapter in Italian Regional Cooking  that lists the recipes for Napes-Capagna, I discovered “Polpette di Carne”, translated into “Meatballs in Tomato Sauce Neapolitan Style.” 

**********

The meat used for the meatball recipe from the Naples region is beef, which is probably the most common meat used in America today, although the CIAP cooks used ground pork and a mixture of been and pork as well.  One cook even made vegetarian meatballs of her own invention using zucchini flowers (Salvatore’s mother) and I have to say, they were delicious. Again, the meatballs were rolled in a bit of flour before frying.

Breadcrumbs were used in the Neapolitan recipe, of course grated from stale Italian bread,  and first moistened with a little milk.  This seems like a good idea to me, and I am going to include this tip from now on when I make meatballs.

The remaining ingredients listed  for Neapolitan Polpette differed significantly from the meatballs we see most frequently in America today in that they called for yellow raisins, pine nuts, and a bit of lard.  Onions were again left out. The remaining ingredients of garlic, parsley, eggs, and Parmesan cheese were the same basic ingredients given in the Sicilian recipe.

I tried the Neapolitan style meatballs one night for dinner (you might notice some pine nuts in the  images of my mixing bowl from the first section of the blog!), warning my family that they would taste sweeter than our usual meatball.  I have to say the addition of milk and a bit of lard made them the most tender meatballs I have ever had!

But it seems like Americans have lost their taste for a “sweet” meatball, however, and it was a consensus at the CIAP dinner that “no one” here in America used raisins anymore.

How to serve Neapolitan meatballs: Suggested  serving was with tomato sauce, and a recipe for simple tomato sauce was provided, as noted in the title for the recipe.

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How to Make Italian Meatballs – My conclusions…

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It seems to me that there are as many ways to make and serve Italian meatballs as there are home cooks to make them! I do find it interesting, though, that here in America we have retained the idea of cooking meatballs in tomato sauce, whether the idea is from Sicily or Naples, and meatballs are paired with spaghetti is indeed an “American classic”.

 

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 * A final tidbit of interesting information:  when I looked up the word “polpette” in the dictionary, which means “meatballs,” I discovered that the Italian singular “polpetta” for  the singular meatball, has several negative connotations.  “Polpetta” can refer to “poisoned bait,” possibly because the reference is to little pieces of meat that are poisoned. “Polpetta” can also be used in a figurative sense, to mean that a person is a “dud” or a “drag.”  

Kathryn Occhipinti


Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog

Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, is the author of the
Conversational Italian for Travelers
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“Everything you need to know to enjoy your visit to Italy!”

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Italian Meatballs: A Tribute to our Italian Mothers

Photo of the Greek ruins at Agrigento Sicily, with tall columns reaching to a bright blue sky with puffy clouds.

How to Talk About: Weather in Italian

How to Talk About: Weather in Italian

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog    How to talk about weather in Italian: Important Italian phrases and vocabulary you need to know when talking about the weather with Italian friends and colleagues!

This blog series, “How to Talk About… in Italian” will focus on the topics that have come up most frequently in my everyday conversations with Italian family, friends and colleagues. We will focus on the important Italian phrases and Italian vocabulary we all need to know to become more fluent when we speak about everyday events in Italian!

The topic for this month — the weather — comes up frequently during daily conversation, both when making small talk with acquaintances and also when planning activities with family, friends, and co-workers. In the “How to Talk About Weather in Italian” blog for this month, we will focus on common Italian phrases needed to ask and answer questions about the weather.  We will also give examples of common Italian expressions that can be used to describe all four seasons.

Italians have a different approach than English-speakers when making references to the weather.  For instance, Italians talk about what the weather is making, rather than what the weather is at a given point in time. So first, we will learn how to use the Italian verb fare (to do/to make) to describe “what the weather is making” when we speak. We must first “think in Italian” if we want to talk about the weather in Italian!

Enjoy the second topic in this “How to Talk About…” series, “How to Talk About Weather in Italian.” —Kathryn Occhipinti

Some of this material was originally presented on the  Conversational Italian! blog “Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day! “ Special thanks to Italian instructor Maria Vanessa Colapinto.


How to Talk About: Weather in Italian

 

For a general assessment of the weather, Italians use the ever popular verb fare in the third person singular, which you will remember is fa. (If you need a refresher on how to conjugate the verb fare, you will find this in our Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Verbs”  reference book.)

In English, the verb to be is used to directly refer to “it,” meaning “the weather,” and how “it” actually “is” outside. Instead, Italians speak of the weather “it” is making with the verb fa. So, it is very important to think in Italian if we want to talk about the weather in Italian!

Remember that the reference to “it” in the Italian sentence will be left out, as usual.

Below are some examples of how this works, with the correct English translation in black and the literal Italian translation in gray, so we can understand the Italian approach to this topic.

If you don’t know what the weather is like and want to ask someone a question about the weather,  you can use many of the same phrases that we have listed below to describe the weather. Just raise your voice at the end of the sentence to signal that you are asking a question. There is no need to invert the subject and the verb to make a question, as we do in English.

Notice that in Italian the same word means both time and weatheril tempo.

Che tempo fa?
What is the weather?  (lit. What weather does it make?)

Fa caldo.
Fa molto caldo!
Fa caldo?
It is warm/hot.
It is very hot!
Is it warm/hot?
(lit. It makes heat.)
Fa fresco.
Fa fresco?
It is cool.
Is it cool?
(lit. It makes cool.)
Fa freddo.
Fa freddissimo!
Fa freddo?
It is cold.
It is very cold!
Is it cold?
(lit. It makes cold.)
Fa bel tempo.
Fa bel tempo?
It is nice weather.
Is it nice weather?
(lit. It makes nice weather.)
Fa bello.

Fa bellissimo.

It is nice/very nice out. (lit. It makes nice/very nice weather.)
Fa brutto tempo.
Fa brutto tempo?
It is bad weather.
Is it bad weather?
(lit. It makes bad weather.)
Fa brutto. It is bad outside. (lit. It makes bad weather.)

Of course, we may want to know how the weather was during a certain event or at a certain time.  Chatting about the weather is a common pastime in any country. Why not chat in Italian about recent weather conditions yesterday, last week, or last year?

To talk about the weather in the immediate past tense, we must return to the imperfetto and the passato prossimo.  For an in-depth explanation of how to use the imperfetto and passato prossimo forms of the Italian past tense, click on the link for the verb tense listed in this sentence that you want to learn about in this sentence.  Or, take a look at our reference book, Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Verbs.”

The imperfetto third person singular form of fare, which is  faceva, is the most commonly used form with our general expressions.

Of course, if we want to refer to a specific time frame, the passato prossimo third person singular form of fare, which is  ha fatto, should be used.

Below are the general questions about the weather from the last example table, this time in the past tense: 

Che tempo faceva? What was the weather? (lit. What weather did it make?)
Come era il tempo? How was the weather?  

 And our answers, depending on the situation…

Faceva caldo. It was hot. (lit. It made heat.)
Ha fatto caldo tutto il giorno.  It was hot all day.  
     
Faceva fresco. It was cool. (lit. It made cool.)
Ha fatto fresco ieri. It was cool yesterday.  
     
Faceva freddo. It was cold. (lit. It made cold.)
Ha fatto freddo quest’inverno. It was cold all winter.  
Faceva bel tempo. It was nice weather. (lit. It made nice weather.)
Faceva bello. It was nice outside. (lit. It made nice weather.)
     
Faceva brutto tempo. It was bad weather. (lit. It made bad weather.)
Faceva brutto tempo. It was bad outside. (lit. It made bad weather.)

Now, let’s try to be more specific and descriptive when we talk about the weather, and talk about common weather conditions, such as the rain, snow and wind, and how the weather changes throughout the seasons. Below are a few conversational sentences. Living in Chicago, I couldn’t resist a few lines about the show we’ve had to shovel this past winter.  How many more can you think of?

È primavera.* It is springtime.
Ci sono nuvole scure. There are dark clouds.
Viene a piovere. (It) is going to rain.
(lit. Here comes the rain.)
C’e la pioggia? Is it raining?
Piove. It’s raining.
Tira vento. It’s windy.
I fiori sono in fiore. The flowers are blooming.
Ho un mazzo di rose rosse che ho colto dal giardino. I have a bunch of red roses that I picked from the garden.
È estate.* It is summer.
C’è sole. It’s sunny. (lit. There is sun.)
È umido. Andiamo alla spiaggia! It’s humid. Let’s go to the beach!
È autunno.* It is autumn.
Fa fresco. It is cool. (lit. It makes coolness).
Le foglie cadano dagli alberi. The leaves fall from the trees.
È inverno.* It is winter.
È gelido. It’s freezing.
La gelata è dappertutto. The frost is everywhere.
C’è la neve? Is it snowing?
Nevica. It’s snowing.
C’è la bufera di neve. It’s a snowstorm.
I fiocchi di neve sono tanti. There are so many snowflakes.
I bambini fanno un pupazzo di neve. The children are making a snowman.
Mi piace sciare. Ho gli sci belli. I like skiing. I have wonderful skis.
Devo spalare la neve ora! I have to shovel the snow now!
Voglio una pala per la neve. I want a snow shovel.
Uso sempre uno spazzaneve. I always use a snowblower.

*In a simple statement about what season it is, the definite article (il, la, l’ = the) is not used.  However, in a longer sentence such as, “È l’inverno che porta neve,” the article is used. (Translations: It is the winter that brings the snow/Winter brings the snow.)


Finally, there are a few rules to follow if we want to talk about specific weather conditions in the past tense.

Let’s say we want to tell a story to our friend about the day that has just ended and we’d like to include a description of the weather. In this case, if we want to talk about a single, specific  instance in time when we experienced a certain weather condition, we must use the passato prossimo form of the past tense.

When using the passato prossimo, the verbs piovere, nevicare, and tirare can be conjugated using either avere or essere, as the helping verb, as in:

Ieri ha piovuto per due ore.         Yesterday, it rained for two hours.

            or

Ieri è piovuto per due ore.          Yesterday, it rained for two hours.

General phrases in the past tense about the sun, clouds, fog or humidity are spoken about using the imperfetto past tense.  Or, if we want to mention the weather as the “setting” or underlying condition that edited at the same time as a certain activity that happened in the past, we would again use the imperfetto past tense.

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The expressions we have already encountered earlier in this blog are given below again, this time in the imperfetto in the first column and in the passato prossimo in the second column.

Notice the different meanings for each type of past tense. And how the word “it” is, as usual, left out of the Italian phrase, but necessary for the English translation.

The words gia (already) and appena (just) are commonly used with the passato prossimo to give additional information.

Pioveva.
It was raining.
Ha già piovuto.
It already rained.
Nevicava.
It was snowing.
Ha appena nevicato.
It has just snowed.
Tirava vento.
It was windy.
Ha tirato vento tutto il giorno.
It was windy all day.
C’era sole. It was sunny.
C’era nebbia. It was foggy.
Era nuvoloso. It was cloudy.         
Era sereno. It was clear.
Era umido. It was humid.
L’umidità è stata molto alta oggi. The humidity was very high today.
L’umidità è stata bassa oggi. The humidity was very low today.

Remember how to talk about weather in Italian and I guarantee
you will use these  Italian phrases every day!

And remember to study our Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Important Phrases” pocket travel book if you want a handy way to remember all the important Italian phrases you will need to know!

Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases
Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases (with Restaurant Vocabulary and Idiomatic Expressions) is YOUR traveling companion in Italy! All the Italian phrases you need to know to enjoy your trip to Italy are right here and fit right into your pocket or purse.

   Available on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com

 

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog

Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, is the author of the
Conversational Italian for Travelers
 series of books and a teacher of Italian for travelers to Italy in the Peoria and Chicago area.
“Everything you need to know to enjoy your visit to Italy!”

Join my Conversational Italian! Facebook group and follow me on Twitter at StellaLucente@travelitalian1  and start to learn Italian today for FREE!
Conversational Italian! Facebook Group
Tweet @travelitalian1 for Stella Lucente Italian

YouTube videos to learn Italian are available from © Stella Lucente, LLC.
Learn Conversational Italian.

More information on and photographs of Italy can be found on Facebook Stella Lucente Italian and Pinterest Stella Lucente Italian.
Facebook Stella Lucente Italian

Pinterest Stella Lucente Italian

Visit learntravelitalian.com/download.html to purchase/download Conversational Italian for Travelers and find more interesting facts and helpful hints about getting around Italy! Learn how to buy train tickets online, how to make international and local telephone calls, and how to decipher Italian coffee names and restaurant menus, all while gaining the basic understanding of Italian that you will need to know to communicate easily and effectively while in Italy. —From the staff at Stella Lucente, LLC

How to Talk about Email in Italian

Two bowls of split pea soup. The bowl on the left has ditalini pasta and the bowl on the right is garnished with croutons.

Split Pea Soup with Homemade Croutons

Split Pea Soup with Homemade Croutons

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog Split Pea Soup with Homemade Croutons

Split pea soup is as comforting as it is delicious. Make it French topped with homemade Provence herb croutons or make it Italian with ditalini pasta. But make it tonight!

Split Pea Soup with Homemade Croutons or Ditalini Pasta! 

Split pea soup is a classic, hearty soup made for generations in the winter and spring, when fresh, green vegetables are scarce.  Peas can be dried after harvest and “split peas” will keep easily for 1 year or longer in the cupboard,  waiting to satisfy that yearning for a hearty soup until fresh peas become available in the springtime.

Since my family did not make split-pea soup when I was growing up, I researched a bit to discover that this soup is popular in both Italy and France. The split peas are cooked in essentially the same way, but the soups are finished differently.

In both versions, some type of ham product is commonly used to flavor the peas, although this can be left out to make a vegetarian soup. I’ve chosen pancetta, or Italian bacon, for the ham product in my soup. Chopped onions and carrots are a mainstay, as is the herb thyme.

In Italy, split pea soup is cooked until the peas fall apart by themselves in the soup, and the soup is left a little bit chunky.  The soup is then finished by adding in cooked Ditalini pasta or a potato cut into small cubes.  In France, the soup is pureed, and finished with a topping of canned peas or croutons.

I’ve included a method to make homemade croutons using herbs of Provence as the French garnish for my split-pea soup.  But I’m sure you’ll enjoy making these croutons for many more dishes once you realize how simple it is to make croutons yourself.

Whatever version you choose, this soup is sure to please your family! —Kathryn Occhipinti

Recipe is listed below.  Check out my  latest Instagram video from Conversationalitalilan.french and watch me make split pea soup and croutons if you like!

View this post on Instagram

Split pea soup with homemade croutons or Ditalini pasta for springtime! French and Italian finishes below. For the soup: 1 bag 26 oz. dried split peas soaked in water in measuring cup to make about 3-4 cups. Put in pot with 7 cups water 1/2tsp salt and 1/8 tsp baking soda (if you have “hard water”) Bring to the boil slowly, in about 45 min so peas can absorb water. Skim foam off. After hard boil reached, skim foam and add finely chopped carrot and inion that has been sautéed in 2 Tb butter and 1/4 cup chopped pancetta (bacon). Also add herbs: chopped fresh or dried parsley, pinch of thyme and small bay leaf. Simmer an additional 2 -2 1/2 hours. Remive bay leaf when done! Can reduce peas to puree while cooking to desired thickness for Italian version (leave a little chunky). Or puree in food processor for French version. Italian version: add Cooked Ditalini pasta and enjoy. French version add 2 Tb butter, top with canned peas to serve or homemade croutons. For the croutons: 1 loaf French bread, cubed,1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 -1 tsp crushed garlic, pinch salt, dried parsley flakes, dried herbs of Provence. Mix and bake 400. Viola! #osnap @niafitalianamerican @italianjourney @sons_of_italy @osia_su @chicagolanditalians #peasoup #splitpeasoup #springsouptime #springsoupforthesoul #springsoupforlunch #frenchsplitpeasoup #italiansplitpeawithham #italiansplitpeasoup #crôutons #homemadecroutons #homemadecroutonsrecipe #homemadecrouton #herbsofprovence #herbsofprovance #ditalinipasta #ditalinipastasoup #crouton #croutons

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Split Pea Soup
with Homemade Croutons
or
Ditalini Pasta 

Two bowls of split pea soup. The bowl on the left has ditalini pasta and the bowl on the right is garnished with croutons.
Split Pea Soup with Homemade Croutons and Ditalini Pasta

Ingredients
for the Soup:

1 bag (26 oz.) split peas, soaked in water to make 3-4 cups

2 Tb butter
1/4 cup pancetta or ham, diced into small cubes
1 yellow onion, chopped finely
1 carrot, peeled and chopped finely
Fresh sprig or 1 tsp of  dried parsley
Fresh sprig or 1/8 tsp of dried thyme
1 bay leaf
Italian style: 1 cup ditalini pasta, cooked

Ingredients
for the Croutons
(French style):

1 loaf French bread, cubed
1/2 cup olive oil,
1/2 -1 tsp crushed garlic (from jar)
pinch salt
dried parsley flakes
dried herbs of Provence.

Method

Put the 3-4 cups of soaked peas in large pot with 7 cups water.

Add 1/2 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp baking soda .(If you have “hard water” the baking soda will counteract the calcium salts in the hard water so the split peas can soften properly.*)

Bring the pot of water with split peas to the boil slowly, taking about 45 min. This will allow the peas to absorb the water properly and soften properly.* Skim foam off periodically as it comes to the surface.

While the split peas are coming to a boil, saute the finely chopped pancetta (or ham), onion and carrot in 2 Tb of butter and a pinch of salt until the vegetables soften. Do not brown.

After a rolling boil is reached, skim foam from the pot again and add the sauteed vegetables and ham.

Then add the herbs to taste. If fresh, the herbs should be added in a “bouquet garni,” wrapped in cheesecloth so they can be removed.  Dried herbs will soften and fall apart as the soup cooks. Suggested herbs: chopped fresh or dried parsley, sprig or pinch of dried thyme and  a small bay leaf.

Simmer an additional 2 -2 1/2 hours, until split peas fall apart and thicken the soup.

Remove bay leaf (and bouquet garni if used) when done!

Reduce peas to puree while cooking to desired thickness for Italian version (leave a little chunky). Or puree in food processor for French version.

Italian version: Cook 1/2 cup Ditalini pasta separately, add to soup and and enjoy.

French version: After pureeing, place back on the stove and add 2 Tb butter, blending into the soup as it melts. Top with canned peas to serve or homemade croutons.

For the  homemade croutons: 1 loaf French bread, cubed,1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 -1 tsp crushed garlic (add to olive oil and mix to coat evenly), pinch salt, dried parsley flakes, dried herbs of Provence. Mix, spread out on a baking sheet and bake at 400° until golden brown. Viola! Kathryn Occhipinti

Breadboard with French bread being cut into cubes
French bread cut for croutons
Croutons in a bowl with olive oil and jar of garlic in foreground
Croutons in bowl with olive oil and crushed garlic to add

 

 

 

 

Croutons ready to go into the oven.
Croutons spread out on a baking sheet, coated in olive oil, garlic and herbs and ready to go into the oven.
Croutons coated with olive oil, garlic and herbs ready to bake

*I learned these tips from the French cook book, La Bonne Cuisine de Madame E. Saint-Ange, first published in French in 1920, first translated into English as of 1995, and with a second edition in 2005.  As the forward states, “it is today recognized by many French home and restaurant cooks… as the most articulate and popular home cookbook available in bookstores, from the time of its first publication… in the late 1920s to these first years of the 20th century.” This cook book is filled with so many details about buying, prepping and cooking French food of every type that I am sure cooks of all levels will benefit from the knowledge imparted by Madame into the 21st century and beyond.

 


Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog

Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, is the author of the
Conversational Italian for Travelers
 series of books and a teacher of Italian for travelers to Italy in the Peoria and Chicago area.
“Everything you need to know to enjoy your visit to Italy!”

Join my Conversational Italian! Facebook group and follow me on Twitter at StellaLucente@travelitalian1  and start to learn Italian today for FREE!
Conversational Italian! Facebook Group
Tweet @travelitalian1 for Stella Lucente Italian

YouTube videos to learn Italian are available from © Stella Lucente, LLC.
Learn Conversational Italian.

More information on and photographs of Italy can be found on Facebook Stella Lucente Italian and Pinterest Stella Lucente Italian.
Facebook Stella Lucente Italian

Pinterest Stella Lucente Italian

Visit learntravelitalian.com/download.html to purchase/download Conversational Italian for Travelers and find more interesting facts and helpful hints about getting around Italy! Learn how to buy train tickets online, how to make international and local telephone calls, and how to decipher Italian coffee names and restaurant menus, all while gaining the basic understanding of Italian that you will need to know to communicate easily and effectively while in Italy. —From the staff at Stella Lucente, LLC

Italian Recipe: Split Pea Soup with Homemade Croutons

Chicken with tomato sauce that contains Marsala wine and mushrooms is shown in the pan used to cook it on a table with a flower pattern

Italian Recipe: One Pot Chicken in Marsala Wine

One-Pot Italian Chicken in Marsala Wine

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog Italian Chicken in Marsala Wine 

A delicious and easy to make family dinner. Try it tonight!

Try One-Pot Italian Chicken in Marsala Wine for YOUR Dinner Tonight! 

Italian Recipe: One-Pot Chicken in Marsala Wine is a reprint from a blog originally posted on February 26, 2017. I’ve since added Instagram to my social media, and have added a video from Instagram to this post so you can see me cooking in real-time! I hope you like it!

For more recipes like these, as well as French recipes, follow me on my Instagram posts at Conversationalitalian.french.

******************************************************************

The recipe title, “One-Pot Italian Chicken in Marsala Wine” sounds rich… and it is! But it is also so easy to make! I am told that for many years in Italy, only relatively wealthy families had ovens (in the day of my great grandparents). As a result, many wonderful Italian meals were developed that could be made entirely on the stove top. This actually fits perfectly with the lifestyle we live today.

In this chicken in Marsala wine recipe, a whole cut chicken is cooked in one large skillet along with the wine and few other ingredients until a silky gravy forms. This hearty and fulfilling dish can be made during the week or served when friends are over on the weekend. Hearty, crusty Italian bread makes a perfect accompaniment. Add a salad or vegetable side dish (contorno) if you like.

So get out the largest skillet you have, and try our chicken in Marsala wine dish for your family tonight. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed! —Kathryn Occhipinti

Recipe is listed below.  Check out my  latest Instagram video from Conversationalitalilan.french and watch me make the dish if you like!

 


One-Pot Italian Chicken in Marsala Wine 

Ingredients

1 frying chicken, cut into 2 breasts, 2 thighs/legs, 2 wings
(any chicken with breasts and thighs of similar size)
up to 1/4 cup olive oil, as needed
1 small onion, minced
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 strips guanciale (bacon from cheek of pig) or
2 strips prosciutto, chopped
3/4 cup Marsala wine
8 oz. cremini mushrooms
1 (15 oz.) can chopped tomatoes or
canned or fresh cherry tomatoes
2 sprigs of Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped coarsely

Method

Rinse the frying chicken inside and out, pat dry, and cut into pieces. Reserve the back for chicken soup to be made at a later date!

Sprinkle chicken lightly with salt and pepper.

Use a large, shallow pot, Dutch oven, or skillet to cook all ingredients over medium high heat as follows:

Pour olive oil into your pot or skillet to coat the entire bottom of the pot with a thin layer of oil, using  about 1/4 cup of olive oil. Heat oil over medium high heat (do not let the oil smoke or flavor will be lost).

Add chicken to the pan skin side down, keeping each piece separate from the other and cook without moving the chicken for a few minutes, until the skin has browned and some of the fat from under the skin has been rendered.

Turn chicken pieces once and cook about 5 minutes more.

Remove chicken pieces to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm.

Pour out excess oil/fat from the skillet. Add fresh olive oil if necessary to coat the bottom lightly again.

Into the skillet, add the chopped onion, crushed garlic clove, and guanciale or prosciutto. Cook until the onion has softened.

Add Marsala wine and turn the heat up to high briefly to boil off alcohol while scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release chicken bits that will help flavor the sauce. Lower heat and continue to boil off alcohol until about 50% of the Marsala wine remains in the pot.

Put the chicken back into the skillet and add tomatoes (with the juices in the can), mushrooms, and parsley. Add enough water, so the chicken and vegetables are almost completely covered.

Chicken in Marsala Wine
Browned chicken with vegetables and Marsala wine on the stove top

Cover the skillet and cook on medium high heat until the chicken is cooked through, adding more water as needed, about 15 to 30 minutes (this will depend on how cooked the chicken was initially, of course).

Chicken in Marsala Wine Italian style
Italian chicken in Marsala wine with tomatoes added, cooking on the stove top

If the sauce is too watery at the end of cooking time, remove the lid and boil off some liquid gently. The sauce should be fairly thick.*

Taste, and adjust salt and pepper before serving.

Place the chicken pieces on a large platter or on individual plates. Pour on the sauce and serve with rustic Italian bread.

Italian Chicken in Marsala Tomato Sauce
Italian chicken Marsala served with a side of bread

*This method is a fricassee of chicken (a method of cooking meat in which it is cut up, sautéed and braised, and served with its sauce), so the sauce will be a little fatty. If you want to decrease the amount of fat, the same method can be followed with skinless, bone-in chicken cooked for a shorter time initially.

Kathryn Occhipinti


Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog

Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, is the author of the
Conversational Italian for Travelers
 series of books and a teacher of Italian for travelers to Italy in the Peoria and Chicago area.
“Everything you need to know to enjoy your visit to Italy!”

Join my Conversational Italian! Facebook group and follow me on Twitter at StellaLucente@travelitalian1  and start to learn Italian today for FREE!
Conversational Italian! Facebook Group
Tweet @travelitalian1 for Stella Lucente Italian

YouTube videos to learn Italian are available from © Stella Lucente, LLC.
Learn Conversational Italian.

More information on and photographs of Italy can be found on Facebook Stella Lucente Italian and Pinterest Stella Lucente Italian.
Facebook Stella Lucente Italian

Pinterest Stella Lucente Italian

Visit learntravelitalian.com/download.html to purchase/download Conversational Italian for Travelers and find more interesting facts and helpful hints about getting around Italy! Learn how to buy train tickets online, how to make international and local telephone calls, and how to decipher Italian coffee names and restaurant menus, all while gaining the basic understanding of Italian that you will need to know to communicate easily and effectively while in Italy. —From the staff at Stella Lucente, LLC

Italian Recipe: One-Pot Italian Chicken in Marsala Wine

Picture of Conversational Italian for Travelers Grammar book on a checkered table cloth, reference book with a chapter on how to make comparisons in Italian

Italian Subjunctive (Part 6): Situations for Italian Adjective Clauses and Comparisons

Italian Subjunctive (Part 6): Situations for Italian Adjective Clauses and Comparisons

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog               Read here about Italian adjective clauses and Italian comparison phrases and learn about important situations that use the Italian Subjunctive Mood!

 

Speak Italian: Situations Use Italian Adjective Clauses with the Italian Subjunctive Mood

Can you speak Italian? By now, many of you have passed the beginning stages of learning to speak Italian and can read and comprehend quite a bit of the Italian language. Meraviglioso!

But have you tried to take the next step to speak Italian fluently? Do you know which situations use the Italian subjunctive mood? To express complex feelings in Italian correctly, it is important to use the Italian subjunctive mood. Using the subjunctive mood is difficult for English speakers, as we only rarely use this tense in English, and this is something that I am always working on! The next two blogs in the “Speak Italian” blog series will focus on how to use the Italian subjunctive mood, or “il congiuntivo.”

Let’s take that giant step from simple beginning sentences to more complex and fluid sentences in Italian by using the subjunctive mood. In this segment, we will discuss Italian adjective clauses that take the subjunctive mood, and also include a brief discussion of comparison phrases and when Italian comparison phrases require the subjunctive mood. Finally, we will learn how to use the conjunction “sia” as a conjunction in order to connect phrases when trying to say, “Both…and…” Example sentences will follow using Italian adjective clauses for each situation.

Speak Italian: How to Use the Italian Subjunctive Mood

In each blog in the “Speak Italian” series about the  Italian subjunctive mood (“il congiuntivo”),  we will first present situations take the Italian subjunctive mood.

In this blog, we will then present common Italian adjective clauses used in daily life that take the Italian subjunctive mood.

Remember these examples as “anchors” in your knowledge for when you must speak Italian and try out the subjunctive mood in your next Italian conversation!

Enjoy our blog: “Italian Subjunctive (Part 6): Situations for Italian Adjective Clauses and Comparisons”
—Kathryn Occhipinti

Some of this material is adapted from our textbook, Conversational Italian for Travelers © 2012 by Stella Lucente, LLC, found on www.learntravelitalian.com. Special thanks to Italian instructor Maria Vanessa Colapinto.


Speak Italian: Situations that Use the  Italian Subjunctive Mood (Part 6)

A Brief Review of Phrases that take
the Italian Subjunctive Mood 

In previous blogs, we have noted that Italian uses a subjunctive mood that to express beliefs, thoughts, or hopes with the verbs credere, pensare, and sperare.

The subjunctive mood is also said to “open up” a conversation to discussion about a particular topic by expressing doubt, uncertainty, desire, or a feeling.

Certain phrases are commonly used to start a sentence in order to introduce the subjunctive mood, and these initial phrases can be in the indicative tense (the “usual” present or past tense) or in the conditional tense. These initial phrases imply uncertainty and trigger the subjunctive mood in the phrase to follow.

These groups are listed below.

Groups 1-9: “Noun Clauses”

Group 10: “Adverbial Clauses”

Groups 11 and 12: “Adjective/Pronoun Clauses”

      1. Phrases that use the verbs credere (to believe), pensare (to think), and sperare (to hope). These verbs use the pattern: [verb  di + infinitive verb to describe the beliefs, thoughts, or hopes that one has. When the subject in the introductory phrase is not the same as the subject in the subjunctive clause that follows, the pattern changes to: [verb + che + subjunctive verb].*
      2. Impersonal constructions that begin with, “It is…” such as, “È possibile che…”
      3. Phrases that express a doubt, such as, “I don’t know…” or “Non so che…”
      4. Phrases that express suspicion, such as, ” I suspect that…” or “Sospetto che…”
      5. Phrases that express uncertainty, such as, “It seems to me…” or “Mi sembra che…” and ” To wonder if…” or “Chiedersi se… “
      6. Impersonal verbs followed by the conjunction che, such as, “Basta che…” “It is enough that,” or “Si dice che…” “They say that…
      7. Phrases that use the verbs volere, desiderare, chiedere, esigere  when the subject in the introductory phrase is not the same as the subject in the clause that follows. In this situation, these verbs will be followed by che.
      8. Phrases that use the verbs piacere and dispiacere when the subject in the introductory phrase is not the same as the subject in the clause that follows. In this situation, these verbs will be followed by che.
      9. Phrases that express feelings (any emotion, fear, surprise) and use the pattern: [avere, essere, or augurarsi verb  +  di + infinitive verb].  When the subject in the introductory phrase is not the same as the subject in the clause that follows, the pattern changes to: [avere, essere, or augurarsi verb + che + subjunctive verb].
      10. Sentences that begin with words that end in –ché, or complex conjunctions that end with che:  affinché, perché (so as, so that, in order that), purché (as long as, provided that, only if)**, a meno che, senza che (unless), può darsi che (it may be possible that, possibly, maybe), prima che (before that).  Also the many words that mean although/even though, one of which ends in -che: benché  (also sebenne, malgrado, nonostante).***
      11. Sentences that begin with adjectives or pronouns that include the idea of any in a description of a person, place or thing:  qualsiasi, qualunque (any), chiunque (whoever), dovunque (anywhere).
      12. Sentences that begin with adjectives or pronouns that include the idea of nothing or only  in a description of a person, place, or thing: niente che, nulla che (nothing that), nessuno che (nobody that), l’unico, il solo, a che (the only one that).
      13. Phrases that correspond to the English “both… and…” use the conjunction sia and the structure “sia… che…”
      14. Hypothetical Phrases:  Phrases that begin with se (if) in certain situations. Phrases that begin with come se (as if), magari (if only), ammesso che (assuming that)

For a review of how to use the groups of phrases that need the Italian subjunctive mood  listed above, please see our previous blogs on this topic by clicking on the links below:

How to Use the Present Tense Italian Subjunctive Mood (Parts 1-3). 

How to Use the Imperfetto Subjunctive for Italian Past Tense (Parts 1-3)

How to Use The Italian Subjunctive Mood (Parts 4 and 5) — Hypothetical Phrases

You will notice that numbers 11 and 12 above discuss specific phrases called adjective clauses that take the subjunctive mood. In this blog, we will discuss various situations, along with specific words and phrases, that will trigger the subjunctive mood in the adjective clause to follow.

We will also discuss number 13 as the last section in this bog in order to learn how to express “both… and…” and  “whether… or…” in Italian, including when it is necessary to use the subjunctive mood with these phrases.

************************************************

Points to remember about the subjunctive mood:

In Italian, the introductory phrases that take the subjunctive mood (those that trigger doubt, uncertainty, desire, or a feeling)  usually end with a linking word, also known as a conjunction, which will be che.  In this situation, che means that.  The clause that follows our introductory phrase will then describe what the uncertainty is about.

We now see from Group 9 that some words or phrases already have -ché or che integrated into the word itself. In these cases, che is not repeated.  The clause that follows our introductory phrase will then describe what the uncertainty is about.

*When the speaker in the introductory phrase will carry out the action in the phrase to follow, Italian will use the following construction to link the phrases for credere, pensare, and sperare :  di + infinitive verb. Example: Penso di andare a Roma domani.  =  I think I will go to Rome tomorrow. (Use  pensare a when thinking ABOUT something or someone.)

**solo se also means only if but does NOT take the subjunctive mode.

*** anche se also means even though/if but does NOT take the subjunctive mode.

************************************************

Finally, a word of caution:

DO NOT USE THE SUBJUNCTIVE WITH THE FOLLOWING THREE PHRASES!

Forse = Perhaps

 Per me = For me

Secondo me = According to me

Solo se = Only if

Anche se = Even though, If

The above may seem like exceptions to the rule, but perhaps… because these phrases already express doubt or your personal opinion… in the Italian way of thinking, it would be redundant to use these phrases along with the subjunctive!


Speak Italian: How to Use the Subjunctive Mood in Situations with Italian Adjective Clauses

An adjective clause is a phrase that modifies a  noun or a pronoun. Simply stated, an adjective clause is a group of words that together add additional information or further describe the person, place, or thing a sentence is about. These phrases are “dependent clauses” as they cannot “stand alone” as a complete sentence, but are dependent on the phrase that comes before them to make sense.

Now that we know what an adjective clause is, we have to discuss just what triggers use of the Italian subjunctive for an Italian adjective clause.  Italian adjective clauses are commonly used in speech and writing, and of course, not all will need the subjunctive mood!

We have already listed some specific Italian phrases that are classified as adjective clauses in the last section of this blog. These phrases will often start a sentence and then will trigger use of the Italian subjunctive mood in the phrase that comes after.

There are also certain situations that will trigger use of the Italian subjunctive mood.  In these cases, it is the uncertainty in the situation described in the first phrase of the sentence that will trigger use of the Italian subjunctive mood in the adjective clause that follows.

As one can imagine, there are innumerable “uncertain” situations that can be modified with adjective clauses, and therefore will take the Italian subjunctive mood.  Some examples will be listed below.

Similar to other situations when it is necessary to use the Italian subjunctive mood, when modifying an Italian phrase by adding an adjective clause after it, the two phrases must be linked by a conjunction, which will be che. In this situation, che means who or that.

Read on below to find out which “uncertain” or “comparative” situations will need to take the Italian subjunctive mood if you would like to add additional information to make a more complex and varied sentence when speaking Italian.

************************************************

Italian Adjective Clauses that Modify
Indefinite Antecedents:
“Cercare”  

Many situations arise when an individual will mention a specific person or thing they are looking for,  but at the time of the conversation the speaker knows that this specific desire may only exist in his or her imagination. This type of situation is  called an “indefinite antecedent.”

We often talk about our desires in conversation, and love to elaborate on exactly what we want , even though we know that what we want may not actually exist. We already know that wanting and wishing for something in Italian involves uncertainty, and therefore many times we will need to use che with the subjunctive mood in the phrase that follows! In this case, one does not outright state they are making a wish;  instead, what they desire, and the uncertainty that they will find it, is inherent in the first statement.

The most common situations of this type is when someone is looking for a type of person or a particular thing. In Italian, the verb “to look for” is cercare. When a sentence starts with a particular wish of this type, just exactly what one is looking for can be elaborated upon, even if its actual existence has yet to be proven. Here is a case for using the subjunctive mood!

You will notice from the examples below that in English we use the simple present tense in these situations.

Sto cercando una fidanzata che sia intelligente e simpatica.
I am looking for a girlfriend who is intelligent and nice.

Il mio amico cerca un appartamento che abbia due camere da letto.
My friend is looking for an apartment that has two bedrooms.

 

************************************************

Italian Adjective Clauses that Modify
Indefinite Antecedents:
“Any”

The Italian subjunctive mode must be used with adjectives or pronouns that include the idea of any in a description of a person, place or thing, such as  qualsiasi, qualunque (any), chiunque (whoever), dovunque (anywhere). These words are listed under #11 above. Here, again, there is some uncertainty as to the person, place, or thing, as the speaker is making a generalization, rather than pointing out someone or something specific.  The subjunctive mood is used directly after these words.

There are many, many situations in which one might use the above words to express the idea of “any.”*  Some examples are listed below.  How many more can you think of?

Mi va bene qualsiasi posto che sia vicino al finestrino per favore.
Any place that is near the window is good for me, please.

Chiunque possa imparare un’altra lingua deve essere molto intelligente.
Anyone who can learn another language must be very intelligent.

Dovunque io vada in Italia è tutto bellissimo!
Anywhere I go in Italy is all very beautiful!

*You may have noticed that qualcuno,  which can mean:“anyone, anybody, someone, somebody” is not included in this list!

************************************************

Italian Adjective Clauses that Modify
Negative Antecedents:

If the speaker in a conversation is wishing for someone or something specific, but already knows he or she will not be able to find it, the sentence will begin with “non” to create an antecedent in the negative form.  Interrogative antecedents (when questioning something) can also fall into the negative antecedent category.  We have already mentioned different negative antecedents briefly in #12 of the list in our first section.

The Italian verb that is used in the adjective clause to follow the negative antecedent describe this “nobody” (nessuno) or “nothing” (niente/nulla) that we wish exists, but know does not. Since we are talking about a wish or desire that does not exist, our adjective clause will need be in the  subjunctive form.

Notice in the examples below that English uses the simple present tense for the dependent adjective clause.

Non c’è nessuno a questa festa che io conosca bene.
There is no one at this party that I know well.

Non c’è niente che io voglia comprare in questo negozio.
There is nothing that I want in this store.

Non c’è nulla che tu voglia comprare in questo negozio? 
Is there nothing in this store that you want to buy?

 


Speak Italian: How to Make Sentences with Comparisons in Italian 

A Brief Review of
How to Make Comparisons in Italian

Before we can learn when to use the Italian subjunctive mood in comparative sentences, we must first learn how comparative sentences are structured in Italian.  The material for this section has  been provided by the Conversational Italian for Travelers textbook and the Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Grammar” books,  found on the website www.Learntravelitaliancom and Amazon.com.

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Grammar Note – Comparatives of Equality
in Italian

Comparison of Two Italian Nouns
with Equivalent
  Descriptors

When comparing two different nouns – people , places, or things – using the same adjective or adverb, to state that their description is equivalent, use the following phrases below.

 

Così and tanto are in parentheses in the examples that follow, as these words can be omitted in conversation.

 

Comparison of Two  Italian Nouns with Equivalent  Descriptors

(così)… come as… as
(tanto)… quanto as much/as well… as

 

Milano è (così) bella come Roma.                   Milan is as beautiful as Rome.

La mia macchina va (tanto) bene,                  My car runs as well as your Ferrari.
quanto la tua Ferrari.                                    

 

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Comparison of Two Equivalent  Italian Nouns

 

When comparing what two different people have, using the same noun, to state that one person has something that is equivalent to what the other person has, use the following phrases below.

 

This pattern will usually appear with the verb avere, to describe what both people have.  Note that tanto must always be used and must agree in gender and number with the noun that it modifies.

 

  Comparison of Two Equivalent Italian Nouns

Tanto(a,i,e)….quanto as much as
as many as

 

Caterina ha tante amiche quante ne ha Anna.             Kathy has as many friends as Anna.

Pietro ha tanti parenti quanti ne ha Caterina.            Peter has as many relatives as Kathy.

 

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Grammar Note – Comparatives of Superiority and Inferiority in Italian

Comparison of Different Characteristics
of the Subject in Italian

When comparing different characteristics of the subject in a sentence, where one characteristic is better or worse than the other, use the following phrases below.  This pattern works for comparisons with adjectives, adverbs, and infinitive verbs.

 

Comparison of Different Characteristics of the Subject in Italian

più… che more… than
meno… che less… than

 

La casa è più grande che bella.                              The house is more large than beautiful.

Caterina ha meno amici che parenti.                 Kathy has fewer friends than relatives.

Mi piace di più studiare che lavorare.                    I like studying more than working.

 

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 Comparison of Different Nouns in Italian

In order to compare two different nouns, i.e. people, places or things, where one has a superior or inferior characteristic, use the following phrases below.  Note that di will combine with the definite article (il, la, lo, or l’) as usual if the definite article is needed in the sentence.

 

 

Comparison of Two Different Nouns in Italian

più…. di more… than
meno… di less… than

 

La casa di Pietro è più grande             Peter’s house is larger than Kathy’s
della casa di Caterina.                             house.

Pietro ha più soldi di Caterina.               Peter has more money than Kathy.

Caterina ha meno soldi di Pietro.            Kathy has less money than Peter.

 Questo vestito è più elegante del tuo vestito.
This dress is more elegant than your dress.

 

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Grammar Note – Relative Superlatives

 

Relative superlatives are descriptions that refer to the most or the least, and are often rendered in English with the ending -est.  In Italian, the equivalent to the most is il più or la più, for masculine and feminine nouns respectively.  The equivalent to the least is il meno or la meno.  The relative superlatives always precede the adjective they modify.

 

When the adjective to be modified comes before the noun, the relative superlative phrases are used with the definite article, as given above.  If the adjective to be modified comes after the noun, the definite article (il, la) is omitted from the relative superlative phrase.  In the second case, the definite article will already be in front of the noun for proper grammar!  See the examples below for how this works.

 

Also, notice that instead of the word in, Italians use di with comparisons, which is often combined with the definite article (il, la, lo, etc.).  Refer to Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Grammar” if you need to learn more about how to combine definite articles with prepositions.

 

Milano è la più bella città d’Italia.           Milan is the most beautiful city in Italy.

                                                   – or –

Milano è la città più bella d’Italia.           Milan is the city (which is) the most
beautiful in Italy.

 

Caterina è la meno alta della famiglia.     Kathy is the least tall in the family.

Pietro è il più alto della famiglia                  Peter is the tallest in the family.

 

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Grammar Note – Absolute Superlatives

 

The absolute superlative ending translates into very or really/extremely, and is used to say that something is simply the best, even beyond comparison.  The ending used to make an adjective into the absolute superlative is -issimo.  Remember from Chapter 6 how molto bene and benissimo both translated into very well/really well?

 

The absolute superlative ending will change to reflect the gender and number of the adjective modified, from –issimo to: -issima, -issimi,or -issime.  The last vowel of the adjective is dropped before adding these endings; buono will become buonissimo, grande will become grandissimo, and bella will become bellissima.

 

Il caffè in Italia è buonissimo.                             The coffee in Italy is really good.

I palazzi a Milano sono grandissimi.                The buildings in Milan are extremely big.

Milano è una bellissima città.                              Milan is a very beautiful city.

Le fontane sono bellissime.                                  The fountains are really beautiful.

 


Speak Italian: The Subjunctive Mood with Comparison Italian Adjective Clauses 

Italian Adjective Clauses that Modify
Absolute Superlatives

Now that we have reviewed how to make comparisons in Italian, we are ready to discuss how to use absolute superlative phrases with the Italian subjunctive mood.  In short, if you describe a person, place, or thing, and then want to say that this is “the best” you have ever seen, heard, met,  etc. you must use the  subjunctive!

For the speaker, at the point in time of the conversation, this is the best he or she has experienced; although one might say there is always the possibility that this opinion could change in the future.  Someone or something else may come along that is even better! And, where there is uncertainty, we need to use the subjunctive mood!

Some examples follow. Notice the use of the word “mai” to mean “ever,” which reinforces the idea of “the most.”

Since the speaker is talking about what they have experienced, the subjunctive verb conjugation must also be in the past.  In this examples below the form used is the passato congiuntivo.

The last example has been structured as a question, since we often ask others about their best experiences to date!

La Sicilia è l’isola più bella che io abbia mai visto.
Sicily is the most beautiful island that I have ever seen.

Mia madre è la donna più brava che io abbia mai incontrato.
My mother is the most wonderful woman that I have ever met.

Questa è la più bella sinfonia che io abbia mai sentito.
This is the most beautiful symphony that I have ever heard.

È questa la più bella sinfonia che tu abbia mai sentito?
Is this the most beautiful symphony that you have ever heard?

 

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Italian Adjective Clauses that Modify
Equivalents to Absolute Superlatives:
“Unico, Solo, Primo, Ultimo”

 

There are single Italian adjectives that can be considered to be “equivalent” to the absolute superlatives.  We have listed some above in the first section under Number 12 as the words which mean “only”:  unico, solo, a che uno. To these words we add primo, which means “first” and “ultimo,” which means “last.”  

When using the above Italian adjectives as absolute superlatives, their endings must agree in gender and number to the noun they modify (the same as for all Italian adjectives). The placement of the adjective will be between the definite article (il, la, lo, l’, etc.) and the noun it modifies.  Notice that these adjectives can be plural, since sometimes a group of things may be involved in the statement.

Check out the singular and plural forms of these absolute superlative adjectives below. You will remember from beginning Italian that  the  ending of the adjective primo changes since it is a cardinal number, and primo has regular endings. The adjectives solo and ultimo also have regular endings.

The adjective ultimo has an irregular in pronunciation in the plural masculine form (gli unici) and an irregular in spelling to preserve the pronunciation in the plural feminine form (le uniche).

l’unico l’unica gli unici le uniche
il solo la sola i soli le sole
il primo la prima i primi le prime
l’ultimo l’ultima gli ultimi le ultime

 

Some example sentences using unico, solo, primo, and ultimo are given below.  These words can be used in many different situations to make complex, descriptive sentences.  How many more can you think of?

Lui è l’unico ragazzo che mi piaccia nel mio paese.
He is the only boy that I like in my town.

Questa casa è l’unica casa che io abbia visto dipinta tutto in giallo.
This house is the only house that I have seen painted all in yellow.

Quella soluzione è solamente la prima soluzione che dobbiamo considerare.
This solution is only the first solution that we must consider.

L’Ultima Cena è l’ultimo quadro che Leonardo da Vinci abbia dipinto con la tempera.
The Last Supper is the last painting that Leonardo da Vinci painted with tempera (egg-based paint).


Speak Italian: How to Say “Both… and…”  with the Conjunction “Sia” 

How to Use
the Italian Conjunction
“Sia…  che…” to say “Both.. and…”

To finish our blog on adjective phrases, we now mention a way to link two nouns or verbs within a single descriptive phrase — use the Italian word sia as a conjunction!

By now, we have become used to using the word “sia”  as the present tense singular subjunctive  form of essere, as we’ve learned way back in the first blog on this topic. But we now mention that the Italian word sia can also be used as a conjunction , which is a  simple linking word.

In effect, Italian word sia does double duty as both a verb and a conjunction!

In sentences where one wants to express both… and…, in effect linking two equal alternatives  to one another in one phrase,  the first alternative is introduced with the conjunction sia  and the second alternative follows after the word  che.   In this case the word “che” is translated into English with the word  “and.” 

In some instances, this idea may also be communicated by using the conjunction sia twice, with the phrase sia… sia….  It is more common in spoken italian to hear sia…che…, although in a very few sentences  you might hear sia…sia…, which is perfectly correct too.  One sentence where the sia… sia… combination is used frequently refers to films that are adapted to two specific groups of people,  young and old:  “Il film è adatto sia a un pubblico adulto sia a un pubblico giovane.” 

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How to Make Phrases with
“Sia…  che…” to say “Both.. and…”

To form a phrase with the Italian conjunction sia is easy.  When we would say, “both… and..” in English, just substitute “sia… che…” in Italian.  A noun can be linked with a noun or a verb can be linked with a verb to show that there are two separate but equal possibilities for a single situation. Just use the sia… che combination!

Remember to use the Italian definite article with each noun that follows the conjugation sia, as is usual for Italian nouns.  The exception will be when using the Italian preposition “in” to go into a country, region or state, or large island like Sicily, as is usual for situations of this type.

Remember to use the infinitive form of the Italian verb that follows the conjugation sia, and conjugate only the main verb in the sentence.

The dependent phrase with sia…che… can be used as the subject of the sentence itself, especially when two people are the subject. In this case, the verb is conjugated in the third person plural form.  If this is confusing, just substitute “they” for the subject!

But, above all…

Don’t fall into the trap of translating the English
words “both” and “and” directly into Italian.
Instead, use “sia… che…”!

For instance:

Mi piace parlare sia l’italiano che l’inglese.
I like to speak  both  (the) Italian and (the) English (languages).

Mi piace viaggiare sia in Italia che in America.
I like traveling, both in Italy and in America.

Io devo sia comprare che incartare il regalo prima di andare al lavoro stasera.
I have to both buy and wrap the gift before going to work tonight.

Sia Marco che Maria (Loro) mi hanno invitato alla festa di compleanno di Julia.
Both Mark and Mary (They) have invited me to Julia’s birthday party.

 


 

 

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog

Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, is the author of the
Conversational Italian for Travelers
 series of books and a teacher of Italian for travelers to Italy in the Peoria and Chicago area.
“Everything you need to know to enjoy your visit to Italy!”

Join my Conversational Italian! Facebook group and follow me on Twitter at StellaLucente@travelitalian1  and start to learn Italian today for FREE!
Conversational Italian! Facebook Group
Tweet @travelitalian1 for Stella Lucente Italian

YouTube videos to learn Italian are available from © Stella Lucente, LLC.
Learn Conversational Italian.

More information on and photographs of Italy can be found on Facebook Stella Lucente Italian and Pinterest Stella Lucente Italian.
Facebook Stella Lucente Italian

Pinterest Stella Lucente Italian

Visit learntravelitalian.com/download.html to purchase/download Conversational Italian for Travelers and find more interesting facts and helpful hints about getting around Italy! Learn how to buy train tickets online, how to make international and local telephone calls, and how to decipher Italian coffee names and restaurant menus, all while gaining the basic understanding of Italian that you will need to know to communicate easily and effectively while in Italy. —From Stella Lucente, LLC

Italian Subjunctive (Part 6): Situations for Italian Adjective Clauses and Comparisons

Two oval, white bowls of Chicken Soup, one with Chicken Egg Drop Soup and the other with Pastina Soup on a colorful tablecloth with fall pumpkin theeme

Italian Chicken Broth: Make Egg Drop Soup or Make it with Pastina Stars

Italian Chicken Broth: Egg Drop Soup or Pastina Stars

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog Italian chicken broth with wispy strands of  eggs is called “Egg Drop Soup” at my family’s home but is known better as Stracciatella, or “Rags Soup.” For the perfect children’s chicken soup, instead add tiny pastas called pastina stars to your homemade chicken broth. Which is better?  Make them both and you decide!

Italian Chicken Broth: Egg Drop Soup or Pastina Stars  

When I was a child, my mother’s chicken soup was a welcome treat that accompanied the cool breezes of fall and sustained us through the cold winter months.  We children loved when she returned home from the “chicken farm” down the road with stewing chickens because we knew that her delicious chicken soup would soon follow!

Italian chicken soup starts with a hearty chicken broth, or “brodo.”  Chicken broth is simplicity to make, with just a few ingredients most home cooks have around the house.  My mother would drizzle beaten eggs into her chicken broth to make wispy yellow strands of scrambled eggs, for “Egg Drop Soup” as my family called it,  also known by its more traditional name of  “Stracciatella “ or “Rags Soup.”  And, I think every Italian adult has fond memories  of their lunches at home as a young child, especially when they discovered tiny star-shaped “pastina” pastas  in their chicken broth for “Pastina Soup!”

To make the most flavorful Italian chicken soup, start with a broth made with “stewing” chickens.  Stewing chickens are the older, tougher chickens that will soften but not loose their flavor entirely and make a nice broth after  even just 1 to 1 1/2 hours of cooking in liquid.  The meat of stewing chickens usually can be removed from the bones and added to the soup if desired. Younger frying or broiling chickens can also be used to make chicken broth, but in this case the cooking time should be increased to 2 or 3 hours and by this time most of the chicken’s flavor will have been given up to the soup, rendering the chicken flavorless.

Italian moms know that adding a small tomato will make the chicken broth sweeter, a small potato will add a little starch for body, and if you leave the outer leaves on the onion the broth will become a golden color.   Try my family’s simple method and I’m sure your children will agree: Italian chicken soup is the quintessential comfort food!

—Kathryn Occhipinti


Italian Chicken Broth with Egg Drop Soup or  Pastina Stars 

 

Italian Chicken Broth or “Brodo”

Ingredients
(Makes about 16-18 cups)

1 stewing chicken, 3-4 lbs., rinsed, quartered
with fat trimmed off
4 carrots,  rinsed and chopped coarsely
2 celery sticks,  rinsed and cut in half
1 onion, (skin on or off), rinsed and cut in half
1 small tomato, quartered
1 small waxy potato (not russet), yellow or red
Optional: Small bundle of fresh parsley stalks from garden
salt  to taste

Method for Italian Chicken Broth

Rinse the stewing chicken well. Ask the butcher to quarter it for you, or cut the chicken into quarters if needed. Rinse again to clean off again.

(Additional step if desired to give a clearer broth: Pre-cook the chicken briefly: Put chicken in a pot of cold water and bring to the boil slowly. Skim off the foam that comes to the top, then discard the water and continue with the rest of the method.)

Place the quartered chicken into a large soup pot. Add cold water 3/4 to the top of the pot.

Add the carrots, celery, onion, tomato and potato.

Bring to the boil and then quickly turn down heat to keep the broth cooking at a simmer.

Continue to cook the soup uncovered. Skim off any “skuzz” or “foam” that floats to the top periodically, but do not stir the broth, which will yield a cloudy soup.

When the soup has cooked  down to desired flavor — at least 1 1/2 to 2 hours, remove the chicken and the vegetables.

Taste the chicken and if it remains flavorful, remove it from the bones and reserve the meat to add to the soup if desired.  The vegetables will usually lose all their flavor and should be discarded and new, finely-chopped vegetables added to the finished soup.  (If not, the soup should probably be cooked for a little longer time, but that is of course a matter of taste!)

Strain the broth to remove any small particles that may have formed.

(Additional step that can be omitted: If you do not need the broth right away, or if on a low-fat diet, store the strained broth  in a pot in the refrigerator.  By the next  day, the fat will have floated to the top and hardened and can easily be skimmed off with a spoon.)

Add salt to the broth as desired and then finish as below and make into a soup.

 


Italian Egg Drop Soup

Ingredients
(Makes about 4 cups)

4 cups  Italian chicken broth, homemade or canned
2 eggs, beaten lightly
1/4 cup  finely grated Parmesan cheese
salt to taste
Optional: Fresh parsley stalk and leaves from garden for garnish

 

Method for Egg Drop Soup*

Use a small bowl or large measuring cup with a spout, if possible.  Mix the eggs and Parmesan cheese together lightly.

Place the 4 cups of cold chicken broth into a pot that can hold about 6 cups.

Adjust salt as desired.

Use medium-low heat to gradually bring the broth to a boil. Watch closely as the broth comes to a boil.

When small bubbles start to appear, and the broth is almost at a simmer,  while mixing, drizzle the egg/cheese mixture into the pot slowly, allowing the eggs to cook briefly before adding more of the mixture.

When all egg has been added and partially cooked, mix lightly with a fork to keep the egg separated until the egg has completely cooked.

Watch the Instagram video below to see this method in action!

 

View this post on Instagram

Italian chicken broth “brodo” and chicken egg drop soup or chicken soup with pastina. Moms love to make it and kids love to eat it on a chilly day! Broth: 1 stewing chicken, carrots, celery, onion (peeled or not for yellow color), small potato, one tomato quartered. Egg drop soup: 4 cups chicken broth. Add salt to taste. Add slowly just before boiling: 2 eggs lightly beaten with 1/4 c Parmesan cheese. Stir until cooked through. For Pastina: Boil broth snd add Pastina Pasta. Fresh parsley from garden should still be available if desired as parsley loves the cool weather. Buon appetito! #osnap #italiansoup @niafitalianamerican @chicagolanditalians @sons_of_italy @osia_su #italianfoodblogger #italianfoodbloggers #italianfoodbloggers🍷🍕🇮🇹 #chickensoup #chickensouprecipe #chickensouprecipes #brodo #italianbrodo #italianchickensoup #strattiacella #chickeneggdropsoup #eggdropsoup #pastinainbrodo #pastinasoup #pastinasoupforlunch For more #Italianrecipes visit www.Learntravelitalian.com

A post shared by Kathryn Occhipinti (@conversationalitalian.french) on

 

*For an alternative method, that will yield small strands of egg mixed more completely into the soup, called Stracciatella soup,  omit the Parmesan cheese.  Mix about 1 cup of the warm broth into the lightly mixed eggs and then pour all of the egg/broth mixture into the warm broth.  Bring to a boil and watch the smaller egg strands form.

To make larger “rags,” omit the Parmesan cheese and very lightly beat the egg mixture so that some of the white remains visible.  Bring the soup to a low boil, and drizzle in the egg mixture a bit at a time while stirring gently with a fork.

When the egg is cooked through, it is ready to eat, topped with Parmesan cheese of course!


 

Italian Pastina Soup for Children

Ingredients
(Makes about 4 cups)

4 cups  Italian chicken broth, homemade or canned
1/3 cup pastina (little stars) pasta

 

Method for Pastina Soup for Children

For 4 cups of chicken broth, use 1/3 cup pastina star pasta

Place the 4 cups of cold chicken broth into a pot that can hold about 6 cups.

Cook as you would for any other pasta:

Set the chicken broth on the stove over medium high heat and heat to a rolling boil.

Add salt to taste,  cover, bring to boil again, and then uncover and add pastina pasta.

Stir pasta, cover and bring to a boil again.

Take cover off and stir.

Let the pasta cook until al-dente (“to the tooth”). In this case, you will see the pasta stars grow.  When pasta has finished cooking, ladle the soup into a bowl .

Present to small children with Italian bread for a warm and satisfying lunch!

— by Kathryn Occhipinti


 

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog

Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, is the author of the
Conversational Italian for Travelers
 series of books and a teacher of Italian for travelers to Italy in the Peoria and Chicago area.
“Everything you need to know to enjoy your visit to Italy!”

Join my Conversational Italian! Facebook group and follow me on Twitter at StellaLucente@travelitalian1  and start to learn Italian today for FREE!
Conversational Italian! Facebook Group
Tweet @travelitalian1 for Stella Lucente Italian

YouTube videos to learn Italian are available from © Stella Lucente, LLC.
Learn Conversational Italian.

More information on and photographs of Italy can be found on Facebook Stella Lucente Italian and Pinterest Stella Lucente Italian.
Facebook Stella Lucente Italian

Pinterest Stella Lucente Italian

Visit learntravelitalian.com/download.html to purchase/download Conversational Italian for Travelers and find more interesting facts and helpful hints about getting around Italy! Learn how to buy train tickets online, how to make international and local telephone calls, and how to decipher Italian coffee names and restaurant menus, all while gaining the basic understanding of Italian that you will need to know to communicate easily and effectively while in Italy. —From the staff at Stella Lucente, LLC

Italian Chicken Broth: Make Egg Drop Soup or Make it with Pastina Stars

Textbook Conversational Italian for Travelers

Speak Italian: Passato Remoto—Let’s Tell a Story!

Speak Italian: Passato Remoto—Let’s Tell a Story! 

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog                          Everything you need to know
to tell your family’s story… in Italian!

 

Speak Italian: Passato Remoto—Let’s Tell a Story!  

Can you speak Italian? By now, many of you have passed the beginning stages of learning to speak Italian and can read and comprehend quite a bit of the language. Meraviglioso!

But have you tried to take the next step to speak Italian fluently? Can you tell the story of your family history in Italian, using the passato remoto past tense?   

Can you speak Italian the way you would speak in your native language, with complex and varied sentences? This is more difficult than it may seem at first, and it is something that I am always working on!

This series will focus on the situations that have come up most frequently in my everyday conversations with Italian instructors and friends. The “Speak Italian” blog series will focus on the type of sentence structure and vocabulary we all need to remember to be more fluent when we speak Italian!

Let’s take that giant step from simple beginning sentences to more complex and fluid sentences in Italian by learning how to use the different Italian past tenses more easily. In this segment, we will focus on the  Italian passato remoto past tense and describe the similarities and differences between the passato remoto and the passato prossimo and imperfetto past tenses.

Included in the dialogue for this blog post are examples of Italian hypothetical phrases in the past tense, reprinted from a previous blog post on this topic.

If you need to refresh your memory on when to use the passato prossimo form of the past tense versus when to use the imperfetto, please visit the third blog post in this series, Speak Italian: A Story About… Love!

 

Speak Italian: Passato Remoto—Let’s Tell a Story! 

In the “Speak Italian” blog series, first, a short essay or dialogue in Italian will be presented about a commonly used topic of conversation.

Then, we will review the Italian grammar that is necessary to talk about the particular topic in detail.

And finally, if you want, ask a relative about the story of your own family history, then write it in Italian using the Italian passato remoto.

Remember these examples as “anchors” in your knowledge for when you must speak Italian in your next conversation!

Enjoy the fourth topic in this series, “Speak Italian: Passato Remoto—Let’s Tell a Story!”
—Kathryn Occhipinti

Some of this material is adapted from our textbook, Conversational Italian for Travelers © 2012 by Stella Lucente, LLC, found on www.learntravelitalian.com. Special thanks to Italian language instructor Maria Vanessa Colapinto.

 


Speak Italian: Passato Remoto—Let’s Tell a Story!  

In the dialogue to follow, we listen in on a conversation between an Italian mother and her daughter, Francesca and Maria, who are preparing a welcoming party for an Italian-American relative who is visiting the family for the first time. You may remember the characters from our recent Italian Subjunctive Mood Practice blog posts.

When reading the example dialogue below, notice the use of the imperfetto past tense (for making general statements about the past) and the passato remoto past tense (for describing actions that began and were completed in the past).  The use of these tenses shifts from one to the other while Frances is narrating the story of her family, depending on the situation that is described. The passato remoto past tense verbs will be underlined.

You will notice Italian hypothetical phrases in the past tense in this dialogue as well,  which will use the imperfetto subjunctive mode and the trapassato past tense, because this dialogue is a reprint from a former blog post on Italian hypothetical phrases. If you would like to review how to make Italian hypothetical phrases in the past tense, please see our blog post Italian Subjunctive (Part 5).

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Speak Italian: Passato Remoto
The Story of a Family Reunion

It was a lovely spring day in April in the mountains of Abruzzo. Frances and her daughter Mary met at Frances’ house to plan a party.

Era un bel giorno di aprile nelle montagne abruzzesi. Francesca e sua figlia, che si chiama Maria, si sono incontrate a casa di Francesca per organizzare una festa.  

They wanted this party to be very special because Francesca’s cousin Rudy, who lives in America, was coming to Italy for the first time.
Loro volevano che questa festa fosse bellissima,  perché il cugino di Francesca, Rudy, che abita in America, veniva a visitare l’Italia per la prima volta.

 

“Tell me again how Great Uncle Mark, cousin Rudy’s grandfather, saved our family in Italy,” Mary asked her mother.

“Raccontami ancora come il prozio Marco, il nonno del cugino Rudolfo, ha salvato la nostra famiglia in Italia,” Maria ha chiesto a sua madre.

 

Frances replied (to her) with the following story:

Francesca le ha risposto con la storia qui di seguito:

 

Great Grandmother Mary had a brother whose name was Mark.

La bisnonna Maria aveva un fratello, che si chiamava Marco.

 

Great Uncle Mark left Italy and went to live in America with his family in 1920.

Il prozio Marco lasciò l’Italia e andò a vivere in America con la sua famiglia nel 1920.

 

He had to leave Italy to find work, because after World War I, there was no work in Italy.

Dovette lasciare l’Italia per trovare lavoro, perché dopo la Prima Guerra Mondiale, non c’era lavoro in Italia.

 

Right after Uncle Mark had left Italy, Great Grandmother’s husband died, and she was left all alone to raise their three children.

Subito dopo che lo zio Marco lasciò l’Italia, il marito della bisnonna morì, e lei era da sola a crescere i suoi tre figli.

 

In Italy in the early 1900s, if a woman didn’t have a husband, usually she was not able to support her family.

In Italia negli anni del primo novecento, se una donna non aveva un marito, normalmente non poteva mantenere la famiglia.

 

At that time, if a woman wanted to work, she could be a teacher or a seamstress.

A quel tempo, se una donna voleva lavorare, poteva fare l’insegnante o la sarta.

 

Grandmother Mary was a teacher before she was married.

La bisnonna Maria era un’insegnante prima di sposarsi.

 

But with three children, it was not possible for her to leave the house to work.

Ma con tre figli, non era possibile per lei uscire di casa per lavorare.

 

So Uncle Mark worked in America and sent money to Italy.

E così, lo zio Marco lavorava in America e mandava i soldi in Italia.

 

If Uncle Mark had not sent money to Grandmother Mary, she and the children could have starved to death.

Se lo zio Marco non avesse mandato i soldi alla bisnonna Maria, lei e i figli sarebbero potuti morire di fame.

 

At the end of this story, Mary said, “And if Uncle Mark had not helped Grandmother Mary, you and I would not be here today!”

Alla fine della storia, Maria ha detto, “E se lo zio Marco non avesse aiutato la bisnonna Maria, tu e io non saremmo qui oggi!”

 

“Probably not,” replied Frances. “But fortunately, Uncle Mark was a good person. And so is our cousin Rudy. Let’s organize a wonderful party!”

“Probabilmente no,” ha risposto Francesca.  “Ma fortunatamente, lo zio Marco era una persona perbene.  E anche nostro cugino Rudy è così.  Organizziamo una festa meravigliosa!”

 


Speak Italian: Grammar You Will Need to Know to Narrate a Story

The “Passato Remoto”

The Italian passato remoto past tense is used in textbooks to describe historical events that took place centuries ago and is used in textbooks that describe art history.

Outside of scholarly works written in Italian, the passato remoto is still commonly found as a narrative tool in novels and other forms of fiction written today.

In fiction today, the author of a novel will often use the passato remoto form for the voice of the narrator. The passato remoto is useful for the “detached” feeling it gives to the narration in descriptive passages that relate completed events in the “remote past” of a character’s life. The passato prossimo is the past tense form usually used by the characters during their conversations, in order to give a “realistic” feeling to the dialogue.

The English translation for the passato remoto is the simple past tense, because English does not have an equivalent tense to the passato remoto. In effect, the different Italian past tenses can express certain shades of meaning that cannot be expressed by the past tense verb forms in English.

Although the passato remoto and the passato prossimo are used to evoke different feelings in the reader of an Italian novel, grammatically speaking, the passato remoto can be considered interchangeable with the passato prossimo. This is because both past tense verb types describe completed events that took place during a given period of time in the past.

Note that the imperfetto remains important for works of fiction as well because the passato remoto cannot be used to replace the imperfetto! We remember that the imperfetto is used to describe an ongoing action or event, and we have just reviewed that the passato prossimo describes completed actions or events. For a review of the specific uses of the imperfetto, please refer to our blog post Speak Italian: A Story About… Love!

********************

Because our focus to this point has been on conversational, rather than written, Italian, a common convention regarding stories told in conversation should be noted here. In English and Italian, the present tense is very often used to tell a story that the speakers understand to have happened in the past. For instance:

            Kathy (past tense to introduce setting): “Yesterday, I met Janice.
Kathy continues (switch to present tense to tell the story): “And she says to me… And then I say to her…”

This simplifies matters—no complex, little-used past tense is needed to tell a story! But if one wants to expand his or her conversational Italian to include the ability to narrate a story about the past formally, the passato remoto is an important tense to learn.

********************

We should also note here that in certain southern regions, particularly in Sicily, it is the normal convention to use the passato remoto instead of the passato prossimo. In these regions, the idea that the passato remoto should be reserved for remote events or narration is not adhered to, and the passato remoto is instead chosen to speak about any past event that took place within a given period of time.

 


Speak Italian: “Passato Remoto” Past Tense
You Will Need to Know…

“Passato Remoto”—”Avere” and “Essere”

The most commonly used forms of the passato remoto are the first and third person singular of essere, which is are fui and fu.

The first and third person singular of avere, which are ebbi and ebbe are also commonly used.

Even if you don’t plan to continue to learn the passato remoto tense, remember these  verbs because you will surely encounter them when reading Italian! The full conjugations of these irregular verbs are given for completeness. The stressed syllables have been underlined.

Avere—to have—Passato Remoto

 io ebbi I had
 tu avesti you (familiar) had
 Lei

lei/lui

ebbe you (polite) had

she/he had

     
(se) noi avemmo we had
(se) voi aveste you all had
(se) loro ebbero they had

 

Essere—to be—Passato Remoto

 io fui I was
 tu fosti you (familiar) were
Lei

 lei/lui

fu you (polite) were

she/he was

     
 noi fummo we were
 voi foste you all were
 loro furono they were

 

 


Speak Italian: “Passato Remoto” Past Tense
You Will Need to Know…

The “Passato Remoto” Regular Conjugations

Unfortunately, before we even begin to conjugate verbs in the passato remoto, it should be noted that the passato remoto has many, many exceptions to the regular conjugation. But luckily, use of the passato remoto in novels is usually limited by the narrative form chosen, which will normally be in the first person or third person singular. This in turn limits the number of endings necessary to learn.

Also, certain verbs are used over and over in a novel in the passato remoto form—those needed to keep the flow of dialogue going, such as said, asked, answered, went, and came. So even a limited knowledge of this verb form is very useful for understanding a work of Italian fiction.

For this blog post, we will describe how to conjugate the passato remoto but will focus on only the most commonly used verbs in the singular first and third persons.

********************

To conjugate the passsato remoto past tense…

As usual, we must first make our stem from the infinitive –are, –ere, and –ire verbs. The method used to form the stems for the passato remoto is easy—just drop the –are, –ere, or ire from the infinitive verb!

Then we add the endings for our passato remoto conjugations to the stems.

However, a quick look at the table below, and you will notice that, for all persons except the third person singular, each ending for the passato remoto begins with the first vowel that we have just removed from the stem!

So if it makes it easier for you, think of the endings for the are, –ere, and ire verbs
as being the same,

except for the third person singular.

Using the above method for the third person,
for the are verbs, the third person ending will be ò,
for the ere verbs, the ending will be é, and
for the –ire verbs, the ending will be–ì.

After another glance at the table below, it soon becomes apparent that the first and third persons for the ere form of the passato remoto will not be unique (the first person –ei ending will be the same as the  first person singular (io)ending for the conditional tense;  the third person é is almost identical to the third person singular (Lei, lei, lui) of the -ere and -ire present tense verbs; the third person plural erono is identical to the third person plural of the -ere future tense verbs).

Therefore, there are alternate ere endings for the passato remoto.
The ere endings used most often will instead be
–tti for the first person singular,
–tte for the third person singular, and
–ttero for the third person plural.

 

Passato Remoto Endings for –are, –ere, and –ire Verbs

Infinitive
Verb
 (All Forms) –are –ere –ire
io (i) ai ei (etti) oi
tu (sti) asti esti isti
Lei/lei/lui   ò é (ette) ì
         
noi (mmo) ammo emmo immo
voi (ste) aste este iste
loro (rono) arono erono (ttero) irono

 

When pronouncing the passato remoto verbs, the stress will always be on the first vowel of the ending—except, of course, for the third person singular, where the ending has only one vowel and the accent reminds us that this vowel must be stressed.

Notice that andare has a regular conjugation in the passato remoto! Also, because the –etti, –ette, and –ettero forms for the –ere first and third persons are used most frequently, they are listed first.

Passato Remoto: Regular Conjugations

  Andare

(to go)

(went)

Credere

(to believe)

(believed)

Finire

(to finish)

(finished)

io andai credetti (credei) finii
tu andasti credesti finisti
Lei/lei/lui andò credette (credé) finì
       
noi andammo credemmo finimmo
voi andaste credeste finiste
loro andarono credettero (crederono) finirono

 


Speak Italian: “Passato Remoto” Past Tense
You Will Need to Know…

“Passato Remoto” Common Irregular Verbs

Because there are so many irregular verbs in the passato remoto past tense, we present in the following table only the most commonly used verbs—and only in the first person singular io and third person singular Lei/lei/lui forms. Notice that some of these irregular forms fall into groups, which are listed together.

Because the passato remoto is often used for historical purposes when describing famous individuals from the past, it should be mentioned here that although nascere (to be born) is irregular in the passato remoto, the verb morire (to die) is regular!

Passato Remoto: Common Irregular are Verbs

  Dare
(gave)
Fare
(did/made)
Stare
(stayed/was)
io diedi feci stetti
Lei/lei/lui dette fece stette

 

Passato Remoto: Irregular ere Helping Verbs

  Dovere
(had to)
Potere
(could have had to)
Volere
(wanted to)
io dovetti potei volli
Lei/lei/lui dovette poté volle

 

 

Passato Remoto: Common Irregular ere Verbs

  Correre
(ran)
Perdere
(lost)
Mettere
(put)
Rimanere
(remained)
Rompere
(broke)
Spengere
(put out)
Vedere
(saw)
io corsi persi misi rimasi ruppi spensi vidi
Lei/lei/lui corse perse mise rimase ruppe spense vide

 

Passato Remoto: Common Irregular Verbs That Double the Stem Consonant

  Bere
(drank)
Cadere
(fell)
Conoscere
(knew)
Crescere
(grew)
Sapere
(knew)
Venire
(came)
io bevvi caddi conobbi crebbi sappi venni
Lei/lei/lui bevve cadde conobbe crebbe sappe venne

 

Passato Remoto: Common Irregular Verbs with a Double “S” in the Stem

  Dire
(said)
Leggere
(read)
Muovere
(moved)
Scrivere
(wrote)
Vivere
(lived)
io dissi lessi mossi scrissi vissi
Lei/lei/lui disse lesse mosse scrisse visse

 

Passato Remoto: Common Irregular Verbs That End in –dere and –endere

  Chiedere
(asked)
Dicedere
(decided)
Prendere
(took)
Ridere
(laughed)
Rispondere
(answered)
Sorridere
(smiled)
io chiesi decisi presi risi risposi sorrisi
Lei/lei/lui chiese decise prese rise rispose sorrise

 

Passato Remoto: Common Irregular Verbs That End in –gliere

  Scegliere
(chose)
Togliere
(took off)
io scelsi tolsi
Lei/lei/lui scelse tolse

 

Passato Remoto: Irregular Verbs That End in –ngere and –ncere

  Piangere
(cried)
Stringere
(tightened/grasped)
Vincere
(won)
io piansi strinsi vinsi
Lei/lei/lui pianse strinse vinse

 

Passato Remoto: Verbs with –cqui in the stem

  Nascere
(was born)
Piacere
(liked/was pleasing to)
Tacere
(touch)
io nacqui piacqui tacqui
Lei/lei/lui naque piacque tacque

 


Speak Italian: Passato Remoto—Let’s Tell YOUR Story! 

Now that you have an example story of one family’s history, try to write a narration of your own family history using the passato remoto and imperfetto past tenses. Check the conjugations in the last section if you need to when you use the passato remoto for narration!

Here are some questions you might ask a relative to get started:

  1.  What relatives came to America?
  2. What year did they come to America?
  3. What was the family situation in Italy when they left?
  4. How did the family members who were left behind manage in Italy?
  5. How did the family members who went to America manage?
  6. Did any of the family return to Italy? Why?
  7. Did the family stay in touch despite being separated? How?
  8. Was the separation difficult? For whom and why?
  9. Did the relatives who were separated ever meet again?
  10. Did the children in the separated families ever meet?

 


Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog

Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, is the author of the
Conversational Italian for Travelers
 series of books and a teacher of Italian for travelers to Italy in the Peoria and Chicago area.
“Everything you need to know to enjoy your visit to Italy!”

Join my Conversational Italian! Facebook group and follow me on Twitter at StellaLucente@travelitalian1  and start to learn Italian today for FREE!
Conversational Italian! Facebook Group
Tweet @travelitalian1 for Stella Lucente Italian

YouTube videos to learn Italian are available from © Stella Lucente, LLC.
Learn Conversational Italian.

More information on and photographs of Italy can be found on Facebook Stella Lucente Italian and Pinterest Stella Lucente Italian.
Facebook Stella Lucente Italian

Pinterest Stella Lucente Italian

Visit learntravelitalian.com/download.html to purchase/download Conversational Italian for Travelers and find more interesting facts and helpful hints about getting around Italy! Learn how to buy train tickets online, how to make international and local telephone calls, and how to decipher Italian coffee names and restaurant menus, all while gaining the basic understanding of Italian that you will need to know to communicate easily and effectively while in Italy. —From the staff at Stella Lucente, LLC

Speak Italian : Passato Remoto—Let’s Tell a Story!

Pasta and Lentils

Italian Pasta and Lentils for New Year’s Good Luck

Italian Pasta and Lentils for New Year’s Good Luck

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog Italian pasta and lentils — is said to bring families around the world good luck for the new year !

Italian Pasta and Lentils for New Year’s Good Luck! 

Pasta with lentils or lentil soup is a New Year’s tradition in many Italian households. The  lentil dishes are said to bring to luck to the family on New Year’s Day.  I am not sure if anyone really knows exactly why lentils are supposed to be good luck.  Maybe it is because they are shaped like small coins?

Whatever the reason, pasta and lentils is a hearty and delicious winter combination. Lentils are rich in protein,  and the pasta/lentil combination was probably an important contribution to family nutrition  in the days of the “cucina povera” cooking in Italy. Flavored with a bit of pancetta (Italian peppery bacon), garlic and tomato, the lentils make a delicious sauce that coats the pasta beautifully.

I used “maltagliati” or “poorly cut” pasta for this dish,  which to me is reminiscent of its “cucina povera,” origins but also because  the lentils cling nicely to the short, flat noodles. If you cannot find maltagliati pasta, lasagna noodles broken by hand into small, irregular pieces will give a similar effect.

Buon anno 2019 a tutti!  Try my pasta and lentils dish on a wintry day for a warm and comforting meal.   -Kathyn Occhipinti


Italian Pasta and Lentils

 

Italian Lentils and Pasta
Pasta and Lentils ready to serve for Italian New Year’s Sunday dinner

Ingredients
(Serves 4)


1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pancetta (Italian bacon), diced finely
1  small carrot, chopped finely*
1 stalk of celery, chopped finely*
1 small onion, skin removed, chopped finely*
1 small clove garlic, chopped finely
1/2 cup dry Italian wine, such as Chianti
1 cup Italian lentils, rinsed
1 bay leaf
pinch of dried thyme or rosemary
3 cups of water
1/2 cup of chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1 Tbsp. tomato puree
1 lb. maltagliati pasta or lasagna noodles, coarsely broken into small pieces
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
*See below for note about how to chop soup vegetables.

 

Method

Before starting to make the lentil sauce, put a large pot of salted water to boil on a back burner.  Cover so it will come to a boil quickly and be ready when you need to cook the pasta.

 Use a large frying pan or Dutch oven to cook the lentils on the stove top.  Coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil, which will take about 1/4 cup or so.  Let the oil heat a bit over medium heat.

Add the chopped vegetables: carrots, celery, onions, and garlic, and saute in the garlic until they soften, about 5 minutes.

The pour in the red wine and then bring to a boil. Boil off about half of the wine.

Put the lentils to the pan.  If you want firmer lentils, you can saute them at this point.  Otherwise, add the water.  Stir. Bring back to the boil and then lower heat and simmer the lentils about 20 minutes.

When the lentils have softened a bit, remove the bay leaf. Then add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, and chicken or vegetable broth.  Add more water if needed. Bring up to a simmer again and cook 10 – 15 minutes more, or until lentils are of desired tenderness.

Meanwhile, put the pasta into the boiling water.  Stir. Cover the pot to return to the boil Remove cover, stir again and let pasta cook, stirring occasionally.  Cook for less time than the package directions, to a very firm al dente, as the pasta will finish cooking with the lentils.

When the pasta is ready, drain, reserving some of the pasta water.

Add the pasta to the lentils.  Add the pasta water if needed.  The sauce should be fairly thick and coat the pasta nicely as you mix.

Cook over medium low heat another 5 minutes or so, until all is heated through and pasta is al dente.

Add the grated cheese and mix again to coat.

Serve steaming hot with crusty bread. Serve additional cheese and black pepper on the side to be added as desired.

New Year’s toast: Buon Anno!  Buon Appetito!

 

*How to Chop Vegetables
Carrots: Cut lengthwise to half, and then lengthwise again to get quarters. Line them up side by side and then cut crosswise from the tips to the base of the carrot to get small, even pieces that look like quarters of a circle.
Celery: Cut lengthwise through each celery stalk as many times as needed to give pieces the same thickness as the carrot pieces. (You will need more lengthwise cuts at the thicker part of the celery near the base.) Then cut crosswise from the tip to the base to get small, rectangular  pieces of celery about the same size as the carrot pieces.
 Onions: Cut lengthwise through the onion. Turn one of the halves flat side down.  Holding the onion together with one hand, cut lengthwise along the green lines through the onion, except for the root holding the onion together at the base.  Turn and cut horizontally, from the side away from the stem toward the stem.  Just before reaching the stem, flip the onion flat again and make the final cuts.  Discard the piece that contains the stem.

— by Kathryn Occhipinti

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blogKathryn Occhipinti, MD, is the author of the
Conversational Italian for Travelers
 series of books and a teacher of Italian for travelers to Italy in the Peoria and Chicago area.
“Everything you need to know to enjoy your visit to Italy!”

Join my Conversational Italian! Facebook group and follow me on Twitter at StellaLucente@travelitalian1  and start to learn Italian today for FREE!
Conversational Italian! Facebook Group
Tweet @travelitalian1 for Stella Lucente Italian

YouTube videos to learn Italian are available from © Stella Lucente, LLC.
Learn Conversational Italian.

More information on and photographs of Italy can be found on Facebook Stella Lucente Italian and Pinterest Stella Lucente Italian.
Facebook Stella Lucente Italian

Pinterest Stella Lucente Italian

Visit learntravelitalian.com/download.html to purchase/download Conversational Italian for Travelers and find more interesting facts and helpful hints about getting around Italy! Learn how to buy train tickets online, how to make international and local telephone calls, and how to decipher Italian coffee names and restaurant menus, all while gaining the basic understanding of Italian that you will need to know to communicate easily and effectively while in Italy. —From the staff at Stella Lucente, LLC

Italian Pasta and Lentils for New Year’s Good Luck

Conversational Italian for Travelers books on a red checkered table cloth with ipad set to the learntravelitalian blog.

Imperfetto Subjunctive for Past Tense (Part 3): Speak Italian!

Imperfetto Subjunctive for Past Tense (Part 3): Speak Italian!

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog               The Italian subjunctive mood is easy to conjugate for use with the Italian past tense, but tricky to use!

 

Speak Italian: How to Use the Imperfetto Subjunctive Mood

Can you speak Italian? By now, many of you have passed the beginning stages of learning to speak Italian and can read and comprehend quite a bit of the Italian language. Meraviglioso!

But have you tried to take the next step to speak Italian fluently? Can you use the Italian subjunctive mood when you are speaking in the past tense? To express complex feelings in Italian correctly, it is important to use the Italian subjunctive mood. Using the subjunctive mood is difficult for English speakers, as we only rarely use this tense in English, and this is something that I am always working on! This is the third blog in the “Speak Italian” series that will focus on how to conjugate and use the imperfetto subjunctive mood, or “il congiuntivo” for speaking  in the past tense.

Let’s take that giant step from simple beginning sentences to more complex and fluid sentences in Italian by using the imperfetto subjunctive mood while speaking in the past tense. In this segment, we will discuss when the helping verbs dovere, potere and volere take the subjunctive mood. 

We will also repeat the Italian conjugation of the imperfetto subjunctive form for the regular and irregular -are, -ere, and -ire verbs and then present the conjugation of the modal, or helping, verbs dovere, potere, and volere. Finally, we will revisit the trapassato subjunctive mood from our previous blog on Italian hypothetical phrases.  Example sentences will follow!

Speak Italian: How to Use the Imperfetto Subjunctive Mood

In each blog in the “Speak Italian” series about the imperfetto  Italian subjunctive mood (“il congiuntivo”),  we will first present phrases that take the Italian subjunctive mood.

Then,  we will review how to conjugate the imperfetto subjunctive mood.

Finally, we will present common phrases from daily life that take the imperfetto subjunctive mood.

Remember these examples as “anchors” in your knowledge for when you must speak Italian and try out the imperfetto subjunctive mood in your next Italian conversation!

Enjoy the third blog in this series, “Imperfetto Subjunctive for Past Tense (Part 3): Speak Italian!”
—Kathryn Occhipinti

Some of this material is adapted from our textbook, Conversational Italian for Travelers © 2012 by Stella Lucente, LLC, found on www.learntravelitalian.com. Special thanks to Italian instructors Simona Giuggioli and Maria Vanessa Colapinto.

 


Speak Italian: How to Use the Imperfetto Subjunctive Mood (Part 3)

Once Again… Italian Phrases That Take the Imperfetto Subjunctive Mood

Italian has a subjunctive mood that is used to express beliefs, thoughts, or hopes with the verbs credere, pensare, and sperare.

The subjunctive mood is also said to “open up” a conversation to discussion about a particular topic by expressing doubt, uncertainty, desire, or a feeling.

Certain phrases are commonly used to start a sentence in order to introduce the subjunctive mood, and these initial phrases will be in the indicative tense (the “usual” present or past tense).  These initial phrases imply uncertainty and trigger the subjunctive mood in the phrase to follow.

We have already learned to use the imperfetto subjunctive mood with the conditional tense in our blogs about Italian hypothetical phrases!  Now, as stated before, we will focus on the use of the imperfetto subjunctive mood after introductory phrases that are in the past tense.

In our first blog about the imperfetto subjunctive mood, we learned that these initial phrases fall into several groups. We discussed Groups 1  through Group 6, which are given below for review.

In our second blog about the imperfetto subjunctive mood, we discussed Groups 7 and 8.

These groups are again listed  below for review.

In this blog, we will discuss phrases that express feelings (any emotion, fear, or surprise) in Group 9 and describe the situations in the past in which they are used to  introduce the imperfetto subjunctive mood.

We will also now discuss Group 10, in which we list individual words that refer to the purpose or timing of an action that, when in the past, must be followed by the imperfetto subjunctive mood. These words are part of “adverbial clauses” that modify verbs. As such, they are often used in the phrase that completes a sentence, but can also be found at the beginning of a sentence. Many of these words are easy to recognize since they end in -che.

Finally, Groups 11 and 12 are individual adjectives or pronouns that can introduce another clause and when describing the past must be followed by the imperfetto  subjective mood.

At the end of the list, we will also include the topic of a series of blogs on Italian hypothetical phrases,  to complete our discussion of specific words or phrases that can be used to introduce the subjunctive mood.

Groups 1-9: “Noun Clauses”

Group 10: “Adverbial Clauses”

Groups 11 and 12: “Adjective/Pronoun Clauses”

      1. Phrases that use the verbs credere (to believe), pensare (to think), and sperare (to hope). These verbs use the pattern: [verb  di + infinitive verb to describe the beliefs, thoughts, or hopes that one has. When the subject in the introductory phrase is not the same as the subject in the subjunctive clause that follows, the pattern changes to: [verb + che + subjunctive verb].*
      2. Impersonal constructions that begin with, “It is…” such as, “È possibile che…”
      3. Phrases that express a doubt, such as, “I don’t know…” or “Non so che…”
      4. Phrases that express suspicion, such as, ” I suspect that…” or “Sospetto che…”
      5. Phrases that express uncertainty, such as, “It seems to me…” or “Mi sembra che…” and  ” To wonder if…” or  “Chiedersi se… “
      6. Impersonal verbs followed by the conjunction che, such as, “Basta che…” “It is enough that,” or “Si dice che…” “They say that…
      7. Phrases that use the verbs volere, desiderare, chiedere, esigere  when the subject in the introductory phrase is not the same as the subject in the clause that follows. In this situation, these verbs will be followed by che.
      8. Phrases that use the verbs piacere and dispiacere when the subject in the introductory phrase is not the same as the subject in the clause that follows. In this situation, these verbs will be followed by che.
      9. Phrases that express feelings (any emotion, fear, surprise) and use the pattern: [avere, essere, or augurarsi verb  +  di + infinitive verb].  When the subject in the introductory phrase is not the same as the subject in the clause that follows, the pattern changes to: [avere, essere, or augurarsi verb + che + subjunctive verb].
      10. Sentences that begin with words that end in –ché, or complex conjunctions that end with che:  affinché, perché (so as, so that, in order that), purché (as long as, provided that, only if)**, a meno che, senza che (unless), può darsi che (it may be possible that, possibly, maybe), prima che (before that).  Also the many words that mean although/even though, one of which ends in -che: benché  (also sebenne, malgrado, nonostante).***
      11. Sentences that begin with adjectives or pronouns that include the idea of any in a description of a person, place or thing:  qualsiasi, qualunque (any), chiunque (whoever), dovunque (anywhere).
      12. Sentences that begin with adjectives or pronouns that include the idea of nothing or only  in a description of a person, place, or thing: niente che, nulla che (nothing that), nessuno che (nobody that), l’unico, il solo, a che (the only one that).

Hypothetical Phrases:  Phrases that begin with se (if) in certain situations. Phrases that begin with come se (as if), magari (if only) and ammesso che (assuming that).

As usual, there are summary tables in the next section that shows how to use these  phrases.  The present tense is in the left  columns.  The imperfetto past tense has been chosen for the right columns, although in some situations, the passatto prossimo past tense can be used as well. We will then present examples for the past tense.

Points to remember about the subjunctive mood:

In Italian, the introductory phrases that take the subjunctive mood (those that trigger doubt, uncertainty, desire, or a feeling)  usually end with a linking word, also known as a conjunction, which will be che.  In this situation, che means that.  The clause that follows our introductory phrase will then describe what the uncertainty is about.

We now see from Group 9 that some introductory words or phrases already have -ché or che integrated into the word itself. In these cases, che is not repeated.  

*When the speaker in the introductory phrase will carry out the action in the phrase to follow, Italian will use the following construction to link the phrases for credere, pensare, and sperare :  di + infinitive verb. Example: Penso di andare a Roma domani.  =  I think I will go to Rome tomorrow. (Use  pensare a when thinking ABOUT something or someone.)

**solo se also means only if but does NOT take the subjunctive mode.

*** anche se also means even though/if but does NOT take the subjunctive mode.

 


 

How to Express One’s Feelings with “Di” and “Che” and the Italian Subjunctive Mood – Present Tense

Phrases Used to Express Feelings with “Di” in Italian

When expressing one’s feelings in Italian in the first person (io conjugation), many common Italian expressions are followed by di (of). In this case, when di is followed by another verb, the verb in the second phrase will be in the infinitive tense (if you remember, infinitive verbs end in -are, -ere, -ire, and translate as “to…”). Below are some examples of these phrases, along with example sentences, adapted from Chapter 7 of the Conversational Italian for Travelers textbook.

 

avere bisogno di to have need of Ho bisogno di… riposare.
 
avere paura di to be afraid/have fear of Ho paura di… guidare.
 
avere voglia di to feel like Ho voglia di… mangiare una pizza.
 
essere certo di to be certain of Sono certo(a) di… ricordare il tuo nome.
 
essere sicuro di to be certain of Sono sicuro(a) di… ricordare questo posto.
 
essere felice di to be happy to Sono felice di… incontrare mio cugino oggi.
 
essere fortunato di to be lucky to Sono fortunato(a) di… mangiare questa cena.
 
essere libero di to be free to Sono libero(a) di… viaggiare.
 
essere stanco di to be tired of Sono stanco(a) di… lavorare.
 
temere di… to be afraid of Temo di… essere in ritardo.
 
augurarsi di… to wish/to hope (of) Mi auguro di… fare una buona vacanza.

 


 

How to Express One’s Feelings with “Di” and “Che” and the Italian Subjunctive Mood – Past Tense

Phrases Used to Express Feelings with “Che” and the Imperfetto Subjunctive Mood

Some of the expressions listed in the following table are most commonly used with the same subject for the second phrase. As noted in our previous discussions, these phrases will be followed with “di” and an infinitive verb. They are reprinted here to correspond with the previous table, followed by an asterisk and an explanation in parentheses.

For most of the expressions of feeling that we have been talking about, though, it is possible to express a feeling that the speaker (io) has regarding another person or people. In this case, then, these expressions must be followed by che, and the subjunctive mood should be used for the verb in the second phrase.

The above rule for using che + subjunctive applies whether the introductory phrase is in the present tense or the past tense.
However, if the introductory verb is in the past tense, the imperfetto subjunctive form is the form to follow!

In our example table, we will illustrate this by following the Italian phrases in which the subjects can be different with ...che tu, which we know means …that you, although of course, this rule follows no matter which subject pronoun we use.

 

Phrases Used to Express Feelings with “Che” and the Imperfetto Subjunctive Mode

Present Tense Subjunctive Phrase
Group 8
    Past Tense Subjunctive Phrase
Group 8
 
Ho bisogno… che tu I need… that you*

*(This expression is not commonly used in Italian to tell another person what needs to be done; voglio che is used instead.)

Avevo bisogno… che tu I needed… that you*

*(This expression is
not commonly used
in Italian to tell
another person what
needs to be done;
volevo che is used
instead.)

       
Ho paura… che tu I am afraid… that you Avevo paura…  che tu I was afraid… that you
       
Ho voglia di… * I feel like… *
*(always used with the same subject +di in both phrases)
Avevo voglia * I felt like…*

*(always used with
the same subject + di
in both phrases)

 

       
Non sono certo(a)…
che tu
I am not certain…
that you
Non ero certo… che tu I was not certain… that you
       
Non sono sicuro(a)…
che tu
I am not certain…
that you
Non ero sicuro… che tu I was not certain… that you
       
Sono felice… che tu I am happy… that you Ero felice… che tu I was happy… that you
       
Sono fortunato(a)… che tu I am happy… that you Ero fortunato(a)… che tu I was fortunate… that you
       
Sono libero(a) di… *

 

I am free… *
*(always used with the same subject +di in both phrases)
Ero libero(a)… * I was free… *
*(always used with
the same subject +di
in both phrases)
       
Sono stanco(a) di…

 

I am tired…*

*(always used with the same subject +di in both phrases)

Ero stanco(a)… * I was tired…*

*(always used with
the same subject +di
in both phrases)

       
Temo… che tu I am afraid…
that you
Temevo… che tu I was afraid… that you
       
Mi auguro… che tu I hope… that you Mi auguravo… che tu I hoped… that you

 

 


Idiomatic Use of the Italian Subjunctive Mood

The final group of words in the table below take the subjunctive mood when used to start a sentence. These conjunctions, adjectives, and pronouns imply that a second phrase is necessary to complete the sentence.

The above rule for using che + subjunctive applies whether the introductory phrase is in the present tense or the past tense.
However, if  the introductory verb is the past tense, the imperfetto subjunctive form is the form to follow!

Only the most commonly used have been given in the table.  For a more complete list, see the list in the first section of this blog.

 

Phrases Used to Introduce the Subjunctive Mood—Idiomatic

 

Present Tense Subjunctive Phrase
Groups 9, 10, 11
 
Prima che Before that  ( Prima che is used to mean “before that” and followed by the subjunctive when the subject in the first phrase is different from the subject in the second phrase; use Prima di + infinitive verb when the subject of both phrases is the same.)
Benché, Sebbene Although, Even though, If
Può darsi che It may be possible that, Possibly, Maybe
Affinché So as, So that, In order that
Perché So that (Perché is only used in the subjunctive mood when it means “so that.” Other meanings of perché include “why” and “because,” and in these cases, the subjunctive mood is not used.)
Purché As long as, Provided that, Only if

 

 

Finally, our usual reminder:

DO NOT USE THE SUBJUNCTIVE WITH THE FOLLOWING THREE PHRASES!

Forse = Perhaps       

Per me = For me

Secondo me = According to me

The above may seem like exceptions to the rule, but perhaps… because these phrases already express doubt or your personal opinion… in the Italian way of thinking, it would be redundant to use these phrases along with the subjunctive!

And, two more  phrases we can now add that DO NOT take the subjunctive mood:

Solo se = Only if

Anche se = Even though/if

 


Speak Italian: Imperfetto Subjunctive Mood (Part 3)

How to Conjugate the Imperfetto Subjunctive Mood for -are, -ere, and -ire Verbs

Luckily, there are only a few irregular stem forms to learn for the imperfetto subjunctive mood, making it an easier tense to learn than the present, future, and conditional tenses.

Also, the imperfetto subjunctive mood endings are always regular and will be the same for all three conjugations!

To change any regular infinitive verb into the imperfetto subjunctive mood, first drop the final -re, from our infinitive -are, -ere, and -ire verbs to create the stem.

This will create stems that end in the letters –a for the –are verbs, -e for the –ere verbs, and–i for the –ire verbs.  Then add the endings given in the first table below to the stem that has been created. Examples for each verb type are given in the second table below.*

The word che is included in parentheses in the subject pronoun column as a reminder that these verb forms typically are used with  the conjunction che. Also, use the subject pronoun in your sentence after che for clarity, since the endings for the singular forms are all the same!

Practice the subjunctive verbs out loud by saying che, the subject pronoun and then the correct verb form that follows!

 

Subjunctive Mood – Imperfetto Endings

io ssi
tu ssi
Lei/lei/lui sse
   
noi ssimo
voi ste
loro ssero

 

The following table will put together our stems with our imperfetto subjunctive mood endings.  A few notes about this:

When pronouncing the imperfetto subjunctive mood verbs, the stress will always be on the syllable that begins with the last two letters of the stem and will incorporate one –s letter from the ending. (Remember the rule for Italian double consonants: one consonant will go with the syllable before and the second with the syllable after, in effect also stressing the double consonant itself.) The stressed syllables are underlined in our example table below.

 

Imperfetto Subjunctive Mood – Example Verb Conjugations

  Abitare(to live)

(lived/were living)

Vedere(to see)

(saw/had seen)

Finire(to finish)

(finished/were finishing)

(che) io abitassi vedessi finissi
(che) tu abitassi vedessi finissi
(che) Lei/lei/lui abitasse vedesse finisse
       
(che) noi abitassimo vedessimo finissimo
(che) voi abitaste vedeste finiste
(che) loro abitassero vedessero finissero

 


How to Conjugate the Italian Subjunctive Mood Imperfetto Tense for the Modal Verbs

Here are the  Italian imperfetto subjunctive forms for the modal verbs.  If you remember, modal verbs are auxiliary verbs that are also called “helping verbs.” These verbs are often used in the subjunctive mood in written and spoken Italian. As you no doubt recall, these three helping verbs give additional information about the main verb in the phrase. In the subjunctive mood, volere can also be translated as “to need.”

 

 Dovere – to have to/must – Imperfetto Subjunctive Mood

(che) io dovessi I had to
(che) tu dovessi you (familiar) had to
(che) Lei

(che) lei/lui

dovesse you (polite) had to
she/he had to
     
(che) noi dovessimo we had to
(che) voi doveste you all had to
(che) loro dovessero they had to

 

  

Potere – to be able (to)/can – Imperfetto Subjunctive Mood

che) io potessi I was able to/could 
(che) tu potessi you (familiar) were able to/could 
(che) Lei

(che) lei/lui

potesse you (polite) were able to/could 

she/he was able to/could

     
(che) noi potessimo we were able to/could
(che) voi poteste you all were able to/could
(che) loro potessero they were able to/could

 

 Volere – to want/ to need – Imperfetto Subjunctive mode 
(che) io volessi I wanted/needed
(che) tu volessi you (familiar) wanted/needed
(che) Lei

(che) lei/lui

volesse you (polite) wanted/needed

she/he wanted/needed

     
(che) noi volessimo we wanted/needed
(che) voi voleste you all wanted/needed
(che) loro volessero they wanted/needed

The Imperfetto Subjunctive Mood

Commonly Used Regular and Irregular Verbs

A review from the second blog in this series:

Luckily, most verbs are regular in the imperfetto subjunctive mood.  So, there are many, many more regular than irregular verbs! Below are some commonly used regular verbs, some of which are irregular in the present tense and most other tenses! Practice saying them out loud and listen to how each conjugated verb sounds.

 

Imperfetto Subjunctive Mood Conjugations – Commonly Used Regular Verbs
Andare(to go)

(went/were going)

Sapere
(to know)(knew/had known)
Venire(to come)

(came/had come)

Vivere(to live)

(lived/were living)

io andassi sapessi venissi vivessi
tu andassi sapessi venissi vivessi
Lei/lei/lui andasse sapesse venisse vivesse
         
noi andassimo sapessimo venissimo vivessimo
voi andaste sapeste veniste viveste
loro andassero sapessero venissero vivessero

The Imperfetto Subjunctive Mood

Commonly Used Irregular Verbs

There are a few important irregular verbs to know in the imperfetto subjunctive mood.  You will find them in the tables below. Practice saying them out loud and listen to how each conjugated verb sounds.

Fare – to do/make  Imperfetto Subjunctive Mood

io facessi I did/ made
tu facessi you (familiar) did/made
Leilei/lui facesse you (polite) did/madeshe/he did/made
     
noi facessimo we did/made
voi faceste you all did/made
loro facessero they did/made

 

 

Dare – to give – Imperfetto Subjunctive Mood

io dessi I gave
tu dessi you (familiar) gave
Leilei/lui desse you (polite) gaveshe/he gave
     
noi dessimo we gave
voi deste you all gave
loro dessero they gave

 

 

Dire – to say/tell – Imperfetto Subjunctive Mood

io dicessi I said/told
tu dicessi you (familiar) said/told
Leilei/lui dicesse you (polite) said/toldshe/he said/told
     
noi dicessimo we said/told
voi diceste you all said/told
loro dicessero they said/told

 


How to Conjugate Italian Verbs “Essere,” “Avere,” and “Stare” in the Imperfetto Subjunctive Mood

A review from the first blog in this series:

In the tables below are the imperfetto subjunctive forms for the Italian auxiliary verbs avere, stare, and essere, which are often used in the subjunctive mood in written and spoken Italian. These are important verbs to commit to memory!

You will notice that avere has a regular conjugation in the imperfetto subjunctive mood, whereas essere and stare have an irregular conjugation.

Avere—to have—Imperfetto Subjunctive Mood

(che) io avessi I had
(che) tu avessi you (familiar) had
(che) Lei

(che) lei/lui

avesse you (polite) had

she/he had

     
(che) noi avessimo we had
(che) voi aveste you all had
(che) loro avessero they had

 

Essere—to be—Imperfetto Subjunctive Mood

(che) io fossi I were
(che) tu fossi you (familiar) were
(che) Lei

(che) lei/lui

fosse you (polite) were

she/he were

     
(che) noi fossimo we were
(che) voi foste you all were
(che) loro fossero they were

 

Stare—to stay/be—Imperfetto Subjunctive Mood

(che) io stessi I stayed/were
(che) tu stessi you (familiar) stayed/were
(che) Lei

(che) lei/lui

stesse you (polite) stayed/were

she/he stayed/were

     
(che) noi stessimo we stayed/were
(che) voi steste you all stayed/were
(che) loro stessero they stayed/were

The “Trapassato” Subjunctive Mood

 “Essere” or  “Avere” + Past Participle

To form the trapassato subjunctive mood to describe an event that started and was completed in the past, simply use either essere or avere in the imperfetto conjugation, and add the past participle of the verb.

In English, any event that started and was completed in the past simply needs “had” inserted in front of the past participle! This is a bit easier than Italian, but with a little practice, you will get used to the Italian in no time!

Visit our blog about  Italian hypothetical phrases in the past tense (Italian Subjunctive Part 5) for practice using this verb form with impossible hypothetical sentences.

*******************************

Below are the trapassato subjunctive mood conjugations for the auxiliary verbs avere and essere,  using the past participles for two Italian verbs that are commonly used in this tense – fare and andare.

Remember that action verbs of direction, reflexive verbs, other verbs of growing and changing, and piacere all take essere as a helping verb when making these compound verbs.  All other verbs take avere.  If you need a review of the use of helping verbs for the Italian past tense, please refer to our blog Speak Italian: A Story About… Love!

You will notice  that avere has a regular conjugation in the imperfetto subjunctive mood, whereas essere  has an irregular conjugation. The past participle for fare (fatto) is irregular, but that of andare (andato) is regular. If you need a refresher on how to form past participles, please refer to our blog Speak Italian: A Story About… Love!

In hypothetical clauses, because the trapassato subjunctive mood is introduced by se, (se) is included in the subject pronoun column as a reminder. When conjugating these verbs, say “se” before the subject pronoun and each verb form to reinforce this way of thinking!

 

Avere  (to have) + Fare (to do/make) — Trapassato Subjunctive Mood

(se) io avessi   +      fatto I had  +                                   made/done
(se) tu avessi  +       fatto you (familiar) had  +       made/done
(se) Lei

(se) lei/lui

avesse  +       fatto you (polite) had  +           made/done

she/he had  +                     made/done

     
(se) noi avessimo  +  fatto we had  +                          made/done
(se) voi aveste  +        fatto you all had  +                  made/done
(se) loro avessero  +   fatto they had  +                       made/done

 

Essere (to be) + Andare (to go) — Trapassato Subjunctive Mood

(se) io fossi  +     andato(a) I had  +                               gone
(se) tu fossi  +     andato(a) you (familiar) had  +    gone
(se) Lei

(se) lei/lui

fosse  +    andato(a) you (polite) had  +        gone

she/he had  +                  gone

     
(se) noi fossimo  +  andati(e) we had  +                         gone
(se) voi foste  +        andati(e) you all had  +                 gone
(se) loro fossero  +   andati(e) they had  +                      gone


Speak Italian: How to Use the Italian Subjunctive Mood (Part 3)

Example Phrases Using the Imperfetto Subjunctive Mood in the Past Tense

 

To follow are some examples of how the Italian subjunctive mood in the past tense might be used in conversation during daily life.

Notice that English sentence structure differs from Italian in most of these sentences.  We can make a similar sentence in English as in Italian, but it would be considered an “awkward” sentence.

The biggest difference is that we English speakers do not use the subjunctive form, whether or not the subject in the two phrases is the same or different.  Also, we often leave out the word “that” from our sentences that contain two phrases. But, the Italian word for “that,” “che,”  is not an option when linking two Italian phrases – except if the introductory word itself ends in -che.

For the translations, the Italian sentence structure is given first for some examples to help us to think in Italian. The correct English is in bold.

We will use the example introductory phrases  from earlier in this section. How many more combinations can you think of?

 

 Ho voluto che tu cucinassi una cena speciale per la festa ieri sera. I wanted that you cook a special dinner for the party tonight. =

I wanted you to cook a special dinner for the party last night.

 
Ieri sera, ho avuto paura che lui  guidassi  troppo veloce. Last night, I was afraid that he drove too fast. =

Last night, I was afraid, since he drove too fast.

   
Non ero certo che Lei ricordasse quello giorno. I was not certain that you remembered that day.

 

Non ero sicuro che noi ricordassimo il posto corretto. I was not sure that we remembered the right place.
   
Sono stato felice che voi abbiate incontrato  mio cugino oggi. I was happy that  you all  have met my cousin today.=

I was happy  you all  met my cousin today.

Sono stata fortunata che voi abbiate mangiato con me ieri sera per il mio compleanno. I was lucky that you all ate with me last night for my birthday.=

I was lucky you all ate with me last night for my birthday.

 

Temavo che loro non fossero persone perbene. I was afraid that they were not good people.
 
Mi auguravo che loro facessero una buona vacanza. I was hoping that they had a good vacation. =

I was hoping they had a good vacation.

 


 

The Italian Subjunctive Mood: Examples for Idiomatic Phrases and Modal Verbs

Here are some examples for the introductory phrases “before that” and “after that,” which, as we have discussed in the earlier section, should take the imperfetto subjunctive mood when the reference is to the past.

These phrases seem to be most useful in situations in which we talk about plans people would have liked to or had made for themselves or others, and therefore helping verbs many times also come into play.

 Lei ha dovuto prepare molto bene i tuoi  documenti prima che tu dovessi andare al lavoro. She had to prepare your documents very well before (that) you had to come to work. =

She had to prepare your documents very well before you had to go to work.

 
Prima che mio figlio potesse andare dove ha voluto, io sono dovuto venire a casa. Before (that) my son could go where he wanted to, I had to go home. =

Before my son could go where he wanted to, I had to come home.

 
Prima che noi dovessimo partire per Roma, è stato buono che avete  riposato un po’ in campagna. Before (that) we had to leave for Rome, it was good that you all rested a little bit in the country. =

Before we had to leave for Rome, it was good that you all rested a little bit in the country.

 
Prima che voi poteste andare a trovare* i vostri parenti in America, tuo padre ha dovuto guadagnare un sacco di soldi.** Before (that) you all  could visit your relatives in America, your father had to make a lot of money. =

Before you all could visit your relatives in America, your father had to make a lot of money.

 
Il mio assistente ha dovuto portarli al riunione prima che loro possano mangiare la cena. My assistant had to bring them to the meeting before (that) they could eat dinner. =

My assistant had to bring them to the meeting before they could eat dinner.

* andare a trovare is an idiomatic expression that means “to go to visit (someone).” Visitare is used when going to visit a place.

** un sacco di soldi is an idiomatic expression that means “a lot of money.”

 


The  Italian Subjunctive Mood: Examples for Idiomatic Phrases

The final group of words that take the subjunctive mood on an idiomatic basis imply that a second phrase is necessary to complete the sentence. These are essential phrases to remember if we want to express complex thoughts in Italian. Here are some examples. How many more can you think of?

Benché io volessi andare in Italia, non è stato possibile l’anno scorso. Although I wanted to go to Italy, it was not possible last year.
 
Sebbene lui volesse andare all’università,  non ha ricevuto voti abastanza buoni al liceo. Although he wanted to go to college, he did not get good enough grades in high school.
 
Sebbene noi volessimo viaggiare,  abbiamo dovuto lavorare nel’ristorante di famiglia per molti anni. Though we wanted to travel, we had to work in the family restaurant for many years.
 
Perché la crostata fosse fatto buona,  hai dovuto usare le fragole fresche. So that the pie was made well, she had to use fresh strawberries. =

She had to use fresh strawberries so that the pie was made well.

 
Sono venuto alla festa, purché( lui non ci fosse. I agreed to come to the party, provided that he was not (going to be) there. =

I agreed to come to the party, provided that he was not going to be there.

-Some of this material is adapted from Conversational Italian for Travelers, Chapter 7, “Idiomatic Expressions – Avere and Essere + di + Infinitive” © 2012 by Stella Lucente, LLC.

 

 

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog

Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, is the author of the
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Imperfetto Subjunctive Mood Past Tense (Part 3): Speak Italian!

 

 

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Italian Subjunctive (Part 3): Speak Italian!

Italian Subjunctive (Part 3): Speak Italian!

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog               The Italian subjunctive mood is easy to conjugate, but tricky to use!

 

Speak Italian: How to Use the Italian Subjunctive Mood

Can you speak Italian? By now, many of you have passed the beginning stages of learning to speak Italian and can read and comprehend quite a bit of the Italian language. Meraviglioso!

But have you tried to take the next step to speak Italian fluently? Can you use the Italian subjunctive mood in the correct situations? To express complex feelings in Italian correctly, it is important to use the Italian subjunctive mood. Using the subjunctive mood is difficult for English speakers, as we only rarely use this tense in English, and this is something that I am always working on! The blogs in the “Speak Italian” blog series will focus on how to conjugate and use the Italian subjunctive mood, or “il congiuntivo.”

Let’s take that giant step from simple beginning sentences to more complex and fluid sentences in Italian by using the subjunctive mood. In this segment, we will discuss how to express one’s needs in Italian and learn about other important introductory phrases and individual words that take the Italian subjunctive mood

We will repeat the Italian conjugation of the subjunctive mood for the regular -are, -ere, and -ire verbs and then present the conjugation of the modal, or helping, verbs dovere, potere, and volere.

A review of the Italian subjunctive mood conjugations for the auxiliary verbs and for commonly used irregular verbs will complete this blog. Example sentences will follow!

Speak Italian: How to Use the Italian Subjunctive Mood

In each blog in the “Speak Italian” series about the  Italian subjunctive mood (“il congiuntivo”),  we will first present phrases that take the Italian subjunctive mood.

Then,  we will review how to conjugate the Italian subjunctive mood.

Finally, we will present common phrases used in daily life that take the Italian subjunctive mood.

Remember these examples as “anchors” in your knowledge for when you must speak Italian and try out the subjunctive mood in your next Italian conversation!

Enjoy the third blog in this series, “Italian Subjunctive (Part 3): Speak Italian!”
—Kathryn Occhipinti

Some of this material is adapted from our textbook, Conversational Italian for Travelers © 2012 by Stella Lucente, LLC, found on www.learntravelitalian.com. Special thanks to Italian instructors Simona Giuggioli and Maria Vanessa Colapinto.

 


Speak Italian: How to Use the Italian Subjunctive Mood (Part 3)

Once Again… Phrases That Take the Italian Subjunctive Mood

Italian has a subjunctive mood that is used to express beliefs, thoughts, or hopes with the verbs credere, pensare, and sperare.

The subjunctive mood is also said to “open up” a conversation to discussion about a particular topic by expressing doubt, uncertainty, desire, or a feeling.

Certain phrases are commonly used to start a sentence in order to introduce the subjunctive mood, and these initial phrases will be in the indicative tense (the “usual” present or past tense). The subjunctive mood is also used with the conditional tense, but this will be the topic of later blogs. These initial phrases imply uncertainty and trigger the subjunctive mood in the phrase to follow.

In our first blog about the Italian subjunctive mood, we learned that these initial phrases fall into several groups. We discussed Groups 1  through Group 6.

In our second blog about the Italian subjunctive mood, we discussed Groups 8 and 9.

These groups are again listed  below for review.

In this blog, we will discuss phrases that express feelings (any emotion, fear, or surprise) in Group 9 and describe the situations in which they are used to  introduce the subjunctive mood.

We will also now discuss Group 10, in which we list individual words that refer to the purpose or timing of an action that must be followed by the subjunctive mood. These words are part of “adverbial clauses” that modify verbs. As such, they are often used in the phrase that completes a sentence, but can also be found at the beginning of a sentence. Many of these words are easy to recognize since they end in -che.

Finally, Groups 11 and 12 are individual adjectives or pronouns that can introduce another clause and must be followed by the subjective mood, which we will discuss in blogs to follow.

Hypothetical Phrases are mentioned at the end of our list, to complete our discussion of specific words or phrases that can be used to introduce the subjunctive mood.

Groups 1-9: “Noun Clauses”

Group 10: “Adverbial Clauses”

Groups 11 and 12: “Adjective/Pronoun Clauses”

      1. Phrases that use the verbs credere (to believe), pensare (to think), and sperare (to hope). These verbs use the pattern: [verb  di + infinitive verb to describe the beliefs, thoughts, or hopes that one has. When the subject in the introductory phrase is not the same as the subject in the subjunctive clause that follows, the pattern changes to: [verb + che + subjunctive verb].*
      2. Impersonal constructions that begin with, “It is…” such as, “È possibile che…”
      3. Phrases that express a doubt, such as, “I don’t know…” or “Non so che…”
      4. Phrases that express suspicion, such as, ” I suspect that…” or “Sospetto che…”
      5. Phrases that express uncertainty, such as, “It seems to me…” or “Mi sembra che…” and  ” To wonder if…” or  “Chiedersi se… “
      6. Impersonal verbs followed by the conjunction che, such as, “Basta che…” “It is enough that,” or “Si dice che…” “They say that…
      7. Phrases that use the verbs volere, desiderare, chiedere, esigere  when the subject in the introductory phrase is not the same as the subject in the clause that follows. In this situation, these verbs will be followed by che.
      8. Phrases that use the verbs piacere and dispiacere when the subject in the introductory phrase is not the same as the subject in the clause that follows. In this situation, these verbs will be followed by che.
      9. Phrases that express feelings (any emotion, fear, surprise) and use the pattern: [avere, essere, or augurarsi verb  +  di + infinitive verb].  When the subject in the introductory phrase is not the same as the subject in the clause that follows, the pattern changes to: [avere, essere, or augurarsi verb + che + subjunctive verb].
      10. Sentences that begin with words that end in –ché, or complex conjunctions that end with che:  affinché, perché (so as, so that, in order that), purché (as long as, provided that, only if)**, a meno che, senza che (unless), può darsi che (it may be possible that, possibly, maybe), prima che (before that).  Also the many words that mean although/even though, one of which ends in -che: benché  (also sebenne, malgrado, nonostante).***
      11. Sentences that begin with adjectives or pronouns that include the idea of any in a description of a person, place or thing:  qualsiasi, qualunque (any), chiunque (whoever), dovunque (anywhere).
      12. Sentences that begin with adjectives or pronouns that include the idea of nothing or only  in a description of a person, place, or thing: niente che, nulla che (nothing that), nessuno che (nobody that), l’unico, il solo, a che (the only one that).

Hypothetical Phrases:  Phrases that begin with se (if) in certain situations. Phrases that begin with come se (as if)magari (if only), and ammesso che (assuming that).

As usual, there is a summary table at the end of each descriptive section that shows how to use these  additional groups that take the subjunctive mood in Italian. The present tense phrases are in the first two columns and the past tense phrases in the last two columns.  Notice that the imperfetto form of the past tense is given in our table for brevity, but the passato prossimo form of the past tense can also be used, depending on the situation.  Use of the past tense forms will be the topic of later blogs.

Points to remember about the subjunctive mood:

In Italian, the introductory phrases that take the subjunctive mood (those that trigger doubt, uncertainty, desire, or a feeling)  usually end with a linking word, also known as a conjunction, which will be che.  In this situation, che means that.  The clause that follows our introductory phrase will then describe what the uncertainty is about.

We now see from Group 9 that some words or phrases already have -ché or che integrated into the word itself. In these cases, che is not repeated.  The clause that follows our introductory phrase will then describe what the uncertainty is about.

*When the speaker in the introductory phrase will carry out the action in the phrase to follow, Italian will use the following construction to link the phrases for credere, pensare, and sperare :  di + infinitive verb. Example: Penso di andare a Roma domani.  =  I think I will go to Rome tomorrow. (Use  pensare a when thinking ABOUT something or someone.)

**solo se also means only if but does NOT take the subjunctive mode.

*** anche se also means even though/if but does NOT take the subjunctive mode.

 


 

Expressing One’s Feelings with “Di” and “Che” and the Italian Subjunctive Mood

Phrases Used to Express Feelings with “Di” in Italian

When expressing one’s feelings in Italian in the first person (io conjugation), many common Italian expressions are followed by di (of). In this case, when di is followed by another verb, the verb in the second phrase will be in the infinitive tense (if you remember, infinitive verbs end in -are, -ere, -ire, and translate as “to…”). Below are some examples of these phrases, along with example sentences, adapted from Chapter 7 of the Conversational Italian for Travelers textbook.

 

avere bisogno di to have need of Ho bisogno di… riposare.
 
avere paura di to be afraid/have fear of Ho paura di… guidare.
 
avere voglia di to feel like Ho voglia di… mangiare una pizza.
 
essere certo di to be certain of Sono certo(a) di… ricordare il tuo nome.
 
essere sicuro di to be certain of Sono sicuro(a) di… ricordare questo posto.
 
essere felice di to be happy to Sono felice di… incontrare mio cugino oggi.
 
essere fortunato di to be lucky to Sono fortunato(a) di… mangiare questa cena.
 
essere libero di to be free to Sono libero(a) di… viaggiare.
 
essere stanco di to be tired of Sono stanco(a) di… lavorare.
 
temere di… to be afraid of Temo di… essere in ritardo.
 
augurarsi di… to wish/to hope (of) Mi auguro di… fare una buona vacanza.

 


How to Use the Phrase “Avere bisogno di…” in Italian

Before we go on to discuss more complex uses of the phrases in the table above, here is a brief description of how to use the very popular phrase, “ho bisogno di…” which means, “I need…”   Any beginning student of Italian no doubt has come across this phrase many times in general conversation and has already used it to express what he/she wants.

While I was learning how to use the subjunctive mood properly, I took the opportunity to learn how to use “ho bisogno di” properly as well.  After many question and answer sessions with native Italian speakers, here is what I’ve found out about the different uses of this phrase in English and Italian.

First, use of the phrase “ho bisogno di” is limited to describing a need one has for a person, a thing (something) or a physical need.  Remember to conjugate the verb avere used in this phrase (“ho” is the io form of avere) if someone else besides you needs something.  Also, leave out the word “di,” which means “of” in this phrase when it is at the end of the sentence.

The phrases “Mi serve…” and “Mi servono…” can also mean, “I need…” The conjugation is like that of piacere.  (See below)

If a person needs to do something, but it is also necessary that he does it – he has to do it – then the verb dovere is used.   See some examples in the table below:

avere bisogno di to have need of…  
   
…a person Ho bisogno di… te.
   
…a thing/ something Ho bisogno di… una macchina nuova.
  Ho bisogno di… prendere una vacanza.
   
…a physical need Ho bisogno di… riposarmi.
   
Mi serve… I need… (one thing) Mi serve 1 millione di euro.
Mi servono…  I need… (many things)  Mi servono tante cose.
   
dovere for what you have to do

(and need to do)

Devo cucinare il pranzo ogni sera.

When we come to more complex sentences, and the subject  wants to express what he/she wants another person to do, the phrase “ho bisogno di” is not used.  In other words, if I want someone to do something, I must use the verb voglio, with the subjunctive, as in, “Voglio che tu…”  This was an important point for me to learn, as in English I am constantly asking my children or family to do things by saying, “I need you to…”

For instance, take the sentence, “I need you to take care of the cats when I am on vacation.”  I am not sure if this phrase “I need you to…” is used commonly in other parts of  America, but it has become a habitual use in the Northeast and Midwest.  The Italian translation would be, “Voglio che tu ti prenda cura dei gatti quando io sono in vacanza.”  So, to use the phrase “ho bisogno di” we must really learn how to think in Italian!

Enjoy some more examples for how to use our phrases to express a need or want in Italian, and then create your own!

Ho bisogno di un grande abbraccio! I need a big hug!
Abbracci e baci sono due cose di cui  ho bisogno! Hugs and kisses are two things that I need!
Non mi serve niente. I don’t need anything.
Non mi serve nient’altro. I don’t need anything else.
Mi serve di più caffè. I need more coffee.
Devo andare al mercato. I need to/have to go to the (outdoor) market.

Non abbiamo  bisogno di giorni migliori,

ma di persone che rendono migliori i nostri giorni!

We don’t need to have better days,

instead, people who make our days better!


 

Phrases Used to Express Feelings with “Che” and the Italian Subjunctive Mood

Some of the expressions listed in the following table are most commonly used with the same subject for the second phrase. As noted in our previous discussions, these phrases will be followed with “di” and an infinitive verb. They are reprinted here to correspond with the previous table, followed by an asterisk and an explanation in parentheses.

For most of the expressions of feeling that we have been talking about, though, it is possible to express a feeling that the speaker (io) has regarding another person or people. In this case, then, these expressions must be followed by che, and the subjunctive mood should be used for the verb in the second phrase.

In our example table, we will illustrate this by following the Italian phrases in which the subjects can be different with ...che tu, which we know means …that you, although of course, this rule follows no matter which subject pronoun we use.

 

Phrases Used to Express Feelings with “Che” and the Italian Subjunctive Mode

Present Tense Subjunctive Phrase
Group 8
    Past Tense Subjunctive Phrase
Group 8
 
Ho bisogno… che tu I need… that you*

*(This expression is not commonly used in Italian to tell another person what needs to be done; voglio che is used instead.)

Avevo bisogno… che tu I needed… that you*

*(This expression is
not commonly used
in Italian to tell
another person what
needs to be done;
volevo che is used
instead.)

       
Ho paura… che tu I am afraid… that you Avevo paura…  che tu I was afraid… that you
       
Ho voglia di… * I feel like… *
*(always used with the same subject +di in both phrases)
Avevo voglia… * I felt like…*

*(always used with
the same subject + di
in both phrases)

 

       
Non sono certo(a)…
che tu
I am not certain…
that you
Non ero certo… che tu I was not certain… that you
       
Non sono sicuro(a)…
che tu
I am not certain…
that you
Non ero sicuro… che tu I was not certain… that you
       
Sono felice… che tu I am happy… that you Ero felice… che tu I was happy… that you
       
Sono fortunato(a)… che tu I am happy… that you Ero fortunato(a)… che tu I was fortunate… that you
       
Sono libero(a) di… *

 

I am free… *
*(always used with the same subject +di in both phrases)
Ero libero(a)… * I was free… *
*(always used with
the same subject +di
in both phrases)
       
Sono stanco(a) di…

 

I am tired…*

*(always used with the same subject +di in both phrases)

Ero stanco(a)… che tu I was tired…*

*(always used with
the same subject +di
in both phrases)

       
Temo… che tu I am afraid…
that you
Temevo… che tu I was afraid… that you
       
Mi auguro… che tu I hope… that you Mi auguravo… che tu I hoped… that you

 

 


Adverbial Clauses

Use of the Italian Subjunctive Mood

The final group of words we will discuss in this blog are called “adverbial clauses” and are given in the table. These words take the subjunctive mood when used to start a sentence, and use of these adverbial clauses implies that a second phrase is necessary to complete the sentence.

Only the most commonly used have been given in the table.  For a more complete list, see the list in the first section of this blog.

 

Phrases Used to Introduce the Subjunctive Mood — Adverbial Clauses

 

Present Tense Subjunctive Phrase
Groups 9, 10, 11
 
Prima che Before that  ( Prima che is used to mean “before that” and followed by the subjunctive mood when the subject in the first phrase is different from the subject in the second phrase; use Prima di + infinitive when the subject of both phrases is the same.)
Benché, Sebbene Although, Even though, If
Può darsi che It may be possible that, Possibly, Maybe
Affinché So as, So that, In order that
Perché So that (Perché is only used in the subjunctive mood when it means “so that.” Other meanings of perché include “why” and “because” and in these cases, the subjunctive mood is not used.)
Purché As long as, Provided that, Only if

 

Finally, our usual reminder:

DO NOT USE THE SUBJUNCTIVE WITH THE FOLLOWING THREE PHRASES!

Forse = Perhaps       

Per me = For me

Secondo me = According to me

The above may seem like exceptions to the rule, but perhaps… because these phrases already express doubt or your personal opinion… in the Italian way of thinking, it would be redundant to use these phrases along with the subjunctive!

And, two more  phrases we can now add that DO NOT take the subjunctive mood:

Solo se = Only if

Anche se = Even though/if

 


Speak Italian: The Present Tense Subjunctive Mood (Part 3)

How to Conjugate the Italian Subjunctive Mood Present Tense for -are, -ere, and -ire Verbs

A review from the second blog in this series:

To change any regular Italian infinitive verb into the present subjunctive mood, first drop the final -are, -ere, or -ire to create the stem. Then add the endings given in the first table below to the stem that has been created. Examples for each verb type are given in the second table below.*

The word che is included in parentheses in the subject pronoun column as a reminder that these verb forms typically are introduced with  the conjunction che. Also, use the subject pronoun in your sentence after che for clarity, since the endings for the singular forms are all the same!

Practice the subjunctive verbs out loud by saying che, the subject pronoun and then the correct verb form that follows!

Subjunctive Mood – Present Tense
Subject Pronoun -are ending -ere ending -ire ending
io i a a
tu i a a
Lei/lei/lui i a a
       
noi iamo iamo iamo
voi iate iate iate
loro ino ano ano
  Tornare

(to return)

Vendere

(to sell)

Partire

(to leave)

(che)  io torni venda parta
(che) tu torni venda parta
(che) Lei/lei/lui torni venda parta
       
(che) noi torniamo vendiamo partiamo
(che) voi torniate vendiate partiate
(che) loro tornino vendano partano

*(The stressed syllable for the example verbs has been underlined in the table above.)

  1. When pronouncing the subjunctive verbs, the stress will fall in the same place as in the conjugated verb forms for the present tense. This will be in the beginning of the verb (first or second syllable) for the io, tu, Lei/lei, lui, and loro forms, and one syllable to the right (second or third syllable) for the noi and voi forms.
  2. Notice that all of the singular subjunctive endings (io, tu, Lei/lei lui) are the same for each infinitive form of the verb.
  3. Also, all the endings for the -ere and -ire verbs are identical in the first person!
  4. The noi and voi forms are the same for all infinitive verb forms as well.
  5. The noi form is identical to the present tense!

 


How to Conjugate the Italian Subjunctive Mood Present Tense for the Modal Verbs

Here are the  Italian present subjunctive forms for the modal verbs. If you remember, modal verbs are auxiliary verbs that are also called “helping verbs.” These verbs are often used in the subjunctive mood in written and spoken Italian. As you no doubt recall, these three helping verbs give additional information about the main verb in the phrase. In the subjunctive mood, volere can also be translated as “to need.”

 

 Dovere – to have to/must – Present Subjunctive Mood

(che) io debba I have to/must
(che) tu debba you (familiar) have to/must
(che) Lei

(che) lei/lui

debba you (polite) have to/must
she/he has to/must
     
(che) noi dobbiamo we have to/must
(che) voi dobbiate you all have to/must
(che) loro debbano they have to/must

 

  

Potere – to be able (to)/can – Present Subjunctive Mood

che) io possa I am able to/can
(che) tu possa you (familiar) are able to/can
(che) Lei

(che) lei/lui

possa you (polite) are able to/can

she/he is able to/can

     
(che) noi possiamo we are able to/can
(che) voi possiate you all are able to/can
(che) loro possano they are able to/can

 

 

 Volere – to want/ to need – Present Subjunctive mode

(che) io voglia I want/need
(che) tu voglia you (familiar) want/need
(che) Lei

(che) lei/lui

voglia you (polite) want/need

she/he wants/needs

     
(che) noi vogliamo we want/need
(che) voi vogliate you all want/need
(che) loro vogliano they want/need

The Subjunctive Mood – Irregular Present Tense
Commonly Used Verbs

A review from the second blog in this series:

Here are the irregular  Italian present subjunctive forms for six commonly used  verbs in Italian.  It may be useful to commit these forms to memory, as these verbs are often used in the subjunctive mood in written and spoken Italian. Notice that the translation is the simple present tense in English.

Andare – to go – Present Subjunctive Mood

(che) io vada I go
(che) tu vada you (familiar) go
(che) Lei

(che) lei/lui

vada you (polite) go

she/he goes

     
(che) noi andiamo we go
(che) voi andiate you all go
(che) loro vadano they go

 

Dare – to give – Present Subjunctive Mood

(che) io dia I give
(che) tu dia you give
(che) Lei

(che) lei/lui

dia you give

she/he gives

     
(che) noi diamo we give
(che) voi diate you all give
(che) loro diano they give

 

Dire – to say/ to tell – Present Subjunctive Mood

(che) io dica I say/tell
(che) tu dica you (familiar) say/tell

 

(che) Lei

(che) lei/lui

dica you (polite) say/tell

she/he says/tells

     
(che) noi diciamo we say/tell
(che) voi diciate you all say/tell
(che) loro dicano they say/tell
 

Fare – to do/ to make– Present Subjunctive Mood

(che) io faccia I do/ make
(che) tu faccia you (familiar) do/make

 

(che) Lei

(che) lei/lui

faccia you (polite) do/make

she/he does/makes

     
(che) noi facciamo we do/make
(che) voi facciate you all do/make
(che) loro facciano they do/make

 

Sapere – to know (facts) – Present Subjunctive Mood

(che) io sappia I know
(che) tu sappia you (familiar) know
(che) Lei

(che) lei/lui

sappia you (polite) know

she/he knows

     
(che) noi sappiamo we know
(che) voi sappiate you all know
(che) loro sappiano they know

 

Venire – to come –  Present Subjunctive Mood

(che) io venga I come
(che) tu venga you (familiar) come
(che) Lei

(che) lei/lui

venga you (polite) come

she/he comes

     
(che) noi veniamo we come
(che) voi veniate you all come
(che) loro vengano they come

How to Conjugate Italian Verbs “Essere,” “Avere,” and “Stare” in the Present Tense Subjunctive Mood

A review from the first blog in this series:

In the tables below are the subjunctive forms for the Italian auxiliary verbs avere, stare, and essere, which are often used in the subjunctive mood in written and spoken Italian. These are important verbs to commit to memory!

 

Avere – to have – Present Subjunctive Mood

(che) io abbia I have
(che) tu abbia you (familiar) have
(che) Lei

(che) lei/lui

abbia you (polite) have

she/he has

     
(che) noi abbiamo we have
(che) voi abbiate you all have
(che) loro abbiano they have

 

Essere – to be – Present Subjunctive Mood

(che) io sia I am
(che) tu sia you (familiar) are
(che) Lei

(che) lei/lui

sia you (polite) are

he/he is

     
(che) noi siamo we are
(che) voi siate you all are
(che) loro siano they are

 

Stare – to stay (to be) – Present Subjunctive Mood

(che) io stia I stay (am)
(che) tu stia you (familiar) stay (are)
(che) Lei

(che) lei/lui

stia you (polite) stay (are)

she/he stays (is)

     
(che) noi stiamo we stay (are)
(che) voi stiate you all stay (are)
(che) loro stiano they stay (are)


Speak Italian: How to Use the Italian Subjunctive Mood (Part 3)

Example Phrases Using the Present Tense
Italian Subjunctive Mood

To follow are some examples of how the Italian subjunctive mood in the present tense might be used in conversation during daily life. (In later blog posts in this series, we will cover examples of how to use the subjunctive when the introductory phrase is in the conditional or past tense.)

Notice that English sentence structure differs from Italian in most of these sentences.  We can make a similar sentence in English as in Italian, but it would be considered an “awkward” sentence.

The biggest difference is that we English speakers do not use the subjunctive form, whether or not the subject in the two phrases is the same or different.  Also, we often leave out the word “that” from our sentences that contain two phrases. But, the Italian word for “that,” “che,”  is not an option when linking two Italian phrases – except if the introductory word itself ends in -che.

For the translations, the Italian sentence structure is given first for some examples to help us to think in Italian. The correct English is in bold.

We will use the example introductory phrases  from earlier in this section. How many more combinations can you think of?

Voglio che tu cucini una cena speciale per la festa stasera. I want that you cook a special dinner for the party tonight. =

I want you to cook a special dinner for the party tonight.

 
Ho paura che lui  guidi  troppo veloce. I am afraid he drives too fast.
   
Non sono certo che Lei ricordi questo giorno. I amnot certain that you (will) remember this day.

 

Non sono sicuro che noi ricordiamo questo posto speciale. I am not sure that we (will) remember this special  place.
   
Sono felice che voi incontriate  mio cugino oggi. I am happy (that) you all (are going) to meet my cousin today.
Sono fortunato che voi mangiate con me questa sera per il mio compleanno. I am lucky that you all are eating with me tonight for my birthday.

 

Temo che loro non siano persone perbene. I am afraid that they are not good people.
 
Mi auguro che loro facciano una buona vacanza. I hope that they have a good vacation.

 


 

The Italian Subjunctive Mood: Examples for Modal Verbs

Here are some examples for the introductory phrases “before that” and “after that,” which, as we have discussed in the earlier section, should take the subjunctive mood. These phrases seem to be most useful in situations in which we talk about plans people would like to or have to make for themselves or others, and therefore helping verbs many times also come into play.

Lei deve prepare molto bene i tuoi documenti prima che tu debba andare al lavoro. She must prepare your papers very well before (that) you have to go to work. =

She has to prepare your papers very well before you have to go to work.

 
Prima che mio figlio possa andare dove vuole, io devo venire a casa. Before (that) my son can go where he wants, I have to come home. =

Before my son can go where he wants, I have to come home.

 
Prima che noi dobbiamo partire per Roma, dovete riposare un po’ in campagna. Before (that) we have to leave for Rome, you all must rest a little bit in the country. =

Before we have to leave for Rome, you all must rest a little bit in the country.

 
Prima che voi possiate andare a trovare* i vostri parenti in America, tuo padre deve guardagnare un sacco di soldi.** Before (that) you all can visit your relatives in America, your father must make a lot of money. =

Before you all can visit your relatives in America, your father must make a lot of money.

 
Il mio assistente deve portarli alla riunione prima che loro possano mangiare la cena. My assistant must take them to the meeting before (that) they can eat dinner. =

My assistant must take them to the meeting before they can eat dinner.

* andare a trovare is an idiomatic expression that means “to go to visit (someone).” Visitare is used when going to visit a place.

** un sacco di soldi is an idiomatic expression that means “a lot of money.”

 


The  Italian Subjunctive Mood: Examples for Adverbial Clauses

The final group of words that take the subjunctive mood on an idiomatic basis imply that a second phrase is necessary to complete the sentence. These are essential phrases to remember if we want to express complex thoughts in Italian. Here are some examples. How many more can you think of?

Benché io voglia andare in Italia, non è possibile ora. Although I want to go to Italy, it is not possible now.
 
Sebbene lui voglia andare all’università,  non ha ricevuto voti abastanza buoni al liceo. Although he wants to go to college, he did not get good enough grades in high school.
 
Sebbene noi vogliamo vivere bene, invece dobbiamo lavorare nel ristorante della famiglia per molti anni. Though we want to live well, we must work in the family restaurant for many years.
 
Perché la crostata sia fatta bene, si deve avere le fragle fresche. So that the pie is made well, one must have fresh strawberries. =

You  must have fresh strawberries so that the pie is made properly.

 
Vengo alla festa, purché lui non ci sia. I will come to the party, provided that he will not be there.

-Some of this material is adapted from Conversational Italian for Travelers, Chapter 7, “Idiomatic Expressions – Avere and Essere + di + Infinitive” © 2012 by Stella Lucente, LLC.


Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases
Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases (with Restaurant Vocabulary and Idiomatic Expressions) is YOUR traveling companion in Italy! All the Italian phrases you need to know to enjoy your trip to Italy are right here and fit right into your pocket or purse.

   Available on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog

Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, is the author of the
Conversational Italian for Travelers
 series of books and a teacher of Italian for travelers to Italy in the Peoria and Chicago area.
“Everything you need to know to enjoy your visit to Italy!”

Join my Conversational Italian! Facebook group and follow me on Twitter at StellaLucente@travelitalian1  and start to learn Italian today for FREE!
Conversational Italian! Facebook Group
Tweet @travelitalian1 for Stella Lucente Italian

YouTube videos to learn Italian are available from © Stella Lucente, LLC.
Learn Conversational Italian.

More information on and photographs of Italy can be found on Facebook Stella Lucente Italian and Pinterest Stella Lucente Italian.
Facebook Stella Lucente Italian

Pinterest Stella Lucente Italian

Visit learntravelitalian.com/download.html to purchase/download Conversational Italian for Travelers and find more interesting facts and helpful hints about getting around Italy! Learn how to buy train tickets online, how to make international and local telephone calls, and how to decipher Italian coffee names and restaurant menus, all while gaining the basic understanding of Italian that you will need to know to communicate easily and effectively while in Italy. —From the staff at Stella Lucente, LLC

Italian Subjunctive (Part 3) : Speak Italian!

High speed Italian trains

High-Speed Italian Trains Freccia and Italo for Travel in Italy

High-Speed Italian Trains Freccia and Italo for Travel in Italy

FollKathryn for learntravelitalian.comow Caterina in the
Conversational Italian for Travelers series of books!

The Conversational Italian for Travelers textbook begins each chapter with a dialogue from a story about the character Caterina, an American girl who travels to Italy to visit her relatives. As the story continues from one chapter to the next, we learn Italian, and about Italy, in an engaging way through Caterina’s experiences.

High-Speed Italian Trains Freccia and Italo for Travel in Italy

One of the first things Caterina must do after her plane lands in Italy is find her way on the Italian railway system. To listen to dialogues from Chapters 4 and 5 about Caterina’s encounters as she buys a ticket and boards a train in Italy, go to the interactive dialogues on our website at learntravelitalian.com/interactive.html.

For more images and links to the high-speed Italian train system, visit our Pinterest Site, Stella Lucente Italian.

The Cultural Note below, also from the textbook, describes the exciting new high-speed Italian trains of the Freccia and Italo railway systems that have streamlined travel between the major cities in Italy.
—Kathryn Occhipinti

 


Cultural Note: Freccia and Italo Railway Systems for Travel in Italy

The future of train travel is here in Italy today, under the old Trenitalia Ferrovie dello Stato railway system, to which has been added a new network traveled by a fleet of beautiful, high-speed Italian trains—the Freccia (arrow) trains. The high-speed Italian trains for the railway line Frecciarossa (red arrow) link the major cities of Naples, Rome, Florence, Milan, Turin, and Venice and travel up to 175 miles per hour across the country. It is now possible to travel from Milan or Venice to Rome on these high-speed Italian trains in about 3 hours. This Italian network is linked to major European cities outside of Italy as well and can be an efficient way to extend travel plans to neighboring countries, with restaurant cars and sleeper cars available for longer journeys. These cars are also equipped with WiFi for a small fee. The Frecciargento (silver arrow) and Frecciabianca (white arrow) trains are part of this new family of high-speed Italian trains and link smaller cities and towns. For a slightly higher fee, they provide a more comfortable ride than the older local trains and make fewer stops. Ask about the availability of these high-speed Italian trains when purchasing a ticket at the station. Or go to the official Trenitalia site, www.trenitalia.com, and click on one of the three silver tabs in the upper right-hand corner of the homepage for the high-speed Italian Freccia train of your choice.

High speed Italian train Italo
Self-service machine to purchase tickets to ride on an Italo railway high-speed Italian train

Italo is a privately owned company that also offers high-speed Italian passenger train service. Italo offers a club membership for frequent travelers, with private waiting rooms at the train stations and special cars with reclining leather seats, personal TVs, WiFi, and meal service. Look for the bright red automatic ticket machines, or purchase tickets at the Italo ticket offices in the train station. For more information on the Italo family of high-speed Italian trains or to purchase tickets online, use the Italo website at www.italotreno.it.

Read all about this new high-speed Italian train network and learn about traveling throughout Italy on the different classes of trains offered by Trenitalia and Italo on the website The man in Seat 61 at www.seat61.com. Click on the link for Italy and search for “A beginner’s guide to train travel in Italy” to see pictures of each type of train and learn more about the accommodations that are offered.

All of the high-speed Italian trains require a reservation (prenotazione), and the ticket issued will have an assigned car (carrozza) and seat (posto) for each passenger. Look for the car number on the side of the train, or ask the conductor, who will come out of the office to the platform when the train enters the station before departure for the next stop. Tickets for the high-speed Italian trains, as well as local trains, can be purchased online in most cases, starting 60 days before departure, and in some cases, up to 90 days. These online tickets may be discounted up to 60% off the price paid at the train station, depending on how far in advance they are purchased. Beware, though—the timetables change in mid-June and mid-December each year, so be sure to check them again before departing if you have bought tickets in advance. An alternative site, all in English, is www.raileurope.com. And remember, along with your ticket, you will need a valid personal ID to travel between European cities. Or, if you choose ticketless travel (within Italy only), you will need the registration number.

Have fun visiting the Trenitalia and Italo websites!

 Adapted from Conversational Italian for Travelers, Chapter 4, “Cultural Note,” © 2012, Stella Lucente, LLC, by Kathryn Occhipinti. 

Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases
Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases (with Restaurant Vocabulary and Idiomatic Expressions) is YOUR traveling companion in Italy! All the Italian phrases you need to know to enjoy your trip to Italy are right here and fit right into your pocket or purse.

   Available on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog

Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, is the author of the
Conversational Italian for Travelers
 series of books and a teacher of Italian for travelers to Italy in the Peoria and Chicago area.
“Everything you need to know to enjoy your visit to Italy!”

Join my Conversational Italian! Facebook group and follow me on Twitter at StellaLucente@travelitalian1  and start to learn Italian today for FREE!
Conversational Italian! Facebook Group
Tweet @travelitalian1 for Stella Lucente Italian

YouTube videos to learn Italian are available from © Stella Lucente, LLC.
Learn Conversational Italian.

More information on and photographs of Italy can be found on Facebook Stella Lucente Italian and Pinterest Stella Lucente Italian.
Facebook Stella Lucente Italian

Pinterest Stella Lucente Italian

Visit learntravelitalian.com/download.html to purchase/download Conversational Italian for Travelers and find more interesting facts and helpful hints about getting around Italy! Learn how to buy train tickets online, how to make international and local telephone calls, and how to decipher Italian coffee names and restaurant menus, all while gaining the basic understanding of Italian that you will need to know to communicate easily and effectively while in Italy. —From the staff at Stella Lucente, LLC

High-Speed Italian Trains Freccia and Italo for Travel in Italy

Taking the train in the Abruzzo region, Italy.

Train Travel in Italy for Your Dream Vacation

Train Travel in Italy for Your Dream Vacation

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog  Follow Caterina in the
Conversational Italian for Travelers series of books!

The Conversational Italian for Travelers textbook begins each chapter with a dialogue from a story about the character Caterina, an American girl who travels to Italy to visit her relatives. As the story continues from one chapter to the next, we learn Italian, and about Italy, in an engaging way through Caterina’s experiences.

Train Travel in Italy for Your Dream Vacation

One of the first things Caterina must do after her plane lands in Italy and she passes through customs is find her way on the Italian railway system. To listen to dialogues from Chapters 4 and 5 about Caterina’s encounters as she buys a ticket and boards a train in Italy, go to the interactive dialogues on our website at learntravelitalian.com/interactive.html.

For more images of Train Travel in Italy, visit our Pinterest site  Stella Lucente Italian.

The Cultural Note below, also from the textbook, gives a bit of insight into how the Italian railway system works.
—Kathryn Occhipinti


 

Cultural Note: Taking the Train in Italy

Taking the train in the Abruzzo region, Italy.
Taking the train through the mountains of Abruzzo in Italy

After Caterina arrives in Italy at Malpensa Airport, about 50 km northwest of Milan, she must then make her way into the city. First, she takes a taxi to the nearby town of Gallarate to get onto the local train system, called Trenitalia (www.raileurope.com/Trenitalia-Italy). This local railway cannot be accessed directly from the Malpensa Airport, but until recently, it was the only way to catch a train after flying into Malpensa. The train line from Gallarate goes to the largest terminal in Milan, the Stazione Centrale. Gallarate can also be reached by bus from Malpensa Airport for a small fee, about 1–2 euros, and buses leave regularly from the airport all day. Of course, there are also bus routes to many other nearby cities from the Malpensa bus terminals, including to Milan, for those who prefer to take a bus for the entire trip.

When at the Gallarate train station, Caterina asks for a train that will take her directly to Stazione Centrale, avoiding the possibility of having to change trains along the way. A typical train ticket from Gallarate to Milan should actually cost less than we have noted in the dialogue, and it takes between 40 and 60 minutes to reach Milan.

A newer, separate train system called the Malpensa Express, which opened in 1999, leaves directly from Malpensa’s Terminal 1, underground floor, every 30 minutes. As the name suggests, this train goes directly into Milan, but it ends at a smaller station, the Stazione Cordona. The Malpensa Express trains are new trains with only first-class seats and luggage areas between compartments. Nonstop trains are available in the mornings and late at night, but during the day, there are a few additional stops along the way to Milan for the 40-minute trip. To learn more about the Malpensa Express trains or to view a train schedule and current ticket prices, go to www.malpensaexpress.it.

In our dialogue, the ticket agent Rosa very kindly reminds Caterina to validate her train ticket before boarding the local train. In Italy, when using the local train system, it is possible to buy an “open” ticket, which can be used at any time within a 2-month period. Stamping each ticket with the date and time before entry on the train prevents this type of ticket from being used more than once. The name of the machine that is used to stamp the date and time onto the ticket is translated by the makers of the machine as a “ticket canceling machine” or macchina obliteratrice. The older machines are yellow, but the new machines now in common use have a green and white face with the Trenitalia logo and name along the top.   These small machines are usually found attached to the wall at the entrances of the individual train tracks, which are usually on the lower level of the train station. When referring to what the machine actually does, you can use the verb timbrare, which means to stamp, or convalidare, which means to validate. The verb obliterare, which means to cancel, also means to stamp or to punch when referring to tickets. In effect, all three verbs apply, because the ticket is literally stamped, which validates it for travel, and is canceled for further use at the same time.

After boarding the train, the ticket inspector (il controllore) will come through each car and ask to see each passenger’s ticket. If the date and time have not been stamped on the ticket, that passenger will be asked to pay a cash fine before leaving the train. Signs are sometimes posted on the interior doors of the trains warning of the fine to be paid if the ticket has not been convalidato (validated)—in  Italian, with no English translation! Tickets for the Malpensa Express also need to be validated. So remember to look for those little yellow or green and white machines each time you board a train in Italy and stamp your ticket the way Caterina did. It takes only a second but can save a good deal of money!

A word about the other major airports in Italy: Alitalia flights into Milan used to land primarily at Linate Airport, but nowadays, most passenger airlines land in Malpensa, which is the second largest international airport in Italy.

Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci Airport remains the largest international airport in Italy. It is located 26 km west of Rome, and the nearest city is Fiumicino (which is the old name the airport used to go by and is still used for the airport code: FCO). It is very simple to take the train from this airport to downtown Rome. Just follow the signs to the ticket counter, or buy a ticket at the on-site Alitalia office or from an automatic ticket machine. After a 30-minute ride, the train ends at Roma Termini, which is Rome’s central station.

The Marco Polo Airport serves the city of Venice and is on the mainland, near the town of Mestre, just across the lagoon. The major island of Venice (Venezia) is connected by a bridge to the mainland and is served by a local train station and a large bus station. A city bus or taxi can be taken over this bridge directly into Venice from the airport. A taxi ride to the nearby town of Mestre to the train station is possible and will connect you to points north of Venice on the mainland and to the train station in Venice, the Santa Lucia.

 —Adapted from Conversational Italian for Travelers, Chapter 3, “Cultural Note,” © 2012 by Stella Lucente, LLC, by Kathryn Occhipinti 

Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases
Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Phrases (with Restaurant Vocabulary and Idiomatic Expressions) is YOUR traveling companion in Italy! All the Italian phrases you need to know to enjoy your trip to Italy are right here and fit right into your pocket or purse.

   Available on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog

Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, is the author of the
Conversational Italian for Travelers
 series of books and a teacher of Italian for travelers to Italy in the Peoria and Chicago area.
“Everything you need to know to enjoy your visit to Italy!”

Join my Conversational Italian! Facebook group and follow me on Twitter at StellaLucente@travelitalian1  and start to learn Italian today for FREE!
Conversational Italian! Facebook Group
Tweet @travelitalian1 for Stella Lucente Italian

YouTube videos to learn Italian are available from © Stella Lucente, LLC.
Learn Conversational Italian.

More information on and photographs of Italy can be found on Facebook Stella Lucente Italian and Pinterest Stella Lucente Italian.
Facebook Stella Lucente Italian

Pinterest Stella Lucente Italian

Visit learntravelitalian.com/download.html to purchase/download Conversational Italian for Travelers and find more interesting facts and helpful hints about getting around Italy! Learn how to buy train tickets online, how to make international and local telephone calls, and how to decipher Italian coffee names and restaurant menus, all while gaining the basic understanding of Italian that you will need to know to communicate easily and effectively while in Italy. —From the staff at Stella Lucente, LLC

Train Travel in Italy for Your Dream Vacation

Stuffed calamari in tomato sauce in a bowl with crusty Italian bread next to it ready to sop up the sauce.

Stuffed Calamari, Fried Calamari and Stuffed Sardines for Your Italian Christmas Eve

Stuffed Calamari, Fried Calamari and Stuffed Sardines for Your Italian Christmas Eve

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog Try Stuffed Calamari, Fried Calamari or stuffed sardines for your Italian Christmas Eve this year! Recipes courtesy of Sicily and Sardinia.

Italian Christmas Eve means a feast of 7 fishes with Calamari, Stuffed or Fried and Stuffed Sardines 

It is an Italian tradition to serve fish for Christmas Eve, in observance of the Catholic holiday.  In some towns in Italy and in many Italian-American families, this tradition has turned into a feast that features fish and shellfish for antipasto, primo and secondo courses —  fish is served fried, stuffed, with pasta, stewed, and baked.  Some families serve seven different types of fish, although I’m not sure if anyone really knows where the number seven originated from.

Each year, I plan my “feast of the 7 fishes” with some tried and true dishes — my shrimp scampi,  for instance, is always a big hit for the primo course and easy to make.  Last year I had fun with the antipasto course, and cooked up Sicilian and Sardinian-style stuffed calamari and stuffed fresh sardines — which, by the way, do not smell or taste “fishy” at all if you buy them fresh.  They were both a hit with young and old alike, so I present them here for your family to try.  I’ve also included a simple method for fresh fried calamari, complete with an Instagram video, as a well-known and well-loved family starter to any Italian-American meal.

Buon appetito e Buon Natale!

—Kathryn Occhipinti


Make it an Italian Christmas Eve:
Stuffed Calamari Sardinian Style

Ingredients
(Makes about 12 stuffed  calamari (squid)

12 squid with about 3″ sacs

Stuffing:
Tentacles from 6 squid, finely chopped
1 egg
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 anchovy fillets, boned and preserved in olive oil
1 Tb and 1 tsp breadcrumbs (or more as desired)
salt and pepper
olive oil

Sauce:
olive oil
4 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
1 can ( 8 oz.) Italian  chopped Italian tomatoes
1/4 cup dry white wine

Prepare the calamari:

Buy calamari already cut and cleaned.  Frozen calamari is fine.  (For whole calamari: rinse, cut tentacles from body and remove the hard beak along the outside and the hard spine on the inside of the body. Then continue as below.)

Rinse again, take out any hard spine left in body and cut off outer fins.

Separate the body and tentacles into two bowls.  Rinse again if needed.  Drain any excess water, and pat dry.

Make the stuffing and stuff the calamari:

Put all the stuffing ingredients into a bowl and mix lightly until all are blended.

Add a little olive oil if too dry or a little more breadcrumbs, as needed. The mixture should be soft and hold together when picked up with the hand.

Spoon the stuffing into the calamari bodies,  filling about 3/4 of each sac.  Close with a toothpick.

Squid bodies lined up, stuffed, and the open end closed with a toothpick
Stuffed calamari, closed with toothpicks.

 

Cook the calamari in tomato sauce: 

Use a large frying pan that can fit al the calamari.

Pour in enough olive oil to coat the pan and come slightly up the sides and heat to medium high.  Add the garlic cloves and cook until they are a golden brown and then remove.

Put in the stuffed squid and brown both sides.

Stuffed calamari frying in olive oil on the stove.
Stuffed calamari frying in olive oil on the stovetop.

Add chopped tomatoes and any juice from the can and the white wine.  Cook at slow boil to boil off the alcohol in the white wine, then reduce heat to a simmer.

Cook at a slow simmer until calamari are cooked through, an additional 30 – 45 minutes or more.  The cooking time with vary with the size of the calamari, so cut into the calamari to make sure it is cooked through and cook longer if needed.

Stuffed calamari cooking in tomato sauce in a frying pan on the stovetop
Stuffed calamari cooking with tomatoes on the stove top.

When the calamari have finished cooking,  remove the toothpicks and place each on a separate platter, covered with the sauce.

Serve very hot, with crusty Italian bread to mop up the sauce!

stuffed calamari in tomato sauce are in a serving platter on a festive Christmas tablecloth
Stuffed calamari in tomato sauce, cooked and ready to serve.

Make it an Italian Christmas Eve:
Fried Calamari 

Ingredients
Calamari (Squid), frozen or fresh
flour
olive oil
salt

Buy calamari already cut and cleaned.  Frozen calamari is fine.  (For whole calamari: rinse, cut tentacles from body and remove the hard beak along the outside and the hard spine on the inside of the body. Then continue as below.)

Rinse again, take out any hard spine left in body and cut off outer fins.

Separate the body and tentacles into two bowls.  Rinse again if needed.  Drain any excess water, but no need to pat dry.

Cut each calamari body into rings, dredge in flour and shake off excess flour. The flour alone will  cling to the damp calamari and make a very light, batter-type coating when fried in olive oil.

Heat oil about an inch deep in a large frying pan over medium heat. Do not let olive oil  get too hot or smoke. Test olive oil by dropping one  lightly floured calamari ring into the oil. The oil is hot enough when the calamari sizzles. Maintain olive oil at medium heat throughout the frying process, turning burner heat up or down as needed.

To fry the calamari, drop lightly floured calamari rings into the olive oil.  Fry in batches and do not crowd the pan.  Turn as needed to brown evenly.  Fry the calamari rings first, and then the tentacles.

When the calamari are a golden yellow color, remove the calamari from the oil with a slotted spoon.

Drain any excess oil from the fried calamari in a bowl lined with a paper towel, and then immediately transfer to the serving bowl and salt lightly.  Mix.

Bring your fried calamari right to the table and enjoy hot! .

 

View this post on Instagram

Italian Christmas Eve recipe: Easy Fried Calamari for your feast of the 7 fishes! Buy calamari already cut and cleaned. Rinse, take out any hard spine left in body and cut of fins. Cut body into circles, dredge in flour and shake odd excess flour. The flour alone will make a very light, batter-type coating when fried in olive oil. Heat oil over medium heat. It is hot enough when a piece drops in sizzles. Drain oil on paper towels, transfer to serving bowl and salt lightly. Then fry tentacles same way. Enjoy hot out of the frying pan. For more Italian fish dishes check out www.blog.learntravelitalian.com tomorrow Dec 15………………………….. #osnap #osnapmedia @niafitalianamerican @osia_su #italianchristmas #italianchristmaseve #italianchristmasfood #italianchristmasfoodtraditions #italianchristmasdinner #feastofthesevenfishes #sevenfishesfeast #sevenfishdinner #italianfishdinner #christmaseve2019 #christmaseve2019🎄 #christmaseve2019♥️ #christmaseve2019🎅🏻🌲🎉

A post shared by Kathryn Occhipinti (@conversationalitalian.french) on

 


 

Make it an Italian Christmas Eve:
Stuffed Sardines Sicilian Style 

Ingredients
(For about 10 fresh sardines)

About 10 fresh sardines
Stuffing:
1/2 cup olive oil
4 Tbsp soft breadcrumbs
1/4 cup seedless, white raisins,  coarsely chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts, coarsely chopped
1/8 tsp sugar
3 salted anchovies,  boned and preserved in olive oil
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped finely
pepper
Top with 2-3 bay leaves (fresh if possible), torn into pieces

Make the filling for the sardines:

Heat 1/2 cup olive oil over moderate heat in a large frying pan and then add the breadcrumbs. Stir, cooking until breadcrumbs are lightly browned.

Put the breadcrumbs into a large bowl and allow to cool a bit.

Add the yellow raisins, pine nuts, and sugar.

Rinse the anchovies until most of the salt has been removed.  Pat dry. Chop into small pieces and then add to the filling in the bowl.

Add 2 -3 grinds of freshly ground pepper,  parsley and onion.

Mix all ingredients together with  a spoon.  Pick up with your hand and see if mixture will hold together.  Add a few drops of olive oil if needed and mix with your hands until mixture holds together enough to be pressed into the sardines.

Clean, stuff, and cook the sardines:

Process the fresh sardines as follows: Rinse well.  Cut off the heads.  Rinse again.  Slit open the belly of each sardine lengthwise and pull out the intestines and rinse again.  Pull out the backbone.  Rinse in salted water and wipe dry. Split open and lay flat.

Fresh Sardines are slit open, cleaned and shown lying flat before stuffing
Fresh sardines cleaned, split open and ready to stuff.

 

Stuffing bowl and the center sardine open with stuffing in it.
Sardine with stuffing prior to closing.

Place a little bit of the stuffing into each sardine, then close and place into a shallow cooking pan coated with a bit of olive oil.

 

Sardines are stuffed, folded over and have been placed into a pan, ready to cook
Stuffed sardines ready to cook.

 

 

 

 

Tear the bay leaves into several pieces and sprinkle them over the sardines .

 

 

 

Bake in the oven at 375°until sardines are cooked through and filling has browned, about 30 minutes.

When the sardines have finished cooking, sprinkle with freshly squeezed lemon juice and serve hot. Present them in their pan  with the juices or transfer to a separate plate.

Sardines in their pan, cooked and ready to serve
Stuffed sardines, cooked and ready to  serve.

— by Kathryn Occhipinti


 

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog

Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, is the author of the
Conversational Italian for Travelers
 series of books and a teacher of Italian for travelers to Italy in the Peoria and Chicago area.
“Everything you need to know to enjoy your visit to Italy!”

Join my Conversational Italian! Facebook group and follow me on Twitter at StellaLucente@travelitalian1  and start to learn Italian today for FREE!
Conversational Italian! Facebook Group
Tweet @travelitalian1 for Stella Lucente Italian

YouTube videos to learn Italian are available from © Stella Lucente, LLC.
Learn Conversational Italian.

More information on and photographs of Italy can be found on Facebook Stella Lucente Italian and Pinterest Stella Lucente Italian.
Facebook Stella Lucente Italian

Pinterest Stella Lucente Italian

Visit learntravelitalian.com/download.html to purchase/download Conversational Italian for Travelers and find more interesting facts and helpful hints about getting around Italy! Learn how to buy train tickets online, how to make international and local telephone calls, and how to decipher Italian coffee names and restaurant menus, all while gaining the basic understanding of Italian that you will need to know to communicate easily and effectively while in Italy. —From the staff at Stella Lucente, LLC

Italian Chicken Broth: Make Egg Drop Soup or Make it with Pastina Stars