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In Translation

That student worked as an agent for the F. The rest of us can improve by following some simple rules. That is, pronounce all final vowels, including the final sound in manicotti. For the word bella, which means beautiful and contains a double consonant, the correct pronunciation is "bel-la" not "bel-a," she said. Within the 20 regions in Italy, 10 to 18 main dialects are currently spoken, Professor Pell said, and if they are broken down by their nuances, the count could go into the hundreds.

Historically, each dialect is virtually a different language. Joseph Trovato, who owns an Italian restaurant in Brooklyn, said that he understood dialects from Bari, Sicilian and Naples but that when his son, Lenny, studied Italian in college, he could not help him: "I didn't understand what he was saying. Among the class conscious, anything less than standardized Italian is sneered at, Professor Albertini said.

But many say it is more of a personal choice when to speak in dialect. In Ms. Dussi's native region of Istria, now a part of Croatia, the teacher who taught standard Italian in school would speak in the local tongue once the final school bell rang. Some find it easier to start with the standard. Chimienti said he understood almost all Italian dialects, when his wife, Mary, a native of Naples, was alive, they spoke to each other in English. Tony Affronti, who owns Los Paisanos Meat Market in Brooklyn, said he made no attempt to teach his English-speaking customers the proper Italian pronunciations.

Likewise, some of them do not even attempt to pronounce the names of the Italian meats lining the showcase.

As for the linguistically challenged, who mangle "prosciutto," he said, "as soon as they open their mouths, we know exactly what they want. Please upgrade your browser. See next articles. Invalid email address. Please re-enter. You must select a newsletter to subscribe to. Sign Up.


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Half Italian

It isn't just pastime or profession for them, it's art. The perfect grind; that silky crema ; the precise amount of heat applied to the milk; and of course a beautiful pour of foam. Attention to detail is the thing we admire most, and that particularly Italian refusal to accept no thing but the right thing. A work of cultural genius, this: sit down in the light of a waning afternoon; have a drink and a complimentary snack; watch the world stroll by. It's the height of civilization—far more graceful than American happy hour—and no one on earth does it with the devotion of the Italians.

It hardly matters whether you opt for a negroni , an aperol spritz, a glass of wine, or a Lemonsoda; the olives will be briny, the patatine will be crisp, and the sights will be beautiful. Why can't this be an export? From precision-executed standards to design-forward flourishes, the finest craftsmanship and the most convention-shattering ideas in footwear are Italian.

You can't beat them, but you can wear them. The modern cinematic era owes its soul to postwar Italian masters like Visconti, De Sica, and Fellini—and we all owe them the Italy of our imaginations, stocked as it is by Mastroianni, Sophia Loren, and Anita Ekberg-draped fountains. As with so many things Italian, such great films are all about the balance: beauty, wit, tragedy and magic, each in just the right portion.

Jhumpa Lahiri on Writing in Italian | The New Yorker

Sure, Saville Row is legendary; but there's nothing like a visit to Milan 's Quadrilatero della Moda to make a non-native feel inadequate when it comes to suits—and how to wear them. Italian men have a gift for flourish without flash and swagger, inhabiting their clothes in a way that seems at once both classic and plucked from the future. Forget the fact that Luxottica, an Italian company, manages some 80 percent of the world's eyewear brands. Sunglasses are more than an accessory for Italian women and men. They're as indispensable as shoes, and just as expressive—summer or winter, one never leaves home without them.

Trendsetting designs are enviable enough. What we find most difficult to imitate, though, is the flair with which they're worn. Though it's often poorly served by misinterpretations and pairings with breadsticks , true Italian-style pasta is a thing of divine elegance. It's about the noodles, of course—but it's also about sugo, or sauce. The simpler and fresher, usually the better. For Italians, pasta is an expression of terroir as surely as wine; regional specificities aren't just the norm but the delight.

Pesto in Liguria; bolognese in Emilia-Romagna; pasta con le sarde sardines in Sicily—make it where it grows, or where you catch it, and the magic seems to triple. You can find endless Italian beaches that match those in the American imagination head to Sardegna, for instance , but they're in the minority.

Instead, think small. So much the better. Small means intense: rock cliffs on one side , deep blue Mediterranean or Adriatic, or Ligurian, or Tyrrhenian, or Ionian on the other. And small means crowded.

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For Italians, beach time is as much a social occasion as a getaway: Lounge chairs that fall back to catch rays can also sit up for conversation, and, of course, an aperitivo. There's plenty of brawn in the legendary Italian garage; when it comes to luxury power sports cars , it's hard to get more definitive than Maserati or Lamborghini. But Italy has a flair for auto design that goes way beyond heft. It's the land of Pininfarina, after all, home of definitive driving and design statements like the Alfa Romeo Spider, the Fiat Giulietta, the Ferrari GTO, and of course the Fiat —reissue as well as original.

Clever, sexy, and cute all in measures that add up to a demand to be seen as much as driven. Let's get one thing straight: gelato is not ice cream.

Corfiot Italians

First, it's mostly milk; second, it's not served frozen. Gelato is slow-churned, and dispensed, generally, at higher temperatures. Both of which make it, oddly, creamier. But that's science.