On Location Italian – 9 May 2013

Buongiorno a tutti and welcome once again to On Location Italian. After a (very) short visit back home for Pasqua (“Easter”) which flew past in a blur of family, friends, food and laughter, I have since arrived back to the welcoming sunshine of Verona.

With exams just around the corner, I have spent the past week organising myself in preparation. This involved visiting my lecturer during his orario di ricevimento (“consultation hour”, ie. the hour in which the students can meet with the lecturer). Typical of the laid back manner possessed by many Italians, my lecturer left me waiting as he popped out for a coffee. Whist I waited, I began chatting to another Italian student. She was from il Sud d’Italia (“the South of Italy”) and filled me in on what it was like for her moving to the northern city of Verona. She said that whilst she has adapted quite easily, the move has been harder on her mother, for whom she used the term mamma chioccia. This can be translated as “mother hen”. As she explained to me, her mum liked having her close by and looking after her (she used the verb badare, meaning “to look after”). She told me that this is typical of the South, where family is very important. We then moved on to discuss some of the differences between the North and South of Italy. There are a whole host of such differences including la lingua (language), il dialetto (dialect), il cibo (food), i politici (politics) and la cultura (culture). In fact, since living here I have come to notice that there is most definitely something of a North-South divide.

One of the main differences we discussed was the contrast in the industrial economies of both areas. Whilst the North has wide ranging manufacturing industries including fashion, computers and car manufacturing, and is home to the industrial triangle of Turin, Genoa and Milan, the South relies more on its agriculture. With little industry to generate employment, the student told me that many of her friends from the meridione (“south”) have had to migrate to the settentrione (“north”) in search of jobs. It turned out to be a very interesting conversation and in the end my only wish was that my lecturer had kept me waiting in la sala d’attesa (“waiting room”) a little longer. I hope you have all enjoyed On Location Italian for this week and I will be back soon. A presto!

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