il chiostro

Today’s Parola del Giorno is the noun il chiostro, which means cloister. 

According to Wikipedia, a cloister is “(from Latin claustrum, ‘enclosure’) is a covered walk, open gallery, or open arcade running along the walls of buildings and forming a quadrangle or garth.”

My favorite and most memorable are the cloisters of Monreale (see picture below). You can also find a similar structure in Cefalù, but the arcade is not as well preserved. Do you know of any others? 🙂

See the noun used below:

Siete mai stati a vedere i chiostri di Monreale in Sicilia? Si trovano un po’ fuori Palermo ma sono da vedere! Tutti i capiteli sono decorati con scene bibliche, allegorie e motivi fiorati.

Have you ever been to see the Cloisters of Monreale in Sicily? They are a bit outside Palermo, but they are worth seeing! All the capitals are decorated with biblical scenes, allegories, and floral motifs.

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You can also see the intricate detail of the capitals in this photo below:

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Volume 2 of Piccole Guide has been published

Subscribers and pre-order customers: Volume 2 of Piccole Guide has been published!

You should have received an email from Selz alerting you to download the new volume. Please do so at your leisure.

Unfortunately – and this is always the way, I found two extra spaces in the text and one typo (“riging” instead of “ringing”). I have corrected these three issues. I’ll upload version 2 with corrections after the weekend in case other “typos” are discovered.

I have uploaded the manuscript to Amazon for those who wish to have a copy for their Kindle. The Google Play version will be going up in a few minutes. I have a version for the iBook Store, but it will take several days since I have to re-do the entire layout of the book for the iPad.

Thank you again for your patience, support, guidance, and suggestions as we put Volume 2 together! I know it took longer than I thought, but I have had such a busy summer.

I’m going to leave the price of the PDF on Selz at $5.99 for a couple of more days in case those of you who were late to the game wish to purchase a copy for the pre-publication price!

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la mole

Today’s Parola del Giorno is the noun la mole, which means massive building.

The most famous mole is the la Mole Antonelliana in Torino, which now houses the Museo Nazionale del Cinema. If you get get to Torino, be sure to visit the museum. The building and museum are both worth a visit. More importantly, it is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city, and you can spot its distinctive dome almost anywhere.

La Mole Antonelliana is not the only mole in Italy. The Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome a mole and is sometimes referred to as La Mole Adriana.

The word can also be used to describe individuals who are large and stocky.

See the noun used below:

La prossima volta che vai a Torino, dovresti visitare il Museo del Cinema dentro la Mole Antonelliana! Quest’edificio è bellissimo dentro e fuori e si può vedere la cupola della Mole da ogni parte della città!

The next time you go to Turin, you should visit the National Cinema Museum inside the Mole Antonelliana! This building is beautiful inside and out, and you can see the dome of the Mole from every part of the city!

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la facciata

Today’s Parola del Giorno is the noun la facciata, which means facade (also façade). The facade of a building is an exterior part of the building is typically the front of the building (but not always).

There are many interesting facades in Italian architecture. Below you can see the facade mentioned in today’s example from the Chiesa di Sant’Agnese in Agone in Rome.

See the noun used below:

A Piazza Navona, la facciata della chiesa di Sant’Agnese in Agone, realizzata da Borromini, non “cade” dentro la fontana di Bernini. È solo una leggenda, dato che la fontana di Bernini è stata completata prima della costruzione della facciata.

In the Piazza Navona, the facade of the church of Sant’Agnese in Agone, created by Borromini, is not “falling” inside Bernini’s fountain. It is only a legend since Bernini’s fountain was completed before the construction of the facade.

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Today’s Parola del Giorno is the noun l’anfiteatro, which means amphitheater (or amphitheatre).
















Roman amphitheaters can be found all over Europe, North Africa, and parts of the Levant. If you are interested in where they can be found, there is a decent listing of them on Wikipedia.

See the noun used below:

Il Colosseo è l’esempio più significativo di anfiteatro romano.Questa incredibile struttura è nata per ospitare i giochi gladiatori e, nei secoli, è anche stata utilizzata come abitazione da parte dei più poveri cittadini di Roma.

The Colosseum is the most important example of a Roman amphitheater. This incredible structure was constructed to host gladiatorial games, and, over the century, was also used as a residence by the poorest of Rome’s citizens.

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If you want to learn more about Roman architecture, check out one of the best books on the subject by the noted professor of Classical Studies Frank Sear: Roman Architecture. While the book is on the older side (it was published in 1983), it easy an approachable read is a text often assigned in Roman art and architecture courses at university (Disclaimer: I took his course during as an undergraduate while at the University of Melbourne). He also wrote a book on Roman Theaters, but it is quite expensive. If interested in this publication, you can find it here.

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la cupola

Ciao a tutti! This week’s theme is going to focus on words related to the monuments you encounter on your trips to Italy. These posts will also highlight some trivia and useful historical tidbits on the cities we shall profile this week.

Today’s Parola del Giorno is the noun la cupola, which means dome. Many Italian churches, basilicas, and cathedrals are known for their domes.

How many churches can you think of that have distinctive or unique dome?

See the word used below:

La cupola del Duomo di Firenze è notevole non solo per i colori accesi che si possono vedere dappertutto ma anche per la costruzione innovativa. 


The dome of the Florence Duomo is notable not only for its bright colors that you can see every where but also for its innovative construction.

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Did you know that the Duomo of Florence is famous for its dome by the famed Renaissance architect Filippo Brunelleschi. The dome can be seen from many parts of the city, and it is a great tool to use to get your bearings and keep from getting lost. You should definitely check out the book “Brunelleschi’s Dome” by Ross King, a fascinating historical account of the dome and the architect!

Check out this video from National Geographic on the dome and its construction (it’s in Italian so take a moment to practice your listening comprehension, too):


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Piccole Guide Volume 2 is almost ready!

Ciao a tutti! Volume 2 in our language guide series, Piccole Guide, is almost ready! It has taken longer to put all the material together! As we put the finishing touches on the language guide, you can still subscribe or pre-order!

First, I want to thank everyone for their patience as we put together this second language guide!

Second, there is still time to either become a subscriber for just $21.99 or pre-order Volume 2 for just $5.99! Visit our store front on Selz!

This language guide is a ‘grab bag’ of material that never made it into our previous publications or needed further explanation than space allowed in some of our other publications.

More importantly, this guide is also anecdotal and describes my own experiences learning Italian and living in Italy. Some sections discuss encounters and experiences with the language when necessary. I have learned a lot interacting with my Italian friends and total strangers. When you using the language daily for several years, you quickly realize what your weaknesses are. I have tried to include as many of those “weaknesses” as possible  in this guide to help you.

This guide – at 40 pages – features a lot of material that you just never see or encounter in some Italian texts/language guides or material that is only partially covered. I have tried to improve upon previous discussions of ci and ne and to provide some information on geography, soccer teams, and Italian wine. There’s a useful section on idiomatic pronominal verbs (like andarsene, fregarsene, etc.), reflexive verbs, and non-idiomatic pronominal verbs and a host of other topics.

An exercise supplement to accompany volume 2 will be released at a later date that is yet to be determined.

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