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    Blog Posts - About Italy



    Why Italian Men Are Hot — G Rated

    by Carmen Lyman

    Women all over the world agree that Italian men are hot. Perhaps it’s the faultless grooming of Italian men or their carefree nonchalance that’s so appealing. Then again maybe it’s their innate elegance or their sophisticated clothing that makes them so alluring, but there’s no doubt — Italian men are hot!

    Women from all corners of the world are flocking to Italy. Of course they say they are coming to enjoy Italian art, history, and cuisine. But what they don’t tell their husbands and boyfriends is that willingly falling for the charms of of an Italian man is a wonderful thing indeed.

    My Mother’s Trip To Italy

    Several years ago I was strolling through the streets of Rome near the Trevi Fountain with my mother. We had just finished gobbling up some olive ascolane and spaghetti alle vongole chased with a languid soave, and we needed a walk to chase away the creeping sleepiness that can follow a large Italian lunch.

    The streets were quiet, except for a few tourists by the fountain. There was a chill in the autumn air and the sky was sparkling and clear. My mother quickly grabbed a coin and tossed it good baseball style into the fountain, her eyes tightly pressed as she made a wish. It plunked into some secret cave never to be seen again. Satisfied, she turned to resume our stroll.

    “No, That’s not how you do it,” said a striking middle-aged Italian man with a lovely accent.

    His expression was serious, but his rhythmic Italian accent made him seem approachable and, well, appealing. Now finding an Italian man who speaks English is very unusual. Usually if you want to communicate with Italian men you have to learn Italian.

    My mother and I stopped and looked at him. His temples were thickly salted with white, but his otherwise dark hair and skin gave him an air of casual elegance that branded him instantly as Italian. He said something like this.

    The Proper Way to Make a Wish at the Trevi Fountain

    “Forgive me for intruding, but madam isn’t following the proper tradition,” he explained.

    “You must do it this way,” he said, reaching into his leather coin purse and retrieving three coins. The man gently took my mother’s right hand and pressed the coins into it, closing her fingers around them. She looked down at her hand and back up at him, sizing him up, as it were. Still holding her hand, he led her back to the fountain. I trailed behind them.

    He lightly spun her around with the grace of a dancer so that she came face to face with him, back to the fountain. His intense eyes wouldn’t let hers go.

    “With this hand you toss these three coins over your left shoulder into the fountain,” he said, his eyes searching her face.

    “Understand?”

    She nodded.

    “But first you must close your eyes. Close your eyes and think about what you want. Think long and hard. This is very serious. Make your dreams come true.”

    He released her hand and whispered some magical enchantment under his breath and for the second time that afternoon, my mother tossed coins into Trevi Fountain.

    She stood there, a small smile marking the dimples of her cheeks and giving her a youthful air. Finally he, too, smiled and said, “Yes, that’s exactly how you do it, brava.” They both suddenly looked ten years younger and were laughing, as if some unsaid joke had passed between them.

    The Classic Italian Date

    “Now you will let me buy you some gelato,” he said with the calm confidence of a man who knows what he wants and knows he’s going to get it.

    Now you probably want to know what happened next? Well he did buy her some gelato and . . .

    Epilogue

    For several years after our trip to Italy, my mother would speak glowingly of the time we had spent there. She would recite wonderfully detailed accounts of the places she saw and the monuments she visited. But some stories she only smiled about and never retold.

    Sometimes I would see her alone, looking out the window on a dreary day, and she get a wistful look in her eye and then say something that she had learned in Italian. Then suddenly she would remember something, and she would smile and laugh and look ten years younger.

    Carmen Lyman is an American woman who is happily married to an Italian man.

    O Sole Mio – It’s Really Not Italian

    by Mariann Grace Lotesoriere

    O Sole Mio - Sun

    That’s the splendor of the Italian language, an age of romanticism that’s so characteristic of what it means to be Italian.

    “’O Sole Mio” is a globally known Neapolitan song written in 1898. Some people consider it to be the most famous Italian song, not only because it’s an all-time hit that several generations remember, but also because, in a way, it represents Italy.

    So what does “O Sole Mio” mean?

    A good translation would be “My own sunshine.”

    The Elvis Presley song, “It’s Now or Never” sung to the same tune, is not a translation at all, it’s just a different set of words put to the same melody.

    Here’s the most remarkable aspect of “O Sole Mio,” especially for people from other countries who want to learn Italian. O Sole Mio is actually not standard Italian.

    “’O Sole Mio” features the original Neapolitan language. Neapolitan is the language of the city of Naples and all the surrounding area in the Region of Campania.

    Italian and Neapolitan resemble each other to some degree linguistically. But there are notable grammatical differences such as neuter-form nouns, unique plural formation, and historical phonological developments differing from traditional Italian. However, like Italian and other romantic languages, Neapolitan evolved from spoken Latin roots.

    Languages of Italy Map

    Italian is such a rich language to be so spread out in different dialects, specifically the “Neapolitan” language in that particular region.

    This might shock you, though: the language has no official status in Italy with no priority in education. The Università Federico II in Naples offers courses in Campanian Dialectology at the faculty of Sociology, aiming not to teach students the language, but rather to study its history, usage, literature and social role.

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    “Che bella cosa ‘na iurnata ‘e sole…” What a beautiful thing is a sunny day!

    The words and music instantly and magically transport you back in time to Italy where love and sunshine create a mix of what it means today to be Italian: joy for life! O Sole Mio is a great example of that joy.

    How O Sole Mio Began

    A journalist and editor of the cultural pages of the newspaper “Roma” of Naples named Giovanni Capurro, supposedly inspired by a radiant sunrise over the Black Sea, wrote the lyrics. In 1898, he entrusted a singer and songwriter by the name of Eduardo di Capua to compose the music.

    A Long Way to the Top!

    Sponsored by the publisher “Bideri,” that song was sent to Naples for a music competition. However, the song received second place without much recognition at all. Nevertheless it soon gained much more success in Italy and around the world, becoming part of the world’s music heritage.

    The Amazing Repertoire of Performers!

    Some of the Italian melodies out there exist in enough creativity for English artists to pay homage to the romantic language. Elvis Presley is one of them, taking “O Sole Mio” to a tremendous level in romantic music.

    It’s sad that the original writers died poor, because many performers in several different genres have made millions since then performing O Sole Mio.

    Notable performers include: Luciano Pavarotti, Enrico Caruso, Beniamino Gigli, Mario Lanza, The Canadian Tenors, The Three Tenors, Anna Oxa, Bryan Adams, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Vitas, Al Bano and of course Elvis Presley with “It’s Now or Never”.

    This 1960s Elvis Presley version — “It’s Now or Never” — sold over ten million copies, making it the most sold song of Elvis Presley’s career.

    “It’s Now or Never”, however has just the same melody as “’O Sole Mio”, the lyrics are not a translation.

    Another famous version of the song made in English was by Bill Haley & his Comets, called “Come Rock With Me”. This remake, same as Presley’s, has only the same tune.

    Pavarotti did the best O Sole Mio interpretation

    But Luciano Pavarotti holds the title for best interpretation — hands down.

    In 1980 he won the Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Performance for his rendition of the song.

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    Tell Us Your Favorite “O Sole Mio” Story

    This song has been a very popular song for a very long time.  If you have a favorite story about how it touched you, please share it below.

    Historic Recordings of O Sole Mio

    The Library of Congress has a historic recording of O Sole Mio available that you might enjoy.