My 3 Favorite Cheap Eats in Rome: Gelato Edition

Recognize the brand? Hint: This photo was taken in Monti.

Recognize the brand? Hint: This photo was taken in Monti.

Rome is one of those wonderful places that has a gelato store around every  corner. By following Katie Parla's "avoid places with the Smurfs flavor" rule, I can safely say that I haven't had bad ice cream in the eternal city. (Smurfs in Italian = i puffi, which is why a printout of Smurfette is sometimes used to indicate the bubblegum flavor). That said, I do have a preference, one that's gotten so specific it's severely cut down on my gelato intake. You see, once a girl has had awesome gelato, its hard to settle for mediocre.

So, where are my go-to places?

Because I'm about to very conspicuously omit La Romana and World Gelato, I'll caveat my preferences by saying I eat a pretty low sugar diet. This has lowered my  tolerance for sweetness, so I tend to prefer desserts with subtler tastes. My preferred flavors are also nut-based (pistachio, almond, hazelnut) as opposed to vanilla or chocolate. This skews my opinion quite a bit.

Best Flavor Selection: Fatamorgana

When in Monti, no matter how cold the weather, I always make this gelato stop. I recommend going with friends. That way, you can maximize your tasting experience by trying other people's selections. I've tried my best not to repeat choices, but I have a weakness for Ricotta and Figs, Cardamom Almonds, and Zabaione with Wild Strawberries. For fans of the classics, Tiramisu, Coffee, and Dark Chocolate is a great combination.

Best Texture and Toppings: Come il Latte

If one were to compare vanilla to vanilla (or chocolate to chocolate), I think Come il Latte might win over Fatamorgana by a hair. When it comes to texture, creaminess, and high-quality ingredients, this place is hard to beat. In addition to the usual "cream or no cream" dilemma, you also get dark chocolate as an option. It's a topping I can never bring myself to turn down. 

Best Overall: Gelateria dei Gracchi

Gelateria dei Gracchi is responsible for the sharp fall in my gelato consumption. Yes, you read that right--"sharp fall." You see, unlike Fatamorgana and Come il Latte, both of which are located in areas I frequent on a regular basis (Monti and Via Veneto, respectively), Gelateria dei Gracchi a bit out of the way (near Piazza Regina Margherita). Because I like it best, I often decide against wasting calories on the other places, turning the act of eating gelato into a calculated decision instead of a convenient snack. In my humble opinion, this gelateria strikes the perfect balance between innovative flavors and overall taste and texture, which makes it one of my favorite cheap eats in all of Rome. 

It took me over a year of living here to settle on this extremely subjective list. Close runner ups include the aforementioned La Romana and World Gelato, as well as Pompii (which has the best tiramisu, pretty decent gelato, and is perhaps the most conveniently located for tourists--aka, near the Spanish Steps). 

Do you have a favorite (cheap) place to eat in Rome? Let me know in the comments!

Learning Italian in Rome - Phrase of the Week: Fatto io (I made it.)

Okay, this is basically an excuse to post one of my favorite Italian commercials (ironically, starring an American actor). No, it isn’t the George Clooney Nespresso spots, though I like those too. It’s a pretty old one by Dustin Hoffman. 

I also needed something short and sweet, but with an expression I’ve heard a lot. Drumroll please…

Fatto io.

Expr: Short for “L’ho fatto io.” - I made it.
Related: “Faccio io.” - I’ll do it.
Also Related: “Facciamo noi.” - We’ll do it.
Heard a lot: “Fasciate voi?” - Are you all going to do it?

Obviously, the verb Fare (to do) is pretty nifty, and above are just a few of its uses. Are we ready for the video?

Lezioni di Caffè - Lessons in Coffee

Super easy, right? Here’s the quick and dirty breakdown. (Note, these aren't literal translations. It's how I would actually say these phrases in English.)

Maestro. Signore Vergnano. Tu insegna a me il caffè Italiano. Cominciamo! 

Okay, to be fair, I do think this line should have been in the Lei form (seeing as how he started off with “Maestro” and “Signore). Nonetheless, they are being informal. The only things you probably need to know here is that insegnare is the verb “to teach” and cominciare is the verb “to start” 

Those who’ve learned how to conjugate -are verbs might ask: “So if he’s using the Tu form, why did he say insegna instead of insegni?” Short answer? He’s using the imperative form (giving an order), in which case the conjugation is flipped (Italian is evil, I know). 

Cominciamo is the equivalent of us saying “Let’s start!”

Lungo. Normale. Corto. Macchiato. Scusa Sig. Vergnano.

Okay, the words are the same (Long, Normal, Short, Macchiato), but in Italy, these sizes have no relation to what you’re used to at Starbucks. A caffè normale is an American espresso. A macchiato is an espresso with a dollop of milk (a very small dollop). One would think that lungo would be a double espresso, but no—it’s an espresso with a little more hot water (but the same amount of coffee/caffeine). Corto is obviously an espresso with a little less water. An actual double espresso would be a doppio. Everyone probably already knows that scusa means “Pardon/I’m sorry.”

Franco, ti piace? Moltissimo. Ahh… Fatto io.

Ti piace? means “Do you like it?” The verb to like “piacere” works quite differently than in English. The way I think about it is that it literally means “To be pleasing to.” (A te=ti) piace il caffè? literally translates to “Is the coffee pleasing to you?” as opposed to “Do you like coffee?”

Dulcis in fundo, Fatto io means “I made it.”

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Tara Quan

Globetrotter, lover of languages, and romance author, Tara Quan has an addiction for crafting tales with a pinch of spice and a smidgen of kink. Inspired by her travels, she enjoys tossing her kick-ass heroines and alpha males into exotic contemporary locales, fantasy worlds, and post-apocalyptic futures. Visit Tara at www.taraquan.com

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Learning Italian in Rome - Phrase of the Week: Ci sto! (I'm in!)

Yes, I'm aware it's been an age since I posted one of these. I'm on Italian time, what can I say? But the August break has given me the energy to attempt another one of these posts. As many people already know, the Learn to Fly - Foo Fighters Rockin1000 Official Video went viral last Thursday, garnering over 19 million views on YouTube as of the time of writing, along with a promise from the band to organize a concert in Cesena. 

As it so happens, the video that was used to launch the project's crowdfunding campaign is perfect for reinforcing a phrase that somehow didn't make it into the syllabi of any of my Italian classes. Drumroll, please....

Ci sto! 

Expr: I'm in! - Let's do this! - I'm down! 

Pretty useful phrase, don't you think? And on the scheme of things, it's not particularly slang either. My guess is that a lot of Italian teachers don't wan't to rompere il vaso di Pandora with the whole "ci" business (this pronoun is everywhere, serving every function and no function at the same time). Anyhow, let's check out the video that got this crack team close to $50,000 for the Rockin 1000 concert.

Let's see how much of it I managed to figure out, shall we? (Note, these aren't literal translations. It's how I would actually say these phrases in English.)

È va bene. Velo racconto. Tutto è iniziato cosi. 

Okay, fine. I will tell you all about it. It all started like this.  - So far, pretty simple right? By the way, I'm digging the guy's accent. It's much easier to understand than what I'm used to in Rome. (Velo = vi + lo = à voi + lo) (p.p.s. To whoever writes Italian textbooks: double pronouns really need their own chapter, closer to the beginning. They should not be relegated to an appendix.)

Una mattina comunque [I think...], mentre facevo colazione, ho sentito un richiamo. 
Fabio, I really want to try piadina. Get me to Romagna.

Anyway, one morning, while I was having breakfast, I heard a call. - By the way, a piadina is a toasted wrap of sorts (only it's left open, and not actually "wrapped"). Usually, there's prosciutto, mozzarella, and arugula in the middle. Google image it, and you'll see a nice assortment.  

Senti. Ho avuto un idea. Folle. Voglio chiedere a Dave Grohl di venire a suonare a Cesena. 
Ma chi è?
Come chi é? I Foo Fighters.

Listen. I had an idea. [A] crazy [one].  I want to ask Dave Grohl to come and play in Cesena. But who is [Dave Grohl]? What do mean, who is [he]? The Foo Fighters! - Senti is literally "Listen," but it seems to be randomly inserted at the start of a lot of conversations, especially when one is asking another person for something.

Lo sai che è impossibile, vero? 
Come se chiedesse mio nipote di invitare Batman a sua festa di compleanno. 
Christian Bale, intendo, con il costumino.

You know it's impossible, right? [The same as my nephew asking] to invite Batman to his birthday party. Christian Bale, I mean, with his little costume.  - So who spotted the imperfect subjunctive tense (it's in bold)? As you can see, chiedere (to ask) miraculously converts into the gerund in the English version. 

Perché non ce ne invitiamo Bono Vox?
Dai Fabio, ti prego [a name I can't make out].
E perché non invitiamo [another name I can't make out]. Un po che non ci vede in giro.

Why not invite Bono Vox? Come on, Fabio, I beg you, [Celebrity A]. And why not invite [Celebrity B]. It's been a while since one has seen him/her around. - Sorry guys, my pop culture knowledge is sub-par, so I couldn't make out the names of what I assume to be famous people. By the way, check out the first an third sentences. I'm convinced "ce ne" exists to confuse non-Italian speakers. 

Ma stai facendo per una tipa. Puoi dirmelo. 
Ma quale tipa? Cosa stai dicendo? Lo faccio per me. Lo faccio per te. Lo faccio per l'umanità intera. 
Addirittura?

But you're doing this for a chick right? You can tell me. But what chick? What are you saying? I'm doing it for me. I'm doing it for you. I'm doing it for the entire human race. Is that so?Okay, I had to look it up. Tipa is apparently equivalent to the American slang: "chick." 

In somma, mi é venuto un' idea. È fuori di testa. Se vuoi tela racconto. Ci stai?

To some it up, an idea came to me. It's out of this world [he actually says "head"]. If you want, I'll tell it to you. Are you in? - In somma means "in summary," but it's basically a very common verbal filler, equivalent to "like," or "you know." By the way, Italians love their pronouns.

Lo faccio per te. Ci sto.
Va bene. Ci sto.
Certo. Ci sto.
Ci sto.

To drill in the phrase.... I'll do it for you. I'm in. Okay, I'm in. Certainly, I'm in. I'm in

As for the crazy idea he mentioned, below is the result.

[Written with significant help from WordReference]

My 3 Favorite Cheap Eats in Rome: Street Food Edition

I may or may not buy prosciutto in bulk...

I may or may not buy prosciutto in bulk...

Let me preface this by saying I am in no way, shape, or form a gourmet. Being from Thailand, I have also not fallen head over heels in love with Italian cuisine (*gasp* No!! How can you not like pasta? It's like noodles).

Don't get me wrong, I like the food here. I AM head over heels in love with the fresh fruits and vegetables. I can also, very happily, subsist on prosciutto, bresaola, tomatoes, and cucumbers (aka my at-home lunch).

Perhaps because I can get affettati (cold cuts) on the cheap and gorge on seasonal fruit (currently, peaches and strawberries), I am somewhat stingy with my "eating out" budget. The average per-head for a mid-range restaurant here is 30-40 €, so the cost of each leap of faith is on the high side. As such, I've gravitated toward il cibo di strada (street food). 

Here are my 3 go-to places (the few dining establishments in Rome I've revisited on a semi-regular basis). 

Trapizzino

Alright, I know this place isn't exactly on the Spanish Steps (where I make a point not to eat). Both locations are a bit out of the way, where selfie sticks are nowhere to be found. However, it is totally worth making a trip. 

Why?

Even though I'm a pretty adventurous eater, I cannot finish a whole plate of trippa alla romana (yes, trippa is tripe) or lingua in salsa verde (and lingua is tongue). I need to be initiated to such delicacies in small portions, which makes Trapizzino's formula pretty darn perfect.

Onto a very delicious triangular-shaped hunk of pizza bianca (aka bread), these guys dollop "traditional roman cuisine." The flavors range from plain old sausage or chicken, to squid and innards. On stock is also a very decent selection of birra artigianale (artisan beer). Although there's seldom an available chair to sit on, the food is definitely worth it.

By the way, you can always combine a stop at Trapizzino with other activities. Ponte Milvio has a flea market on the first Sunday of every month, and the covered market in Testaccio is always worth a look-see (wine, cold cuts, cheap shoes–there's something for everyone). Once you've pre-burned the calories, you can refuel guilt-free for around 10€ (+/- 5€, depending on how many you can eat). 

Pinsere

This humble joint seems to be a lunch-time go-to place for many an office worker bee. At a little less than 5€ a slice, these thin-crust pizza al taglio are hard to beat.

Yes, you'll have to eat on the sidewalk.

Yes, you'll have to wait in line.

People do it anyway, and despite the ominous-looking wait, they work so fast you'll be filling your stomach in no time. Though not exactly in the historic center, they are central enough and easily reachable via public transport

Once you're done, head around the corner to Come il Latte, and finish off your meal with some gelato.

StrEATart

While I'm not too fond of their name, I am a huge fan of their pizza, especially when I've got the urge to forsake the super-duper-thin-crust roman-style pizza found everywhere else (aka the type you'll find at Pinsere). When pizza is one's main snack food, it helps to differentiate.

Though not as thick as pizza napoletana, the fluffy-crust pizza as StrEATart is very easy on the jaw, and their toppings are definitely different from what one finds elsewhere (I recommend the Rucola e Porcini...given, one can never go wrong with porcini mushrooms.)

Okay, I admit, they made the list mainly because they're around the corner from my house, on Piazza Buenos Aires (where there is both a convenient Taxi stand, and a not-so convenient bus and tram stop). Nearby are the mid-end shopping establishments on Via Po, where you can find made-to-order shirts, a shop dedicated to olive oil, a fresh pasta shop, several butchers, and a bunch of decent cafes. 

Via Po is also a reasonably short walk from Villa Borghese (the museum within which is a must-see for Art History fans).

So there you have it, the very few pearls of wisdom I've gleaned over the past few months. Do you have a favorite (cheap) place to eat in Rome? Let me know in the comments!

Learning Italian in Rome - Phrase of the Week: Non vedo l'ora (fig. Can't wait)

Okay, this short and quick post is inspired by an actual experience. You see, after I published three romanzi rosa (romance/chick-lit novels) featuring gatti (cats), mio marito (my husband) took the hint and went about the process of adopting un cucciolo (any baby animal, aka cub, aka kitten, in this case...it can also mean puppy or lion cub though). However, the one he decided on hasn't been weaned yet, so he's been on pins and needles waiting for our new pet to be ready.

His Italian being better than mine, he wrote an email to the owner of the allevamento (place that raises/breeds animals, including cats) saying "Non vedo l'ora di vedere Zivago (temporary name of kitten). After the reading the email, I was 100% sure he made a mistake.

Me: Honey, why did your email say "I can't see the time to see Zivago?" Are you saying we don't have time to pick him up? (Yes, I was panicking. It took a while to get my neat freak spouse to come around to the idea of us having a pet. I wasn't going to let him back out at this late time.)

At which time, my know-it-all spouse, pointed me to this thread on WordReference.com.

You see, "Non vedo l'ora di vederti" means "I can't wait to see you," which, apparently, is not an uncommon way of ending romantic correspondence.

In other words, Non vedo l'ora is the English equivalent of "I can't wait to" or "I'm dying to" do something. The easiest way to use it would be to follow it with di + infinitive of a verbNon vedo l'ora di vedere = I'm dying to see, and Non vedo l'ora di vederti = I'm dying to see youNon vedo l'ora di vedere mia madre = I'm dying to see my mother.

Non vedo l'ora can also be followed by che + different subject + subjunctive tense. For example, Non vedo l'ora che sia natale = I can't wait for (it=new subject) to be Christmas. 

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Tara Quan

Globetrotter, lover of languages, and romance author, Tara Quan has an addiction for crafting tales with a pinch of spice and a smidgen of kink. Inspired by her travels, she enjoys tossing her kick-ass heroines and alpha males into exotic contemporary locales, fantasy worlds, and post-apocalyptic futures. Visit Tara at www.taraquan.com

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Learning Italian in Rome - Word of the Week: Profilattico (n. Condom)

I haven't updated this blog in a while (Mi dispiace). No excuses really.... Just haven't been feeling the urge to blog of late. I think it's the cold weather more than anything else. That said, I had an LOL (laugh out loud) moment this morning while checking my Google+ feed, courtesy of Tov e Dispies. This is going to be a quick and dirty post (pun-intended), but I thought I'd share the adult-ish humor.

P.S. Don't continue reading if you'd rather not know the Italian equivalent of the "F" word.

Link to Original Post

Link to Original Post

[Edited: After I ran this picture by my Italian teacher, I made a few adjustments. (p.s. She giggled each time I conjugated scopare... Apparently, I give off the prim and proper vibe. Appearances can be deceiving)]

Okay, first comes the scene-setter. 

Stazione centrale poco fa, un venditore: 

There are enough cognates here for you to guess what's going on, I think. Stazione centrale is what you think it is, i.e. "Central Station." In Italy, a city's main train and bus station (or if you're lucky, the subway/metro station as well) is technically called stazione centrale. Most have more specific names as well, such as Roma Termini. 

Poco fa means a little (poco) while ago (v. fare, "to do," 3rd person, present tense).

Un venditore is obviously a vendor/salesperson.

Tu compra un ombrelo. 

Okay, you're probably wondering if there are errors here. The answer is yes. Apparently, the post was also making fun common mistakes made by non-Italian speakers (something I completely missed until my teacher pointed it out). Amazingly, I caught the grammar mistake, but not the spelling. Alright, take a moment and read the sentence. What mistakes do you spot (hint: there are two)?

We'll start with the one I didn't catch. Ombrello (with two Ls) is the correct spelling for umbrella. A lot of non-native speakers (myself included), do not roll their tongues consistently when faced with the double L (we say om-bre-lo instead of om-brel-lo). Misspelling ombrello is the author's way of poking fun at this common mispronunciation.

I'm sort of proud of myself for getting this grammar mistake right. Compra is the third person/formal second person present tense conjugation of comprare (to buy). "You buy an umbrella" (informal) would translate to Tu compri un ombrello" (with an "i" instead of an "a"). Likewise, "Want to buy an umbrella?" would translate to (Tu) Compri un ombrello?

However, if the vendor is issuing an order (imperative), Compra un ombrello! would be grammatically correct (side Note: I HATE the imperative.) In this case, adding a subject (Tu) in front of the order is incorrect, making the statement of equivalent of "You buy umbrella!"

Ma c'è il sole.

Ma = But, ci/c' = there, è = is (v. essere, to be, 3rd person, present tense), il sole (the sun). One bane of an English' speaker's existence is the necessity of always putting articles before nouns. In Italian, the sentence is "But there is the sun" as opposed to "But there is sun," or "It's sunny."

Tu compra profilattico mentre scopa?

Okay, this highlights two common grammatical errors made by non-native Italian speakers (the majority of hawkers are immigrants). But remember, I speak English fluently, and I make grammatical errors while speaking all the time. (In Italian, I easily conjugate wrong about 50% of the time). 

That said, it's supposed to be Tu compri and not Tu compra (because it's a question, not an order). There's a missing article (they're like Gremlins), and scopare needs to be conjugated to the informal second person form. The correct version of this sentence is Tu compri un profillatico mentre scopi?

So what's un profilattico? It's pictured below.

Un Profilattico (Word of the Week) Condom Vending Machine, Rome, Italy.

Un Profilattico (Word of the Week)
Condom Vending Machine, Rome, Italy.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is a handy dandy condom vending machine, found on every street corner in Rome. Have a sexual emergency? Have no fear. The pharmacies and grocery stores might close at 8PM, but if you want cigarettes, condoms, or lottery tickets, you're covered.

Un profilattico/Un preservativo is a condom. If your Italian teacher starts giggling uncontrollably when you try to talk about preservatives in food, this would be why. 

Mentre = while/during.

Scopare is the verb "to sweep," used more commonly to indicate the act of sexual intercourse. (Yes,' tis the Italian F-word.)

To conclude, the entire gist of the conversation is thus: 

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Tara Quan

Globetrotter, lover of languages, and romance author, Tara Quan has an addiction for crafting tales with a pinch of spice and a smidgen of kink. Inspired by her travels, she enjoys tossing her kick-ass heroines and alpha males into exotic contemporary locales, fantasy worlds, and post-apocalyptic futures. Visit Tara at www.taraquan.com

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Learning Italian in Rome - Video of the Week - Stardust (Parodia) by Mattes

As you can probably tell, my concept of a week is a little loose. My only excuse is that I made the mistake of writing and submitting several manuscripts at once, so I've been buried in edits and promotion of late. 

To make up for the significant gap since my last post, I'll be breaking down an entire video, which I haven't done in a while. Ever since Rome's weather turned abysmal, watching X Factor Italia has become a guilty pleasure, which is how I came to google Mika, one of the judges (giudice/i) on the show. His duet with Chiara, Stardust, is apparently still very popular, and you can watch a performance of the original on the X Factor website (or the mini-version at the bottom of this post). 

However, since the song is more English than it is Italian, I've decided to break down Mattes' parody of Stardust instead (by the way, you should consider subscribing to his YouTube channel–it's hilarious). Listening to this song was surprisingly useful since cars and driving-related words are a major gap in my study of Italian. 

Without further ado, here's the Parodia

Let's see how much of it I managed to figure out, shall we? (Note, these aren't the literal translations. It's how I would actually say these phrases in English.)

Oggi facciamo una lezione al volante
Metti la prima e caos costante. (<--Not 100% sure about this one)
Prima devi spinge(re) un po la frizione
Lascia con calma o parta un pistone

Today we're doing a driving lesson
Put it in first gear, and now constant chaos. (I believe this is a play on the saying Una al donna volante, pericolo costante: A woman at the wheel, constant danger.)
First you must push the clutch a bit,
Lift slowly or you'll lose a part. (literal version, for laughs: Leave it with calm or a piston departs)  

Adesso ci provo, non ti arrabbiare
Neanche tu prima sapevi guidare
Poi devo dirti ancora una cosa 
Io ho preso solo un foglio rosa 

Now I'll try it, don't get angry. 
Even you didn't know how to drive once. (literal: Not even you first knew to drive)
And first I must tell you something:
I only have a learner's permit. (literal: I took only a pink paper <-- these phrases are why relying on Google Translate can be dangerous.)

Il Ritornello 
Povero me ....
Povero te ....
Io resterò, a folle finché
Tu non vorrai fare guidare me

Chorus
Poor me!
Poor you!
I will stay, in neutral until
You will not want to let me drive. (<-- not sure about this one...)

Ora devi guadare la mia bravura
E io sto più tranquillo con la cintura  

Now you'll have to watch my skill
And I'd be calmer with the seat belt on. (literal: I will stay more tranquil with the belt.) 

So che non faremmo mai il botto.
Speriamo di non perché l'airbag è un po rotto.

You know that I will never be in a crash.
We'll hope not because the airbag is a bit broken. 

Facciamo così, impara da me
Esci da l'auto e fare guidare me

Let's do this, learn from me
Get out of the car and let me drive.

Ma scuola guida, me hanno insegnato
È meglio che guidi con viso truccato.
Ritornello

But the driving school, they taught me this
It's better to drive with make-up on. (literal: It's better to drive with a made-up face)
Chorus

Adesso invece parto come una pilota
Se prende il marciapiedi, stacchi una ruota!

Now instead I'll go like a pilot
If you go on the sidewalk, you'll tear a wheel!

Ma io mi sento come una Formula Uno
Ma questa però, è una Fiat Uno

But it feels like a Formula One
But this car, however, is a Fiat One. 

Ora parte in prima e non gratto
O Dio mio, attenta quel povero gatto

Now I got in first gear without scratching.
Oh my God, careful, that poor cat!

Ma tu volevi stare un po più sicuro!
Se dici così, schiantiamo contro quel muro

But you wanted to stay safer!
If you're talking like this, we'll crash against that wall!

Faremmo il botto io e te. x 4

We'll crash, you and I. x4 

Ora devi guadare la mia bravura
E io sto più tranquillo con la cintura
So che non faremmo mai il botto.
Speriamo di non perché l'airbag è un po rotto. 

Now you'll have to watch my skill
And I'd be calmer with the seat belt on.  
You know that I will never be in a crash.
We'll hope not because the airbag is a bit broken. 

Ciao, tutti! Ci vediamo presto. (Good-bye all! We'll see each other again soon.)

[Written with significant help from WordReference]

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Tara Quan

Globetrotter, lover of languages, and romance author, Tara Quan has an addiction for crafting tales with a pinch of spice and a smidgen of kink. Inspired by her travels, she enjoys tossing her kick-ass heroines and alpha males into exotic contemporary locales, fantasy worlds, and post-apocalyptic futures. Visit Tara at www.taraquan.com

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Learning Italian in Rome - Sign of the Week - BiciRoma ROAR (October 26, 2014)

As you can probably tell, I'm still playing around with the format of these posts. Up until now, the signs I've picked have been a tad light on text, so it made sense to do the translation beneath. However, the one I've chosen today has a ton of information, so I had to get creative.

This post also serves as a public service announcement: if you own a bike and are in Rome on the 26th, this could be fun! Since one of the named sponsors is a bike rental company, there's a good chance you'll be able to rent a ride as well. 

I'll be participating in the "Ciclopasseggiata," assuming I don't oversleep... (I put my chances at fifty-fifty).

Original Sign - BiciRoma Roar 26 Ottobre 2014
Photo Credit: BiciRoma.it

BiciRoma Roar - October 26, 2014 - Rough English Translation

By the way, my Italian teacher stumbled upon this blog recently, and she pointed out some pretty glaring spelling mistakes in my earlier posts. Mi dispiace ( I apologize). I'll try to correct them a little later this month.

Ciao, tutti! Ci vediamo presto. (Good-bye all! We'll see each other again soon.)

[Written with significant help from WordReference]

Learning Italian in Rome - Sign of the Week - Emergenza

EMERGENZA | TAKEN AT VILLA ADRIANA | TIVOLI (25-40 MIN DRIVE FROM ROME) | SEPTEMBER 20, 2014

EMERGENZA | TAKEN AT VILLA ADRIANA | TIVOLI (25-40 MIN DRIVE FROM ROME) | SEPTEMBER 20, 2014

It's been a little longer than a week since I posted, but who's counting? I spotted this sign on our recent trip to Villa Adriana and couldn't resist snapping a picture. It makes me feel a wee bit better when I mess up the congiuntivo imperfetto in class. 

Ci siamo? (Our Crossfit instructor uses this in place of "Are we ready?" As a rule, I no longer attempt to breakdown sentences when ci is involved. Non ne vale la pena - It's not worth the pain. Since we're on the subject, I avoid figuring out what the ne does as well.)

Moving on...

As you can see by the lovely UK flag, an attempt has been made to translate this sign into inglese. I'll let you come to your own conclusions regarding the accuracy of these ... umm ... phrases, but here's how I would break down the sign.

Emergenza = Emergency (so far, so good, ?)

In caso di necessità In caso di translates quite conveniently to "In case of." Though necessità does translate to "necessity," here it would be best translated to "need." Add the two together, and you get "In case of need." (Side Note: Most English signs of this nature would say "In the event of an emergency" rather than "In case of need." There is no explanation I can give an ESL reader as to why this is the case.)

Rivolgersi a(l)  = I have no idea how this ended up as "apply," since that's not what shows up in the dictionary. Rivolgere means to point or aim, and the reflexive form rivolgersi (a) means to turn to or go to someone.

(il) personale di vigilanza = Il personale (not to be confused with la personale) means staff, personnel, or employee. (If you're curious, the feminine form la personale means an art show or exhibition). La vigilanza means security or surveillance. Add those two together, and I'd translate the chunk as "security personnel."

sul luogo = Su (+il = sul) translates to a whole bunch of different prepositions in English, one of which is on. Luogo means location or place. While "on location" would be a correct translation, most English speakers would probably say "on site." ("On location" has too much of a Hollywood movie set feel to it)

o presso = O means or. Presso means near or at.

i presidi di vigilanza = Un presidio also translates to a whole host of things, from garrison and citadel, to a medical device. In this case, I think "outpost" or even a more generalized "area" best applies. This would make i presidi di vigilanza security outposts.

As such, I'd translate In caso di necessità, rivolgersi al personale di vigilanza sul luogo o presso i presidi di vigilanza to "In the event of an emergency, please direct yourself to security personnel, either on site or at the nearest security outpost." (not literal).   

Per urgenze telefonare al numero = Okay, urgenza does translate to urgency, but it also means an urgent situation (which is not the same as urgency.). Per literally means from, but, as we already know, prepositions in Romance languages do not translate well. In this case, I would translate per urgenze telefonare al numero as "In urgent situations, please call."

Thus concludes my sign of the week. Remember, I'm happy to take requests. If there's something you'd like me to attempt to explain or translate, shoot it to me in a comment or email, and I'll try my best. 

Ciao, tutti! Ci vediamo presto. (Good-bye all! We'll see each other again soon.)

[Written with significant help from WordReference]

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Tara Quan

Globetrotter, lover of languages, and romance author, Tara Quan has an addiction for crafting tales with a pinch of spice and a smidgen of kink. Inspired by her travels, she enjoys tossing her kick-ass heroines and alpha males into exotic contemporary locales, fantasy worlds, and post-apocalyptic futures. Visit Tara at www.taraquan.com

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Learning Italian - Sign of the Week - Io non posso entrare

Villa Adriana | Tivoli (25-40 min drive from Rome) | September 20, 2014

Villa Adriana | Tivoli (25-40 min drive from Rome) | September 20, 2014

It's been a long while since I've done a Learning Italian post, and I'm trying to get back on the figurative blogging horse. Now that I live in Rome, I thought it best to shift the focus to day-to-day language as opposed to more esoteric stuff.

That said, I'm happy to take requests! My breakdown of the Gelato Commercial, had been surprisingly popular, which goes to show I'm horrible at predicting these things. If there's something you'd like me to attempt to explain, shoot it to me in a comment and I'll try my best. 

This sign is pretty self-explanatory (I'm trying to start small). I took this picture outside a gift shop and bookstore at Villa Adriana, which is also known as Hadrian's Villa (my Instagram feed has pictures). While this ancient Roman ruin is open to four-legged friends, the store is not. By the way, Italians va/vanno matto per (are crazy about) i cani (dogs), which is both a good and a bad thing. The upside if you have a dog is that they can more or less go with you anywhere. The downside comes from the significant percentage of dog owners who do not pick up after their pets, which means you may want to play a mental "poop patrol" game at all times (yes, even when you're at a several thousand year-old UNESCO world heritage site).

Here's a breakdown of what the sign says: 

io = I 
non = not
posso = can (1st person present tense conjugation of potere, v. to be able to)
entrare = enter (infinitive form, v. to enter)

Tie that all together, and you get "I can't enter."

Ciao, tutti! Ci vediamo presto. (Good-bye all! We'll see each other again soon.)