Ciao a Tutti!
SO over the past few months whilst studying at the Institute I’ve really enjoyed going to the Thursday morning class Caffé e Giornale. Now the clue to what happens in this session is in the title translating to Coffee and Newspapers; it’s a great hour where Massimo talks us through headlines over the week and Miriam pops in to take our coffee orders and then pops back with an amazing espresso lungo!
Caffé e Giornale class is particularly beneficial to your Italian as the style of writing and vocabulary used is SO different in newspapers as opposed to texts we study in class. There’s a lot of extremely figurative language used, making the Italian news quite a daunting subject to tackle alone, but with Massimo’s guidance you really start to understand and enjoy this unique writing style.
Another perk of the class is that it’s open to all people studying Italian at the Institute. It’s interesting to learn in a mixed ability group and it’s also a fab opportunity to meet other students in different classes at the school, who you otherwise may not come across.
My favourite article so far has to be on the outrage of some residents in Milan following the Starbucks installation of 42 palm trees in Piazza del Duomo, followed by 50 banana plants! In my opinion, the best criticism came from renowned Italian architect and garden designer Paolo Pejrone, “Planting these species in Piazza del Duomo seems like a neo-Gothic folly to me,” he wrote in La Repubblica newspaper. “The bananas are a courageous choice but a bit kitsch.”
Locals are in part disapproving of the palms seeing as they are totally unnatural in Milan, a city very much in Northern Italy. BUT perhaps the biggest insult of the installation is the sponsor: Starbucks. A genuinely baffled elderly woman was reported asking La Stampa “Davvero gli americani vorrebbero insegnarci a fare il caffè?”, meaning “Is it really true that the americans would like to teach us how to make coffee?”. I can’t help but understand and sympathise with her confusion, being amongst the opinion of so many that Italian coffee is deeply superior to a Starbucks!
Now today’s idiom could be used to describe the notion of anyone trying to teach the Italians how to make an espresso:
Far ridere i polli literally means to make the chickens laugh and is used to express when something is just so utterly ridiculous that chickens would laugh at it too!
It’s definitely one of my fave expressions to date; your idea is just so daft that the chickens are chuckling at your expense!
Happy weekend Mum (and one other reader)!