“What is the fatal charm of Italy? What do we find there that can be found nowhere else? I believe it is a certain permission to be human, which other places, other countries, lost long ago.”
I arrived back home today from 10 days exploring northern and central Italy and I had a truly fantastic time. For me, there is something so charming about Italy – perhaps it is the lifestyle or the people, but I find it easy to be there. I saw many beautiful things and tried a few new things as well and I think that those 10 days, in those beautiful places, with some good friends was exactly what I needed. Most of all, I am so pleased I managed to practice my spoken Italian; by the end of the trip, I was quite happy to speak to the locals in Italian even if my grammar wasn’t the best. Vita bella!
“Guardi le stelle che tremano d’amore, e di speranza!”
“Watch the stars that tremble with love and with hope!”
Giacomo Puccini, Turandot, Nessun Dorma
I am off to travel around Italy tomorrow for 9 days and will even be seeing some opera while I am in Torino (Donizetti’s L’elisir D’amore) and I can’t wait!
“Qui dove il mare luccica
e tira forte il vento
su una vecchia terrazza davanti al golfo di Sorrento
un uomo abbraccia una ragazza
dopo che aveva pianto
poi si schiarisce la voce e ricomincia il canto:
Te voglio bene assai
ma tanto tanto bene sai
e’ una catena ormai
che scioglie il sangue dint’ e’ vene sai…”
“Here, where the sea shines
and the wind howls,
on the old terrace beside the gulf of Sorrento,
a man embraces a girl
after whom he has been crying,
then he clears his throat and continues the song:
I love you very much,
very, very much, you know;
it is a bond now
that melts the blood inside the veins, you know…”
This is something my Dad has been playing non stop recently. I’ve heard it before as a beautiful piece of opera and sound but he showed me the lyrics the other day and they are so incredibly descriptive and beautiful. I felt I should share this as firstly, it is stuck in my head, and secondly, because music lovers everywhere should give it a listen.
“Talor dal mio forziere ruban tutti i gioielli due ladri, gli occhi belli”
“Yet sometimes, all the jewels in my safe are stolen by two thieves — a pair of lovely eyes!”
Puccini, La Bohème
I went to the Opera today for the first time and although I was slightly dubious at first as to how much I’d enjoy it, I have to admit that I absolutely loved it. It struck me how amusing some of the lines can be and I was in awe at just how loudly the performers managed to sing and convey meaning. I can confidently say I’ll be going back to see and enjoy more Opera.
“If you speak to a man in a language he understands it goes to his head; if you talk to him in his language, it goes to his heart.”
I actually quoted this in my personal statement for my university application, which I came across today, and it reminded me why I’m doing what I’m doing. Languages are very powerful, allowing communication, expression, emotion, care and structure – from running a government to international relations, to relationships. I love that by learning new words, grammar, idioms and expressions, I can convey so much to so many people. Just the other day, I spent 20 minutes speaking German on the phone and managed to book some train tickets, as well as have a laugh and a joke with the German man on the other end!