All posts by Kathryn Occhipinti

About Kathryn Occhipinti

Dr. Kathryn Occhipinti is a radiologist of Italian-American descent who has been leading Italian language groups in the Peoria and Chicago areas for about 10 years. During that time, she founded Stella Lucente, LLC, a publishing company focused on instructional language books designed to make learning a second language easy and enjoyable for the adult audience. Using her experiences as a teacher and frequent traveler to Italy, she wrote the "Conversational Italian for Travelers" series of books, which follow the character Caterina on her travels through Italy, while at the same time introducing the fundamentals of the Italian language. The associated website www.learntravelitalian.com, provides free interactive dialogues recorded by native Italian speakers, cultural notes, and Italian recipes to make learning the language really come alive. Everything one needs to know to travel to Italy is in this series of books!

cucumbers plated to look like a flower with red onion in the center and greens and basil around the perimeter

Capresi and Panzanella Salads with Tomatoes and Cucumbers from Your Garden!

Capresi and Panzanella Salads with Tomatoes and Cucumbers!

 

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blogCapresi and Panzanella salads are best with fresh tomatoes and cucumbers from your garden!

Capresi and Panzanella Salads with Tomatoes and Cucumbers from Your Garden!

Capresi and Panzanella Salads with Tomatoes and Cucumbers from Your Garden is a partial reprint from a blog originally posted on July 28, 2019, titled: “Caprese and Panzanella Salads with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil.”

Need I mention that as an Italian-American tomatoes are always the focus of my Italian summer vegetable garden? And of course, at harvest time I love to make traditional Italian Caprese and Panzanella salads!

I plant several heirloom tomato varieties every spring from the family-run nursery I’ve found where I live now in Chicagoland. Late in the summer, when all the varieties have ripened, I  love mixing the the deep red tomatoes with golden yellow tomatoes to make a traditional Carpese salad. You can read all about the best method to make this salad in the reprinted blog below.

You can also read about a method to make Panzanella salad in my original blog on Italian tomato and basil salads, although my family did not make Panzanella salad when I was growing up.  As an adult, I had tried this salad in in restaurants and thought it a nice change from the usual Caprese salad, so I added it to my post.  Caprese and Panzanella salads, I thought, were the two important Italian tomato dishes.  Recently, I learned from a blog by Emiko Davies titled  “Bronzino’s Panzanella,” that Panzanella salad is indeed a popular and traditional Italian salad in Tuscany, mentioned by the great  Italian writer of the Decameron, Giovanni Bronzino in a poem, prior to the appearance of tomatoes in Italy.

We can assume that Panzanella salad started out as a way to use up old bread, as stale Tuscan bread lends itself well to being softened with a sprinkle of water. A little red onion, perhaps some basil, and olive oil and red wine vinegar might have been all an Italian housewife had available to lend some flavor her bread salad.  According to the recipe provided by Bronzino, cucumbers and even some arugula could be added to magically turn the bounty of summer into a crunchy and refreshing summer treat.

Serendipitously, I had been growing Armenian cucumbers in my garden for the very first time this year, when I came across Davies’ blog. When I read about Bronzino’s version of Panzanella salad, I made it myself and posted the result on Instagram on Conversationalitalian.french.   

Panzanella salad made Bronzino’s way, with cucumbers, was truly a revelation. The seeds of the Armenian cucumber were easy to remove from the center of the vegetable, and without the skin this variety of cucumber was light, crunchy, and flavorful. There are no real proportions to this salad; use as much reconstituted bread as you like and as much cucumber and other ingredients as you have on hand.  Now THAT’s Italian!

 

Read the reprinted blog below for the best methods to make Caprese and Panzanella Salad with tomatoes!

Also…

I’ve posted below  the image with the method for Panzanella Salad with cucumbers!

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

 

 

 

 

And now… the original story!

Caprese and Panzanella Salads

Making Caprese and Panzanella salads entails following a couple of simple methods, using whatever you have on hand, rather than following a strict recipe step by step. However, it is best to come as close as possible to the recommended ingredients, as the ingredients themselves will be the stars of each dish.

For the most mouth-watering Caprese salad imaginable, use fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes and soft, fresh buffalo mozzarella.  In fact, do not make this salad if you do not have a soft, buffalo mozzarella, as this is the mozzarella that is used in the island of Capri, just outside Naples, where the salad originated. The hard mozzarella is for cooking, as it melts easily; it is too rubbery to be eaten with the soft, vine-ripened tomatoes and will not meld with the tomato juices and olive oil properly.

Coarse sea salt adds extra flavor to the tomatoes and will draw out their juices to meld with the olive oil for the dressing. Top all with a generous drizzle of your favorite pungent or fruity, extra-virgin olive oil from Italy, rather than the a more bland olive oil that you would use for cooking on the stove top.

A note about extra-virgin olive oils:  A truly fresh extra-virgin olive oil will have a bit of a peppery flavor.  Most olive oils sold in the US are old enough to have lost this peppery overtone, but will retain varying degrees of fruitiness and grassiness. Taste a few first press, 100% extra-virgin olive oils from different regions of Italy and you will be surprised at the nuances in flavor each brings!

For Panzanella salad, which probably originated as a clever way to use up day-old, stale bread with red onion for flavor, be sure to use a crusty loaf of  good* Italian bread that is at least two days old and has dried out and hardened. Bread that has become stale naturally will need to be sprinkled with water to soften a bit prior to making this salad. Place the bread in a small bowl and sprinkle it with water the morning before you are planning to make the salad. The end result should not leave the bread mushy; the bread should spring back to life after the water is added if you are truly working with real Italian bread. If the crust is still too hard, it can be removed. Remember that the bread will continue to soften when it is combined with the vinegar and tomato juice when you make the salad.

If you want to make Panzanella salad with fresh Italian bread, you can always cut it into slices and dry it out in the oven just enough to be crunchy, or even add a bit of olive oil and brown it a bit to make croutons.

Panzanella salad originally did not contain mozzarella, but I like to include buffalo mozzerella in small pieces (bocconcini are nice), even though this is not traditional.

And, of course, large, sweet, fresh basil leaves from the garden are an essential ingredient for both Caprese and Panzanella salads!

But, whatever ingredients you have on hand, I’m sure you will enjoy these simple and refreshing tomato and basil salads on a hot summer day!  -Kathyn Occhipinti

*Good Italian bread means Italian bread made in a bakery with the correct flour and cooked so that it has the proper, crunchy crust and soft but chewy texture.  Only bread that has a good texture to begin with will “spring back” to life when you sprinkle it with water!  Do not attempt Panzanella salad with cheap, grocery store bread labeled “Italian bread,” which will usually have a very soft grain and often even a soft crust and turn to mush when moistened again with water. And of course, no American “white bread” please! -Kathryn Occhipinti

 


 

 Panzanella Salad

Tomato and bread Panzanella salad
Italian Panzanella salad with halved cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh torn basil and bread

Ingredients
(Serves 1-4)

 

Dry Italian bread, cubed, or large croutons
Sprinkle the dried Italian bread with water to soften
(see comments about the proper bread to use above)

1-2 large, vine-ripened tomato, cut into small wedges
or several cherry tomatoes, halved
sprinkle lightly with sea salt

1/2 red onion, sliced thinly into crescents

Extra-virgin Italian olive oil
Italian red wine vinegar

Mozzarella, preferably soft, cubed or small bocconcini (optional)
Large, freshly picked basil leaves, hand torn

Method

 

In a large dish, combine small wedges of fresh tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes and dry Italian bread (as pre-processed as above) and red onions.

Drizzle on extra virgin Italian olive oil and red wine vinegar and combine.  Make sure the bread has softened enough to be edible. If not, you may want to let the ingredients sit for a bit before finishing the salad.

Then add the optional mozzarella and torn basil leaves.

Mix gently.

Taste and drizzle with extra olive oil and vinegar if needed.

Mix again gently to combine all and enjoy!

 


 

Caprese Salad

 

Tomato, basil and mozzarella caprese salad
Italian Caprese Salad, with layers of tomato, buffalo mozzarella and basil leaves ready to share

Ingredients
(Serves 1-4)

3 large, vine-ripened tomatoes,
(each a different color to add interest;
heirloom tomatoes if desired)
Sea salt

Fresh buffalo mozzarella, sliced
Large, whole, freshly picked basil leaves
Extra-virgin olive oil from Italy

 

Method

In an individual or large dish, create colorful layers of tomato slices (sprinkled with sea salt), mozzarella slices, and basil leaves.

If making in a large plate of Caprese salad for a crowd, have the tomato and mozzarella slices lengthwise once they are assembled and place a piece of mozzarella in the center to create a “flower” pattern, as in the picture above.  Decorate with extra basil.

Let sit for about 15 minutes for the tomato juices to develop. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.

Serve with Italian bread to mop up the tomato juices and enjoy!

Check out my Instagram post if you’d like to see me actively making a Caprese salad that can be shared by two people.  Remember, the correct choice of  ingredients is the key to this simple “salad.  A touch of sea-salt to bring the juices out of the tomatoes that provide the acid for the “vinaigrette” and a drizzle of your favorite extra-virgin olive oil makes an exquisite summertime treat!

 

 


 

— 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

Capresi and Panzanella Salads with Tomatoes and Cucumbers from Your Garden

Author Kathryn Occhipinti holding a bowl of Gnocchi with Pesto alla Genovese

Pesto alla Genovese with Gnocchi: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Making Pesto!

Pesto alla Genovese with Gnocchi: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Making Pesto!

 

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blogPesto alla Genovese is a method that has withstood the test of time!

Pesto alla Genovese with Gnocchi: Everything You Always Wanted to Know!

Pesto alla Genovese with Gnocchi: Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Making Pesto! is a partial reprint from a blog originally posted on October 11, 2017, titled: “Pesto alla Genovese Meets American Aquaponic Farming in Chicago.” 

This summer I  have had the usual bumper crop of  fresh basil leaves from the basil plants in large pots that I keep in a sunny position in my garden and provide with an abundance of water.  The plants started to go to seed — make the green and white column of flowers at the end of each stalk — by mid June. So, I dutifully cut back my basil: at first just the flowers, then the stalks with the flowers, and then in mid July did a hard ct-back, taking both stalks and leaves, leaving about 50% of each plant. This will enable the basil plants in the pots to keep growing new stalks with new basil leaves, hopefully into August. (For more information about how to grow basil, visit my Instagram, Conversationalitalian.french.)

This procedure left me with an abundance of basil stalks and leaves, which luckily love to create new roots in a vase of water and will last a few weeks or even a month. I also love to make pesto at least 2-3 times a summer when I have an abundance of fresh basil leaves. 

There is truly nothing like the fresh aroma of newly crushed basil over a warm bowl of pasta. And best of all, my children love it!

Read the reprinted blog below to learn “everything you always wanted to know” about making pesto. I give a short history about my experiences trying to make basil,  the best (Genovese) basil plant to use and the theory behind the method. I have included a video in the original blog about  how to use a marble mortar and wooden pestle — essential equipment — no food processors, please!

Finally, at the end of this blog I have reprinted the recipe with the proportion of basil, garlic and cheeses that I like. Try my method and modify the ratio of ingredients for your family!

 

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 creating pesto 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!

Pesto alla Genovese is the famous bright green “pasta sauce” from the northern Italian region of Liguria, whose capital is the city of Genoa. My introduction to pesto, which was not a part of my southern Italian upbringing, was from one of those little glass jars I found in a grocery store in Peoria, Illinois. The jar had been labeled “pesto” by an Italian company. Back then, I was trying to learn to cook true Italian “regional” cooking and specifically to expand my sauce-making techniques beyond the ubiquitous and well-loved southern Italian red tomato sauce.  Read the full post here: Pasta alla Genovese.
—Kathryn Occhipinti


Italian Recipe: Kathryn’s Pesto alla Genovese
con Gnocchi

Ingredients and tools needed for making Pesto alla Genovese: Mortar and pestle as it is being used, olive oil, cheese, basil leaves
Pesto alla Genovese: Ingredients needed are shown as they are slowly ground together in a marble mortar with a wooden pestle.

Ingredients for Italian Recipe
Kathryn’s Pesto alla Genovese
(Serves 4)

Small leaves from 1 small sweet basil plant (Genovese basil is best!)
(about 3 cups of lightly packed leaves, rinsed, patted dry, stems removed)
1 to 2 small garlic cloves, peeled, halved lengthwise
(and bitter green center removed if present)
2 tablespoons Italian pine nuts
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cups of extra virgin olive oil, from Liguria, if possible

If desired: Prosciutto to line the bowl of gnocchi and pesto dressing for serving.

Method for the Pesto 

Note: Before starting, set a large pot of well-salted water on the stove to boil, and cook your pasta  or gnocchi to “al dente” tenderness (“to the tooth). Time the pasta so it finishes cooking just before the pesto is complete. Keep in mind that fresh pasta and gnocchi will take far less time to cook than dried pasta.

  1. Put the garlic cloves into the mortar with a few grains of salt and begin to crush. Add the pine nuts and continue to crush into a smooth paste.
  2. Remove the garlic/pine nut mixture from the mortar to a small bowl.
  3. Put a few of the basil leaves and a few grains of salt into the mortar and begin to crush, using the method shown in the link to the video in this blog post.
  4. As the basil leaves become crushed and release their essential oils, add a few more. Continue to crush the leaves, adding a few at a time, until all are crushed fairly uniformly.
  5. Add whatever salt is left to the crushed basil leaves, the garlic/pine nut mixture, and then drizzle in a bit of olive oil. Combine.
  6. Add the cheeses and a bit more olive oil. Combine.
  7. Drizzle in the rest of the olive oil while continuously stirring the garlic/pine nut/ crushed basil/cheese mixture until a creamy dressing has formed.
  8. Reserve 1 to 2 tablespoons of pasta water and mix into the pesto to warm.
  9. Quickly drain the pasta and put the warm pasta into a large serving bowl.
  10. Dress with your pesto, mix to coat, and serve immediately!

 

  • If desired, as in the Instagram video above, line a large bowl with prosciutto and carefully added your pesto dressed gnocchi. Allow gnocchi to warm the prosciutto a bit, and then serve. This idea from John Coletta’, chef of Quartino Restaurant in Chicago, in his cook book titled: “250 True Italian Pasta Dishes.”

 

A large bowl lined with prosciutto slices and filled with gnocchi that have been tossed to coat with pesto dressing.
A large bowl lined with prosciutto slices and filled with gnocchi that have been tossed to coat with pesto dressing. This presentation is courtesy of John Coletta, chef of Quartino Restaurant in Chicago.
  • If you would like to preserve your pesto rather than use it right away, it can be frozen in small plastic containers. Top off with a small amount of olive oil. Leave a small amount of room in the container for the liquid to expand and then cover.

 


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

Pesto alla Genovese with Gnocchi: Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know about Making Pesto!

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

Stare per: “To be about to” in Italian

Stare Per: “To be about to” in Italian

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog    Use “stare per” when speaking in Italian to let someone know you are “about to” do something!

In this blog, “Stare per: ‘To be about to’ in Italian “ we will focus on how to conjugate and use the Italian verb and preposition combination stare per. This verb combination is the way Italians let others know they are “about to” do something.

The heart of any language is its verbs.  I believe that to speak fluently in any language, it is important to have an in-depth understanding of how each verb is used in real life situations. And what can be more important than telling the one you love how special they are to you?

Enjoy the third topic in my blog series about Italian verbs: Stare per: “To be about to” in Italian.  —Kathryn Occhipinti

Special thanks to Italian instructor Maria Vanessa Colapinto.

Parts of this blog have been reposted from Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day! – “To be about to” with Stare per’ from Conversational Italian! a blog by the same author.  Check out this blog as well if you are interested in phrases to use every day!


Stare per — “to be about to” in Italian

As we’ve seen in a previous blog about the verb stare, although the direct translation of stare is “to stay,” over the centuries stare has also taken on the meaning of “to be” with respect to one’s general health. The verb stare is often used in other ways as well. For instance, with the addition of the preposition per, the “stare  per” combination conveys the meaning “to be about to.”

Stare is an –are verb that has an irregular root in the tu and loro forms. In the table below, the regular conjugations of stare are given in green and the irregular forms in brown, in order to make them easier to recognize. The stare conjugation table has been modified from our first blog on this topic to reflect the different meaning with the addition of the preposition per after the verb.

Stare per – to be about to 

io sto
per
I am about to
tu stai
per
you (familiar) are about to
Lei

lei/lui

sta
per
you (polite) are about to

she/he is about to

     
noi stiamo per we are about to
voi state
per
you all are about to
loro stanno
per
they are about to

 

 

Once we have stare conjugated to reflect the speaker, the rest is easy! Simply follow the conjugated form of stare with per and then the infinitive form of the verb that describes what you are “about to” do.

 

What are some things we may be “about to” do during the course of the day?  The actions of going to or returning from a place are very common.  For instance, if I were “about to” go to the store to pick up some wine for dinner, and want to inform a family member, the line may go something like this:

Sto per andare a comprare una bottiglia di vino. Preferisci rosso o bianco?
I am about to go to buy a bottle of wine. Do you prefer red or white?

Or, maybe your friend is putting on his coat, as if he were about to leave a gathering. Instead, you would like him to stay. You may say something like this (using the familiar command form of restare):

Stai per partire? È troppo presto! Resta qui un ora di più con me!
Are you about to leave?  It’s very early! Stay here an hour longer with me!

We can continue in this manner with the other verbs of “coming and going”  like arrivare (to arrive), venire (to come), entrare (to enter), tornare (to return), or rientrare (to come back).

There are many other daily activities that come to mind where stare per may be useful.  We are often “about to” say (dire) something important, or “about to” answer (rispondere) a question. We may be “about to”  write (scrivere), send (mandare), or read (leggere) an important text or email.

After hearing sad news, we may be about to cry (stare per mettersi a piangere).

Several commonly used verb combinations given above have been listed in the table below. How many more can you think of?

Stare per andare About to go
Stare per partire About to leave
Stare per arrivare About to arrive
Stare per venire About to come
Stare per entrare About to enter
Stare per tornare About to return
Stare per rientrare About to come back
Stare per dire About to say
Stare per rispondere About to answer
Stare per scivere About to write
Stare per mandare About to send
Stare per leggere About to read
Stare per mettersi a piangere About to cry

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

Now that we know how to say what we are about to do in the present tense, let’s go one a step further and talk about the past tense. In fact, many of the phrases listed in the last section are more commonly used in the past tense during a normal conversation.

For instance, the phrase, “I was about to say…” is often used when one speaker has interrupted another. “I was about to answer…!” might be used if one feels pressured into saying something too quickly. Or, is one is telling a story about an unfortunate event that has happened to a friend, this story might involve the sentence, “He/she was about to cry…”

In these cases, we have to conjugate stare in the past tense.  The imperfetto conjugation is given below. The rest of the sentence structure remains the same!

 

Stare imperfetto per — was about to

io stavo
per
was about to
tu stavi
per
you (familiar) were about to
Lei

lei/lui

stava
per
you (polite) were about to

she/he was about to

     
noi stavamo per we were about to
voi stavate per you all were about to
loro stavano per they were about to

Stavo per dire la stessa cosa!
I was about to say the same thing!

Stavo per rispondere, ma non mi hai dato il tempo!
I was about to answer, but you didn’t give me time!

Stava per mettersi a piangere quando le ho detto che nonna è in ospitale.
She was about to cry when I told her that grandma is in the hospital.

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

Another important use for the verb stare is to convey the idea that one is doing something right now.  Stare plus the gerund of an action verb creates the present progressive form. In English, the present progressive is the “ing” form of a verb  —  I am going, coming, doing, etc.

In Italian, the present progressive tense is used sparingly; it is reserved for a happening that is going on at the exact same time as the conversation. In short, where in English we commonly say “I am going,” to mean we will leave anywhere from one minute later to sometime in the near future,  in Italian, a simple, “Io vado,” will suffice. To stress that he or she is leaving momentarily, an Italian might instead use stare say, “Sto andando,”** but either tense is correct.

 

To form the present progressive tense, simply conjugate stare to reflect the speaker. Then add the gerund of the action verb that is to follow.

 

It is fairly simple to create a gerund to create the present progressive tense in Italian. Drop the -are, -ere, and -ire verb endings to create the stem. Then add –ando to the stem of the -are verbs and -endo to the stem of the -ere and -ire verbs. Most gerunds are regular, which generally makes for easy conjugation, although, of course, there are some exceptions! For more information on this verb type, check out our reference book, Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Verbs.”  

Let’s take  a few of our example sentences one step further, from being “about to” do something, to actually doing it “right away.” Notice how the different use of stare changes the meaning of each sentence!

Sto andando a comprare una bottiglia di vino. 
I am going (right now) to buy a bottle of wine. 

Il treno per Roma sta partendo!
The train for Rome is leaving (right now)!

Stavo dicendo la stessa cosa!
I was (just) saying the same thing!

Stavo rispondendo, ma mi hai interrotto!
I was answering, but you interrupted me!

A couple more points…

*Another common way to convey you are leaving right away is with the phrase, “Me ne vado,” from the verb andarsene, but this is a topic for another blog!

*Instead of saying, “Sto arrivando,” for “I’m coming right now,” Italians commonly say, “Arrivo!”

 

Cover of Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Verbs book resting on an Italian red-checkered tablecloth
Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Verbs” book to learn Italian. Fina an introduction to the Italian subjunctive mood in this book.

Stare per – “To be about to” in Italian

Grand Canal Venice with Gondolas

Valentines Day Sayings in Italian with “Sentirsi”

Valentines Day Sayings in Italian with “Sentirsi”

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog    Valentines Day Sayings for the one you love with the Italian verb “Sentirsi” !

In this blog, “Valentines Day Sayings in Italian with Sentirsi, “ we will focus on how to conjugate and use the Italian verb sentirsi when talking to your speacial someone on Valentines Day. Or, any day, for that matter!

The heart of any language is its verbs.  I believe that to speak fluently in any language, it is important to have an in-depth understanding of how each verb is used in real life situations. And what can be more important than telling the one you love how special they are to you?

Enjoy the second topic in my blog series about Italian verbs: Valentines Day Sayings in Italian with Sentirsi.  —Kathryn Occhipinti

Special thanks to Italian instructor Maria Vanessa Colapinto.

Parts of this blog have been reposted from Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day! – “How to Say ‘I feel…’ on Valentines Day with ‘Sentirsi'” from Conversational Italian! a blog by the same author.  Check out this blog as well if you are interested in phrases to use every day!  


 

Valentines Day Sayings in Italian:

Italian Verb Sentirsi

Conjugation:

  

The verb sentirsi means “to feel” in Italian and therefore sentirsi is the verb Italians use to describe their deepest emotions.

You will immediately notice from the -si ending that sentirsi is a reflexive verb. English, on the other hand, does not consider “feeling” a reflexive activity; so when we English speakers put our emotions into words, we do not use a reflexive verb. Because of this important difference, we will really have to learn how to think in Italian to express our feelings with sentirsi!  

Learning how to use the verb sentirsi is really not all that tricky, though, once you understand the general idea of how to conjugate a reflexive verb.  Just remember to add one of the reflexive pronouns (mi, ti, si, ci, vi, si) before the conjugated form of sentirsi. Then finish the sentence by saying how you feel, just as you would in English.

Sentirsi has been conjugated in full in the table below. Sentirsi is a regular -ire verb, so its conjugations are presented in green.  The reflexive pronouns that go with each conjugation are in blue. Since we do not use reflexive pronouns with the equivalent verb “to feel” in English, the Italian reflexive pronouns will not appear in the translation.

Sentirsi to feel

io  mi sento I feel
tu ti senti you (familiar) feel
Lei lei/lui si sente you (polite) feel she/he feels
     
noi ci sentiamo we feel
voi vi sentite you all feel
loro si sentono they feel

 

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

Sentirsi vs. Stare

People across the globe commonly talk about how they are feeling. and Italians are no different! Let’s try  to use our newly conjugated Italian verb sentirsi by creating some simple sentences  to describe how we may feel.

From the table above, we can see that the common statement, “I feel…” is, “Io mi sento…” But, of course, we always leave out the Italian subject pronoun, so the phrase that Italians use is conversation is just, “Mi sento…” To complete the phrase, just add how you are feeling after the verb!

One way to use the verb sentirsi in conversation is to say, “Mi sento bene!” which means, “I feel well!” (Notice Italians do not say, “I feel good,” which is actually grammatically incorrect, although we say this in English all of the time.) If we remember how to use our reflexive verbs, we know that if we want to ask someone how they are feeling, we can simply say, “Ti senti bene?”  “Are you feeling well?” (By the way, if you need a review of Italian reflexive verbs, please see previous blogs on this topic or our Conversational Italian for Travelers book, “Just the Important Verbs.”)

To have a conversation with one person about another person’s health, we can use the same phrase to relay a fact or to ask a question: “Si sente bene.”  “He/she is feeling well.” “Si sente bene?” “Is he/she feeling well?” 

(Io) Mi sento bene. (Io) Non mi sento bene. (Io) Mi sento male. I feel well. I don’t feel well. I don’t feel well.
   
(Tu) Ti senti bene. Do you feel well?
(Lei/Lui) Si sente bene. She/he feels well.
(Lei/Lui) Si sente bene. Does she/he feel well?

You may have read our Conversational Italian! blog about  stare    and learned that stare is also used to talk about general well-being, either “good” or “bad,” similar to the sentences above.” Since both stare and sentirsi are used to describe how we feel, the difference in meaning between these verbs  can seem insignificant. But, by convention, stare is always the verb used when greeting someone. And, although sentirsi can be used to make generalizations, the use of sentirsi is more often a specific referral about how we feel, either to a health issue or actual feelings of happiness, sadness, etc.

 

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

Adjectives to Use with Sentirsi

The table below is a list of adjectives that you can use to describe how you are feeling.  Just add one of these adjectives after the words, “I feel…” in Italian, just as you would in English. Remember that male speakers must use the “o” ending and female speakers the “a” ending for these adjectives that refer back to the subject.  If the adjective ends in an “e,” the ending does not need to be changed, of course.

bene well
contento(a) / felice happy 
male badly, unwell
nervoso(a) emotionato(a) nervous excited/thrilled
triste sad

Some simple example sentences:

Mi sento conteno. I am happy. (male speaker)
Mi sento contenta. I am happy. (female speaker)
Mi sento triste. I feel sad. (male or female speaker)

Notice, that both “contento(a)” and “felice” mean “happy” in Italian.  But when an Italian wants to describe an internal feeling of happiness, the word chosen is usually “contento(a).”  

Contento also translates into the English word, “content,” meaning to feel comfortable with or about something. The phrase, “Contento lui!” translates as, “Whatever makes him happy!” 

Also, a note about feeling “excited” about things.  In America, a very common phrase is, “I am excited…” about what I am about to do, or perhaps an event I will attend. In Italy, the word for “excited” or “thrilled” is “emotionato(a).” Although the Italian word emotionato sounds to the English speaker like “emotional,the Italian adjectives for emotional are actually, “emotivo(a),” or “emozionale.” Be careful! The Italian adjectives emotivo(a) and emozionale are most commonly used to mean “excited” with a negative connotation.

The words emotionato and emotional, which sound like they should have similar meanings in each language, but do not, are often called, “false friends.”

 

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

Valentines Day Sayings with Sentirsi

Now that we know how to make sentences with the verb sentirsi, let’s see how we can tell others how we feel on Valentines Day, or La Festa Degli Innamorati, as the Italians call this day.

One of the legends surrounding Saint Valentines Day is that San Valentino, a priest in the Christian church who was jailed by the Romans, wrote the girl he loved a farewell love letter and signed it ‘Your Valentine.”  He knew that this lettera d’amore, would be the last he would write to her before his execution as a Christian. What do you imagine he could have written in this letter?

The Italian phrase for “I love you,” — when talking about love in a romantic way — is easy. It takes just two short words to relay your special feelings for someone: “Ti amo.”  But after that, what do you say? How do you tell someone how wonderful they make you feel when you are with them?

Below are a few expressions that one can use on Valentines day, some of  which use the verb sentirsi.

Quando ti vedo… mi sento contento(a). When I see you… I am happy.
…mi sento un uomo fortunato. I feel like a lucky man.
…mi sento una donna fortunata. I feel like a lucky woman.
…sento che la mia vita è appena cominciata.* I feel like my life has just begun.
… sento che il mondo è tutto mio.* I feel like the world is all mine.

*You will notice from two of our examples above that the verb sentire was chosen for the Italian verb that means “to feel,” rather than the reflexive sentirsi. In these two cases, sentire is used in order to make a general comparison about how one’s feeling relates to something else, rather than to state one’s exact feeling. This type of comparison is called a simile and is used to make an idea more vivid — or in our examples,  more “flowery” and romantic.  It is easy to spot a comparison in Italian, because “che” will be used to link one’s feeling to the descriptive phrase.  In English we can translate che into “like.” 

Sentire is used in the following to phrases in our table below as well, but for a different reason.  These two examples use the sentence structure, “You make me feel…” which requires sentire to be used in it’s infinitive form.

Mi fai sentire molto contento(a). You make me feel very happy.
Mi fai sentire che tutto è possibile. You make me feel that everything is possible.

 

If the time “feels right” for you and your Italian love to “officially” declare your  feelings for each other,  you may want to try the important phrases listed here.

  Vuoi essere la mia fidanzata? Do you want to be my girlfriend?
Vuoi essere il mio fidanzato? Do you want to be my boyfriend?
Vuoi stare insieme a me per sempre? Do you want to stay together forever?
Vuoi fidanzarti con me? Do you want to get engaged (engage yourself to me)?
Vuoi fidanzarti con me? Will you be my fiancée/finance?
Vuoi sposarti con me? Do you want to get married (marry yourself to me)?
Vuoi sposarti con me? Will you marry me?

 

How would you use sentirsi to tell your love how you feel? Please leave some examples. I’d love to hear from you!

One last note…

Italians do not use the words contenta or felice, to wish each other a “Happy Valentines Day,”  but instead use “buon/buono/buona,” as for other holiday expressions, as in: Buona Festa degli Innamorati! Click on this blog from expoloreitalianculture.com if you are interested in learning more about the traditions of Valentines Day in Italy.

Buon Festa degli Innamorati a tutti voi!

 

Cover of Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Verbs book resting on an Italian red-checkered tablecloth
Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Verbs” book to learn Italian. Fina an introduction to the Italian subjunctive mood in this book.

Valentines Day Sentiments in Italian with “Sentirsi”

Reference Book: Just the Verbs

Use “Passare” to Speak Italian like a Native

Use “Passare” to Speak Italian Like a Native

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog    Speak Italian like a native when you use the Italian verb “Passare” !

In this blog, “Use ‘Passare’ to Speak Italian Like a Native, “ we will focus on how and when to use the Italian verb passare during daily conversation. This is the start of a new series, and I will try to post an in-depth analysis of a different Italian verb every few months.

The heart of any language is its verbs. Too often, language teachers focus on verb conjugation drills and provide a few example sentences, assuming that the student then has the tools he or she needs to communicate. Although many Italian verbs have similar meanings to those in English, and it is sometimes easy to transition between English and Italian during conversation, other times the use of an Italian verb will vary from its English counterpart. I believe that to speak fluently in any language it is important to have an in-depth understanding of how each verb is used in real life situations.

In which situation will one verb commonly be chosen over another? How will the point one is making change depending on the verb chosen? How will the meaning of the chosen verb change with use of the reflexive counterpart of the verb? This information must be studied and understood so it can be easily accessible when it comes time to have a conversation. Since this information is not commonly found in text books, I have decided to make it the focus of a blog series.

“Passare,” the  Italian verb that means “to pass by” is one of those verbs that is important to “get to know” if one wants to use it correctly.

Enjoy the first topic in this series: Use”Passare”to Speak Italian Like a Native.
 —Kathryn Occhipinti

Special thanks to Italian instructor Maria Vanessa Colapinto.

Parts of this blog have been reposted from Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day! – “The Many Uses for “Passare” from Conversational Italian! a blog by the same author.  Check out this blog as well if you are interested in phrases to use every day!

 


 

Speak Italian Like a Native:

Italian Verb Passare

The Italian verb passare means “to pass,” as in “to pass through,” “pass by,” “pass time,” or “spend time.” This verb is used in many ways in Italian! We use the verb “to pass” or “passed” less often in informal English, often defaulting to more general English verbs like, “get/gone,” put” or “spend/spent” when we really mean “pass or passed.” But in Italian, it is important to be more specific and use the verb passare if you want to sound like a native when describing situations that have come to pass!

 

1. Use passare when you will “pick up” or “spend time with” someone

  • Use the Italian verb passare when you want to “pass by” and “pick someone up.” Passare is used in the important everyday expression “passare a prendere,” which means “to pick (someone) up (by car).”  
  • In the same way, use the verb passare to describe “dropping in to see” someone or “dropping in to visit” someone with the phrases, “passare a far visita” and “passare a trovare.” The latter phrase is similar to, but not identical in meaning to “andare a trovare,” which you may recall means “to go to visit” someone.
  • If you are inviting someone to visit you informally, but in an business setting, simply use passare with “in ufficio.” This phrase may be useful if you do not have a specific time you need to see someone on a particular day.
  • Another common informal phrase is “passare un attimo da casa,” which means, “to drop by the house for a bit.” Use this phrase to invite a friend over for an informal get-together or quick meeting at your house. If you use the verb passare in conversation, this will signal both your familiarity with both the person you are visiting, and with the Italian language!
Passerò/Passo a prenderti alle otto.”
I will (pass by and) pick you up at 8 AM.” 

Side note: if you want to ask someone to “pick you up” from a particular place, venire is used with prendere:

“Può venire alla stazione a prendermi?”
“Can you (polite) come to the station and get me?”

And a few more examples:

Domani, passo a far visita a mia zia Anna.
Tomorrow, I will drop in to see my Aunt Ann.
Domenica, passo a trovare la mia amica del cuore Maria.
On Sunday, I will drop in to visit my dear friend Maria.
Per favore, passi in ufficio domani mattina,
alle otto o dopo.
Please drop in to my office tomorrow morning,
at 8 AM or later. (polite)
La settimana prossima, passeremo un attimo da casa mia.
Next week, let’s drop by my house for a bit.

 

2. Use passare to mention somebody “passing by.”

  • If a person has recently “passed by,” someone else or “passed by”/ “gone through” a place, whether walking or driving, we must use essere as our past tense helping verb. Notice that this differs from English, and the English translation uses the verb “to have” instead.
“Ma quando Giovanni è passato davanti a me, l’ho riconosciuto.”
“But when John passed by in front of me, I recognized him.”
Michele non in piazza ancora. È passato!
Michael is not in the piazza anymore. He has passed by!

 

3. Use passare when making references about time

  • Use the verb passare to talk about time “passing by” in Italian, just as we do in English.  Time “passes by” all by itself, and is the subject of the sentence, so we must use essere (to be) as our past tense helping verb.
“Quanto tempo è passato!” ha detto Maria quando lei ha incontrato una vecchia amica* per strada.
“How much time has gone by!” Mary said when she met an old friend on the street. 

*una vecchia amica = an old (longtime) friend; una amica vecchia= a friend that is old in years

  • If we want to talk about how we were doing something “to pass the time,” in the recent past, or if we have “spent time at” a certain location, we must use the verb passare with avere as our helping verb for the past tense.
  • To mention that you have “passed the night together with someone,” and imply a close relationship with that person, use the phrase, “passare una serata insieme.” 
  • To express the wish that someone “passes time well” over the holidays, use the verb passare with avere for the helping verb. (Notice the use of the subjunctive tense for avere with the verb sperare (to wish) in the example sentence.)
Ieri, ho passato tutto il pomeriggio a casa di Giulia.
Yesterday, I stayed at Julia’s house all afternoon.
Ieri sera, io e Michele abbiamo passato la serata insieme.
Last night, Michael and I spent the night together.
“Passa un buon Natale a Chicago!”
“Have (spend) a nice Christmas in Chicago!”
“Spero che la famiglia abbia passato un buon Natale!”
“I hope that the family had a nice Christmas!”
Lascia passare  i mesi dell’inverno e d’estate pensiamo alle vacanze.
Let the winter months pass and in the summer we will think about vacation.

4. Use passare when talking on the telephone

  • Use the verb passare to ask someone to “put through” another person talking on the telephone to you. This situation is encountered most often at work, of course, when trying to reach an individual important enough to have a secretary to screen calls. The first example given below is therefore in the polite tense. Now-a-days many individuals have cell phones, so it is less common, but still possible, to call a land-line at home and have a family member answer, so the same question may also be useful in the familiar tense.
  • When describing the act of passing the phone to someone in the past tense, use the helping verb avere (to have).
  • Notice the use of definite and definite pronouns to replace subject pronouns and names in the last examples.  If you need a refresher course on how to use these pronouns, check out Chapter   in Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Grammar.
Mi può passare il signor Rossi? Can you put me through to Mr. Rossi?
Passami Michele! Put me through to Michael!
Ho passato Michele a te.  I’ve put Michael through to you. (Italian “a te” not frequently used.)
Ti ho passato Michele! I’ve put Michael through to you!
Te l’ho passato! I’ve put him through to you!

 

5. Use the reflexive passarsi to exchange things with someone

  • Finally, the reflexive verb, passarsi, has a slightly different meaning from the non-reflexive form that we have been discussing above.  The reflexive verb passarsi means “to exchange” something and is used in the same way as the verb scambiarsi. Both verbs take essere in the past tense, of course, because they are reflexive!
“Allora, ci siamo passati i numeri di telefono per tenerci in contatto d’ora in poi.”
“Anyway, we exchanged telephone numbers and will stay in contact from now on.”

 

Remember how to use the Italian verb passare in conversation and I guarantee
you will use this verb every day!

And remember to study our Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Verbs” book if you want more real life examples of all the important Italian verbs you will need to know!

Cover of Conversational Italian for Travelers Just the Important Verbs book resting on an Italian red-checkered tablecloth
Conversational Italian for Travelers “Just the Verbs” book to learn Italian.

   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

Use “Passare” to Speak Italian Like a Native

pot of soup on the stove with ladle full of chickpeas and cans of chick peas in on the counter

Chick Pea Soup with Ribs (Ceci con le Costine) for All Souls Day

Chick Pea Soup with Ribs for All Souls Day 

Best Kathy Twitter Pic edited for blog Chick Pea Soup with Ribs (Ceci con le Costine)  is a tradition in the northwest Italian region of Liguria as part of the celebration of All Souls Day.  

 

Make a warm bowl of Chick Pea Soup for  your family on November 2nd! 

Today, I’m told, Italians celebrate the Halloween that we in America have popularized around the world with costumes, candy for the children,  and parties for the adults. Of course, this is all great fun and my children always celebrate Halloween on October 31st.  But, I’ve also been told that the Italian traditions for the days after Halloween, All Saints Day and All Souls Day on November 1st and 2nd are still followed in Italy, and the food traditions have remained intact.

Since my father passed away almost 5 years ago, I have come to realize the importance of a day like All Souls Day.  I want my children to remember the times they shared with their grandfather and other relatives who are no longer with us. Setting aside a special day to get together and reminisce about the past is one way to make sure we remember the times we cherished together as a family. After all, our connections to the past help to shape our future as well.

I was especially happy when I recently came across a blog by Cinzia from Instant Italy  about All Souls Day.  I discovered that in Liguria Italians celebrate All Souls Day with a special chick pea soup that uses ribs to flavor the broth, called  ceci con le costine.  I’ve made my own version of this soup to for my Sunday “remembrance” dinner in November this year. Given the circumstances (i.e. given that it is still 2020), this soup will be a warming treat I can present in decorative jars and drop on a few doorsteps.

Why not try to make this soup for your family? My version is like a simple minestrone soup, but without the pasta and the cooking time can be split up into two days. It’s a great way to start off the fall season!

If you’d like to read Cinzia’s blog to learn more about how Italians celebrate the Halloween season, just click on this link:  All Saints’ Day in Italy.

-Kathryn Occhipinti

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

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Italian rib and chickpea soup for All Souls Day Nov 2, after Halloween. Celebrated in Italy to remember those in the family who have passed. Method: Brown garlic and ribs or veal bones in olive oil, add 16c water, coarsely chopped onion, celery, carrots, and bunch of celery. Stir once and let simmer at least 2h until meat falls off bone. Soak 1 lb dried chickpeas in water in separate bowl. Remove bones and vegs from broth. Refrig broth overnight. Skim off fat and add chickpeas. Cook 1 hr. Remove 1 c and puree; add back. Add final vegs: finely chopped onion, celery, carrots, 1 can 28 oz. chopped tomatoes. Cook until all vegs soft, stirring, and then add fresh Swiss chard or other green. Enjoy! #osnap #allsoulsday #allsouls #italiansoup #italiansoups #chickpearecipes #chickpeastew #chickpeasoup #chickpeasoupforthesoul #chickpeasouprecipe #italianholiday #italianholidays #november2nd

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

 

 

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


 Chick Pea Soup with Ribs for All Souls Day
(Ceci  con le Costine)

pot of soup on the stove with ladle full of chickpeas and cans of chick peas in on the counter
Chick pea and rib soup for All Souls Day in Italy (Cece con le Costine)

Ingredients
For the Broth 

(Best if made a day ahead)

1 lb. pork ribs or veal soup bones
Olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, papery skin removed
1 medium onion, skin removed and quartered
2 stalks of celery, chopped coarsely
3-4 carrots, chopped coarsely
1 bunch fresh parsley tied with cooking twine

1 lb. bag of dried chick peas, soaked in water overnight to soften
-or-
2 cans (16 oz.) chick peas, drained

Ingredients
For the Soup
(To be added to the broth)

1 onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, finely chopped
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
chick peas, either dried/soaked or canned (as above)
1 can (28 oz.) Italian plum tomatoes, chopped
Fresh or frozen Swiss Chard or Spinach

 

Procedure

Make the Broth
(Day 1)

Use a large soup pot or stock pot for this recipe.

Pour 2 Tbsp. of olive oil into the stock pot. Add the pork ribs or veal bones and 2 cloves of garlic, intact but flattened with the back of a knife. Salt and pepper the ribs. Brown the ribs on all sides over medium heat, turning while they cook.

Add 16 cups of water and the coarsely chopped onion, celery, carrots and the bunch of parsley.  Stir.

Cook the broth uncovered as follows: Bring to a boil  over high heat and then lower to medium low heat to keep the broth at a simmer until the meat has cooked and is falling off the bone, about 2 -3 hours.  Skim off any foam that forms on the top of the soup periodically, but do not stir the soup while the broth is cooking.

After the broth has cooked long enough to gain flavor from the ribs and vegetables, remove the ribs and vegetables and parsley.

Put the pot of broth into the refrigerator if you have two days to make the soup. This will allow any fat to float to the surface and harden so it can be skimmed off the next day. Otherwise, proceed to make the soup.

 

Make the Soup
(Day 2)

The next day, take the broth out of the refrigerator and skim the fat off the top.

Put the pot on the stove. Add the soaked chickpeas and cook until they have softened, about 1 hour.  (If you have a bag of old chick peas have been sitting in the cupboard for awhile, they may take longer to soften.)

Remove 1 cup of the pre-cooked chick peas and puree.  Add back to the soup.
If using canned chick peas instead of dried, add the canned chick peas, with one cup pureed, at this time into the soup.

Add the finely chopped onion, celery, carrot and chopped plumb tomatoes with their juices from the can.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cook until all vegetables have softened.

Add Swiss chard leaves or spinach leaves.  Cook until the greens have wilted.

Serve the soup hot,  with grated Parmesan cheese and a loaf of crusty Italian bread.

 

 

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 myConversational Italian!Facebook group and follow me onTwitter at StellaLucente@travelitalian1  and start tolearn Italiantoday forFREE!
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 ItalianandPinterest Stella Lucente Italian.
Facebook Stella Lucente Italian

Pinterest Stella Lucente Italian

Visitlearntravelitalian.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

Chick Pea Soup with Ribs (Ceci con le Costine) for All Souls Day

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 mixed group 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/was 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 myConversational Italian!Facebook group and follow me onTwitter at StellaLucente@travelitalian1  and start tolearn Italiantoday forFREE!
Conversational Italian! Facebook Group
Tweet @travelitalian1 for Stella Lucente Italian

YouTube videosto learn Italianare available from © Stella Lucente, LLC.
Learn Conversational Italian.

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

Pinterest Stella Lucente Italian

Visitlearntravelitalian.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 make Italian subjunctive 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 polite commands with the Italian subjunctive mood. 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. (The exception is the singular present tense command -are verb form.) Otherwise, the verb endings will be the same as for the present tense. See how this works in more detail below.

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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 a single ending that is identical to the present tense.  For the noi imperative form, the meaning of the verb changes to: “Let’s… ” 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  the auxiliary verbs avere (to have) and essere (to be), and the irregular verb stare.  Remember that stare, which originally meant “to stay,”  often means “to be” in matters of health. The familiar imperative conjugations for the auxiliary verbs and additional commonly used verbs are given in the tables below.

Imperative Irregular Auxiliary Verbs and Stare

  Avere

(to have)

Essere

(to be)

Stare

(to stay/to be)

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

 

Common 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 un favore!  Do me favor!
Fammelo!                  Do 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 follow,  with our command form of dare, which is “di”  and subjunctive verbs faccia and vediamo 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 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 (presente congiuntivo) 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 command form, as it is no longer in common use.

The table below gives the conjugation for the first three persons of the present subjunctive mood (presente congiuntivo), for the -are, -ere, and -ire groups of verbs.  For a polite command, we need only to focus on the Lei form in the present subjunctive but notice that the endings are the same for all three persons for the three types of verbs.

 

Subjunctive Mood – Present Tense (Presente Congiuntivo)

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 and Stare for Polite Commands

  Avere

(to have)

Essere

(to be)

Stare

(to stay/be)

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!

 

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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 present 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 un favore!       Do me a favor!
Polite:      Mi faccia un favore!

Familiar: Fammelo!                       Do it for me!
Polite:      Me lo 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!”

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 Italian Subjunctive (Part 7): Italian Subjunctive Commands