Penguin Italian Reader – 1. Il Duomo

April 30, 2010

Penguin Italian Reader, ed. Timothy Holme. Penguin, 1974.

Translation.  Il Duomo, by Adriana Mulassano: Corriere della Sera, 21 maggio 1971.

If the cathedral in Milan is still in its place and the buses which carry around foreigners who are always the same, save for the aircon, the tourists have changed a bit. It’s difficult seeing them day after day going around in nylon clothes, marked by those sprouting big arms roasted in the Italian sun. It’s rare they still wear incredible veils or gondoliers’ hats on their heads and sandals with socks on their feet or, worse, over-scarves of transparent plastic. All things which up until a few years ago made them stick out a mile. Now fashion, which has been the great leveller, and is perhaps the one thing which points to a united Europe, creates the need to look at them very closely if only to try and recognise who they are. Only in this way we notice that they all have same photographic equipment and rigmarole hanging by their shoulder straps, big bags full of maps, “thermoses” and souvenirs and above all the too-attentive air of harried housewives or our local public servants.



         a Milano, a or ad before a proper noun, e.g. abitare a Milano

    portare a spasso, lit. to carry hilariously

    salvo forse…, except perhaps for…

    in piu’, moreover

    la turista/le turiste

    difficile vedere, it’s difficult to see…

    oggi come oggi, in this day and age

    in giro, going around

    la braccia/le braccione, addition of ‘-one’ to express largeness, e.g. uomo/omone, voce/vocione,

    raro che portino…, it’s rare they may wear (subjunctive)

    incredibili velette o cappelli da gondoliere, incredible agrees with collective masculine plural, velette and cappelli

    distinguere lontano un miglio, to stick out a mile

    fino a pochi anna fa, untila few years ago

    livellare tutti, to level everybody

    l’unico campo, the one thing or the level-playing field

    scrutare, to search for

    solo cosi’, only in this way…

    tutte la regolarmentare macchina fotografica, all the photographic requirements or prerequisites

    a tracolla, hanging by their shoulder straps, lit. around their necks

    il borsone, big bag

    l’aria troppo attenta per…, the too-attentive air to…

    le frettolose massaie, harried housewives (i.e. hurried)

    le impiegate nostrane, local public servants, lit. from around here, in this case, ‘Italian’.


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