Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Why I Love Life in Italy, Reason 284: La Bella Lingua

My neighbor brought me a rose from her garden the other day. It is one of those perfect roses that opens beautifully and is about the size of my hand. Just gorgeous. As she handed it to me she said (in English) "The last roses of the season have the most poetry." Isn't that so true? Like they are putting on one last big show before frost. And yet, who in America would say that a rose has poetry in casual conversation?

I can't figure out what makes Italians so different in this way. Do they notice things Americans just don't notice? Or do they talk about things Americans don't talk about? Or is it just the way they say it that is so beautiful? Perhaps it is a combination of all three.

It happens all the time. If an Italian thinks you are beautiful, they will look you in the eyes as tell you just that. Not just men... I've heard women say it to women, even when first introduced. It is a wonderful way to compliment really. I mean, when was the last time someone told you are beautiful? They might say "you look nice" or "cute outfit" but never "you have a beautiful face" or "che bella" (what a beauty).

When people speak this way, it forces me to notice things I might not notice and see things in a different way. The second day I lived here, an Italian told me, "Living here will change you completely." I think she was right.


  1. Europeans as a whole are simply more open in their comments and a lot more romantic as well. If a female is "approached" by a male and her husband comes to the rescue, the male compliments the husband about his wife. Interesting - the differences in culture!

  2. So true, Rozanne, the difference in culture makes life so grand. God certainly knew what He was doing to have created such diverse humanity - how boring otherwise!
    Now, blogger -- I also love just the sound of la bella lingua and cannot wait for my Italian class to start again in January.