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Gia-Gina Across the Pond

So I've decided to follow my husband to his native Italy. Follow our adventures as we eat, drink, travel, adapt to and explore this remarkable country. Part food blog, part photo blog but mostly my rants and raves. After our two years in Italy, we relocated across the Atlantic "pond" and are back in the States.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Things I’ve Noticed About Italy Part 8

After a weekend in Rome, I always come home with new observations. I think I have these same ideas when I am in Torino but since I am a visitor in Rome, it is much easier to take mental notes.

1. Badly/Poorly/Strangely Pruned Trees

I added strangely to the adjectives list because I wanted to allow for the fact that I may be having a “negative” day. As a Seattleite I can say I was a regular at the Washington Park Arboretum, a grand horticultural park. I feel confidant enough to say I know how to prune bonsai, perennials and small trees. My large trees in Seattle, a Japanese maple, 2 Douglas firs, a honey locust and 2 small weeping styrax/willows were pruned by a professional company but I did a ton of research before allowing them to touch my trees. The company that I went with was great, they pruned not hacked the trees and told me regular maintenance was essential to plant health and public safety.

When I see whacked up trees in Torino or Rome, I cringe. Large trees are planted in parking strips where they ruin the sidewalk and then grow too large for the space in which they were planted. To control their growth they are hacked back.

For example:

A) Very large oaks are planted next to roads in town and when heavy branches grow so they overhang above a street; the thick, horizontal limbs are also hacked back.

B) Locusts, not the insect, are large trees growing from 25-50 feet or 7-15 meters high and wide, yet they are used in tiny spaces next to buildings.

Trees are topped off, then when the lateral branches grow upwards the trunk bends and sometimes rot. Is this only in Torino and Rome?

2. Soccer Fanaticism

This is not a new observation generally speaking. There are many countries that have fans that go berserk for soccer. Demetrio took our nephew Giordano to a soccer game last Sunday, it was Roma vs. Lazio. I was a bit worried that among 80,000 fans something quirky might happen like a fight or worse. Nothing happened, the game ended 1-1 and everyone got home safely.

Several months ago while driving home from dinner; we were stopped to allow a motorcade through. I saw about 10 fully loaded and packed busses, windows steaming and so full that they were listing from side to side. I commented on how the busses must have been participants of a political rally since each bus had a large SUV police escort in the front and the rear. Deme said it was not a political rally at all; they were AC Milan fans in getting an escort out of Torino since there was a game earlier. I looked on in disbelief.

3. Language Integration

Italians use a few English words here and there. Many of them claim they can’t speak English but they can say a few words here and there. I notice it more and more:


A) To go shopping for food or non-food items, Italians say “fare la spesa” this translates to something like “to make expenses”. Now to differentiate between food shopping and non -food, some Italians say “fare shopping”.

B) At the market today I saw a sign for mandarin oranges that said they were “Super Dolci”, which means “Super Sweet” and I bought some, they were delicious.

C) At a clothing shop which is called abbigliamento, I saw a sign that said “Abbigliamento Hip-Hop” and I laughed out loud. It was adorable!


At 12:28 PM, Blogger saminos. said...

I wouldn't take my nephew to see the derby :)

At 2:03 PM, Anonymous Hannah said...

That's an interesting observation about the trees. I'll keep an eye out for them when I'm there.

At 2:17 PM, Blogger saminos. said...

Hahaha, that I am not.. Haven't been to Italy actually, but I know that il derby is not a safe place for anyone under 18.. :)

At 4:50 PM, Blogger corpodibacco said...

--linked and commented on 'italy is falling'.

cheers and, nice blogging!

At 12:18 AM, Blogger dario said...

:-) Nice blog entry!
Sorry, but the word "super" was not invented by Americans. Romans knew that word 2 millenniums before America was discovered.

At 12:33 AM, Anonymous Laurie said...

The Hip Hop craze and italian youth. Don't even get this stepmother started on the subject...suffice it to say that it took some explaining on my part to convince my (italian) stepson that people of colour in the US are actually REAL AMERICANS!!!!

At 12:59 AM, Blogger Gia-Gina said...

Dario, You are a wealth of information. I of course went to my husband to ask him about your comment and he informed me it was a Latin word eg. superlativo and I remembered I had read that somewhere before. Thanks for keeping me on my toes.

At 4:08 AM, Blogger Typesetter said...

Regarding trees, don't forget that often enough the treees predate the buildings and roads. When new trees are planted, they tend to be much smaller, but oftene nough those huge trees have been planted a few centirues ago, when the steets they shadow were essentially country roads with few buildings scattered here and there. Than the cities expanded and newer, larger and taller buildings started to be built closer to the roads-turned-streets and those big trees. Still they are sometimes pretty mangled ^___^


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